11 people who used boot camps to change careers and make more money share how they did it

11 people who used boot camps to change careers and make more money share how they did it


A woman resting her hed on her hand smiling at the camera sitting outside
Meghan Hein.

  • Boot camps for coding, sales, and other fields can be a great way to level your career up.
  • Graduates of online programs shared how they used them to land high-paying jobs.
  • They suggested setting small goals and practicing your skills outside of class.

While many people are leaving the workforce in pursuit of better pay, hours, or benefits, others are looking to level up or even change careers.

Boot camps are one such option for doing so. But figuring out which program to attend and balancing it with full-time work can be a challenge.

Insider talked to graduates of coding, sales, data science, and other types of boot camps. Here are their best tips for using them to your advantage to land a lucrative job.

Do your own research and practice outside of class

After spending more than three years at an edtech company, Alex Walz realized it wasn’t his dream job and he wanted to pursue coding. So he enrolled in the University of Utah’s coding boot camp, which runs for 24 weeks and cost him $10,000. He now works at startup Podium, with his starting salary reaching $100,000.

His biggest takeaway from the experience was that lessons can move fast, so try to do your own research before jumping to the next topic. Otherwise, you can quickly get overwhelmed.

Read more: How a boot camp graduate landed his dream job as a software engineer making $100,000 a year

Find a program with a strong support network

David Cohen was working the night shift at McDonald’s when he enrolled in Uvaro’s sales training program. After graduating, he landed an internship at software provider Easy Projects, which converted into a full-time job.

What helped him, he said, was the support of his instructors and alumni who regularly checked in after he’d finished the boot camp. 

“They don’t just cut you loose to fend for yourself, which is really nice,” Cowan said.

Read more: A boot camp graduate traded the night shift at McDonald’s for a steady tech job — here’s how

Network with alumni or other grads

After struggling to find a job with a PhD in astrophysics, Marcos Huerta enrolled in Pragmatic Institute’s data science fellowship through The Data Incubator in fall 2018. At the end of the boot camp, he landed a job at CarMax that paid six figures.

He said networking with alumni of the program to hear about their experiences as well as the challenges and benefits can help you decide if it’s the right fit for you.

Read more: How a 43-year-old used a coding boot camp to go from unemployed to making 6 figures in 2 months

Set small goals

Setting small goals can really help when making your way through an online training program.

Geraldo Gomes learned this when he enrolled in Springboard’s software engineering boot camp while working full time. The one to two hours of studying a night paid off: Upon completion, he landed a job with a salary almost equal to his previous six-figure salary.

Read more: A boot camp graduate traded 13-hour days for a software engineering job with fewer hours and a 6-figure salary — here’s how

Take the leap (even if you’re not sure it’s the path for you)

Jevante Smith’s career was completely upended when the pandemic shuttered the restaurant he worked at. 

Intrigued by a job in tech, he enrolled in NPower’s free training and earned a Google IT support certificate — all while working part time as a barista. He now works at Citi.

While he still loves to cook, he’s discovered tech was an unintended dream path.

“Going through this process, I realized that while cooking was my first love, tech is my future, especially in this economy,” he said.

Read more: I used a free 23-week course to land a steady tech role after losing my restaurant job. Here’s how I did it.

Consider a paid apprenticeship

When COVID-19 closed the nightclub that Alex Lorick worked at, he enrolled in the IBM apprenticeship program and learned how to be a mainframe technician.

“It seems like this program is different — it touches a range I don’t have experience in,” Lorick said. “It’s more IT than me just playing around with programming courses.” 

Read more: IBM’s apprenticeship pays people to learn crucial tech skills in 6 months. 3 people share how they used it to change careers.

Earn as many certificates as you want

Joshua Feinberg, a digital strategist and revenue growth consultant for small-business owners, has completed 28 nondeveloper certifications from HubSpot Academy. He said each one has helped him bring in new customers each year for the past several years.

One of his favorite productivity hacks: attending courses during his morning workout. 

Read more: I’ve earned 28 certifications from software company HubSpot. They’re free, and they’ve helped me attract clients for my business.

Really immerse yourself in it

Meghan Hein enrolled in Lighthouse Lab’s web-developer program after both of her restaurant jobs were taken away in 2020. 

She said that there was a learning curve in understanding the technology. However, she treated the course as if it was the real world and prepared for it by studying a lot, asking questions, and taking the time to practice the course material.

Read more: How a 33-year-old restaurant worker used a 12-week coding boot camp to land a steady tech job during the pandemic

Once you’ve completed it, put yourself out there

Once the boot camp ends, it’s important to continue developing your skills.

Robert Salas worked multiple jobs before enrolling in Sabio’s coding boot camp. Once he graduated, he continued to put himself out there by applying for every job and practicing his coding skills. 

“I answered every call, took every interview, applied for every job,” he said. “When I wasn’t doing that, I was coding. I had absolutely no life, and it was worth it.”

Read more: A 27-year-old veteran used a 3-month coding boot camp to land a job as an app developer — here’s how


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