Reading 14: I seriously considered dropping out of college to go to a bootcamp

Yup, at one point in my computer science career, I seriously considered going to a bootcamp rather than finishing my education, just because the amount of success that I saw from those people who did it aligned with my definition of success, which was getting into those big technological / entertainment companies.

Maybe this is a theme in itself, as in there are a subset of technology companies that value certain skillsets than others, but since those were the companies I dreamed of and adored, I seriously considered it.

I think one major reason that this happened, was the difference in curriculum in a bootcamp versus Notre Dame. In terms of comparing Notre Dame with ACM and ABET’s criteria, I think they are very similar in terms of what the end goal should be for every student. However to get there, I think a bootcamp is more viable because of the sheer amount of experience one receives rather than someone who focuses on theory and deep understanding. The amount of practice, as well as gaining connections and possible mentorship from seasoned veterans in the field right now contributes to bootcamps being better. Also, Notre Dame has a hard time in terms of fitting in computer science with a 4 year curriculum, because of our unique requirements, as well as the entire first year being dedicated to general things. However, for any university, I think the theory is explored further thus allowing people to dive into the academic side of computer science, rather than the industry side of computer science.

I also believe that Software Engineering practices and architecture design decisions, as well as web / mobile app development require so much coverage rather than them being optional electives. Those are definitely the most applicable in terms of both industry and any consumer-facing idea. Thus, this allows students to put their knowledge to practical use and learn from real mistakes.

However, I do believe Notre Dame is realizing the importance of actual experience by implementing the recent program, Silicon Valley Semester. I would dare say that that was the semester that kept me hopeful, and along with realizing the power of networking and alumni, convinced me to stay in college. One huge problem I had with that though, was that there were little to no connections with anyone in the companies / industry I wanted to enter (very surprisingly enough). So, bootcamps, rather the more established bootcamps, had connections to those companies I wanted to enter or have some sort of connection with.

I think Notre Dame was definitely the catalyst that brought me to computer science (as a freshman, I came in with the intent of being a chemical engineer), but conversely it was also the catalyst that made me consider whether a computer science degree or getting a job sooner through a bootcamp, was better or not. However, through Notre Dame’s resources such as alumni, connections, and programs, I do think that the university has prepared me for a future career, but it’s not because of the curriculum.