Are Coding Bootcamps Worth It?
With the constantly changing digital landscape, there is a huge demand for tech professionals. In the past, the expectation was for these professionals to be college graduates. Now, there are alternative learning options that can lead you to a fulfilling career in tech. One of the most popular alternatives to a four-year degree is a coding bootcamp.
For every tech job, there are specific technical skills requirements. Below we’ll look at the different types of coding bootcamps and whether coding bootcamps are worth it.
What Is a Coding Bootcamp?
A coding bootcamp is a training program that teaches technical skills like programming, web development, and cyber security through intensive courses. Depending on the school and the skill you’re hoping to learn, the programs can take anywhere from two weeks to 12 months to complete.
Unlike a traditional university degree, coding bootcamps focus on a specific topic and don’t have general education requirements for graduation. The focus is on adequately preparing students for a career in tech with a compact curriculum.
Most bootcamps offer beginner-friendly programs and often provide free introductory material. You can learn Python programming or become a web developer with no prior experience.
Online coding bootcamps make learning convenient because you don’t have to worry about commuting to campus. Many offer self-paced learning options so you can develop your tech skills at your own pace.
The end goal of a bootcamp is to help you build your portfolio and get you job ready. The programs are career-focused. As well as acquiring new skills and knowledge, they’ll typically provide career support such as a job placement service.
A coding bootcamp is a good way to start a tech career or transition from another field. The average bootcamp tuition tends to be more affordable than traditional bachelor’s degree programs, and will get you job-ready in far less time.
The Benefits of Coding Bootcamps
There are so many benefits of coding bootcamps. They are a quick and convenient way to gain in-demand skills. Along with short, flexible schedules, coding bootcamps have a lower average cost than a college degree. Many bootcamps also offer alternative payment options like scholarships and income share agreements (ISAs).
Most of the programs are heavily career orientated. As well as working on practical projects that you can add to your resume, you’ll receive plenty of career services and networking opportunities.
Ease of Access
Most bootcamps offer online courses to make learning convenient for all students, including those who are working. Online bootcamps also give you the opportunity to study at reputable schools all over the country. In the last year, many coding bootcamps have switched to fully remote learning.
Online learning is designed to make it convenient for you to connect with your instructors and provide you an online community that you can turn to for help, even after the bootcamp has finished. The coding bootcamp is a great way to gain hands-on experience from the comfort of your own home.
Focused and Updated Curriculum
Online coding bootcamps are focused on a particular subject. You don’t have to study general subjects that are not directly related to your chosen program. Each topic in the curriculum is directly relevant to your end goal.
As the world of tech changes quickly, bootcamps work to keep their curriculums up to date. They conduct regular market research to understand what companies are looking for when hiring employees. They also use feedback from previous participants to see if the existing curriculum needs to be updated for the next cohort.
Hands-On Learning Experience
Collaboration is important for any aspiring coder. During a bootcamp you will have the chance to work on several projects where you’ll connect with other students. You’ll often be able to receive feedback on your projects from other students and professionals.
Your instructors are not only there to teach you but also to provide mentorship and support. They will supervise your projects and provide suggestions for improvement.
Quicker to Complete
It takes just a few weeks or months to complete a coding bootcamp program. The average bootcamp lasts between 12 and 24 weeks. As well as paying lower tuition costs for quality education, you’re also getting an accelerated learning experience.
Most bootcamp providers offer both full-time and part-time schedules. Usually, full-time schedules are held during the day throughout the week like a typical college class. Part-time schedules are usually during the weekends or in the evening and are recommended for working professionals.
Post-Graduate Career Services
After completing your bootcamp, you’ll receive post-graduate career services to help you get a job after graduation. Bootcamps pride themselves not only on providing quality education, but also on guiding you past graduation. The career services vary between bootcamp provider.
You’re likely to receive some type of career coaching and job search help as part of the program. Career services can help you build your resume and portfolio to be more marketable to potential employers. You may also take part in mock interviews. Some bootcamps even connect you to hiring partners and come with a job guarantee.
Programming Bootcamp vs. Computer Science Degree
There are many considerations when deciding between a programming bootcamp or a computer science degree. It takes less time and money to complete a bootcamp compared to a four-year computer science degree. However, certain careers require you to have an advanced degree.
Computer and information research scientist roles typically require you to have both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree. These technical roles require advanced theoretical knowledge. To get a job as a software developer or quality assurance analyst you’ll also need at least a bachelor’s degree.
A huge amount of tech jobs don’t require a bachelor’s degree and the pathways are changing all the time. There are many companies that look more into your capability than your educational background. Even major companies such as Google no longer require employees to have a degree.
Both educational paths have their merits and depends on your personal situation and career goals. In the table below we’ve rounded up the pros and cons of both to help you weigh up your options.
|Bootcamp||Computer Science Degree|
|More focused on specific tech and practical skills||Builds more on theoretical and foundational knowledge|
|Bootcamp tuition ranges from $7,500 to $20,000||Tuition per year can range from $20,000 to $60,000|
|Instructors are readily available to give feedback and help students||Large classes may not be suitable for your study style|
|Part-time options are available so you can continue working while studying||It’s more difficult to fit work around a degree program|
|Takes from 12 weeks to 24 weeks to finish||Takes at least four years to complete a bachelor’s degree|
Do Coding Bootcamps Work?
Nearly every coding bootcamp website offers statistics on graduate success as well as alumni testimonials that prove how well coding bootcamps work. The goal is to get students job-ready and most bootcamp providers will tell you that they succeed in reaching this goal.
Bootcamps provide you with coding skills and other technical skills that you need for a tech career. Additionally, coding bootcamps develop your soft skills. Your constant collaboration with other programmers helps build your teamwork, communication, and problem solving skills, which you can bring with you to any professional environment.
Will a Coding Bootcamp Get Me a Job?
Coding bootcamps tend to be successful in helping students get a job or promotion. For example, General Assembly also reported a 91.4 percent job placement rate within 180 days of graduating. for its graduates within 180 days since graduation. Ironhack reported an 89 percent success rate for its students.
Job placement services and rates vary with every bootcamp and some schools don’t publish this information. You can find data on coding bootcamp graduate outcomes on the Council on Integrity in Results Reporting (CIRR) website.
Most coding bootcamps have career services that assist students with the post-graduation job search. Some of the key services include fine-tuning your resume and building your portfolio. Some bootcamps even offer a job guarantee to students, which means they’ll receive a refund if they don’t find a relevant job within a few months of graduating.
How Much Will I Make After Bootcamp?
Many bootcamp students report a salary increase after completing a program. Once you graduate from a coding bootcamp, you have an opportunity to work in the high-paying field of computer and information technology. In this field, you’ll earn an average of $55,510, and could take home as much as $126,830 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Completing a coding bootcamp program adds to your credentials. Your certificate of completion is proof that you have undergone rigorous training and have acquired the necessary tech skills you need. With this, the value of your talent also goes up.
Among the well-known coding bootcamps, Flatiron School reports an average of $74,962 yearly starting salary. Fullstack Academy graduates have median starting salaries of between $72,000 and $90,000. Hack Reactor graduates earn an average of $75,000.
Are Bootcamp Grads Satisfied With Their Careers?
If you look at some of the top coding bootcamps, graduates are mostly satisfied with their careers. Graduate testimonials are often available on the bootcamp’s website. Once you graduate from a bootcamp, there are a good number of tech careers that you can apply for. You could go on to be a software developer or web designer.
Coding bootcamps are often partnered with tech giants like Google, Apple, and Amazon. Some universities offering coding bootcamp programs have partnerships with Trilogy Education Services. Bootcamp graduates have the opportunity to be onboarded in more than 2,000 companies, including those in the Fortune 100.
How Much Do Coding Bootcamps Cost?
According to a report by the RTI Press via the Institute of Education Sciences, the typical bootcamp program price is $7,500 to $13,950 as of 2019. The average program price is $11,900 for most bootcamps, typically lasting nine to 16 weeks. However, bootcamps that last longer than 17 weeks can cost upwards of $17,000.
While this can be a large cost upfront, most bootcamps offer scholarships, alternative payments plans, and loan options. Some bootcamps are completely free to members of underrepresented groups in tech.
Paying for Your Bootcamp
Coding bootcamps offer different financial options to help you pay for your tuition. Some of the choices come in the form of discounts, loans, scholarships, and other benefits. If you have the means to pay for your full tuition, you can often pay before the start date to receive discounts.
ISAs allow students to attend a bootcamp course for free or a small deposit, and only pay back their tuition after they get a job in tech earning above a certain salary threshold. Independent bootcamps typically offer income share agreements (ISAs) but university-based bootcamps don’t.
Loan financing is available and sometimes directly offered by coding bootcamps. These bootcamps would often partner with the likes of Climb Credit or Leif to endorse students who want a loan. As this is a personal loan, it comes with an interest but payment starts after completing the program.
Choosing the Right Bootcamp
Choosing the right bootcamp can be daunting. Things like the curriculum, bootcamp costs, and student satisfaction will vary a lot between providers. Below are some of the key factors to consider to help you choose the right bootcamp.
The first thing to check is the curriculum of the program that you are applying for. Is it updated and curated with the students in mind? What type of programming languages will you be learning from this curriculum?
Consider whether the topics interest you and if they are what you need to meet your overall career goals. Many bootcamp sites provide access to curriculum outlines and syllabus.
Coding bootcamps often provide reports and statistics on the number of graduates and job placement rates. You can check if this data has been validated by a third party such as the CIRR.
If a coding bootcamp is not publishing transparent data, then you may be doubtful of its credibility. Make sure you do some extra research into what previous graduates have to say about them.
Student and Alumni Reviews
You can always find student reviews on the coding bootcamp website. As well as reading the reviews on their websites, you should also take a look at independent review sites that give you an unbiased overview of what a specific bootcamp offers.
Coding bootcamps usually maintain a network of alumni, which can be reassuring to prospective students. This not only shows graduates have a good relationship with the school, but can also be invaluable in providing feedback on your projects, connecting you with companies, or simply to give you tips and advice.
The credibility of instructors and teaching assistants is important in a coding bootcamp. These instructors must have a solid background. The instructors can either be from the tech industry or have the right educational qualification.
Most bootcamps offer one-on-one coaching for students when it comes to final projects and other project collaborations. Having expert instructors is essential for you to receive good feedback and advice to successfully complete your project.
Cost and Location
The cost of tuition and additional expenses are important to consider. Research the different prices and payment options, and make sure you can comfortably afford the bootcamp before you enroll.
Currently, most bootcamps are offering courses exclusively online. Classes may return to in-person formats in the future, so you have to consider if the location of a bootcamp is convenient for you. If not, then you need to at least make sure that the online option will continue.
Can You Fail a Coding Bootcamp?
It is possible to fail a coding bootcamp, but it’s not common. Some applicants go into a coding bootcamp without knowing what is in store and may get overwhelmed with the intensity of the learning experience. It can be helpful to try short courses or prep courses first. Talking to an admissions officer can help to ensure that you know what to expect.
Should I Do a Coding Bootcamp?
If you are looking to learn coding skills but you do not want to spend four or more years at a university, you should do a coding bootcamp. These programs are made for students who are comfortable with a fast-paced learning environment. Coding bootcamps are also focused on practical learning through an emphasis on hands-on teaching.
Cost and time are just some of the key considerations when it comes to choosing a coding bootcamp over university education. If you want to be ready to get a tech career in less time, a coding bootcamp is the right choice for you.