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A bootcamp with a job guarantee is a bad idea

Updated: Apr 1

Because the word “bootcamp” appears on some of our pages, we occasionally get asked if we have a job guarantee.

We do not.

Here are six reasons why we think job guarantees are a bad thing.

1. Companies insert “gotcha” clauses to make the guarantee pointless

Who created the contract between you and the company? You, or the company? So, how do you think the company is going to write the contract? They’re going to write it in their favor as much as possible.

Let’s use some typical requirements they enforce on you before you get your money back.

Apply to 10 jobs per day

Newsflash: there aren’t even that many jobs posted per day that you qualify for.

Applying to a job successfully, although it is a numbers game, requires a lot of thought and strategic preparation. Nobody who works at RareSkills did so through a cold application but either through a previous connection or sending a very thoughtful message that showed they had the skills and motivation.

That is the norm.

Now, are there tricks you can do to make your resume more effective? Yes. Our students have gotten jobs through cold applications. But this is generally not a reliable strategy unless you really know what you are doing. And all our instructors have experience as hiring managers at selective companies, so we know how to prepare you. And guess what? We still don’t provide a job guarantee!

Make consistent commits to your GitHub

This is another requirement to fulfill job guarantees. Again, this shows a misunderstanding of how hiring managers think. When evaluating a junior candidate, hiring managers look at the quality of the projects, not the quantity. There are so many tutorials available to copy, that volume doesn’t say much. For all we know, you’re just using copying the code off of whatever course you are taking. It’s not like they have time to actually read what you did and cross-reference it to other things.

2. They don’t guarantee you’ll get the job you are being trained for

It’s far from unheard of for graduates of a bootcamp to get a job as a software tester, not a software engineer. Let’s face it, 3-4 months is not a long time on the scale of acquiring a skill that pays a lot of money. Lawyers and doctors spend years in school, so why would you be able to accomplish a similar income in 20x less the time? Don’t get me wrong, I think engineering offers a strong risk-reward in terms of effort put in, but it still requires a lot of effort.

Sure, we might “guarantee you a job at a web3 company” but what if that’s doing the same frontend engineering job you are already doing? Why spend all the time and money upskilling in blockchain development then?

Read job guarantees very closely. They very rarely specify you’ll get the kind of job you are paying the program to train you for.

3. Your ability to get a job is 100% your responsibility. A bootcamp can only act as a guide.

Here is how a bootcamp, or a coach in general, can help you:

  • Point out mistakes you are making and help you correct them quickly

  • Pre-emptively point out common mistakes students make

  • Help you stay motivated longer by giving honest feedback about how far away you are from your goal

  • Explain difficult to understand or hard-to-find material in a way that makes sense for you. This is faster than spending extra time trying to make sense of an explanation of a topic intended for someone else.

A good coach will help you

  • Use your study and practice time more efficiently

  • Reduce the likelihood of you quitting on your journey

  • Sometimes provide industry connections

Any promise beyond that simply cannot be delivered.

Here’s our value proposition: by joining our program, you will cover your knowledge gaps in Ethereum development and learn the difficult subjects faster than your peers.

But ultimately, it’s all about you putting in the reps. Acquiring a rare skill is hard. They’re rare for a reason. It’s painful to acquire them. Anyone saying they can remove the pain along the process is selling snake oil.

4. Transformative outcomes take years, not months

Becoming a highly qualified engineer is very challenging. The success rate is very low. Hundreds of thousands of students have taken courses on Udemy, Coursera, and YouTube and only dozens or hundreds upgrade their career as a result. Why?

Acquiring a skill is like getting into very good shape. If you work out hard at the gym for a month, you might notice a difference, but nobody is going to put a photo of you in front of a magazine with the title “sexiest man/woman alive.” To get a body like that takes years of consistent nutrition, sleep, and exercise. Muscle gets added to the body slowly — gram by gram, not ounce by ounce.

Let’s look at a hypothetical 30-day programming study plan just for blockchain security. If you do one problem from Ethernaut and Damn Vulnerable DeFi per day (you’re doing better than 99% of the web3 developer population at that rate), you still won’t finish both problem sets, and even if you do, there are still a lot of security anti-patterns not covered by those two codebases (plug: that’s why we have our own secret security repo). Now you do all the exercises on the RareSkills’ gas puzzles.

In fact, some of our challenges have pushed some of the strongest programmers in web3 to the limit:

Watch the author of Damn Vulnerable DeFi take our solidity test (he obtained the highest score, but clearly had to work at it!)

Some are quite challenging and will take several days to solve if you are new to low level programming. Great job! You still don’t know every gas optimization technique, because we aren’t finished creating exercises for the repo yet!

Also, you are doing these exercises in a controlled setting where you know in advance that there is a security vulnerability or an opportunity to optimize the code. Can you do it in a large codebase with ambiguous business logic specifications? That’s what your employers would want you to be able to do!

You just spent two months working harder than most, and there’s still a lot you don’t know!

Duration matters

You may have noticed that we frequently point out that our courses are longer than everyone else’s. Our advanced solidity bootcamp is 22 weeks long, but all of our Etheruem-related courses are taken in sequence: Dapp Bootcamp (8 weeks), Advanced Solidity Bootcamp (22 weeks), DeFi (8 weeks), and Zero Knowledge Proofs (9 weeks) is just shy of a year in duration.

I can count on one hand the number of engineers who have been in web3 for less than a year and know as comprehensive as what is covered by the sum of those courses.

That’s really exciting! If RareSkills can increase the number of unusually talented blockchain engineers with only a year of experience, this is a win for the industry! But still, a year is not a short commitment!

Results. Take. Time.

5. A company that offers a job guarantee might not even be solvent.

Money that can be refunded is not truly “in the bank.” Combine that with payroll and other expenses, the company is running negative most of the time. When the economy goes through a rough patch, it’s always the engineers new to the field who get the brunt of it. This makes it hard for training programs to place students, and if that many refund requests come in, will there actually be enough money left to honor their guarantee?

Depending on what jurisdiction the company is in, they may have to pay taxes on the revenue they make from you, even if they have a liability to you. So the moment tax season hits, they already cannot pay you back.

6. If a bootcamp could guarantee a high-paying job, why would any employees work there?

Look at the job openings of a bootcamp that guarantees a job. If they are offering less salary than what they guarantee their graduates will make, than that means the employees implicitly know the guarantee holds no real weight. Why work at a bootcamp for $30,000 a year when it is guaranteeing you can get a job for $60,000 if you take its bootcamp? Any employee taking the lower salary must be aware the bootcamp doesn't really guarantee a job. Otherwise, they would be a customer of that bootcamp, not an employee.


Making promises like job guarantees is a deal with the devil. It may attract hopeful customers in the short term, but in the long term, it is bad for everyone.

“Guaranteed results” happen on the scale of years, not months.

As we have said many times, studying blockchain for the purpose of salary increases is not a wise plan. The industry is too volatile, and there are more reliable ways to increase your salary as an engineer.

You should study blockchain because you find it intellectually stimulating, you believe in taking a chance at developing a technology that benefits everyone, and you enjoy working with people in web3.

Those are benefits we can guarantee.

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