By John Sonmez June 11, 2015

Is Paying for Developer Bootcamp Worth It?

In this episode, I share the pros and cons about paying for a developer bootcamp.

 

Full transcript:

John:               Hey, this is John Sonmez from simpleprogrammer.com. I’ve got another question here about mobile development, actually about training which—I think this is kind of interesting. This question comes from Jason. Jason says, “Hi John. I have been studying iOS development part time in the evenings and weekends for the last one year while I work full time. I’ve created one iOS app that I put in the Apple app store. So far it was written in Objective-C. I’ve now started studying Swift but I'm quickly realizing that it will take a long time for me to learn what I need to learn in order to be proficient at it if I'm only doing it part time. This leads to my question. Would you say that it is worth it to pay for a training course on iOS development to make the learning process faster so I can land an iOS developer job? Why? I’d be able to build apps faster and get them into app store faster which would help build my portfolio? Or should I still stick to studying part time and accept the fact that it make take me months/years longer to get to the same level of knowledge that I would have gotten if I took a course? I guess I'm a little worried that spending a couple of thousand dollars is a gamble and my goal is to land a position in iOS whereas studying on your own cost you nothing except time. What are your thoughts?”

Jason, it’s kind of funny, I’m glad you put that last line in there because that actually helped me answer this question a lot because in that very last line of your email what you have basically left, the question is is it worth spending money or time, that’s really what you’re asking here. The amount can matter but you said, “I guess I'm worried that spending a couple of thousand dollars is a gamble whereas studying on your own cost you nothing except for time.”

Well, time is the one thing that you can never get back. Time is your most valuable asset. It’s the only thing that we truly have in life is time and it’s limited, it’s finite, right? Money is not finite actually. You could actually make millions or billions of dollars or trillions of dollars. There’s an unlimited supply of money in the world but there’s not an unlimited supply of time especially your time.

Now, again, we can take this to the extreme and we shouldn’t take it to the extreme and we could say that, “Oh, we should always optimize for time and forget about money.” That’s not true. But in any activity where you can trade money to gain time that will gain you money—I’ll back up here, trade money to gain time that will gain you money. If the end result of that is that the money that you gain at the end is equal to or more than the money you spend at the beginning, totally worth doing. Absolutely do it, right?

Let’s take your exact scenario here. You’re talking about—and it hinges on the idea of whether this is true. It’s somewhat of a gamble, but if you’re pretty sure that by investing a couple of thousand dollars you’re going to accelerate your learning pace and the amount of time that’s going to take you to start making money off of this new skill of iOS development, if you’re pretty sure that it’s going to accelerate that then absolutely spend the money if it’s a few thousand dollars to do that because you’ve got to think about it. If you’re looking to land a job in iOS development and that job is going to pay you, I mean I'm assuming somewhere around $80 to $100,000 or maybe more, a couple thousand dollar investment to get that job is totally going to be worth it.

Now it depends on what you’re making now and how much you expect to earn from that, but if you even extend that over a year’s worth of time, if you’re comparing, if you’re saying, “If I go to this boot camp it will take me 3 weeks or 4 weeks and $3000-$4000 then I’ll be able to get a job where I’ll be making $10,000 a year more versus if I don’t go to the boot camp it won’t cost me any money, it will take me a year or 2 years before I can get that job that makes me $10,000 a year more.” It’s a no brainer, right? I mean if that’s the case.

It’s not that straight forward, right? You’re going to assign some probability to the thing. There’s a chance that you spend a couple of thousand dollars on the boot camp and it doesn’t actually really help you and it doesn’t actually accelerate you or it accelerates you at a much smaller pace than what you thought it would be. You should definitely explore that. In the long run, if you’re committed to this road and you really think that this boot camp is going to help you to learn faster than you will be able to do on your own part time then absolutely do it. A couple of thousand dollars in a long run isn’t going to really be that big of an investment. I know that it seems like it, right?

When you’re thinking about it upfront you’re like, “Well, I can do this for free or I could pay money.” Believe me, in my life in business I’ve often made the mistake of not paying someone for something that could have accelerated my own pace, right? There’s a lot of instances where I look back and I'm like, “Wow, if I would have paid someone $1000 I would have easily made a couple of thousand dollars from paying them, but instead I went and did it on my own.”

In fact, I'm still learning this and I'm doing it more in my business now as I'm paying more and more people to do things for me. Example, again, I'm sitting here recording a batch of videos and I’ve paid someone to record the video for me as opposed to me spending that time that would take me a whole lot more time and a more inferior product. Again, I'm going to see the return on that and it’s something that I should have invested in perhaps earlier. In a lot of cases we’re afraid to spend the money. When you know that you’re going to make more money from a thing then there’s really a small, small amount of risk.

Again, you’re going to have to make the ultimate decision, but if you’re really between this decision and between time or money, choose time. Get your time. The money—it’s not even a ridiculous amount of money. If you’re telling me that it’s going to cost you $10 to $20,000 then we’d really have to have a heart to heart and talk about do you really think you’re going to get that value from this course that’s going to accelerate you that fast? But for a few thousand dollars considering it’s your career and that your probably going to get a job that’s going to easily make more than that amount of money or the difference of it, I would say unless you have serious doubts about this course, go for it.

Let me know what happens. I'm curious to see what happens with you. Just send me another email back and maybe we’ll do a follow up and see how you ended up. Hopefully this helps you. Thanks for the question. I think there’s probably a lot of people in similar types of situations where they’re trying to balance between time and money and definitely you want to pick—your time is valuable.

All right, if you like this video, subscribe to the channel and I will give you more videos just like this one every week, in fact 3 times a week. Take care.

About the author

John Sonmez

John Sonmez is the founder of Simple Programmer and a life coach for software developers. He is the best selling author of the book "Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual."