What kind of a programmer can I be by going to coding boot camps? Do they teach how programming works? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Avi Flombaum, Co-founder and Dean at Flatiron School, on Quora:

What kind of coding job can you expect to get immediately after attending a coding bootcamp?

Whether or not it's indicated in your title, your first job out a bootcamp will most likely be as a junior developer. Which is actually still pretty incredible if you think about it. Coding bootcamps like Flatiron School stuff an insane amount of knowledge into the 12-15 weeks of the program, but in the grand scheme of things, that's still a relatively short amount of time to learn a new skill and launch a new career.

What kind of programming jobs can you grow into after attending a coding bootcamp?

If we've done our job and you've got the grit, the list is virtually limitless. A misconception that I've noticed in a few other answers is that coding bootcamps teach just a specific technical skill - learn Ruby and become a Ruby developer; learn JavaScript and become a JS developer. We don't have time to teach you everything and getting too focused on one language can be limiting, so we have a different aim at Flatiron School: to help students learn how to learn. If they've done that, they can continue to learn on the job, to pick up new skills and languages that we explicitly don't teach here, and really customize their career paths based on their interests.

If you really embrace lifelong learning, here are a few of the paths coding bootcamp alumni can and do take after their first programming job:

  • Engineering management (a.k.a. Team Lead, Engineering Manager, Director of Engineering, VP of Engineering, CTO): This is the more traditional path upward in software engineering - moving from engineering to engineering management and having a bigger impact on product functionality than you could as an individual programmer. But keep in mind, there's less coding involved in these roles - as the title says, you're managing other engineers, running 1:1s, and, as Flatiron School alum Steven Brooks, says of his role as StreetEasy's Engineering Manager, making sure your engineers "have the tools they need to succeed."
  • Product management: This is a common path for programmers who want to still be involved in building a product while getting away from hardcore programming. Instead of focusing on a specific technology, product managers focus on high-level issues: Why would someone use this? How do we simplify the signup process for people getting started on their phones? It's a way to still leverage technical understanding and collaborate with engineers, but actually figure out what kinds of features should be built in the first place. Think of it as moving up the "product life cycle," as Flatiron alum Sam Owens puts it, referencing his own journey working his way from programmer to BounceX's Senior Director of Product.
  • Entrepreneurship: Some enterprising bootcamp alums will start their own businesses and create their own products. According to Flatiron School's entrepreneur alums like Samantha Radocchia (who launched Chronicled) and Alex Au (who just launched his second startup), one of the great things about having the ability to write code is that you can actually build your own Minimum Viable Product.
  • ... and many more than I can't fit into this answer! You can dig into even more paths and positions in our free eBook "Beyond the Bootcamp."

Embracing lifelong learning isn't just about expanding your job options, either. Technology is constantly changing; programming languages and tools are always growing and evolving (and eventually getting eclipsed by newer ones). The best developers are the ones who feel joy and fascination at these changes - and are hungry to keep on learning to keep pace with it. A nice side effect of that: they can be any kind of programmer they want.

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Published on: Dec 21, 2017