So, you’ve been Googling immersive programs late at night and you’ve stared into the smiling faces of alumni on bootcamp websites, wondering if you see your future self. You’ve cycled through the stages of online bootcamp shopping:
📱 Searching for hot jobs in tech
👩 LinkedIn stalking people with those jobs
🧑🎓 Googling courses and bootcamp programs that teach those skills
😮 Reading about time commitments and cost
📵 Closing your tab in a panic
🤷♀️ Starting over the next day
Reading about immersive programs can be intimidating. Is it really full-time? Do I need to quit my job? Can I keep up with the coursework? How will my life change?
- You’re interested in working in tech but don’t have the technical skills you need to get started
- You want a tangible certificate to add to your resume to help you go after that promotion or new job
- You’re a lifelong learner and want to level up your skills to use in your current job or small business
Let’s start with the reasons you may have been looking at immersive programs to start with:
Immersive Tech Programs: An Alternative to College Degrees
Immersive programs for tech skills—also known as bootcamps—condense a comprehensive program into 12 to 24 weeks of study. In that time, you’ll complete 400 to 500 hours of skill-building and career coaching services.
It’s called immersive for a reason—you’ll be living and breathing coding, data science, or your skill of choice. This approach boosts retention, lowers distractions and cost, and gets you where you want to go faster.
What are certificate programs?
After completing an immersive program, students receive an industry-recognized certificate they can add to their resume and LinkedIn profile. This lends credibility and shows future employers and clients that they know their stuff.
Unlike a programming certification from an on-demand course, immersive programs represent a deeper level of learning and achievement.
So, what’s it like to actually complete an immersive program? Here’s a peek inside what makes our programs so valuable:
3 Benefits of an Immersive Program
- Refresh Your Skills for Personal and Professional Development
Immersive courses take place either virtually or in person. During that time, you can expect to learn new technical skills and frameworks and collaborate with peer learners in real-time.
You can expect a mixture of structured class time, independent project work, and group projects during the course. Set class times and deadlines will give you the accountability to keep pace with the class, while individual and group work allow you to hone your skills on your own.
General Assembly’s instructors are experts in their field (no academia lifers here!) with real-world workplace and industry insights to share. We develop our courses with input from employers, so the software or programming languages you’ll learn are those employers want.
- Build a Network of Likeminded Individuals
The time commitment for an immersive program is similar to a job, and the bonding effect is also similar. After spending months working day after day with the same cohort and instructors, you get to know each other.
You’ll get individualized feedback from mentors and peers during your program, designed to improve your skills. You’ll build soft skills, learning to work with personalities and working styles different from your own—just like you would in the workplace.
Beyond your immediate cohort, you also have access to alumni networking opportunities. Our alumni network is16,000 strong and works in top companies like Adobe, Amazon Apple, Deloitte, Facebook, Google, IBM, Infosys, and Verizon.
- Graduate Ready for the Tech Job Market
Of course, learning technical skills is just one part of making a career transition. You have to be able to demonstrate your suitability for a job with a spot-on resume, professional portfolio, and interview. This process doesn’t start when an immersive program ends—it’s simultaneous and continual. Here are ways that our immersive students become job-ready:
- Create an online career portfolio (and real-world projects to fill it!) with feedback from instructors as part of their course
- Work with a dedicated career coach to help them build a job search strategy, build a personal brand, review their application materials
- Interview practice
- Connections to our employer network and Hired, our partner that showcases the skills and experiences of our immersive course graduates
Is Continuing Education Worth it for a Career Change?
You’ve probably met or heard the stories of someone who went for a Master’s degree, took three or four years to finish, and ended up with the same job or salary plus more debt. There are also a lot of continuing education myths and misinformation out there to sift through.
So, is it worth it to take on continuing education? In some ways, this depends on your reasons for wanting to change careers. Many students who enroll in immersive programs are looking for:
- More meaning in their work
- More flexibility
- More money
While you might be a long-term planner, most people wanting these things want them tomorrow, not in five years. Sitting on your hands waiting for a promotion (or layoff), applying for entry-level tech jobs you’re not qualified for, or enrolling in a long traditional degree program won’t get you where you need to go fast.
We know this question is important, so we track outcomes for our graduates. We found that, on average, immersive program graduates recoup the full cost of tuition within one year of graduating. Graduates also double their income within five years (Cha-ching!).
To answer the question of whether it’s worth it for you, you need to reflect on your reasons (financial security, a pay increase, continuous learning) and what it will take for you to enroll in an immersive course. Take a look at the career options, seek out alumni perspectives, and make a plan for yourself.
List of Certificate Programs (General Assembly Immersive Offerings)
Data Analytics (12 weeks, on campus or online)
Data Science (12 weeks, on campus or online)
Data Science Remote Flex (24 weeks, online)
Software Engineering (12 weeks, on campus or online)
Software Engineering Remote Flex (24 weeks, online)
User Experience Design (12 weeks, on campus or online)
User Experience Design Flex (24 weeks, online)
Ready to take the next step? Explore which immersive course is right for you and learn about our various financing options.