Choosing a coding bootcamp can be challenging. Not only are you weighing significant decisions about your future, but the number of bootcamps options can be overwhelming. “What’s the best coding bootcamp?” is too loaded to ask with so many coding courses at your disposal. Realistically in order to answer that question, you need to weigh the costs, benefits, and what’s the most attractive to you: Job placement, core competencies of the coding bootcamp (data science, web development, etc.), and what eventual jobs the bootcamp will open up for you in Portland and beyond.
As we begin this guide on choosing the best coding bootcamp in Portland, you have to ask some questions that that will put you on the right coding journey for your career:
- What’s driving your interest in coding? What are some of the projects you’ve dreamed of working on that a Portland coding bootcamp will help you gain the skills to do?
- What’s your current coding proficiency? Coding bootcamps offer programs to people at different levels, and before applying to a program in Portland you’ll want to answer this question.
- What’s your budget? Depending on the bootcamp you choose, this may become a factor. While the average Portland bootcamp varies in cost, most offer financing options for students who aren’t prepared to pay the upfront tuition in full.
Consider these questions as you read more about the city and plan for a career in the tech industry. There are several benefits to choosing a coding school in the City of Roses, so start a mental checklist and be thoughtful about the coding skills you’ll need for the job you eventually want to land.
Before Attending a Coding Bootcamp in Portland: Preparation is Key
Coding bootcamps in Portland offer attractive options to students. Depending on the chosen programming language, data science immersion, and/or design tracks you choose, curriculums will vary both on content, breadth, and on length. A “typical” bootcamp curriculum will have several paths that require a base knowledge of the concepts. Let’s explore what skills an aspiring software engineer, full stack web developer, or data science professional will need prior to entering the bootcamp.
One of the benefits of this important step before applying and then enrolling in the boot camp is that it allows you to assess your current skill level, and choose the programming course that best suits your budget and proficiency. Perhaps more importantly, preparing for your boot camp allows you to understand the nuances of coding languages, prepare for your boot camp interview, and engage in introductory projects with other students.
Preparing for the coding bootcamp and the evaluations you’ll complete will help ensure that you receive a return on investment from the time and money you put toward your coding education.
Benefits of a Coding Bootcamp in Portland
Growth in the tech industry took off in Portland over the past decade. A year before the pandemic, CBRE reported that Portland was the 4th fastest growing market in tech talent. Considering the competitive cost of living, the high average salaries of these roles are attractive to a software developer relocating permanently to the city after they become a bootcamp grad.
The city’s proximity to hiking, nature and wine is surely a draw for software developers and UX professionals as well. There are many benefits of living and working in Portland as well as a surplus of career opportunities that await those with tech skills after they finish a programming bootcamp. Companies in the greater Portland area (big and small) are hiring tech talent at a scorching pace. Every industry the city is known for - retail, cannabis, agriculture, and high tech - are making it a priority to recruit the type of talent that can combine digital expertise with their core product. Consumer juggernauts like Nike are headquartered in Portland as well as Intel and Oregon Health. There’s no shortage of opportunities when you're living and working in a city whose tech companies are a major boon to the local economy.
Portland tech jobs offer some key advantages over tech-related positions in other cities. Notably, employees of Portland tech companies have a lower cost of living when compared to cities like New York, and they are well-compensated to make up for that difference. Even better? Despite the lower cost of living, salaries are still competitive with coastal cities. Jobs in the tech industry including average salaries of nearly $132,000 for a software engineer, $108,000 for a Design/UX professional and $114,000 for a Data Scientist in 2021. Portland’s coding bootcamps feature training for each of those positions.
Cost of Coding Bootcamps in Portland
The cost of a full stack software engineering bootcamp in Portland isn’t that different from the national average. According to Course Report, the average cost for a bootcamp is nearly $14,142, but several different payment options are available should you be considering different ways to pay for coding school. If you’re considering paying for a coding bootcamp upfront with a credit card, you may want to consider opening a travel card to meet the minimum benefits of a bonus card while earning miles. However, several other options exist. Many students use third-party financing options like Meritize or Ascent, two popular bootcamp loan options that allow you to study, and feature grace periods for repayment. Regardless of how you plan to pay for a bootcamp education, always consult a financial planner to help calculate your living costs on a software engineer salary once the course is completed.
Considering the high cost of living in Portland, there’s belt-tightening opportunities for all bootcamp students. Here are three great tricks to funding your coding bootcamp enrollment:
- Apply for every coding scholarship. Several coding bootcamps offer scholarships geared toward increasing the amount of underrepresented coding professionals in the tech sector. Coding Dojo - a bootcamp offering part-time and full-time software development bootcamps online - awards scholarships incentivizing LGBTQ+, BIPOC, and military veterans to apply and attend the bootcamps. Several need-based scholarships are also popping up across different coding schools across the country.
- Research income-share agreements. Some coding bootcamp graduates pay for their tuition using income-share agreements (ISAs). An income share agreement is a written agreement between you and a bootcamp provider that says you’ll commit to paying the provider a percentage of your income for an agreed amount of time. A hidden advantage of ISAs is that they force you to calculate how much you will need to be paid per year in order to be able to live, commute, pay back your tuition, and save. Pay careful attention to the minimum salary you need to make before an ISA kicks in and that you don’t accept a web development job for too low of a salary. If your agreement stipulates that you must pay back the online coding bootcamp if you land a job making above $35,000 to $40,000 per year, that doesn’t leave you much room for living expenses. (The good news: The average salary for even an entry-level programmer is $50,000 per year, but those of you in high cost-of-living cities should be doing the math closely.)
- Project your salary earnings. Carefully evaluate the tech job you can realistically land and the median salary of your desired position. Is that desired position going to be paying you significantly more than your current role? Will it earn you a higher multiple several times over than the cost of the bootcamp itself? For example, if you want to be a full stack developer and or are also seriously considering data science roles, know the market rates for each of those positions.
Remember that the cost of a coding bootcamp is your tuition and your time. Always estimate the cost for both prior to enrolling in class for the next 12-16 weeks.
Choose a Coding Bootcamp in Portland
If you’ve decided on attending a Portland coding bootcamp, here are some of the best on-ground programs in the city:
Whether you’re a longtime Portlandian, a recent transplant, or a future resident, the city offers ample opportunities for learning and working that cover the spectrum of programming languages and future jobs in tech and beyond. Once you understand your intentions for what you want to do in the tech world, whether it be machine learning, web development, computer science, or something more tied to design, you'll have a good start to make an informed decision on which program is right for you. A Portland coding bootcamp can unlock the opportunity to work in a premiere U.S. city with a solid and diversified economy. With many outlets to take advantage of outside of learning and working hours, current students and bootcamp graduates alike will have plenty to keep themselves busy. If you are considering continuing, transitioning to, or starting a tech career, click here to find your future boot camp.