Before committing to The Flatiron School, I ruminated for way to long over the following question. “Is it really worth spending money to learn something that is freely available in books and online?” However, what was once a puzzling question seems completely irrelevant to me now. If you think about it, all free knowledge is just that, free. Of course I could teach myself how to code, by myself, sitting in a pitch black room deep into the night with nothing but the glow of my Macbook. But for me, I needed more.
If you are reading this post, you probably searched Google for something similar, but the truth is I don’t have the answer and neither does anyone else on the internet. You have to decide for yourself. So I have put together a few questions to ask yourself that may help bring some clarity.
- How do you learn best?
Can you afford a 12 week life acceleration?
Most people would ask, “Can you afford to put your life on hold for 12 weeks?” I really think it’s the wrong way to look at it. Being accepted to The Flatiron School is an amazing opportunity and I definitely don’t plan on “putting my life on hold” while I am there. This is not to say it doesn’t come with sacrifices and careful balancing of family life. I have a wife and an eight month old daughter. The thought of leaving them for three months is hard to swallow. My wife and I decided that attending Flatiron is the best decision for us long term and I couldn’t do it without her support. So does attending a bootcamp fit into your life and align with your long term goals?
Do you love learning for the sake of learning?
This has been touched on in a few blog posts circulating the web, but I just wanted to hit it again. I would not attend a bootcamp for the sole reason of landing a high paying job. Attend because you love to learn and you want to be part of a great community of learners. If you have a passion for something, money will follow. If you start out seeking money and your heart is not in it, people will sniff it out and you will end up failing.
I made the decision to apply to Flatiron because I wanted to speed up my learning, study best practices from the get-go, but most of all be part of an awesome growing community that is changing what it means to be a coder. I am at the top of my game when surrounded by others at the top of their game. It’s a competitive drive that pushes me to learn from others and share what I know. So ask yourself, do you like learning in pairs/groups, or do you prefer to learn by yourself?
For a comprehensive breakdown from a Flatiron alum’s perspective, check out Eugene Wang’s essay here.
Just remember to take everything you read online with a grain of salt and decide for yourself.