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Are Coding Bootcamps Worth It?

Are coding bootcamps worth it? The short answer to that is an enthusiastic yes. Let’s review the data points. 

The average salary of a coding bootcamp graduate is over $70,000. The cost of a bootcamp ranges from $10,000 to $15,000. Coding bootcamp graduates earn the same qualifications to work in tech fields as college graduates. Finally, they don’t pay as high of a cost nor spend too long a time studying as college graduates.

There are many pros to going to a coding bootcamp, but they may not be for everyone. Let’s delve deeper and find out what coding bootcamps are worth it for most individuals.

Coding Bootcamps vs College Degree

A bachelor’s degree in computer science can be time-consuming, not to mention pricey. Not everyone has the time or money to attend a full four-year program at an established university. Coding bootcamps allow participants to forego that hefty price tag and enter the tech industry at an accelerated rate. They’re perfect for professionals who are looking to retrain a skill or start a career in tech immediately.

There are several factors to consider when answering whether a coding bootcamp is worth it for you. Here are the advantages and disadvantages.

People using laptop for coding.
Decode the advantages and disadvantages of a coding bootcamp.

Coding Bootcamp Advantages and Disadvantages

Coding bootcamps continue to grow every year. This sparks the question: what draws students to these classrooms? In 2019, 23,043 students enrolled in a coding bootcamp compared to the 2,178 in 2013. 

The numbers prove that bootcamps aren’t going anywhere. We’ve narrowed down the top three advantages and disadvantages of a coding bootcamp.

Coding Bootcamp Advantages

Return on Investment

The most apparent advantage of a coding bootcamp is the return on investment (ROI), particularly in terms of salary. The average tuition for a collegiate computer science program costs $163,140. A coding bootcamp costs somewhere along the lines of $11,874. Moreover, the average degree holder makes $59,124 out of college while a graduate of a coding bootcamp makes around $70,698.

Coding bootcamps are flexible with repayment, often offering deferred tuition. Bootcamps are also jumping on a new trend of corporate training. Companies can partner with bootcamps as a corporate training partner to teach employees a unique skillset. 

Accessibility

Another one of the top reasons to enroll in a coding bootcamp is accessibility. Coding bootcamps don’t have many prerequisites, meaning they are easy for anyone to join. On top of that, they are often held virtually, making them even more accessible to most people. Besides that, they only require a limited amount of dedicated time in comparison to a college degree.

Coding bootcamps have a time commitment of around 15.1 weeks in contrast to the four years students put in at a university. That means a variety of people can consider coding bootcamps. These include those who already work full-time, but are thinking about a career change.

Practical Skills

Coding bootcamps are also attractive to prospective professionals because they teach the practical skills of coding. These bootcamps teach the accelerated version of a computer science program and only show the necessities to survive in a tech workplace. On the other hand, universities will teach an extensive program that includes theory.

Coding Bootcamp Disadvantages

Coding bootcamps also have their disadvantages. Here is the flip side of coding bootcamps. We’ve narrowed down the top three problems associated with a coding bootcamp.

No Accreditation

Coding bootcamps are rarely nationally or regionally accredited, unlike universities. Accreditation is essential when dealing with educational facilities because it allows students to determine if the institution is meeting the proper teaching standards. The lack of certification also makes it hard when choosing which bootcamp is best for you.

Not as Comprehensive

As stated previously, it’s hard to compare a four-year degree with a 15-week course in terms of education. A college degree goes further into the study of computer science than a bootcamp ever could. Time and money constraints mean that participants are only getting one side of the program. Some might say that a bootcamp won’t be able to cover everything necessary to succeed in the industry truly.

Only Prepares You for a Specific Job

Coding bootcamps tend to set you up for a specific job rather than opportunities in an overall field. After all, coding bootcamps were designed to fill a particular void in the tech industry. A college degree would provide you with many alternative courses of action after graduation, but a coding bootcamp may send you into programming only.

How Much Will a Coding Bootcamp Cost?

Pink piggy bank
A coding bootcamp might not break the bank.

Coding bootcamps can fluctuate when it comes to the overall cost. Bootcamp tuition can range from free to $21,000. The average bootcamp costs $13,584. It’s essential to thoroughly investigate what bootcamp is right for you and its costs.

The good news is that there seems to be a price everyone can afford. 44 percent of bootcamps have tuition costs in the $10,000 to $14,999 range. As with any critical decision, it’s essential to set both salary and expectation goals before enrolling in a bootcamp.

There are financing options for coding bootcamps. Some bootcamps provide an income share agreement (ISA), which states that you only have to pay for your bootcamp after you find a job. It usually takes a portion of your earnings until you cover the cost of tuition.

Other bootcamps have a job placement guarantee. If you do not find a job within six months of graduating, bootcamps may fully refund your tuition.

Will a Coding Bootcamp Land You the Job?

Three women sitting at a table.
A coding bootcamp could have you sitting across from your future employer. 

The overall purpose of coding bootcamps is to fill a skills shortage in the tech industry. Does that mean immediate employment after graduation? Not necessarily, but the numbers are looking in favor of yes. 

Indeed reports that 72 percent of employers believe that bootcamp graduates are just as prepared as candidates with computer science degrees. It is also important to note that colleges have begun to follow suit offering coding bootcamps of their own. Some of these collegiate institutions are the University of Central Florida, the University of Washington, and the University of Minnesota.

Do Employers Hire Coding Bootcamp Graduates?

Yes. In recent years, several large tech companies have hired coding bootcamp graduates. Companies such as Apple, Google, Spotify, and Microsoft have all hired bootcamp graduates and continue to do so. While coding bootcamp graduates do not receive a degree, the knowledge gained makes them valuable to potential employers.

How Do Coding Bootcamps Prepare You for a Career?

Most coding bootcamps teach you to work in tech within a year. Some of them only last as long as six months. How is it possible for a bootcamp to teach you everything needed to work in tech in a matter of months? Below are a few methods used by bootcamps to prepare you for a career in the tech industry.

Career-focused Curriculum

While college programs give you a comprehensive education, bootcamps train you for a specific job. If you go to a bootcamp for computer programming, you’ll only learn to code. There won’t be additional courses in math, science, and English.

Experienced Instructors

Most coding bootcamps have instructors who are experienced and work in the industry either currently or in the past. This means you learn from people who know exactly what employers look for. You’ll gain the same skills your instructors used to thrive in the tech industry.

Intensive Program

Coding bootcamps explore a long list of topics in a short amount of time. Full-time students must dedicate several hours each day to learn everything taught in the program. If you have no experience with programming, you may have to study beyond the recommended time and do extra work outside of class.

Upon completing all of your assignments, you’ll be ready to take on the role of a professional programmer.

Building Your Portfolio

While graduating from a bootcamp doesn’t give you a degree, it does give you a portfolio. Many bootcamps give you assignments in the manner of simulated real-world projects. These are tasks similar to things you’ll do in a work environment. When applying for jobs, you’ll be able to show your portfolio to potential employers to demonstrate your skills.

Company Partnership

Many of the larger coding bootcamps are partnered with several companies. These partnerships increase your chances of being hired. In most cases, companies partnered with bootcamps already have alumni working with them, and they’re more likely to hire you. Even if you don’t receive a job there, you may get the opportunity to intern or work with a partnered company. This gives you experience for future employment.

Career Services

While you’re studying at a coding bootcamp, you’ll have access to career services. These services help you with developing your portfolio, improving your resume, and answering interview questions.

So, Are Coding Bootcamps Worth It?

A directional sign.
You first need to decide which route to take!

So, are bootcamps worth it? That depends. It ultimately comes down to several factors. It’s vital to thoroughly weigh out your expectations, goals, and possible returns when deciding which route to go.

Coding bootcamps can be a great resource, especially for those looking to expand or change careers. They can also be the perfect option for many who are limited to a specific budget. Finally, bootcamps serve as a great alternative to those who can’t dedicate time to a full degree program.

On the other hand, coding bootcamps are often tricky and not designed for everyone. You must first decide if coding is something that you are exceptionally passionate about.

According to SF Gate, one in 10 students doesn’t make it into coding bootcamps. Additionally, bootcamps do not have credentials and are not regulated like traditional universities. As a result, this creates pushback from the industry when applying for jobs.

The question of whether a coding bootcamp is worth it doesn’t entail a cut-and-dried answer. The same goes for the question of whether a coding bootcamp is better than a university. They both serve a purpose, but those purposes are vastly different.

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