Is GPA important when getting into the coding field?
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I'm just starting out college and I know a lot of people tell me that the field you get into doesn't matter for undergrads, does this also apply to seeking jobs in coding through boot camps? And is there any recommendations for what boot camp to pursue?
1) Because you will learn more about computer science concepts, theories and will cover more in depth important computer science fundamentals than you would cover in a boot camp. Any boot camp will be a faster-paced, rushed version of a 4 year degree and sometimes covers the bare minimum.
2) Some tech companies (including the big 4) prefer to hire entry-level software engineers that have a 4 year degree over those with a boot camp background. Some startups are just looking for people and don't care as much, but there are definitely companies that don't like to hire bootcamp grads. Not all, but some.
Also, I would say that GPA matters sometimes. But ONLY if you have little to no experience. If you landed a great internship or worked on really cool project and can show it off in your github, that will be enough to land you an interview, even if you have a poor GPA I think.
If you decided to not pursue a CS degree and want to do a boot camp, I would recommend Hackreactor. My boyfriend did it and he is a software engineer now. Almost everyone from his class got software engineering jobs within 3-5 months of finishing the bootcamp.
I've had good success with a service called IT Pro TV, which offers a regularly updated video library which great content from professionals still in the field.
When I review a resume from a candidate, I usually look more at their experience to see if they would be a good fit. Then there's the phone interview where I ask a simple coding question. That's usually the deal breaker: you can easily tell if the person _can actually_ code by listening to them and seeing what they do. If they stumble with basic concepts, then you probably won't ask them to come to an on-site interview.
I've gone through this process myself a few times, and when I interview for a position, I make sure the other person knows I can code and answer technical questions. The topic of GPA has never been brought up (not even a: "What do they use in your country instead?")
By all means, get a good GPA -- but also make sure you can get the job done, and make sure you can convince others that you can.
If you do decide to go down the traditional path of a Computer Science degree, know that GPA does play a major role if you go for internships while in college. Internships can be an excellent way to get your foot in the door and/or help hone your focus regarding the kind of job you'll like after graduation. However, internships at the most sought after companies (I'm thinking Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, etc.) are extremely competitive. GPA will be one of those criteria they will use for screening purposes because there are just so many applicants.
As you weigh the choice between traditional college and boot camps, I would advise you that--at least in today's world--a college degree will be more valuable down the road. Boot camps are fantastic at accelerating your coding skills growth needed for a great job, but, without a degree, you may encounter roadblocks later in life as you transition between employers.
Either way you go I'm excited that you're interested in coding! Best wishes to you, regardless of which path you choose.
Nathan recommends the following next steps:
Things to consider:
1. Bootcamps are cheaper than colleges. Depending on the program you will work on a variety of projects in teams and this experience will be valuable because you'll get to practice technical communication and working with others. Not everyone has the money or resources to go to college - sad but true.
2. A comp sci degree will give you a deeper understanding of data structures and algos, a weakness that many bootcamp grads have(but there is a graduate program out there that will accept self-taught/bootcamp grad engineers for an M.S in comp-sci if you decide to go that route and you can close the knowledge gap that way). If you get an internship at a company you may have the opportunity to code and contribute which will provide similar experiences some bootcamps attempt to emulate.
3. Self-taught route! I didn't mention this one, but self-taught is also one way to break into the field. It's mostly free (that all depends on you) because there's a variety of resources on the internet to help you get started with a language and then frameworks. Again, you'll need to find ways to stand out. Contribute to the open source, and/or find immersion programs or apprenticeship programs if you already know enough code to skip the bootcamp route.
I don't agree that lacking a comp sci degree will create roadblocks down the road. I know people who are self-taught, bootcamp grads, and traditional comp sci majors who have had successful careers in the industry. A lot of tech companies are becoming more open-minded about recruiting people with degrees outside the traditional comp sci route. As I mentioned, it creates a diverse workforce that can see things from different perspectives when creating products.
You should probably get a college degree regardless of the major because having no degree could make it hard to enter any field these days. It's also a time to grow and mature since college gives more freedom than high school. My advice is to go to an affordable college where you won't be saddled with debt. The name of your college is irrelevant if you can show you're motivated, ambitious and talented.
Since you asked for a list of bootcamps, here's the ones I am aware of:
Fullstack Academy (CIRR certified)
Grace Hopper at Fullstack (women only, CIRR certified)
CUNY has a bootcamp but I'm not sure if that's exclusive to CUNY students.
Codesmith (CIRR certified)