How much would a coding Bootcamp really cost in Japan?

I was wondering how much financial commitment is really involved in joining a coding bootcamp.

A coding bootcamp typically involves not working and studying full-time for 9-12 weeks to devote all your time to learning programming.

There are two big coding bootcamps that opened in Japan over the past two years:

  1. Le Wagon
  2. Code Chrysalis

I am not seeking to assess their contents and benefits here, just the money matters of studying full-time in Tokyo, Japan.

Note: All numbers below are based upon publicly available information at the time of writing and current exchange rates.

Tuition Fees

Le Wagon Code Chrysalis
Tuition ¥790,000 ¥1,030,000
US Dollars $7,031 $9,167
British Pound Sterling £5,372.00 £7,004.00

The Le Wagon course is 9 weeks, whereas the Code Chrysalis course is 12 weeks. So, their weekly tuition is actually pretty similar:

Le Wagon Code Chrysalis
Weekly Tuition ¥87,778 ¥85,833

How much money would I actually need, though?

If we assume you have a rent of 70,000 yen and bills of 10,000 yen and put aside 4000 yen per day for travel and expenses:

Le Wagon Code Chrysalis
Living Expenses ¥252,000 ¥336,000
Rent ¥175,000 ¥210,000
Bills ¥25,000 ¥30,000
Total Expenses ¥452,000 ¥576,000
Grand Total ¥1,242,000 ¥1,606,000
US Dollars $11,054 $14,293
British Pound Sterling £8,445.60 £10,920.80

And, if you do get a job immediately after graduation, it will still be one more month before you receive your first months wages. So, you will need to keep aside at least two months living expenses.

That would make the grand total:

Le Wagon Code Chrysalis
Grand Total ¥1,642,000 ¥2,006,000
In US Dollars $14,614 $17,853
British Pound Sterling £11,165.60 £13,640.80

I think it is not possible to work during the bootcamps as their are so intensive and need your full time and focus in order to succeed during them.

I’d say that’s a pretty big financial commitment. Comparatively, a year of university study tuition fees can be up to £9,250 in the U.K.

Is it possible for me?

I definitely can’t answer that – it depends on how much you have in savings, how much passive-income you make and many other factors.

However, Code Chrysalis note on their website that you can discuss financing options with them, though.

Is it worth it?

Another question I can’t answer. I did these calculations purely out of curiosity.
There are a lot of YouTube videos, Quora questions, and reddit threads online talking about whether bootcamps are worth it or not.

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Watching a Coding Bootcamp Demo Day and APIs

I watched one of Le Wagon’s Demo Days in Tokyo in June 2018.

It was the day those people showcased a project they had made. Those were the people who had done the preparation work, stopped jobs or studies to go to a bootcamp full time for 9 weeks, and thrown down almost 800,000 yen in cash for the chance.

The pitches for the projects were done by a couple of the members of the group, which consisted of 5 or so members.

They prepared these apps or websites in the final two weeks of the course.

This was a show – not just for the participants to catch the attention of people who may be able to help them or give them jobs in the future – but also for the bootcamp itself to show its results.

I was impressed with all of the participants. One app was for self-improvement and dealing with your negative thoughts. One website was for coordinating bitcoin investments with groups of people.

The one I found most connected to my life was the Japanese language learning app. You scanned the text from a picture and it translated it into English (albeit imperfectly). You then had the option to pick out words, make them into flashcards and review them. The coolest feature was a “focus-mode” which removed the English or Japanese reading above the Chinese character so you really have to test your skills. As you scroll up and down the translations are revealed so you can quickly check yourself.

After the presentations, the audience could ask questions. One member asked “How did you manage to make this photograph-to-text programming and also the text-to-Japanese translation by yourselves in just two weeks. It’s impossible!”

The presenter said it was Googles API.

I had heard the term API many times, but I didn’t really understand what exactly it was. I know it was something going on behind the scenes in websites, different than the HTML, CSS and JavaScript that goes on in the browser.

I looked it up at the time but it still felt a bit unclear.

Over lunch at work over the past two days, I watched the Le Wagon workshop on API for Beginners.

It all made much more sense.

API stands for Application Programming Interface

But to understand it you need to read it backwards:

IPA (no, not alcohol)

It is an Interface used by Programs to interact with an Application

Web APIs are what allow things to update or refresh without us manually refreshing the page or the app.

In the workshop, they demonstrate how to use Zapier to set up an API to send data from a form (on Wufoo) to a project collaborating/organizing board (on Trello).
There is no need to manually input the data from the potential customer on the form into the cards on Trello. There is a “webhook” that sends the data when it arrives to the card on Trello.

APIs are a bit hard for me to get my head around. I can understand the function of them and the things they can do. What they “are” is still something I feel a bit fuzzy about.