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Business Intelligence Careers

How to Choose The Best Data Analyst Bootcamp

11 min read
By John Pauler
Jul 14, 2021

Are you looking to launch your analytics career?

If you are, one of the things you might be considering is enrolling in an intensive data analyst bootcamp to supercharge your analytics skills.

This can be a great move. It might be the best thing you do for your analyst career.

But, it’s also a major investment of time and money. So make sure you know what you’re getting into, and choose a program that’s the best fit for your personal goals.

Today, we’ll talk through some of the important aspects of an immersive analytics program and help you select the absolute best data analyst bootcamp for you.

First, let’s run through some important questions you should be asking when trying to find the best data analyst bootcamp…

  • Is this bootcamp a good fit for your goals?
  • Is this bootcamp at the right level for you?
  • Can you commit the time required for the bootcamp?
  • How much does the bootcamp cost?
  • How strong is the reputation of the company running the bootcamp?
  • How excited are you to work with the instructors in a particular bootcamp?
  • Will this bootcamp build a portfolio of projects to share with employers?
  • Will the bootcamp help you with resume prep, job searching, and interviewing?
  • Does the bootcamp have a job guarantee?

Let's dig into each of these one by one...

Is this bootcamp a good fit for your goals?

This first high level question is mission critical. Think about your career goals. They have to line up with any bootcamp you consider. If they don’t, you’re in the wrong place.

Are you aiming for a career in Analytics / Business Intelligence?

Maybe you’re more interested in Data Science or Machine Learning.

Or you could be gunning for a career in software engineering.

These are the types of bootcamps we tend to see most often, for good reason - they are all great options, and any of these can make for a fun and rewarding career with tons of employment opportunities ahead of you.

Just make sure that whichever bootcamp you choose in is a great fit for whichever path you’re really interested in.

Is this bootcamp at the right level for you?

Different programs will cater to different career stages. Make sure you’re looking at bootcamps that are an awesome fit for where you’re currently at.

Are you just starting out and looking to land your first job?

Are you more senior and looking for a management-level or executive type program?

Either way, there are options out there for you.

Just make sure you’re looking at the right type of program. An entry level data analyst bootcamp focused on helping you secure your first job in analytics doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for someone who’s 10 years into a BI career. Same goes for an entry level person looking at an executive level program. Not a fit.

Make sure you’ve got the right type of program for your level and you’ll be good here.

Can you commit the time required for the bootcamp?

This is a another really important one. It’s easy to underestimate the time you’ll need to commit for a bootcamp style program.

Unlike other forms of study where you can complete the learning entirely at your own pace, intensive bootcamp programs will typically have higher expectations of your time, and often require you to be available at specific times for group projects and live instructor sessions.

In general, you can bucket bootcamps into two flavors:

  1. Full-time immersive options
  2. Part-time “evening” programs.

For full-time immersive programs, you’ll be expected to dedicate anywhere between 25 and 40 hours per week, depending on the program. And it’s typically assumed you don’t have a full-time job, as you’ll be on the hook to participate in live sessions and group projects at specific times. These will typically range from 8 to 16 weeks in length, but may also span as much as 6 months. So you’ll need to make sure you can commit 2-4 months, or more, to full-time dedicated study.

Part-time programs tend to be a lot more flexible, and are geared toward people who have a day job and can’t commit quite as much time. In this option, you’ll still usually be expected to be available at specific times for live sessions and to participate in some group projects. But the level of weekly commitment will be a lot lower, and the duration of the bootcamp will typically be stretched out. These may last anywhere from 3-4 months or a whole year depending on the curriculum.

How much does the bootcamp cost?

The cost of a Data Analyst Bootcamp will vary by provider, but you should expect to pay multiple thousands of dollars ($USD).

Below you can see example costs from some of the most well-known training providers in the Data Analysis space. I've also noted whether or not they offer a job guarantee (more on that later. HINT: it's really important).

Cost of Data Analyst Bootcamp

Note that these represent my understanding of the prices when you pay the entire cost of tuition up front, at the time of this writing. They will most likely change over time. I will try to keep this updated, but you should do your own research to find current pricing for any offering you are interested in.

Most of the providers also offer some form of flexible payment options. They may let you pay in installments, or defer tuition until after you've landed a job. Just make sure you understand that when you use flexible payment options, the total cost you will pay is almost always higher than if you pay up front. That's the tradeoff. Make sure you read the fine print here.

Finally, keep your eyes open for opportunities to pay less than full price during certain promotional periods. Providers may offer discounts for folks who sign up during a certain time period, or for the first students who sign up for a given cohort.

For example, Maven has a Super Early Bird Discount of 20% off for students who join the upcoming September 2021 cohort before July 23rd.

You may also be able to find similar deals with other providers as well. When cost goes down, your ROI goes up. Don't pay full price if you don't have to.

How strong is the reputation of the company running the bootcamp?

This one is important too. Do your homework on any potential Data Analyst Bootcamp provider.

Ideally, you either already know their brand name, or can find information on them via a quick search.

Make sure their students are generally pretty happy with their offering. For this type of service, the training provider will be changing student's lives. A solid provider will have no trouble getting students to sing their praises. If you can’t find any happy students talking about them, that could be a bad sign.

Here are a few examples of student reviews:

DataCamp's student testimonials

Maven's student testimonials

Springboard's student testimonials

Again, do your homework. Make sure you can find happy students before you commit!

How excited are you to work with the instructors in a particular bootcamp?

This is something people often overlook. After thinking about the reputation of the company running the bootcamp, you need to take a look at the actual instructors who are involved in the bootcamp.

Who are the main people you’ll be learning from?

What do you think about them?

Are their skills a good fit for where you want to take your career?

Will you be excited to learn with them?

Do they seem invested in your success?

If you can’t figure out who the actual instructors will be, that’s a red flag. Remember, this is a major commitment of time and money on your part. The actual bootcamp experience will be largely shaped by the instructors. You don’t want some faceless factory just going for volume. You want passionate people who care, who will be there for you and who are equipped to help you succeed and launch your career.

Make sure you do your homework here and you’ll be glad you did.

Will this bootcamp build a portfolio of projects you can share with potential employers?

This one is huge. In my opinion, any data analyst bootcamp that isn’t guiding you on how to create a project portfolio, and providing you with rich, real world projects for you to work on, is missing the mark, BIGTIME.

Why do I think this one is so important?

Think about what an employer wants. They are looking to hire someone who can do a specific job.

When you’re trying to break into the analytics field, you don’t have any prior experience you can point to. Your best bet is going to be job-simulated projects that you can discuss with a potential employer to show them you know what you’re doing and can add value.

An ideal project will include some technical work (code, formulas, database tables, etc) that you can show off, data visualizations to catch the eye and show your storytelling abilities, and business recommendations you’ve made so you can demonstrate that you can translate data to insights that will drive positive impact for their business. When you have projects like this to discuss, and even send to an employer for review, you’ll really stand out above other entry level folks who can’t do the same.

The dream bootcamp will offer you multiple opportunities to create a portfolio of projects. That way, when you find a great job opportunity, and they ask “what have you worked on in the last that would help you succeed in this role?”, you’ll be able to come with a strong answer. You’ll confidently point to a deep well of job-simulated projects designed to make it easy for an employer to see the value you’re ready to add to their business.

Will the bootcamp help you with resume prep, job searching, and interviewing?

If you’re investing the time and money to enroll in a fully immersive bootcamp, it’s probably because you’re looking to land a job.

Of course you want to be learning the technical skills you’ll use on the job, but it’s equally important to learn how you can leverage those skills to actually land an opportunity.

Make sure that the bootcamp you decide to enroll in offers help securing role you’re gunning for.

Ideally they will help you prepare your resume, advise you on networking and job application strategy, and giving you live interview practice.

This part of a bootcamp could take a number of different forms, but any good bootcamp will offer these services in some way. For example, with Maven’s bootcamp, the entire final module is dedicated to this… resumes and digital profiles, networking and applying, and doing live interview practice so you’ll ace the real interviews when the time comes.

Make sure you ask about this one before you sign on the dotted line!

Does the bootcamp have a job guarantee?

This final point should not be overlooked. Anytime you are looking at these bootcamp offerings, ask yourself whether they are putting their money where their mouth is.

The best bootcamps will offer a job guarantee.

If you don’t land a job, you don’t pay!

How does that sound for an alignment of incentives? If the company misses out on their revenue when students don’t land a job, you can be sure of a few things… they are confident in their offering and ability to deliver on their promise…giving you the skills that will land you a job! they will do everything in their power to make sure you do land a job. It’s not that they are sweet benevolent people (although they may be that too). But they need to make sure you get a job to book revenue. They will be in your corner and will be incentivized to help you succeed You’ll be taking on less risk. If you put up all this money, you want to make sure you get what you paid for. You can rest a little easier if they offer a strong job guarantee.

Job guarantees can take multiple forms. Sometimes you get your money back in full if you don’t get a job. Other times they won’t collect some of the tuition until you’re getting paid in a relevant job. Sometimes they will offer to help you forever until you land the job, for free (this one is the weakest in my opinion).

One thing the job guarantees all seem to have in common is some terms and conditions that will disqualify you if you don’t do what you are supposed to do as a student. Basically, they want you to attend all class sessions, complete all projects, apply to a certain number of jobs, etc, etc, etc. Make sure you’re clear on that. If you just bail on the program halfway through, you’re not getting your money back. Every terms and conditions page I’ve read makes it very clear that you need to complete all aspects of the program to be eligible. And that sounds pretty fair to me. If you take up a seat that someone else could have benefited from, and then you don’t put in the work, you shouldn’t be entitled to anything.

As far as job guarantees go, there are two things I would recommend you watch out for when evaluating them…

Avoid the “we’ll help you with placement services forever for free until you land a job” guarantee. This one is weak. You want some form of a money back guarantee. You don’t want a free service…you want a job! Don’t settle for this nonsense. Go for a job guarantee where you go tuition free if you’re not employed. This is what you really want. Be careful about delayed tuition when they charge a percentage of your salary. This sounds great in theory. It sounds like a good alignment of incentives. They company makes more if you earn a higher salary, so they’ll help you land a great job. We briefly considered doing this for Maven’s bootcamp, but the percentages we saw in the marketplace just added up to too much for a student to pay. The whole thing felt a little predatory. So we went with a full money back guarantee instead. You may find some good options who do this in a fair way. Just be careful. There are other ways to secure a job guarantee without giving away too much on the back-end.

Summarizing this section… make sure any program you might enroll in has a strong money back job guarantee, make sure you understand the terms of that guarantee, and be careful of guarantees that are weak or will be too expensive in terms of salary you’re giving up. Follow these points, you’ll be golden!

Wrapping Up

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading!

A data analyst bootcamp can be a great option.

Just make sure you know what you are getting into. It’s a major investment.

Pick one that’s a good fit for your goals, offered at a cost you think is reasonable, by a reputable company with instructors you want to learn from, and make sure they’ll help you do everything you need to land a job and that they’ll put their money where their mouth is.

Maven’s is proud to announce that we are launching our first-ever Data Analyst Bootcamp this September!

Save 20% through July 23rd as part of our Super Early Bird enrollment deal.

Space is extremely limited. Reserve your spot today.

LEARN MORE: Maven's Data Analyst Bootcamp

Author

John Pauler

John brings over a decade of business intelligence experience to the Maven team, having worked with companies ranging from Fortune 500 to early stage startups. As a MySQL expert, he has played leadership roles across analytics, marketing, SaaS and product teams.

John brings over a decade of business intelligence experience to the Maven team, having worked with companies ranging from Fortune 500 to early stage startups. As a MySQL expert, he has played leadership roles across analytics, marketing, SaaS and product teams.

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