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Ask HN: Should I quit my current job and join a bootcamp?
7 points by iamaimless on Mar 6, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 7 comments
My dilemma: I'm 27, making 120k/yr (in the NY Metro area), have great hours and generally no stress. On the other hand, I feel like I have ceased growing as a developer and am fearful of my future earning potential if I was to lose my current job.

I am a software engineer for a very small company. I develop Windows desktop software mainly in C++ and .NET. It was my first job out of college. Shortly after arriving, my boss transitioned to a management role so I became the de facto lead programmer. I am able to complete any task asked of me, but I have no one to mentor me. I'm bored, and worst of all, I'm not learning anymore.

It's become very clear in the last several years that mobile and web development are where the majority of jobs are.

I wish I had the time to dedicate to learning new skills on my own but between my full-time job/gym/girlfriend/life it doesn't seem feasible to become proficient enough in a new field to be hire-able.

Bootcamps seem like an attractive option due to the short time period and high job placement rates. But, if I was to graduate one of these bootcamps, would I be starting over at an entry level position? I would be taking a pay cut at the very least. There's also the high cost to consider.


I'm riding a gravy train and if it crashes I'm screwed.

Another possibility might be to look for a new job at a larger company where you can be exposed to web development while doing other things. For example, somewhere that has a .NET-based back-end for a web-facing system. At some point, you might pick up enough knowledge about the other parts of the system to be able to move into web development.

And at a larger company, you might also have more possibilities to find a mentor (or to mentor others) and learn new things.

I would start banking some of that gravy and stay where you are for now.


Nights and Weekends learn something new.

Rails (Ruby) and/or Laravel (PHP)

http://railscasts.com http://laracasts.com

Are both great places to learn.

These are mainly to create web applications.

SaaS Apps.

Get inspired: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CDXJ6bMkMY

Choose a side project, can be something fun or for profit.


google patio11 and ready everything by him.

You're making really good money, no need to throw that away, you can build your skills in your spare time, and if you're interested start building your own product/SaaS empire along the way. Preparing now for things to go bad in the future.

But I would stay on your gravy train as long as you can building new skills along the way.

Enjoy the ride.

Focus. Decide what you want to eventually do and start moving towards it. You'll need to re-prioritize your life. Give up something to gain something. But leaving the job or going to a bootcamp for this, seems risky.

You can learn mobile or web on your own and build up a portfolio. With this portfolio, demonstrating your 'new skills', start interviewing for the job you want. If you can demonstrate these skills at a high level (similar skill set to your current job), you should be able to command similar pay.

But, at your (young) age you should be looking primarily for positions that will challenge and grow your skill sets.

If you have a choice, only work on the hard things.

This is what will keep you employable now and in the future.

If its all about the money, then there's no answer but 'keep earning every second'. Not much you do will increase your pay so that it will make up for losing a year's salary or so. Especially if you have to go into debt.

On the other hand... The gravy train will always be there - your skills will remain useful for another decade or so. If you want new skills, by all means learn them now! But don't do it for the money.

If it's possible, try working some of those web/mobile projects into your day job. If you're worried about getting fired, and want to learn mobile, adding value to your company via some mobile project sounds like it could neatly resolve the whole thing. It sounds like you have a management/lead role that would allow you to make this call as well.

I don't see how web development changes anything - web dev has a peak as well where you'll probably stop growing, and if you lose your job because the VC/web/mobile bubble pops then you're still screwed. At least .Net and C++ are used by lots of blue chip companies that will still be around.

Where the jobs have been the last five years is not necessarily where the jobs will be in the next five. I'd focus on what interests you instead of the current hype around web & mobile.

Based on your post, I think going to a bootcamp would be a mistake. I think you're buying into the hype a bit too much. The career changing job comes months after the bootcamp finishes from the people I've talked too. The bootcamper job market is oversaturated and much more competitive for an applicant which results in a long job search.

If your bored at your current job, start looking for a new job where you can learn something that interest you instead of a bootcamp. You'll be earning money instead of giving time and money to learn entry level skills.

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