Are they making the biggest mistakes of their lives by quitting their jobs and joining programming bootcamps?
Recently, there has been an exodus of professionals quitting their high-paying corporate jobs to join programming bootcamps. These are all highly talented individuals with bright corporate careers ahead of them.
Yet, they choose to leave their comfortable jobs at investment banks and management consultant firms at the prime of their careers to join a programming bootcamp?
Have they lost their minds?
While it may be surprising, it’s true. More and more people are leaving comfortable high-paying corporate jobs to join the startup world, with many choosing to make their first stop at a programming bootcamp because they think that it’s the logical first step.
If you were to join a programming bootcamp today, you might be surprised how many of your batch mates were such people who took the leap.
Before we try to understand why they chose a programming bootcamp as their first-stop, let us first try to understand what led them to muster up enough courage to walk away from such a lucrative career in the first place.
At NEXT Academy, we’ve had students who were ex-bankers, interior designers, and even pharmacists. Here’s what we gathered:
If you were to speak to some of them, they would tell you that they decided to take the leap of faith because they were frustrated with having to deal with office politics.
By leaving the corporate world and striking out on their own or joining a startup, they are hoping for a change of environment and a breath of fresh air; far away from suffocating office politics and into the open and supportive start-up culture that they’ve heard so much about.
While they understand that every company will have its own set of politics once they reach a certain size (even for startups), they’re hoping that that won’t happen so soon while they are there and are hoping for the best.
Another reason that came up when asked why they would quit their high paying jobs to join a programming bootcamp was that they were seeing a dead end in their careers once they’ve reached middle management.
While the journey from being a fresh grad to middle management was an exciting one with many lessons learnt, things started to stagnate once they’ve reached middle management. Some of them just don’t see any room for them to advance their careers further or bring their skills to the next level.
Speaking of which, many of them also decided to take the leap of faith and quit their high-paying corporate jobs because they’re tired of merely existing in their jobs.
There is a deep craving within them to find a higher purpose in life. They would like to go out there and make a difference in the world.
They know that it is going to be hard, but they’ve all come to the conclusion that they should at least try.
We all have our own passions and dreams.
Some dream of the day they can run their own cafe, some dream of the day they could run their own sports apparel shop, and some dream of the day they could earn enough to retire in peace and travel the world.
Of course, there are those who are passionate about solving a particular problem in the world that they think they have the best solution to.
For some, they’ve simply decided that it was time. It was time to stop building other people’s dreams, stop living a life that others have envisioned for them, but instead, pursue their own passion and dreams.
It was that realisation that prompted them to quit their high-paying corporate jobs and join a programming bootcamp instead.
Others, on the other hand, have been inspired by the power of entrepreneurship.
They were inspired by how you could make a difference in the world, solve a problem and impact people’s lives, all while making money.
They’ve heard and read about stories of their peers going down the same path and finding success, and they feel like giving it a try.
Witnessing how start-ups like Facebook transformed the way we connect with each other, how Google transformed the way we look for information, how AirBnB transformed the way we look for accommodation and Uber, the way we commute; they feel inspired to do the same.
Seeing so many regional startups and clones pop-up across the region just further fuels that drive and desire to try.
They probably also know that the journey is going to be hard. It isn’t going to be easy. Entrepreneurship is never easy. It involves huge risk and sacrifice. But they’ve also figured that if they never try, they’ll never know.
“Belum Cuba, Belum Tahu”
That’s what’s made them decide to take the plunge.
For some, it was the sense of urgency.
They knew that if they chickened out of doing it now, they will probably never do it, ever. They know that the best time to do it is now, when they still have youth on their side to take on whatever challenges that might come their way.
It is now, or never.
Also, with the immense speed and pace at which the technology sector moves; somebody else might have executed on their idea if they procrastinated and waited too long to take action. By that time, all will be too late.
Not wanting to see that happen is what finally led them to quit their jobs.
For those who are fast learners and have a drive to keep improving, they simply got bored at their jobs and are looking for a new challenge.
After a while, life at a high-paying corporate job starts to feel mundane and routine. They aren’t growing, they aren’t learning and experiencing new things. Although they still get a big fat paycheque at the end of the every month, life just starts to feel meaningless and boring.
Each day was just about going through the motions and not doing anything bad enough to get fired.
So, when they heard about how exciting, challenging and meaningful a start-up journey could be, they felt like taking up the challenge. That’s what made them quit their high-paying corporate jobs to join a programming bootcamp.
Of course, there are also those who are just following the trend.
They’ve figured that since everyone around them seems to be doing it and talking about it, they should join in the fun too.
They don’t want to get left behind.
Lastly, no one wants to have regrets.
A research has shown that old people on their deathbeds often do not regret the things that they’ve done in their lifetime. When asked what were the things that they’ve regretted the most throughout their life-time, it was always the things that they didn’t do or didn’t have the courage to do.
Knowing that they could never forgive themselves if someone beats them to the idea that they’ve been marinating in their heads for a long time, they felt compelled to take the leap of faith to quit their high-paying jobs and just go for it.
Although they are scared of the uncertainties and challenges that may lie ahead, the fear of having regrets later in life is a much greater fear.
Now that we have a better idea of why such talented and highly-paid individuals would quit their jobs, the next question beckons, why join a programming bootcamp?
Why not go straight into whatever that they’ve set out to do?
After having conversations with a number of them, you’ll realise that they’ve all decided to do so for good reason. For some, it was because they just felt like picking up a new and important skill before moving on to other things.
But for most of them, it was because they viewed programming bootcamps as the logical stepping stone to prepare them for whatever they wanted to do, simply because most ideas they would like to execute on would require some kind of technical knowledge or hiring of a technical team, of which they have none.
Many of them are attracted by the notion that once you graduate from a programming bootcamp (provided you put in the necessary sweat, tears and hardwork), you will be equipped with enough to go on your journey as a programmer to build almost anything.
All you will need, is time.
Time to figure out how to build it, and time to actually build it.
For those looking for a career change, planning to embark on a venture that isn’t as tech related or simply exploring their options, they’ve also figured that programming is the future, and would be a very valuable and marketable skill.
Hence, no harm learning it anyway.
If they like it enough, they could embark on a career as a full-fledged software engineer, who are in high demand throughout the world right now. The job also pays well, really well in fact. If they become good enough at it, their pay could easily be more than what they were earning in their previous corporate jobs.
To put things into perspective, a top engineer in the USA would be earning somewhere around 300,000 USD a year, not including any possible restricted stock units if they were working at a venture-backed high growth startup that could turn into tens of millions of dollars if they make it to IPO.
Even if they wanted to explore further before deciding on committing into a venture, they could still survive by accepting freelance jobs or starting a development house with a few of their friends. In today’s world where everyone has an idea they’d like to test out, there isn’t a shortage of willing clients if you know where to find them.
Since programming is such a valuable and marketable skill, they’ve all figured that there’s no harm learning it anyway.
For those who are intent on starting a tech startup, joining a programming bootcamp would be a necessary first step to getting started.
While some have been fortunate enough to be able to hire a good development house (which don’t come cheap) to build out their first product before they are able to get traction and raise any sort of funding, most have gone through some terrible experience from outsourcing the work to lousy development houses who can’t deliver, losing a lot of money in the process.
Most of them would probably have heard of such horror stories. Hence, even if they plan to hire a development house to build out their MVP, they still chose to join a programming bootcamp so they could at least tell the good developers from the bad and be able to fix things themselves should things go wrong.
For others, they have always had a long time interest in programming. Joining a bootcamp was their chance to finally try it out and tinker with code to see how far they could go.
Lastly and most importantly, most chose to join a programming bootcamp straight after quitting their high paying jobs because it is the easiest way to be plugged into the startup community and a strong alumni network that you could always go to for support should you encounter any difficulties along your startup journey.
Now that you have a better understanding of why highly-paid professionals are willing to quit their corporate jobs for various reasons and join a programming bootcamp right after doing so, some of you might be wondering, why now?
Why are all these happening now.
Well, we are not exactly sure, but we suspect that it is partly due to the following few reasons.
There’s still plenty of funding going around for technology startups right now, although some are starting to speculate that valuations have already gone too high and funding will dry up soon.
But as far as we’ve heard, there is still some money available for startups with good traction and with business models that suit the profiles of the region’s investors.
With so many start-ups springing up all over South-East Asia, the start-up community is starting to grow and thrive. Although we are still in a very nascent stage compared to more developed ecosystems, the growth is enough attract some attention from talented individuals who wish to make something of themselves.
Lastly, it is probably due to the fact that innovation waits for no one. Everyone who has took the step of faith to quit their high-paying jobs to join a programming bootcamp in hopes of building or joining a successful startup understands that the best time to go forth and pursue their dreams, is now.