Are bootcamps worth it and if they are, how should I evaluate them?

I dropped out of college to teach myself how to code (in hindsight this may have been a bad decision, but yee-haw). From looking at entry-level jobs on indeed, I can see that without a degree it’s very hard to be taken seriously.

There are a few bootcamps in my area that seem alright like Tech Academy and Epicodus, but it’s hard to tell for sure. My goal is to get good enough at full-stack development that I can work on my own projects (I’ve had several ideas for social media platforms), but in the interim I just want to get to a place of stability.

If I do spend the money to go through a bootcamp, how does that look on a resume? Is it worth the tuition? And since I’m assuming the quality of bootcamps varies, how should I go about evaluating their programs? When I schedule in-person meetings with them, what should I watch out for/what questions should I ask?

Thank you.

My guess is that the only employers who will take a bootcamp seriously either

  1. have a direct relationship with the specific bootcamp (maybe even having a deal for placing them in jobs); or
  2. only interview based on demonstrated skills rather than credentials.

That being said, I have not broadly explored the industry looking into these so I could be totally off base.

Personally, I think there is so much information freely available out there on the internet (or nearly free) that it seems a bit silly to pay the rates they are charging for those bootcamps. For example, nearly a decade ago when I was studying online myself I took some first-rate courses for free on Coursera that were taught by Robert Sedgewick on Data Structures and Algorithms and it was extremely challenging, but I learned a ton.

If you want my advice - save your money for actual courses that teach you concrete skills rather than “silver bullets” like these bootcamps.

If you want a second opinion, ask around looking for people who actually attended one of those bootcamps and is now employed in the industry. Getting some second-hand experience of a success story should not be too difficult if they are worth it right? I would not trust the marketing materials of these bootcamps - try to get information from unbiased students who actually went through these bootcamps. If you cannot find any, I would be very suspicious of that bootcamp.