Why Most People Fail at Coding Bootcamps: 3 Pitfalls to Avoid

Brian Jenney
4 min readApr 11, 2024
I built a weather app — where the hell’s my 6 figure dev job!

Some people spend many months and thousands of dollars on a Coding Bootcamp, but ultimately fail to change careers and land a job as a software engineer.

This sucks.

After working at multiple coding schools, mentoring nearly a hundred developers and working full time as a software developer for a decade, I see the same issues time and time again.

Unfortunately, too many coding schools are only out for your money and sell you on the idea that “anyone” can learn to code and that the path to employment is paved with trivial portfolio projects.

Everyone can learn code. Most will not.

Everyone can learn to code in the same way that anyone is capable of developing a six pack of abs.

Is it possible? Yes

Is it likely? No.

There are 3 main reasons students generally do NOT do well when learning to code:

  • They chase dollars over desire
  • They have no time management skills
  • They never learned the easy stuff

As much as I want you to join my coding school (check out Parsity.io), there are many reasons you should not. Ultimately, you need to understand whether or not you are the kind of person who is likely to succeed in an intense coding program.

Let’s dive in:

#1: The 6 Figure Mirage

Most people enter coding bootcamps with visions of hefty paychecks dancing in their heads.

Yeah, tech CAN pay a lot.

I saw my own salary increase 5 times over in the last decade.

I even wrote about here:

How To Be Not Broke in Tech

The other reality is that outside tech hot-spots like San Francisco, New York and Seattle, it’s unlikely that your first job will be the one which gets you the magical number in your head.

I personally started my career as a developer making a little over what I made as an administrative assistant. It was way less than I made when I was a criminal (different story for a different day 😅).

Through a series of job hopping, negotiations and constant improvement of my skills, my salary grew to an amount I had never dreamed of.

It was not easy.

I spent weekends creating side projects and trying to keep up with the CS majors on my team.

If your only motivation for learning to code is money then I think you underestimate how much work outside of work will be necessary to just keep up with tech.

There are many other professions which make 6 figures a year. Hell, a hot dog vendor in New York can rake that in. I know personal fitness trainers making over 6 figures. My cousin got certified as a welder and made around 100k. My trucker friend made more than me during my first dev job!

All I’m saying is that there are other ways to achieve some financial freedom than learning to code… for your entire life.

#2: You Never Have Time

Bootcamps are intensive by design. They require a delicate balance between learning, practicing, and personal responsibilities.

Most of you don’t have a problem learning to code.

You have a time management issue.

Too many people follow this pattern:

  • Zero coding 80% of the week.
  • Marathon coding sessions on their day off.

I’ve yet to see this strategy work. It’s simply not sustainable.

1 hour a day beats 6 on a Sunday. Hell, 30 minutes a day will likely get you further than attempting to cram all weekend.

The secret to success is to always be coding so the concepts you learn can build on each other. Otherwise you enter the hamster wheel of learning, forgetting and re-learning each week.

The harsh reality is that something is going to have to give. So pick 1 of the usual suspects to axe:

  • Sports
  • Netflix binges
  • Endless IG scrolling
  • YouTube

The one non-negotiable item is your exercise routine! I write about that here:

How I Got a 6 Pack After 35 💪

#3: You Didn’t Learn Anything Before the Program

It’s pretty mind-blowing how many coding programs accept people with zero coding experience.

It’s even more shocking that people are willing to bet months of their life and thousands of dollars on learning a skill they might actually hate.

I’ve seen it and it sucks when they come to that realization.

For the love of Bob — please use a free program like CodeCademy to see if you can see yourself coding for hours a day.

Learn HTML, CSS and some JS on your own. This way you can hit the ground running and focus on the really difficult stuff that any good program will teach you.


Learning to code is only part of the game. Before you can code, you need to be the type of person who CAN learn to code.

This isn’t some fluffy observation.

How can you change careers, learn a difficult skill and juggle life at the same time without a solid foundation?

Like anything, these skills can be learned.

Start studying a bit on your own. Learn how to manage your time to start and finish a few sections of CodeCademy’s HTML and CSS tracks.

Once you’re ready to take the leap to build complex software, I’ll be here waiting for you… in like, a non-creepy way.

If you are serious about learning to build complex software and want to work with a team of experts then check out Parsity.io



Brian Jenney

full-stackish developer, late bloomer coder and power google user and owner of Parsity.io