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Coding Bootcamp vs. Degree: The Main Differences

You’ve chosen a career path. You decided to become a developer. Great! So, what is the best path for you? In the past, a computer science degree would have been the immediate—and necessary—answer to enter the tech industry. However, as times change, that is no longer the case. Today, there are several different options that you can choose to have a successful career in the tech industry. One of those options is, of course, obtaining a traditional four-year degree at a university. 

However, now there is a secondary option to consider, which is attending a coding bootcamp. To consider all the options, we’ve narrowed down the major differences and the outcomes of attending a coding bootcamp versus getting a college degree. Read on to learn more.

How Long Will It Take Me?

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Time can be a primary factor when considering a coding bootcamp or a computer science degree.

One of the main factors to consider when contemplating the two options is the amount of time each will take and how much time you can commit.

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It is obvious that the amount of time to complete a college degree versus a coding bootcamp is vastly different. A traditional college degree is much longer—it is a commitment lasting four years or more. Whereas a coding bootcamp is much shorter. The average length of a coding bootcamp is 14.1 weeks or around 3.5 months. However, depending on the course and learning model, coding bootcamps can also take upwards of six months. 

Therefore, do your research and be honest when considering how much time you can commit.

What Will It Cost Me?

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So, how much will a coding bootcamp or a degree cost me?

Another critical aspect to consider is how much you can commit in terms of money. The average tuition for a collegiate computer science program holds the hefty price tag of around $163,140. 

In comparison, a coding bootcamp is much lower and somewhere along the lines of $11,874 for an entire course. The return on investment is also something to take into consideration. Out of school, an average degree holder can make approximately $59,124, while a coding bootcamp graduate can make around $70,698 upon entering the tech industry. 

It’s also important to note that a graduate of a bootcamp will enter the tech industry much faster than a university graduate, considering the amount of time spent on completing the courses.

What Will I Learn?

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If I choose a coding bootcamp or a degree, what will I learn?

The difference in the curriculum is another significant difference between the two paths. It might be best to consider your personal learning style when deciding which route is best for you to take. 

A coding bootcamp is more of a fast-paced, hands-on learning experience. Whereas, a computer science degree curriculum offers more traditional learning, including both lectures and exams.

The courses at a coding bootcamp are much shorter and more compact, meaning there is simply not enough time to cover all the topics that a traditional degree could. A coding bootcamp is also typically more job-oriented, therefore, it will equip students with only the necessary skills to perform a specific job in the tech industry.

On the other hand, a computer science degree will go into detail, offering an extensive program of the sciences. As previously discussed, a computer science degree can take four years, therefore students will have more time to learn about the fundamentals of the industry. 

Essentially, your learning style might be the deciding factor when answering this question. 

What Do Employers Think?

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Let’s look at the bigger picture.

Considering education is the first step toward a career of your choice, it is crucial to weigh all possibilities and answer all curiosities. A good question to ponder is, “What do employers think of each choice?”

First, you have to take some time to review your long-term goals as these routes don’t lead to the same destination. It might be helpful to think about the two options as two different paths leading to different parts of the tech industry. 

Regardless, never worry because today’s employers will acknowledge the merits of both a computer science degree and a coding bootcamp.

If you want a top position at a leading tech company, a computer science degree may be vital. However, if you want to thrive and steer a tech startup into success, a bootcamp can prepare you for the journey.

As we said, employers are open to both academic backgrounds. Indeed backs this fact up, reporting that 72% of employers believe that bootcamp graduates are just as prepared and likely to be high performers as candidates with computer science degrees. 

It is also important to note that colleges have begun to offer 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, among others.

Coding bootcamps are also great for those who are looking for a new opportunity within the tech industry. The flexibility of bootcamps can accommodate those who are interested in education yet are hindered by financial or time constraints. There are also professionals who attend bootcamps after earning a degree just to gain more knowledge and upskill themselves—it is, after all, valuable to have both credentials on a resume.

Although, it should be noted that some hiring managers are keener to see a traditional college degree on a resume when considering a viable job applicant. However, do not get discouraged if you are opting for bootcamps because there will be opportunities that match your credentials. After all, coding bootcamps were essentially created to fill a void in the tech industry

So, Which One Is Right for You?

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Time to choose. Which route will you take?

There are a lot of factors to consider when you’re choosing to enroll in a university or a coding bootcamp. You need to consider your short term and long-term goals, how much money you are willing to spend, and how much time you can commit to education. 

Bootcamps are the perfect option if you are looking to make a career move or if you are trying to kickstart your career. They are tailored to these specific situations. It is important to note that bootcamps are not that easy to enter—the enrollment process generally involves tests and interviews—and many people don’t make the cut. It’s also crucial to research and pick the right bootcamp for you since they are not all created equal. 

On the other hand, the benefits of getting a college degree are limitless. You are almost guaranteed a career in the tech industry as universities provide holistic knowledge and skillsets that are necessary for further career advancement. If you do embark on this path, you can always attend a coding bootcamp later on in your career to further bolster your existing credentials. The bottom line is, the choice is yours to make.

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