After researching several options for training to become a web developer, I have found Bloc to be one of the most compelling options. I recently applied to Bloc’s veteran scholarship which is awarding 10 veterans with a full scholarship to attend their online bootcamp (Update: I was awarded a full $5,000 veterans scholarship! Thank you Bloc). This post outlines some of the positives that stood out for me compared to other options such as an in-person bootcamp or a college certificate program.
One on One Mentorship
In Bloc you are paired with a single mentor for the entire program which means that the student teacher ratio is 1 to 1 the whole time. This contrasts significantly with colleges or in-person bootcamps where you are in a cohort of 20 or more students. The one on one attention is a tremendous differentiator for Bloc and really helpful for students starting in web development. The mentor meets with the student about 36 times and this time can include helping you get unstuck, pair programming, and answering your questions.
Students complete 4-6 projects during the program which can be showcased in a portfolio. This is excellent if your end goal is to show potential employers what you can do and get a job in the web development field. In web development, employers don’t care about credentials as much as what you can do. The projects seem really impressive like a clone of the music streaming service Rdio.
Bloc really stands out in the flexibility that it provides students which strongly contrasts with in-person bootcamps which tend to be pretty rigid in terms of having to be in the classroom for set hours. This is ideal for people who do not have the option of leaving their full-time job for 2-3 months to attend a bootcamp. Bloc’s online format allows you to schedule meetings when it fits your schedule, which can allow you to continue working full-time if needed. You can also choose the intensity of the program with options of a 12, 18, or 36 week program (the shorter program involves more frequent mentor meetings). Additionally, since you are working 1 on 1 with a mentor, they can customize the program to match with your specific interests, goals, or type of app that you want to build.
Compared to an in-person bootcamp, Bloc is less than half the cost at $4,999 ($5,500 if you pay in 6 installments). If you consider the opportunity cost of having to leave your job for 2-3 months for an in-person bootcamp, then Bloc could be a quarter of the cost of an in-person bootcamp. Bloc recently launched a Coding Bootcamp Cost Calculator that helps you estimate the cost of a bootcamp.
Bloc recently added a job preparation phase that takes place after you have successfully completed the mentorship part of the program. The job preparation includes 3 additional meetings to help you craft your resume, portfolio, and practice technical interviews. It seems like this is a great service for people who have the goal of getting hired after the program. Bloc also has an alumni group of former students who can help each other.
There are a few weaknesses I perceive for an online coding bootcamp like Bloc when compared to an in-person bootcamp. As a part-time program it is not immersive like an in-person bootcamp which puts you in an environment where you are around dozens of passionate students like yourself. With an online program you may miss out on building strong relationships with your peers who are going through an intensive and sometimes challenging experience along with you. You can miss out on gaining experience working collaboratively on a team. Additionally, some in-person bootcamps offer a hiring day where dozens of potential employers meet you and many in-person bootcamps have strong relationships with recruiters who they can recommend you to. With these factors in mind I still think that Bloc provides a flexible alternative to in-person bootcamps at a fraction of the cost.
Bloc is already the largest online coding bootcamp and have recently raised a $6 million series A investment to help them continue to expand. This signals that Bloc is here to stay for the long term and will continue to be the leader in online web development training. You can learn a lot more about Bloc’s offering through their webinars on YouTube.