Editor's note: This post was written as part of a collaboration with SwitchUp, an online platform for researching and reviewing technology learning programs. Erica Freedman is a Content and Client Services Specialist at SwitchUp.
Data Science is a rapidly growing industry. From university programs to week-long cohorts, it can be difficult to decide where to start. Much like the “Best coffee in all of America,” sign in your local diner’s window, every boot camp or school website tells you they are the best in the game. Based on SwitchUp’s research, “there are currently over 120 in-person bootcamps and hundreds of part-time and online programs available worldwide.” While choice can be good, it can also be daunting.
How can you be sure you’re picking the right program?
For quality control, students have taken to using reviews and ratings from graduates to eliminate the less-than-satisfactory programs saturating the market. Detailed reviews take students beyond marketing materials or publicity, and provide valuable first-hand experience. On-the-ground perspectives are often a deciding factor when students are looking to change careers. It can help students understand the big picture, from the beginning of their research through to a career in tech.
If you are a bootcamp grad (or soon-to-be grad), your perspective can help “pay it forward” to the next cohort of students, and give your school helpful feedback as well. Think back to when you were trying to find the best program possible and write a review from that perspective. What do you wish you had seen or heard before entering a bootcamp?
We suggest the following tips to write a review that is valuable to future students.
Weigh the Pros and Cons
Even if your bootcamp was the most perfect experience of your life, there is always room for improvement. Do researching students a favor and cover the positive aspects of your program experience while balancing this out with constructive criticism. This feedback not only helps those looking to join the school, but also the school itself.
At SwitchUp, we’ve found that prospective students are most interested in the quality of the curriculum, teaching staff, and job support, so be sure to mention your thoughts on these areas. If your school has multiple campuses then you’ll want to list the campus you attended, as these variables change from campus to campus.
Talk About Your Complete Experience: Before, During, and After The Bootcamp
Have you ever seen a review that says, “It was great!” or “I hated it.”? Although these are technically reviews, neither are helpful to prospective students. What made the bootcamp great? Was it the teachers? The length of the courses? The location of the campus? There are so many variables to consider when thinking about the application process straight through to a job offer.
As you write a review, include how the program helped you to become immersed in the world of Data Science as well as how it helped you succeed after graduation. For example: Did the pre-work give you a useful introduction to the Data Science industry? Did career services help you ace an interview with your dream company? The complete picture will show future bootcampers how the program can help them both learn to code and meet their career goals.
Tell Your Story
SwitchUp has interviewed a wide range of bootcamp students. What is your story? Maybe you embarked on a career change into Data Science from a completely different background. Or maybe you took a semester off from college to simply gain skills at a bootcamp. Whatever the case may be, your path will show other students what’s possible.
This perspective is especially helpful if you do not have a Data Science, Coding or Computer Science background, since many bootcamp students come from different fields. Your story will show future students that as long as they are committed, they too can switch to tech career.
Where to write your review
Many bootcamp alumni are choosing to leave reviews on sites like Quora and Medium, or on a review site like SwitchUp.
If you are interested in writing a review of Dataquest, check out their SwitchUp reviews page here. Plus, you will automatically be entered to win one of five $100 Amazon gift cards or one $500 Amazon gift card grand-prize from SwitchUp once you submit a verified review. This sweepstakes ends in March, so get going!