Are Coding Bootcamps Worth It in 2023?
As technology continues to evolve and shape our world, the demand for skilled tech professionals is on the rise. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 15 percent increase in tech jobs from 2021 to 2031, making it one of the fastest-growing sectors in the job market. With such promising job prospects, learning coding and other tech-related skills has become an increasingly wise career move for job seekers.
One popular way to gain these skills is through coding bootcamps, which have gained traction in recent years as a non-traditional educational option. These intensive, short-term programs provide hands-on training and practical experience that enable students to master the skills needed for their chosen tech field. Additionally, the best coding bootcamps prioritize career support and have established networks with top tech employers, resulting in high job placement rates.
At Bootcamp Rankings, we understand that deciding whether a coding bootcamp is worth it can be a daunting task. That’s why we’ve compiled all the information you need to make an informed decision. In this article, we examine the pros and cons of coding bootcamps and delve into other aspects of these programs to answer one question: Are coding bootcamps worth it? Whether you’re a career changer or a recent graduate looking to boost your skills, read on to discover if a coding bootcamp is the right choice for you.
Table of Contents
- The Pros and Cons of Coding Bootcamps
- What Do Bootcamp Student Reviews Say?
- Will I a Get a Job After Coding Bootcamp?
- What Do Employers Think of Coding Bootcamp Graduates?
- Companies That Hire Coding Bootcamp Graduates
- Salary After Coding Bootcamp
- How Much Do Coding Bootcamps Cost?
- Are Coding Bootcamps Good for Beginners?
- Bootcamp vs Traditional Degree
Top Reasons Why Coding Bootcamps Are Worth It
The coding bootcamp market is set to expand at a rate of 19.31 percent in the coming years. This impressive growth is a testament to the popularity and efficacy of this form of training. Here are the top reasons why bootcamps are so popular and why you should consider attending one to upskill or reskill.
- Fast and efficient training. Bootcamps have been designed to impart critical and in-demand technical skills to their students in a short period of time. The program curricula and instruction are focused on getting students job-ready in a year or less.
- High job placement rates. Bootcamps that offer job placement assistance will give you access to support and guidance from professionals. This can make the process of getting a job after bootcamp less stressful. Because of the focused training, many companies are keen to hire directly from bootcamps.
- Networking opportunities. Attending a coding bootcamp can open doors to networking events or hackathons and earn you contacts at various companies and organizations. Moreover, the professional relationships you build with your instructors and fellow students during your coding bootcamp program are invaluable.
- Access to support system and career services. Bootcamp students have access to a structured support system. Learning in a more structured environment ensures the skills you acquire are relevant to employers. Bootcamps also often offer coding bootcamp career services to help you prepare for the job search post-graduation, such as resume or interview preparation.
- Hands-on curriculum. A bootcamp program focuses on teaching the key skills for careers in the tech field. To get students ready for the job market, a coding bootcamp curriculum provides many opportunities for hands-on learning and projects to make students comfortable with applying the skills and not just the theory.
The Pros and Cons of Coding Bootcamps
Weighing coding bootcamp pros and cons can help you to decide if studying at a bootcamp is right for you. While there are many advantages of learning from a coding bootcamp, it’s important to also be aware of where a bootcamp may fall short against other types of education. Below is an in-depth list of bootcamp pros and cons to consider.
- Short time frame
- Industry-driven curriculum
- Part-time or self-paced options allow you to work while you study
- Many can be completed online and remotely
- Career services and job guarantees help you find work after graduation
- The curriculum is focused on a specific career outcome and not broad knowledge of the field
- The Intensive coursework requires commitment and self-discipline
- Some programs can be costly
- Most coding bootcamps do not qualify for federal aid
Coding Bootcamp Reviews: What Do Bootcamp Alumni Think?
Researching bootcamp reviews can help you decide if a coding bootcamp is worth it or not. A good way to determine if a bootcamp program is right for you is by hearing what former bootcamp alumni think about their experience. Coding bootcamps reviews can shed valuable light on the program’s ability to prepare you for the workforce, the demands of the curriculum, and the expertise of the professors.
For example, App Academy has a BootcampRankings rating of five stars after 10 reviews. Reviews from alumni say the program was intense but well worth it, comparing the knowledge gained to four years in a computer science degree. Flatiron School coding graduates’ reviews describe the programs as rewarding though challenging, with professors showing genuine care for their success.
Will I a Get a Job After Coding Bootcamp?
Getting a job after a coding bootcamp is the main goal of most bootcamp curricula. Due to their focus on career support, most coding bootcamps have high job placement rates. In fact, some coding bootcamps have job placement rates that surpass those of the best computer science programs in the country, according to a recent report published by Optimal.
Optimal’s report compared 21 bootcamps and 35 leading computer science programs. It found out that Codesmith, Devmountain, and Tech Elevator were able to place more students than the CS programs at the University of Pennsylvania and John Hopkins University.
These results line up with reports verified by the Council on Integrity in Results Reporting (CIRR), a non-profit organization that provides schools with a standarized and transparent system for reporting student outcomes.
According to a CIRR-verified report, 83.1 percent of graduates of Tech Elevator’s full-time bootcamp program found full-time employment within six months of graduating. Grads from this school earn an average base salary of $61,000.
Code Platoon, meanwhile, is able to place 77.4 percent of its students within six months of graduation, with the average Code Platoon student earning $85,000 per year. Thirty-two percent of grads from this school are earning over $100,000 a year within six months of graduation.
Bootcamps achieve such impressive placement rates by offering career services to guide students before, during, and after the job hunt. Some also offer a coding bootcamp job guarantee in which the student is refunded the cost of tuition if they fail to get a job within a certain period of time following graduation.
What Do Employers Think of Coding Bootcamp Graduates?
Employers generally have a positive perception of coding bootcamp grads. This is partly due to the fact that a growing number of companies are prioritizing skills over academic credentials during hiring. In fact, Indeed surveyed over 1,000 HR managers and the results were striking: 72 percent believed that bootcamp graduates were as prepared and as likely to perform to a high standard as holders of computer science degrees.
The same survey revealed that 12 percent of hiring managers believe that coding bootcamps students are, in fact, better prepared than your average college grad. Professionals that have attended a coding bootcamp are often praised for being independent and self-reliant while still being able to work harmoniously as part of a team. Employers also highlight bootcamp grads’ up-to-date knowledge, adroitness with the latest tools, and out-of-the-box thinking.
Companies That Hire Coding Bootcamp Graduates
Some of the world’s top companies hire bootcamp grads, as they’re always looking for bright minds to contribute to their growth. Companies that hire coding bootcamp graduates are attracted to their work ethic, skillset, and drive. Below are some of the top companies hiring bootcamp grads today.
- Progressive Insurance
- Access Development
- The Honest Company
- Sony Pictures
Salary After Coding Bootcamp
Earning potential can be a factor in deciding whether to pursue a four-year degree or a coding bootcamp. A worldwide survey shared in a report by Arc reports that a coding bootcamp graduate’s salary is higher in the early years of their career as compared to bachelor’s degree holders. This means graduates can look forward to an industry-competitive salary after a coding bootcamp.
Most bootcamps prepare students for high-paying tech roles. Some of these top roles include software developer, with an annual median salary of $109,020, data scientists who earn $100,910 per year, on average, and cyber security professionals earning an average of $102,600 annually. These figures come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook for 2021.
How Much Do Coding Bootcamps Cost?
A coding bootcamp costs anywhere from less than $2,000 to more than $30,000. The coding bootcamp price is usually less expensive than a traditional college degree. While the higher range can be a hurdle for many prospective students, coding bootcamp scholarships, financial aid, and income share agreements (ISAs) can help.
How to Pay for Coding Bootcamp
Not everyone can afford the price of a coding bootcamp out of pocket. Fortunately, coding bootcamps are part of a movement to increase access to education for everyone. This is why most programming bootcamps allow students to pay using flexible, interest-free installment plans. Here are other popular coding bootcamp payment options that you are likely to encounter.
- Scholarships. Most coding bootcamps offer financial aid in the form of scholarships. Coding bootcamp scholarships are often designed to promote diversity by targeting groups traditionally excluded from tech. You can also find various needs-based scholarships. Some awards cover only part of the tuition but there are many full-tuition scholarships as well.
- Deferred tuition. A deferred tuition plan lessens the financial burden during the program so that you can focus on your studies. Under a deferred tuition plan, the student can join the course by paying only a small deposit. No more payments are due until they graduate and land an in-field job. Once that happens, the student has to pay a fixed amount every month.
- Income share agreements. Coding bootcamp deferred tuition programs often come in the form of ISAs. Coding bootcamps that offer ISAs allow the student to attend the course without making any payments, just like with regular deferred tuition. However, with ISAs, you pay back a fixed percentage of your new salary as a developer, as opposed to a fixed amount.
- Coding bootcamp loans. Companies such as Upstart, Skills Fund, and Climb Credit often partner with coding schools to offer coding bootcamp loans. Hack Reactor, Coding Dojo, and Fullstack Academy are some of the many coding schools that boast such partnerships. You can also take out a personal loan from your banking institution to finance your program.
- Veteran’s benefits. Many bootcamps design their programs and their payment options with people who have served in the military in mind. There is no shortage of coding bootcamps that accept the GI Bill, VET TEC, and other forms of veteran benefits.
What Skills Can You Learn at Bootcamp?
There are a wide variety of coding bootcamps, covering the whole gamut of tech-related skills, from web development and software engineering to tech sales and digital marketing. These are some of the most popular skills people attend coding bootcamp for:
|Skills You Can Learn at Bootcamp
Social media management
Web Development and Web Design
With web development and web designers set to enjoy a very favorable job outlook, choosing one of these professions is a wise career move. The best web design bootcamps cover the basic web-building languages as well as graphic design and content management systems. The best web development bootcamps tend to have a similar curriculum but are more likely to focus more on programming and less on the design aspects.
Data Science and Data Analytics
From informing corporate decisions to helping lawmakers determine the best course of action, data’s growing influence over all aspects of modern society is undeniable. Because of this, the profession enjoys a 36 percent job outlook, much higher than the average occupation. The best data science bootcamps and data analytics bootcamps will give you the tools to collect, clean, and analyze data, including popular programming languages like SQL and Python.
Due to the ever-evolving security threats facing companies, cyber security is a field that will remain in demand for decades to come. As such, you can future-proof your career by attending one of the best cyber security bootcamps, where you will learn about risk assessment, networking, web security, and cryptography. You will also become acquainted with different operating systems and their security features.
Project management could be the right field for you if you are interested in a career that combines non-technical and technical skills. A project management bootcamp will help you improve your abilities in areas like market research, design, and user experience. You will also hone the soft skills needed to competently manage diverse teams and learn development methods such as Agile and Scrum.
Are Coding Bootcamps Good for Beginners?
Yes, coding bootcamps are worth it for beginners. Most coding bootcamps cater to beginners. Many bootcamp programs start with coding basics and computer science fundamentals that even complete tech newbies can follow. When the program starts with more advanced topics that require some coding knowledge, some schools, such as Galvanize, offer prep courses to bring the student up to the level required before the start of the bootcamp.
However, that is not to say that coding bootcamps are exclusively for beginners. In fact, many seasoned professionals choose to join a coding bootcamp to polish existing skills. People already working in tech may also choose to join a bootcamp to master new programming languages and tools that could allow them to access better positions and higher salaries.
Reasons Coding Beginners and Experienced Programmers Join Bootcamp
|Reasons Coding Beginners Join Bootcamp
|Reasons Advanced Coders Join Bootcamp
|Fast skill acquisition to break into tech quickly
Structured curriculum to guide students
Career services to support students during the job hunt
Hands-on project to gain practical experience
Community support in the form of peers, alumni, and instructors
|Skill enhancement to access better job opportunities
Tech stack transition
Update existing knowledge and skills
Work on new projects to boost portfolio
Networking to gain exposure to new opportunities
Bootcamp vs Traditional Degree
Coding bootcamps and university degrees both impart the skills necessary to work in a range of tech fields. However, they are different in many respects. For example, a coding bootcamp program lasts anywhere from three months to one year, while a computer science degree requires four years of full-time study.
Also, the intensity of learning is a lot higher in a coding bootcamp vs a CS degree because the curricula have different focuses. A computer science degree curriculum wants to educate students to be well-rounded in a range of topics, including electives that are not related to computer science. On the other hand, a coding bootcamp curriculum focuses solely on the skills needed to fulfill a specific career’s requirements.
Price is also a factor when it comes to choosing between a coding bootcamp and a college education. A coding bootcamp tuition can range from $1,000 to $20,000 for the entire program, while a CS degree could cost that per year for four years.
Coding Bootcamp vs Self-Learning
With so many free resources available online today, you may wonder why paying to attend a coding bootcamp would be worth the cost. Of course, much of your decision will depend on your learning style, situation, and level of commitment. One benefit of self-learning is, of course, the low cost involved. It also allows you to study on your own schedule, offering you the flexibility to work or tend to other personal commitments.
However, studying with a coding bootcamp provides a learning environment with accountability built in, meaning students can rely less on their own self-discipline when following a structured curriculum. Those self-learning could find it difficult to stay motivated and on track or to know exactly what knowledge and skills they need to learn.
A coding bootcamp also offers professor assistance and services such as career services to help students launch their careers after graduating. This alone could be invaluable for someone who wants to gain the skills quickly and find work right away.
How to Choose the Best Coding Bootcamp
In-depth career support is a staple of the coding bootcamp industry and one of the top reasons to choose this type of training. Thanks to these services, bootcamp students graduate with both the technical and soft skills required to be successful during the job hunt and during their new professional lives.
Many of the schools mentioned in this article offer a wide suite of career services, starting with a career coach that works with you from Day 1 of your program and continues supporting you after you graduate. Most coding bootcamp students also enjoy close mentoring, resume prep, mock interviews, workshops, and career fairs.
Before making any decision, look into the bootcamp’s partner network and ascertain its size. Having access to a large group of hiring partners can be the key to landing a well-paying tech job after graduation. These networks set bootcamps apart from other forms of training and education, such as college degrees.
A great example of this is General Assembly, a programming bootcamp that provides talent to hundreds of corporations, including the majority of Fortune 100 companies. This coding school also partners with Hired.com to make its students more visible to employers.
There are many coding bootcamps that offer a job guarantee. A coding bootcamp job guarantee can come in several forms. For example, BloomTech will refund 110 percent of your tuition if you fail to get a qualifying job within a year of graduation.
Though tuition refund is the most common type of coding bootcamp job guarantee, there are also coding schools that promise an actual job after the program. A good example is Revature, a bootcamp that will place you with one of its clients if you manage to complete its rigorous program.
Coding Bootcamp Formats
Studying at a coding bootcamp means you have many options when it comes to the format in which you learn. Some bootcamps provide a wide range of options for learning, while others may stick to only one or two options for their courses. No matter what you want to study, a coding bootcamp is worth it if it can fit into your schedule and lifestyle.
- Part-time vs full-time. The time to complete the program is the key difference between a full-time and a part-time coding bootcamp. While both have their pros and cons, a part-time program also allows you the flexibility to attend a coding bootcamp while working a full-time job. A full-time, immersive bootcamp option helps students gain skills fast.
- In-person vs online. Attending a coding bootcamp online program can be just as effective as an in-person coding bootcamp. While in-person learning tends to help students stay more focused on their studies, an online bootcamp program allows students to access courses regardless of location.
- Self-paced vs instructor-led. In these two formats, discipline and accountability are the key factors, with instructor-led coding bootcamps being the top choice for students who need these factors in their learning. A self-paced coding bootcamp, however, is perfect for someone who can stay motivated and could even help them complete their program earlier than planned.
Life After Bootcamp: Tips to Succeed During the Job Hunt
Life after bootcamp is not always easy if you don’t have a plan and the motivation to see it through to its completion. Although your bootcamp will almost certainly provide plenty of support to help you land your first in-field role, you still have to work hard, put yourself out there, apply to jobs, and take advantage of any career services offered by the bootcamp. Below, we give you a few tips to ensure your success as a bootcamp grad.
Have a Plan
Having a clear goal will help direct all your efforts during the job search. Try to come up with a realistic goal regarding what kind of job you want, what kind of company you’d like to work for, and what kind of salary would suit your needs. Next, develop a plan to get there, breaking it into smaller tasks that are specific, measurable, and relevant.
To make life after bootcamp manageable, many grads find it useful to create a strong routine for themselves. Such a routine could involve working on your coding skills for two hours in the morning, applying to jobs in the afternoon, and spending time in an online coding community in the afternoon.
Continue Practicing and Learning
By the end of your programming bootcamp, you would have developed strong coding skills. However, there is always room for improvement, particularly in such a fast-developing field as coding. All bootcamp grads who succeed during the job search and become professional developers take time to practice their coding skills on a daily basis.
As you develop a plan for your life after bootcamp, identify skills that you want to practice as well as the frameworks, libraries, and other tools that will benefit your career the most. Make sure to set some time aside each day to study those subjects. Continuing to perfect your skills is an essential part of preparing for high-paying programming jobs.
Get Good at Marketing Yourself
Having access to your bootcamp’s hiring network doesn’t mind that you will automatically land a job. You will still have to put a lot of effort into making yourself more visible to employers, including learning how to market yourself properly.
Leveraging social media the right way can tremendously speed up the whole process of securing a job after bootcamp. This may mean something different for every student. For some, it means optimizing their LinkedIn profile. For others, it may be more about getting involved in Twitter conversations or even starting a blog to discuss their projects and interests.
Are Tech Bootcamps Worth It? The Final Verdict
If you goal is to enter the tech industry fast and affordably, then a coding bootcamp is likely worth it. Coding bootcamp offer an immersive and effective way to gain the skills needed for some of the most in-demand careers in tech today. With a variety of formats, tailored career services to guide students during the job search, and high job placement rates, a coding bootcamp could be the right fit for you.
However, coding bootcamps are not easy. They require great commitment and effort to complete. If you are up for the challenge, then a coding bootcamp is an excellent training option whether you want to become a data scientist, software engineer, web developer, cyber security expert, UX/UI designer, or even digital marketer.
Are Coding Bootcamps Worth It FAQ
Yes, there are free coding bootcamps you can enroll in to start your educational path to a career in tech. Some of the best free coding bootcamps are offered by online resources such as freeCodeCamp, MIT OpenCourseware, and Codecademy.
What coding bootcamp is best for beginners?
Some of the best coding bootcamps for beginners include Coding Dojo, General Assembly, and Galvanize. These schools either offer programs that start with coding basics or have prep courses to bring coding beginners up to speed before the start of the bootcamp.
Can you fail a coding bootcamp?
People can fail a coding bootcamp as these programs are intensive, fast-paced, and require a high level of commitment and discipline. Some of the main reasons people fail a bootcamp program include burnout, lack of motivation, and poor performance.
Can you attend a coding bootcamp while working full time?
Yes, you can attend a coding bootcamp while working full time by attending a part-time program. Bootcamps often include part-time options in their offering to accommodate busy professionals. Classes often take place in the evening and during the weekend. Part-time options tend to last several weeks longer than immersive programs as the weekly workload is smaller.