No, you don't need to pay lakhs for a Bootcamp

July 7, 2022


Over the past recent years, there has been a rise in tech bootcamps in India. Online bootcamps are accelerated, intensive study programs that enable students to learn the in-demand tech skills sought by recruiters.

From Data Science to UX/UI Design, Full-Stack Development to Cybersecurity, and Digital Marketing, there are a variety of certification courses that both freshers and employees can pursue.

And while we totally support the idea of lifelong learning and growth, in this post we would like to present our case as to why you don’t need to pay lakhs for a Bootcamp.

Note: Before you read further, we want to make one point clear: Our following argument isn’t against all bootcamps. No. We believe there are some high-quality programs out there, that are worth it. There are offline bootcamps that offer you more help than an online program.

Our argument is against online bootcamps that charge lakhs of rupees for their programs to teach you Tech/CS.

Now, this fee could be paid upfront, or it is presented as a “Pay after you get placed” program. Either way, we believe this is overpriced, and if students knew about alternatives, they might reconsider their options.

1. Who is this post for 🧑

1. People who graduated from non-cs/non-it degree. You want to move into tech, and want a structured program to help guide you

2. People from non-tech degrees who want to move into tech.

3. People from cs/it background - tier III or IV colleges. The college experience was not great, and you would like to take your studies/career more seriously

4. People who’ve been working at non-tech jobs would like a career in tech with a higher growth curve, better pay, and a work-life balance.

5. People who are already working in tech (probably at a WITCH) company, and would like to upskill and move to a product-based company

2. Why you should not choose these programs 🙅‍♂️

2.1. Why pay an exorbitant fee for open-source education? 📚

No matter which Bootcamp/course you consider, almost everything they teach you can be learned for free from other platforms - Youtube, Freecodecamp, KhanAcademy, MITOpenCourse, Coursera. The problem is:

1. Most of us lack awareness about these free resources.

2. We lack the discipline to stick to a plan and study by ourselves for months

3. Since we come from a non-IIT CS background, we think we can’t make it on our own. I will cover this point later, by talking about the “Imposter Syndrome”

The truth is that if you have a structured plan - consisting of courses + projects + some interview prep - you have a legit shot at learning and getting a job in tech. Don’t take our word for it: Search for people from non-tech backgrounds who got a job in tech. Listen to their stories, and understand the path which they took. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s possible.

2.2. There are affordable alternatives 😊

Perhaps getting certified is one of your biggest criteria. Sure, getting certified by a good school/organization can help. But, again, you don’t have to pay lakhs for it. You can obtain a specialization certification from Coursera in less than 1/10th the cost of these new bootcamps.

Or, perhaps studying self-paced courses (free/paid) isn’t your cup of tea. Well, in that case, you can look for a program/class/tuition that takes place in physical classrooms in your city. Yes, these will be more expensive than online courses, but, again they shouldn’t cost you lakhs of rupees.

2.3. You can get into tech (without expensive bootcamps) 👨‍💻

Apart from actually learning tech, most people enroll in bootcamps to get a job in tech. This might stem from a need to move into a higher-paying field or a fear of not getting placed.

You need to realize three things about these bootcamps:

1. You are going to pay lakhs to apply/get a job. Lakhs.
2. Not all bootcamps guarantee a job. There are caveats.
3. If you have a good portfolio, you can apply for the job yourself

Many bootcamps offer “placement assistance”. It’s important to be explicit about what they mean by that. Does that mean they will guarantee a job? Will they pass a referral? Will they just give a mock interview? Will they just go through your resume, and give interview tips?

Again, the reason for being so pedantic is: You are gonna spend lakhs. You need to be better informed.

We believe that if you build a solid portfolio, showcase your work, and approach recruiters, you can get an interview. Again, for free! But, don’t merely take our word. Talk to senior developers, and recruiters, and ask them about the whole recruitment process behind these bootcamps. Be more informed.

2.4. ISAs can be predatory ☠️

Perhaps you came across a “Pay after you get placed” program.

So let’s assume you want to enroll in a coding Bootcamp in company X (an ed-tech platform that teaches coding/design…).

Company X tells you that you don’t have to pay any upfront fee for the course. Instead, you enroll in the course, sign the agreement, and once you get a job (with a salary above a threshold), you pay them for x years.

Company X will even help you in getting a job through referrals.

For broke college students, “ISA saves the day!” keeps ringing in their ears. It seems to be the perfect solution for them and incredibly better than student loans as there is 0% interest (seemingly) and they only expect you to pay back when you’ve landed a job. Sounds too good to be true, isn’t it?

Now consider a hypothetical scenario:

Let’s say I’m teaching a course on web development for 20K. But, instead of charging 20K upfront, I ask you to pay me 4 Lakh rupees once you get placed. Does that sound lucrative?

It’s important to note that these ISA documents are carefully drafted by lawyers, with a myriad of terms and conditions, which frankly are not gonna help you. These clauses that are in the agreement are not your friends, they may seem reasonable to begin with, but as you graduate in your career, you’ll realize that you’re giving away an unfair chunk of your hard-earned salary. No matter promotions, incentives, or bonuses, you’ll still be paying the same percentage of your income for years to come.

If you are interested, we have published an entire post on ISAs: Coding Bootcamp Income Sharing Agreements - Read this before signing any document

2.5. Imposter Syndrome 😅

The majority of us have probably experienced Imposter Syndrome during some stage of our lives. No matter if you’re just starting out in your career, if you’re a perfectionist, or a high performer with many years experience, millions of people suffer with imposter syndrome.

Imposter syndrome is prevalent within the tech industry, with employees stating that they currently experience some form of the condition within their careers. It’s especially common in software engineers, developers, and designers. It’s usually worse in people who are new within the tech industry, are part of an underrepresented group, or have come from different professional backgrounds.

Some of these thoughts are normal to have while experiencing imposter syndrome:

“What am I doing here? I’m not a developer, I am fooling myself and other people”

“I don’t come from a CS background, I don’t stand a chance”

“When people realize I’m not as intelligent as I make out, I’ll be fired”

The thought processes above make people believe that they are not worthy enough, that their achievements aren’t good enough, and that they’re fooling people into thinking they’re someone that they’re not.

These are exactly the fears/motivations because of which students opt for expensive bootcamps. It’s not for “learning” - oh, you can do that for free. It’s because deep down we all have some fear/insecurity lurking, telling us that we can’t do it. That, combined with heavy marketing is what gets students enrolled in the Bootcamp.

I’ll talk about how to beat imposter syndrome in later in this post.

2.6. You will hardly find complaints about these bootcamps 🤔

You won’t easily find complaints or negative reviews of such bootcamps (especially on public platforms). Reason being:

Many bootcamps have you sign an agreement that prevents you from posting a negative review/complaint on public platforms.

Imagine you are alumni of this Bootcamp - having spent lakhs for an obviously overpriced program. Will you admit it publicly? Some people may not want to devalue something on which they spent so much time and money, or they don't want to get into a confrontation with the Bootcamp provider by posting a negative review.

On the other hand, you will see a litany of positive reviews or recommendations on blogs and Youtube. These creators will often provide you with a link for that Bootcamp. What some of these creators don’t mention is that they act as an affiliate for these programs. Meaning - if you purchase the Bootcamp/course via the link provided by these creators, they get a commission. Now, let’s be clear: there’s nothing wrong with affiliate marketing. But, the creators need to be transparent about it. They clearly have an interest in having you buy the course.

3. Ok, so what's the solution ? 🙋

3.1. Affordable Learning Resources 📚

First off, it’s important that people know that there are alternatives. This itself might help them reconsider their decisions. Are you completely new to the MOOC ecosystem? You check read 15 Best Online Learning Platforms You Need to Try

Or, perhaps you know about these platforms, but don’t know how to start learning. In that case, consider reading How to start your MOOC Journey.

3.2. Find a structured Plan 📅

Many students want to get into a particular field (software dev, design, business...). And although there are a plethora of courses out there, students get overwhelmed and numb.

Most people that we’ve interacted with struggle with finding a structured program that helps them get into a field. So, you want a program that takes you right from the beginner level, to a point where you are at least ready for an entry-level job.

In that case, you can look into Atlas.

A Learning Path is a selection of courses tied together for learners to progress through, mastering a particular subject or program. We offer you a program consisting of courses, projects & tools - which you can work on for free absolutely!

3.3. Overcome Imposter Syndrome 🏋️‍♀️

Even though the effects of Imposter Syndrome are clearly bad for mental health, confidence and sense of self, once you start to recognize the symptoms we’ve discussed above, there are ways you can begin to overcome it, and regain your self-belief.

The three steps that will help:

1. Find a mentor:
Finding a mentor within your professional environment will give you an outside perspective on what people really think of you and your work. You’ll find yourself feeling less alone in your negative self-view as you have someone specifically to talk through how you are feeling.

As well as getting an outside perspective and building your confidence, a mentor will also be able to identify knowledge gaps that you might have and suggest training and learnings that you should work on to keep you constantly improving.

2. Remember your past experiences and training:
Reflecting on your past experiences and remembering the training you’ve been through will give you a much better perspective on how far you’ve come. Remembering how inexperienced you were at the beginning of your journey, compared to how much experience you’ve gained now should give you a sense of achievement, not fear.

Knowing that you still have a lot to learn is a great thing - but don’t forget how much you’ve already learned and be proud of that fact. You don’t need to be an expert in your field before you experience success.

3. Keep track of your accomplishments:
One piece of advice I’ve received that has worked wonders is to keep track of your accomplishments. Keep a document where you add praise you receive for the work you’ve done.

When you’re not feeling worthy enough or your confidence has taken a hit you can open that document and remind yourself of all the great stuff you’ve achieved, and how much people have appreciated your hard work.

3.4. Start with a side project 🚀

Side projects are apps, designs, websites, case studies, or engines that you create by yourself and on your own time. These projects typically show off your skills as a programmer/designer/analyst, which can help make you a more qualified job candidate. Your side projects can be programs that are specific to the industry you want to enter. For example, if you want to go into the education industry, then you might build educational programs.

Consider making your side projects relevant, realistic and complete before putting them on your resume. For example, it's typically more impressive to create a program that's new and solves a current issue. Having a finished project can show potential employers that you're capable of finishing a task.

3.5. Learn how to showcase/network 🤝🏻

A tech portfolio needs to impress and make an impact. Regrettably, only a few succeed. You may be highly skilled and talented, but if the presentation is underwhelming, it will lead to a yawn instead of a wow and clients clicking away to the next portfolio.

Too often, many portfolios disappoint because they are uninspiring, misguided, and indecipherable. They’re either not thorough enough or too confusing and overly complicated. They may lack crucial information, don’t convey a personal brand, or don’t communicate professional goals—all of which diminish the chances of being hired.

Learn to showcase your work on platforms like:






Blog websites

These in turn become pivots that a recruiter or client looks at and lets you initiate a more organic conversation

You don't have to be an extrovert to be good at networking, and you don't have to be fake. Tap the power of the network effect and turn anyone into an invaluable referral. Think like employers and focus your profile to get noticed, get considered, and get hired.

3.6. Join a study group 👩‍🏫

If all the previous points resonate with you, that means all you need is:

👉 A structured plan that covers courses and projects

👉 A guide - not to teach you every concept, but - to show you which step you need to take in your learning path

👉 A study group of like-minded learners, who will help you with accountability, and with whom you can discuss, and build together.

In that case, you should join Moocable.

Moocable is a cohort-based learning platform where we study courses hosted on other platforms (Coursera, Youtube, edX, etc). We don’t sell courses. We believe in free, open-source education.

Moocs aren't easy. But you don't have to pay an exorbitant price for it.

By offering meaningful interventions, we want to help more students stick with online educational experiences.