I've been coding for years. Should I still consider a bootcamp?

I’ve been coding for years basically working on a single website that has made me a happy livable income. I’m not left with much to do on it anymore and it has become very self-sustaining. I’ve tried making other websites, but they aren’t very successful. I’ve always worked alone. I occasionally hired Fiverr freelancers to things like high-quality logos. I love working with Node.js for the backend. I feel very competent with Javascript, HTML, CSS, and somewhat competent with React.js. I’m fairly rusty with PHP. I have basic understandings of WordPress and Ghost CMS, although I imagine a job focused on a CMS would be boring to me. Im pretty confident with documentation that is very simplified. E.g Mozilla MDN and React Docs. Documentation for Chrome V8 has been extremely tough for me to read. I usually don’t have much trouble picking up new technologies.

I’ve never worked any “real” job. I’ve only ever worked for myself besides the few months I helped my family member who’s a freelancing tradesman. I was around 14 and only did simple things like sanding walls, caulking, and cleaning. I only completed high school and haven’t considered college.

I’m wanting to find a job as a web developer. I feel confident as a full-stack developer. I’ve most enjoyed back-end development. I don’t design very beautiful websites, but I can definitely get stuff done. I’ve read plenty of success stories with new coders landing jobs within a year of learning. It seems like most success stories come from those who’ve completed a code-camp. Should I consider completing a code-camp too? I feel like I can confidently make any website so long as the front-end isn’t too demanding such as animations. I’m unsure of a bootcamp because I fear that I would spend thousands just to relearn 90% of what I already know. I had a similar situation when I got something like a scholarship for a networking course during high-school.
My knowledge as a web developer pretty much comes from YouTube, Google, and Codecademy. I’m thinking maybe I have missed out on a lot of concepts. It would be embarrassing to land a job through a solid portfolio, but when working with co-workers, they throw terminology and concepts at me I don’t know of. I have a friend who is a web dev who has pretty much done the same to me, but when I asked what the concept was, I found out I knew how to do it, I just didn’t know the terminology.

I’ve been creating websites for around 5 years and have no job experience. I feel confident as a developer. I now want a job as a website developer, but I don’t know if I should go for a coding bootcamp or go straight to applying. I’m looking at bootcamps because I worry I might have missed key concepts or something else important to the workplace. Though I worry about bootcamps because I worry to spend a lot of money just to relearn most of what I already know. My knowledge comes from YouTube, Google(documentation, articles, StackOverflow), and Codecademy. I think I have a pretty solid portfolio as far as example projects go.

Should I consider a bootcamp or go straight to applying?


I’d say go solo (but I’m also curious to see what other people here suggest). Do brush up on the things you need to know. It doesn’t hurt to strengthen fundamentals.

The cons of bootcamps from your context as I see it

  • high cost
  • very possibly will give redundant knowledge (to what you already have)
  • you already have access and motivation to learn to whatever knowledge they cover that you don’t have
  • you have tangible years of experience, no need to “pad” further with a bootcamp (you can however pad your experience with different types of projects and collaborations).

Moreover they’ll always be there. You can decide to set yourself some period of time to do applications and fill the holes in your fundamentals. Even if you whiff on all the applications, after time you’ll probably already cover everything they had to offer.


How about working in a couple more projects and submitting all your work to a senior programmer’s review?

You would pay her(him) for a few hours (cheaper and way more tailored than a bootcamp). And, since you can get stuff done already, she could even mentor you and help you to land some gigs.

You could (and apparently should) do some complementary solo training to complement your knowledge on other aspects of being a programmer.

I.e: grabbing a book to learn about clean code; reading good documentation online to be proficient with terminology, rehearsing explaining your code in front of the mirror, etc.