How To Choose the Best Coding Bootcamp For Parents
Jan 19, 2021
mom talking to her child

For parents, pursuing a new career path while juggling home responsibilities comes with many challenges. Children turn our worlds upside down, shift our priorities, and use every ounce of energy we have left at the end of the day. Still, their hugs and smiles are worth it and motivate us to be better. 

With opportunities in the tech field on the rise in both data science and software engineering, parents are entering coding bootcamp programs in growing numbers. Online programs with flexible, part-time options have made learning to code easier and more accessible than ever before.

Whether you are exploring part time offerings perfect for busy dads, looking at online classes for stay-at home moms, or simply want a coding program you can do after work, there are pathways to make coding bootcamps work for you.

Choosing a Flexible Coding Bootcamp

As a busy parent, it will be important to find a coding bootcamp program that allows for some amount of home-life balance. However, with so many options to choose from, it can be challenging to know where to begin. Here are our top three suggestions to get you started:

1. Narrow your sights on a part-time program. Tech is a good career for moms and dads alike and having part-time program options can be one way for busy parents to incorporate learning new tech skills while juggling other work and home responsibilities. It can be daunting to know how to choose the best part time coding bootcamp for you, but choosing a part time coding bootcamp can be as simple as a process of elimination if you are clear on what you are looking for.

First, consider your availability and the time commitment you are able to make to a program. Online programs like Lambda School offer both full time and part time options in both Data Science and Full Stack Web geared toward mastery and employment.       Lambda School’s part-time schedule is a great example of a structured, comprehensive six-month program allowing flexibility for busy parents. This can be particularly helpful for parents who may work other jobs or dads and moms who code but stay home with kids during the day. Lambda School’s daily part-time schedule will vary depending on a student’s time zone, but will typically begin at 6pm with a “Warm Up”, which includes personal time to review the day’s instructional material, followed by “Guided Project Time”, and ending with “Project Time” at 9pm, which includes support from peers and students over a Slack platform. These schedules run Monday through Thursday, with an additional weekend day of choice for each Lambda student, making it ideal for many parents looking to learn new skills toward a new career path.

Second, weigh your own strengths and weaknesses against the strengths and weaknesses of the programs you are considering. Part-time coding programs offer a wide array of options, including pre-recorded lectures, live lectures, mentorship, career placement, peer-to-peer online support networks, and real-world projects as part of teams. Consider the way you learn best and what will be most beneficial for your portfolio and for your needs on-the-job.

Finally, consider the value you will receive for the time you put into your specific program. While some coding bootcamps will charge large up-front tuition costs, other programs like Lambda School have adopted an Income Share Agreement (ISA), a deferred tuition contract that doesn’t require you to pay a penny in tuition until you’ve accepted a qualified position that pays more than $50,000 a year (or the equivalent of $4,166.67 per month). The ISA is capped at a maximum of $30,000, so Lambda graduates won’t pay more than $30,000 under any circumstances. This means Lambda School has added accountability to ensure student mastery and job success. As you decide where to put your dollar, consider if your bootcamp is investing as much in you as you are in them.

2. Ask the right questions. As you continue your search, get specific about the supports you need to set yourself up for success within a coding bootcamp program. Not only will you need support at home as a parent starting a new and exciting career path, but you will need structure and support in place within your chosen program in order to keep you motivated and on task. Find out from the program you are interested in what they expect of you and what you expect of them. If your expectations align, you will be more likely to be successful in the program. For instance, Lambda School offers personal mentorship, a supportive online peer-to-peer community, and opportunities to work as a part of teams in lab projects. These personal connections can make all the difference for busy parents as a way to stay connected, ask questions, get help, and network with other professionals. 

3. Learn how other parents made it work within your program. Search your program’s website for alumni testimonials from other parents, and dive deeper into social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook for candid parent testimonials. You may learn valuable coding bootcamp tips for parents from those who have come before you, and as a bonus, may even gain future mentorship opportunities by reaching out to alumni. As an example, Lambda School’s website features many Lambda alumni testimonials that showcase how moms can code. Web developer and Lambda alumni Sara Fritz started Lambda when her son was in kindergarten, which she said was perfect timing so she could complete Lambda while her kids were in school. Lambda alumni and QA Lead Jackee Rohrich wanted to graduate from Lambda School to show her two children, who are both on the autism spectrum, that there are no limitations even if you have a disability. 

Mobile developer Robin Warden, a 47-year-old single mother, wore many professional hats prior to choosing Lambda School’s Full Stack Web Development Program.

“I have to thank Lambda for believing in me and being so supportive not just in what they taught me, but how they encouraged and pushed me. It changed my whole life,” she said. “My son is 12 now and I can't tell you how good it feels that I can finally take care of both of us.”

For front end engineer Amber Sorensen, a 29-year-old single mother of three kids, choosing Lambda School was the best way to give her family financial security in a future career with flexibility.

“When I started Lambda my kids were seven, four, and one. The stability, the flexibility that you need when you have kids, it was kind of a dream scenario,” she said. “There were a lot of nights I would have my baby in my lap during lecture or I would sit and code projects along with my kids. If you want it bad enough, you just make it work."

As you begin your journey, remember to select a program that will best take care of you so that you can best take care of your family. After all, kids grow up fast and choosing a program that will leave you stretched, stressed, on your own, and ultimately without the job skills you need will not be an efficient use of your precious time away from your family. Instead, find a place you feel at home – a place where you can thrive, learn, and make the most of your time. Find a new you that will make your family proud.

You can do this, and Lambda School is here to help throughout your journey to make a career change. If you’re ready to get started, apply now.

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