I’m sure a lot of people have seen all the different boot camps available both online and in-person and wondered if that was the right step for them to take to learn Data Science.
After having completed the Flatiron 15 weeks Intensive in London, I feel I can shed some light and maybe help anyone who is trying to make that decision.
I think there are two things you need to keep in mind while making your decision to join a Bootcamp:
Firstly, why are you joining? what are your expectations? I think the number one issue with boot camps that people experience is that the Bootcamp failed to meet their expectations, now every student comes with different expectations and you should have a clear understanding of the ‘why’ and ‘what’ of your choice, why did you chose that Bootcamp or a Bootcamp at all and what do you want to gain coming out of it, once you are sure of the ‘why’ and especially the ‘what’ you can maximize the benefit you get out of those Bootcamps
At the same time, you need to have realistic expectations and this is where a lot of people mistake Bootcamps. They expect to become experts at the end of it. A Bootcamp is meant to immerse you in Data Science but there is still a limit to how much they can teach and how much you can learn in a short time.
For me, my expectations were not that I would learn everything I needed to know about Data Science but rather that I would learn the basics and build a strong foundation to get my foot at the door and that would enable me to do further learning by myself. It is like I got a map, now I can explore all the different fields of Data Science and learn more about each and find which one I am more passionate about and learn what I need when I need it.
Secondly are you willing and able to give away 15 weeks or however long the Bootcamp duration is? it is intensive as they advertise, you will be expected to give almost all your time to it including working during most weekends. Those weeks will go extremely fast, and your social life will almost completely disappear, I was studying around 12 hour days, from 7 am to 7 pm, you will need to make sure you make preparations to be able to give your time and energy to the Bootcamp.
Another important thing to keep in mind is you will take out what you put in, so be warned that these Bootcamps, in general, will take over your life as they try to maximize the content they can give you.
So, with those 2 in mind if you are a person who is already well versed in Coding and Machine Learning techniques, has studied Maths or Data science in university I would advise against joining a course like this you will have come with high expectations and already know most of the content anyways so it will be a waste of time. An internship or self-learning would be much more time and cost-efficient
If you are a person who is not constrained by the time and money I would suggest you look at the path of self-learning. in the end everything they teach you is available online, its just a matter of it all being compiled and easily accessed during the boot camps duration. If you’re not in a rush you can learn everything although it may take longer.
If you are a person who wants to learn the basics quickly and efficiently(although I would say don’t go into any Bootcamp without at least having some knowledge of python), get your foot to the door, be able to do further learning by yourself, make some good connections and friends along the way then I would say you can consider Bootcamps. Doing a Bootcamp is mostly advertised for those people who are trying to make a big change in their career quickly and so a Bootcamp, in this case, will be helpful in making that transition
the one thing which you will get out of this course which you won’t from either online or self-learning is the environment and connections. By far the people I met and interacted with on a daily basis helped me push myself and achieve far more than I would alone. You also make great connections including the instructors and through your colleagues which is a big plus for your job search.