Micro-Certifications and Bootcamps
What are micro-certifications?
What are micro-certs? Essentially, micro-certs (otherwise known as micro-credentials) are small chunks of education on targeted topics, usually in the form of an online course from a traditional university or well-known business establishment.
These certifications can range from a subscription model like Linkedin Learning ($30/month) or Coursera ($49/month), or anywhere from $9 - $1,000 a pop from places like EdX or udacity. Certifications are often completed at your own pace, and can be finished in as quick as a week or as long as several months.
The most popular examples of micro-certs are the Grow with Google program. Google provides affordable, but also rigorous, certifications in several top technical skills. These certificates are revered in the industry and completers of these programs are considered legitimate technical talent.
We recommend targeted micro-certs in each of our job guides, and additional examples can be found through platforms like Coursera, EdX or Udacity.
What are bootcamps?
Bootcamps on the other hand are intensive training programs in a specialized field. Bootcamps are especially popular for technical fields where proof of completion is a physical project, like a website design or application build. This includes careers in engineering, data analytics, and product design. Bootcamps are usually set up like traditional academia with teachers and homework assignments, but more centered towards careers than topics.
One great outcome of a bootcamp is often they have placement matchers upon completion, and jobs can be guaranteed under the right circumstances. Bootcamps come with a heftier price tag on both your time and wallet, usually ranging from 4-6 months and 4 to 15 thousand dollars.
Some popular bootcamps for careers include General Assembly, Flatiron School, and Hack Reactor.
Which is better for you?
Micro-certification stacking is the backbone of the Bridged experience.
While we love the traditional academia and bootcamps (really!), we recognize that not everyone has the time or budget for these options when the end result is often the same. Micro-certs are also great as a low-risk way to try new careers with very low barrier to entry.
We recommend stacking individual micro-certs to cover all needed aspects of required experience needed to land an entry level job.
Our idea is that by stacking micro-certs, a path to tech employment becomes more accessible and affordable… and perhaps even more quick. We actively vet our micro certification recommendations, but know there are tons out there that we may have missed. Just be sure to enroll in programs with accreditation or an established reputation in the industry, and you should be good to go!
Do I need a degree for a tech job?
While degrees are sometimes listed as requirements on tech jobs, there are not a lot of 1:1 degrees that match with the roles. At this point, a degree is more of a stamp of achievement and proof you're willing to work, which can also be accomplished with a bootcamp or micro-certification. That may seem counterintuitive for "tech" roles, but people in these jobs come from all backgrounds and degree-types.
Sometimes job descriptions will mention a requirement of something STEM related, but often this is not a hurdle if you fit the other key requirements.
Here at Bridged we are huge proponents of alternate forms of education, and recommend either using specific certifications or bootcamps to target skills and experiences.
Ultimately, Experience is Key.
While this might seem obvious, learning on the job is one of the fastest ways to get familiar with new topics, and showing is much better than telling. After spending time exploring different job types and requirements, set your sights on 1-2 jobs to pursue. Set a timeline for yourself to achieve skills by a certain date.
Depending on the role, there are different ways you can go about getting experience. We recommend browsing our job pages and seeing which roles match your lifestyle and values, and starting there!
Pro / Con List
Micro Certifications are good for:
- Learning at your own pace
- Trying out new career options with low risk
- Expanding existing skill sets
- Budget conscious consumers who are looking to change careers
- Folks who have to work during their learning
Bootcamps are good for:
- Learning in a traditional classroom format
- Serious career changers
- Getting a job guarantee afterwards (sometimes!)
- Honing a brand new skill set
- Folks who have time to dive in for 4-6 months
In conclusion, micro-certifications and bootcamps both offer valuable benefits for transitioning into a tech career. Whether you prefer the flexibility and self-paced learning of micro-certifications or the structured environment of bootcamps, it ultimately comes down to your personal learning style, budget and career goals.
Be sure to carefully weigh the pros and cons of each option, and don't be afraid to try both methods to see which one works best for you. Micro-certifications and bootcamps can both help you acquire the skills and knowledge you need to succeed in the tech industry. With the right choice, you can fast-track your tech career and reach your professional aspirations sooner.
And let us know what you decide to do at firstname.lastname@example.org!