With the "top" ones like GA, Hack Reactor, Career Foundry, you are lucky to get more than 50+ reviews.
With some of these being over $10k, am I wrong to think there should be more reviews out there?
a) simple laziness. A good review takes time and thought to write, and the time isn't necessarily in the writing the review, but in processing the experience after graduation. By the time you have a more balanced (ie, graduated, employed/unemployed) perspective, you've probably moved on to other things.
b) in my case, it's mostly due to general ambivalence about the experience. There were things I liked, things I thought weren't done well, and the overall effect is to cancel each other out. Ambivalence doesn't encourage taking the time (see above) to write down thoughts the way more extreme positive or negative views do.
c) also specific to me: I genuinely liked the instructors and most of my cohort, and writing anything negative seems impolite - not wanting to hurt someone's feelings or seem ungrateful. Irrational, but there ya go.
I was reading Aziz Ansari's Modern Romance. In each of his shows for a tour, he polled the audience with two questions.
How should you let a person who is interested in you know you aren't interested in them: Pretend to be busy, say nothing, or be honest?
Overwhelmingly, most people practice the "pretend to be busy" and "say nothing" methods. Only a small sliver of the audience would say they were honest.
He then asked the audience to pretend the situation is reversed. Someone else is dealing with you. How do you prefer they handle the situation?
Overwhelmingly, the audience responded (with applauds) that they'd prefer the honest approach.
I imagine many people go into these programs to gain skills to get a job. If afterwards you talk about how the program failed to prepare you for that you're shooting yourself in the foot.
As to why there aren't more positive reviews - maybe it's related?
I would look at the absolute lack of glowing 6/5 star reviews about how amazing these boot camps are as proof of exactly the opposite.
There are presumably thousands of grads from the largest programs. If you can only get 50 or 100 people to write a review about how your $10,000 course helped them land a job, it should be a huge red flag about the actual value.
I know this isn't exactly responding to your comment, but I thought it fit.
"is always willing to help if you need help just make sure that you at least try for a bit before you go for help from Tony otherwise he will not help you."
And yet the student rated me 5/5 for helpfulness and clarity. Makes me very happy inside to know that at least someone sees that that's a plus.
If you review a bootcamp, you risk a permanent association with having attended a bootcamp.
It lead to several sites emailing me and asking me to write a review or to link to their sites. Here is what I wrote to coursereport:
>By completely ignoring the issue of student outcomes, your resource does prospective students a disservice. How about listing average salaries, listing graduation rates, linking to yelp profiles and linking to student directories for those schools confident enough in their outcomes to share them?
I hadn't looked at any of these sites in a long time, but to the best of my knowledge, very little has changed. They offer a comparison only of the costs of the various options, not the value. The person who emailed me did seem to express some vague interest in adding that kind of information later but two years later it's still not there.
At least for me, the main reason I avoided the "bootcamp review" sites is that I didn't feel any would have given me useful guidance as a prospect (whereas Quora, Yelp and HN threads would have if they'd been around when I applied).
The reason we don't have average salaries and grad rates is because the only org publishing that is the school itself. Can we trust that number? Has it been reviewed/audited by a third-party? Only one school does that and we report their number on the site.
However, we constantly publish data on industry trends and overall placement rates and job stats to help guide the conversation. https://www.switchup.org/research/coding-bootcamp-survey
We do have independent school by school database of job outcomes based on our independent surveys, but sample sizes are generally small and we are not at liberty to disclose school specific info.
It's extremely useful to include self-reported salaries and hiring stats. That's actually one of the key pieces of information I myself was looking at. List the stat and link to or summarize or link to their explanation of how it was calculated.
As for your own independent surveys, they are almost certainly far less accurate than that of the schools themselves. Considering the effects of selection bias on top of those of the small sample size you mentioned before I suspect they're essentially useless for someone making a decision.
Similarly, what good are "overall stats" that average the results of random respondents from world class institutions, low-end operations, experiments and all kinds of other projects? It would be kind of like looking at "overall stats" for a bucket of participating businesses who had taken money from YC, Techstars, unknown funds, crowdfunding, banks or their parents. That would yield some data, but the data wouldn't be useful for an entrepreneur actually considering taking on funding.
I don't think bootcamp review sites (except possibly Yelp) "help guide the conversation". I think they tend to mask the huge gulf between the several schools that a fantastic investment and the many more that aren't.
FWIW: I did a bootcamp, loved it, never wrote a review. Just laziness/generally don't write reviews for things. I would guess many people don't write reviews for the same reason.
++ Second cohort at Flatiron School - it has grown up so much since then that there is a time relevance issue.
By that I mean the entry point for most participants are all different, the expectations for most participants are all different, the experience for most participants are all different (some students work harder than others), and the outcomes are all different.
I felt there was more to learn than there was time (I did a 12 week course), so how I felt after graduating was largely a reflection of my own confidence and ability in contrast to the effort I put in and not a direct reflection of the quality of the instruction.
The Dreyfus model of skill acquisition  is a useful reference here. Any program that claims you will gain mastery over a discipline in a dozen weeks is lying to you. The guys that ran my bootcamp were plain about that. They said they would help me help myself learn... which they did but not to the level I really wanted to get to. And that more than anything is why I am ambivalent about recommending them.
And sure, I'll freely cop to self-interest here. Bootcamp grads get enough shit from people in tech who want to dick-measure. I'm not going to do anything to further the cause of people who already think I'm an incompetent chimp with a keyboard.
Also, like the SwitchUp person already said in this thread, there's no reliable source of data for outcomes. I can tell you how long it took to get a job and what I made fresh out of the course, but why would you believe me, especially if you're already primed, like a bunch of people here clearly are, to believe that bootcamps are bullshit and their grads are rubes desperate to cover up the fact they got bilked? Maybe I'm just a plant; maybe I get paid a combined $200k a year by DBC/GA/HR/Flatiron to fire up 100 sockpuppets and argue that bootcamps are a good investment to con people on Reddit/HR/wherever. (That actually sounds like a super fun, super immoral job. Maybe I can trick them into actually paying me to do that. OR MAYBE I AM STILL MESSING WITH YOU. ~spirit fingers~)
"Also, you get this hoodie for writing a review so...)"
But if you flip that bias on its head, 5 stars becomes a mediocre rating. That's ok if you've disclosed what you've done, but out of 165 reviews only one mentions that people are incentivzed to write reviews with free swag.
The lack of negative reviews may seem strange, but I genuinely believe that everyone who has written about HR does so in a sincere manner (whether it be positive or negative). I can understand how it seems shady, but with a $17k tuition, a "free" hoodie is not enough to sway a review one way or the other.
That's intuitive but factually incorrect. There's a large body of empirical research that shows that giving away trivial tokens has a significant impact. This is true for everything from charitable donations to sign-ups for services to survey responses. Not to mention ratings for college courses, which are, in the aggregate, more expensive than Hack Reactor.
Provide ratings and info to the general public that don't just show rates, but trends, who drops out, comparisons of success rates for different groups, etc. Provide more structured but still anonymous feedback, for a price, to bootcamps as a consultant, or get a grant from a large tech firm. Publish papers in conjunction with academia on a delay.
I think what bootcamps could do, if they were willing to, is be much more agile in changing how they work based on research then a 4 year school, and actually do research and experiments to find better ways of teaching, and improve the industry as a whole.
My friend did a local bootcamp and now he's doing ASP.NET work and loves it! I'm just scared of doing that specific one because I don't really have interest in anything microsoft.
Our hires from bootcamps would have learned coding on their own, but the bootcamp just accelerated their learning. Their experience was that those who were already digging in and involved before the bootcamp were the ones who got the best offers at the end.
I've written reviews on a message board a couple of times and provided specific advice re: bootcamps to posters as well. Ultimately it's a very personal experience. While I think the experience was great for me, some of the people that didn't have as much prior exposure and effort really struggled and I worry about their long term prospects.
It sounds like you're just starting out and you're nervous about your situation. In that case, I'd focus on a bit of simple private learning that will help prime you to get more out of any bootcamp or formal-learning stuff you may do later.
For example, set up a basic Python interpreter, grab one of those "teach yourself" books from the library, and at least run through using basic building-blocks like algebra, if-then conditionals, looping, functions, etc. It doesn't matter too much what language you use.
I've been considering trying out Learn Python the Hard Way, it comes up in pretty much every "I want to learn programming" thread on /g/.
DBC was worth it for me; I moved to a new city, got a great job, didn't have to take on too much debt, and I am generally happier and better off now. But it's not a flat yes or no, it's very much a question of your circumstances and your commitment level.
"I was an apprentice in the Software Craftsmanship Guild's .NET cohort in August 2014. Eric Wise is definitely one of the best teachers I've ever had, as well as one of the coolest people I've come to know. His 15 years of development experience in many aspects of development shows in all of his work. Combined with his devotion to his students and seemingly endless energy creates a unique and exciting classroom experience. He's /always/ available for questions and advice on Skype or Email, even after we graduate from the course. The PowerPoint slides are an incredible resource that we get to keep to review in the future. It gives us not only the necessary information, but the best practices for many common problems we face in coding in an easy to navigate package. They're so great that they are being licensed by colleges to be incorporated into their curriculum.
One of the most valuable parts of the course, in my opinion, was the job placement "speed-dating". At the beginning of the 9th week, the guild brought in 25 companies, and had us Apprentices sign up for 15 minute interviews with as many companies as we wanted and could schedule. This allowed me to get a lot of face-to-face interview experience, and it took pretty much all of the stress of job searching out of the equation. I mean, they literally put the hiring managers in front of you. It can't be any easier than that. From those short interviews, I had multiple full-length interviews with several companies I was interested in, and accepted a position at the end of week 11.
As of the last day of classes, we 87% of apprentices that chose to stay in the area have accepted positions, and I have no doubt that my out-of-state classmates will find positions quickly.
I don't have a single complaint. I've made friends for life, learned an incredible amount of material, and accepted a position making nearly triple my previous wages. They did everything they advertised, and I enjoyed every minute of it."
The hard part here is curation of resources and environment setup.
Just 10 or 15 years ago the process was completely opaque, a lot of books in your local store had omissions or bugs that made them impossible to follow, it was a seriously frustrating process unless you stumbled into the right community, were a genius, or had lots of guidance.
HTML & CSS: Learn how to create websites by structuring and styling your pages with HTML and CSS.
jQuery: Learn how to make your websites interactive and create animations by using jQuery.
PHP: Learn to program in PHP, a widespread language that powers sites like Facebook.
Python: Learn to program in Python, a powerful language used by sites like YouTube and Dropbox.
Ruby: Learn to program in Ruby, a ﬂexible language used to create sites like Codecademy.
None of this makes it impossible, but choice paralysis is a real issue, and I know a fair number of people who want to get started coding, but can't figure out where to get a handhold. That's one of the benefits of bootcamps - they make some of the initial choices for you, so you can get started learning the building blocks.
Weirdly, I think that well-written books (huge caveat) might be better, because they do something similar: lock you in a path and then tell you to put your nose to the grindstone and get to work.
Yes. This is what I'm really getting at.
That, and for environment setup, some choices will genuinely send you down a rabbit hole of wrestling with with unfamiliar tools.
If you're not ready for that, then practice with some "birdhouse"-like projects.