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Boot camp benefits: Why choose a university-backed boot camp curriculum

Companies need employees with digital skills like coding, UX/UI design, cybersecurity, fintech, and more. If you’re hoping to fill a position in any of these fields, a boot camp could offer an accelerated path to skill development that leads to your next job.

Boot camps are intensive, hands-on programs designed to help students learn valuable job-focused skills. Completing a boot camp can be a great start to a new career or lead to advancement in a current field. But with many options available today, choosing a boot camp can be challenging and come with many different questions: Is a boot camp worth it? How do you choose the right one? Will you gain the right skills for that next step in your career?

University-affiliated boot camps allow learners to gain relevant technical skills through a reputable institution, which can be a differentiating factor for upskillers and career starters alike. This guide will discuss their advantages over other options, and provide you with questions you can ask yourself as you determine which boot camp is right for you.

Four benefits of a boot camp with a university-backed curriculum

1. Brand recognition

Both giant tech firms and startups face a problem many employers would love to have: an abundance of applicants. With a large applicant funnel, these organizations can use rigorous standards to vet candidates. 

edX operates boot camps in partnership with leading universities. When you complete a university-backed boot camp, you’ll receive a credential that can help you stand out from other applicants during your job search. Rather than a certification from an independent organization, you’ll be affiliated with a well-known and well-regarded university name that employers recognize and trust.

Ask yourself these questions as you determine the right university-backed boot camp for your goals and interests:

* What is this school known for?

* What is the school’s technical reputation?

* How will this school give me an edge when applying for jobs?

2. Quality curricula

Universities have a long-standing reputation to uphold, and want that reflected in everything they’re affiliated with, including boot camps. Whether you enroll in a coding boot camp or a boot camp on product management, edX boot camps work alongside university staff to develop competitive, relevant curricula that meet university standards as well as the needs of employers. University partnerships are built on curriculum approval; their confidence in our coursework is a foundational component for every boot camp offered.

The curriculum development process is constantly evolving based on a variety of factors, from discussions with more than 250 employer partners, to instructor input, to the measurable learning outcomes collected after each cohort’s completion. Because of their short timelines, boot camp curricula also benefit from ongoing adjustments as dictated by industry trends, giving learners confidence that the skills they learn in their program will be applicable in their next career step.

Below are some curriculum-related questions to consider during your boot camp search:

* Is the university well-regarded for its instruction in my desired field?

* Does the boot camp provide any learner testimonials that speak to the curriculum strengths?

* Does the curriculum cover topics that align with the roles I plan to apply for?

3. Instructional excellence

A program’s curriculum is only as strong as the instructor teaching it. University partners are involved in the selection process of every member on instructional staff to ensure that learners receive the same high-caliber education in a boot camp that they would in a traditional degree program. All instructors must be approved by the university in order to teach in their boot camps.

Instructors are held to rigorous standards. Throughout each boot camp cohort, students are able to evaluate instructors, and this feedback is then incorporated into future classes to stay on-par with university criteria.

Take the time to ask yourself the below questions about boot camp instruction:

* Do boot camp instructors provide assistance to learners?

* Will I benefit from industry insights the instructors bring from their professional experience?

* Will instructors be able to teach me real-world skills?

4. Location

The pandemic moved many jobs off-site and gave employees the opportunity to work remotely. Still, it can be helpful to showcase a prominent local university on your résumé when applying for a new role.

edX’s boot camps offered in partnership with universities across the country give you the opportunity to learn new skills through an institution you or your family member attended or a school you’ve always dreamed of attending. Through partnerships with over 250 employers, you’ll also have premier access to exclusive job referrals at companies in your area.

Not sure how location might factor into your boot camp decision? Here are a few more questions to help you narrow your options down:

* Do employers in my area value this school’s reputation?

* Is this university local to my area/close to home?

* Did I/a family member attend this university previously?

Enroll in a boot camp to start your new career today

Completing a university-affiliated boot camp is a great first step toward a new career in tech, design, marketing, cybersecurity, and more. Working with edX-powered programs can provide a leg up over independent options without the same name recognition. You’ll be able to learn on your own terms with backing from the university and the benefit of the institution’s brand once you complete the program.

Last updated November 2023