A group of programmers sitting at a desk working on lines of code on a computer.

The Best Coding Bootcamps for High School Students 

Over the last few years, there has been an increase in the number of coding bootcamps for high school students in the United States. These bootcamps offer curricula that make coding as easy to understand as possible. The best coding bootcamps for teens also promote interactive and collaborative learning, preparing students for the real-world technology industry.

This article is your complete guide to picking the best coding bootcamp for high school students. You will learn the definition of a coding bootcamp, the different types of coding bootcamps, and the best coding summer programs for high school students. 

What Is a Coding Bootcamp?

A coding bootcamp is an accelerated program that provides hands-on training to people who want to dive into the tech industry. Traditional coding bootcamps provide job-specific training and career services to adults at a more affordable rate than universities. The best coding bootcamps offer a range of flexible payment options that ease the cost of getting an education.

There are bootcamps for all the key tech fields, including data science, data analytics, web development, UX/UI design, cyber security, and other software development fields. There are also bootcamps for tech project management, digital marketing, and tech sales. Online coding bootcamps for high school students cater specifically to teens aspiring to careers in tech.

Are Coding Bootcamps Good for Beginners?

Yes, coding bootcamps are great for beginners because they traditionally offer introductory modules first. So, if you don’t have any experience, you can start learning a high-demand skill from scratch. However, coding bootcamps require more dedication and hard work than traditional schools. This is primarily due to the intensity of the curriculum.

It is important to note that not all coding bootcamps are meant for beginners. There are also intensive bootcamps meant for people who already have experience with coding. If you’re just starting out, make sure that the bootcamp you join is an ideal option for beginners.

Why Attend a Coding Bootcamp in High School?

High school students with an interest in the tech industry might attend a summer coding bootcamp to get a lay of the land. These bootcamps allow them to gather real-world experience and essential skills for careers in the tech industry. It also helps them to determine if a tech career path is what they want to pursue in the future.

Most coding camps for high school students are summer programs, so prior experience in coding may not be a requirement. Students can enroll in these programs just to explore different tech career options. Since some of these summer bootcamps are hosted by universities, high school students can also gain some college experience during coding programs.

Types of Coding Bootcamps for High School Students

While every bootcamp covers one particular field or subject, a coding bootcamp for high school students is specifically designed to be broader and cater to the needs of younger learners. The most common types of coding programs for high school students are listed below. 

Summer Coding Bootcamps

A summer coding bootcamp for high school students is held during the summer holidays for students who want to combine fun summer activities with coding classes. The courses can cover anything from programming languages to artificial intelligence. Students may also learn the fundamentals of cyber security or other high-tech topics. There are online summer programs that offer online courses.

Coding summer camps for high school students run for about two to three months. There is usually a follow-up brochure for students who want to keep exploring high-growth careers. Students who complete the bootcamp may opt for a more difficult summer bootcamp the following year.

Gap Year Coding Bootcamps

A gap year coding bootcamp is designed for high school seniors who want to take a 12-month sabbatical right after high school and just before college. So, while other students go straight to college, gap year students can attend bootcamps and explore the possibility of starting a career in technology.

A gap year bootcamp doesn’t necessarily run for all 12 months. You can learn for six months and spend the rest of your gap year doing whatever you like, or you can join another bootcamp and continue learning.

University Coding Bootcamps

University coding bootcamps are run by universities but are available for anyone interested, regardless of whether or not they are enrolled in the school. These programs offer fast-paced training on the most in-demand technologies in the industry.

The enrollment requirements for university coding bootcamps aren’t as rigid as regular admission requirements. Also, students pay considerably less money attending a university coding bootcamp than attending a university degree program, but they still get a high-quality learning experience on a college campus.

Free Coding Bootcamps

Free coding bootcamps for high school students are typically offered by non-profit organizations that provide free tech education to students from historically underrepresented communities, including students from low-income homes or from the LGBTQ+ community. Bootcamp scholarships for LGBTQ+ and other underserved communities also exist to help cover the costs. 

Most free coding bootcamps, however, are highly competitive. These institutions typically have limited resources, so they gear their coding programs toward teens who thrive academically and show a genuine interest in technology. 

Coding Bootcamps for High School Girls and Nonbinary Students

Coding bootcamps for high school girls and nonbinary students also exist to create opportunities for these specific groups. Software bootcamps for girls and nonbinary students exist to help close the gender gap in tech and provide opportunities for equality in an otherwise male-dominated industry.

Coding Bootcamps for Kids

Bootcamps for kids also exist and are geared towards middle school students or younger. They admit children as young as five years old and give them the knowledge and assistance they need to cultivate their interest in technology. The curricula in these bootcamps are as simple as possible, so children aren’t overwhelmed by what they are learning. 

Coding bootcamps for kids may be hosted online, on school premises, at a camp, or on a campus designed by the provider. The online coding courses may run for a few weeks or months, but classes are limited to one to three hours a day, depending on the age of the children.

Best Coding Bootcamps for High School Students

A person sitting in an office chair working on a laptop with several computer screens in front of them.
The best coding bootcamps for high school students can help prepare you for a future in tech.

There are many different types of coding bootcamps available. However, the following is a list of some of the best coding bootcamps for high school students on the market today. These bootcamps offer a wide array of teenage coding classes to help young people learn coding and other technical skills.

Columbia Engineering High School Coding Academy | Columbia University

Location: New York City, NY

Cost: $2,500

Level: Beginner 

This extension of Columbia University is designed for high school students. The school program covers beginner-level front end technologies for web development, which include JavaScript, CSS, and HTML. It does not come with any college credit but emphasizes a project-based approach to learning coding. 

Design Thinking and STEM | Design the Future 

Location: San Francisco, California 

Cost: $1,350

Level: Beginner  

This coding bootcamp for teens was designed for learners between 13 and 18 years of age. Throughout the two-week intensive program, they are guided in the creation of apps designed to help people living with disabilities. Students need a natural flair for design thinking, technology, and problem-solving and a desire to work on hands-on projects. 

All students between 8th and 12th grade are welcome to the program. Everyone is free to contribute ideas about software and hardware devices that can make life easier for people with disabilities.

Summer Immersion Program (SIP) | Girls Who Code

Location: Online 

Cost: Free 

Level: Beginner 

The Summer Immersion Program is one of several summer coding programs offered by Girls Who Code, an international non-profit organization on a mission to close the gender gap in tech. This program lasts two weeks and is sponsored by industry-leading companies. 

SIP gives participants a chance to get some hands-on experience and learn a wide range of languages and concepts, including HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. It also provides students with real insights into the tech industry and what it would be like to work in it.

JavaScript Coding with MIT Open Learning | iDTech 

Location: Campbell, California

Cost: $1,499  

Level: Beginner to advanced 

This JavaScript bootcamp is for teenagers who have already started to learn JavaScript. It runs for about 10 weeks and classes consist of one 90-minute lesson per week. 

Students will learn how to use Chrome, GitHub, Visual Studio Code, and the command line to their best advantage during development. The curriculum is designed by MIT’s world-renowned technology faculty. Students between the ages of 13 to 19 are the only ones who qualify. 

Computer Science | Juni Learning  

Location: San Francisco, California 

Cost: $140 per month

Level: Beginner to advanced 

This is a subscription-based bootcamp for students between eight and 18 years old. The computer science program offers courses on Python, Scratch, and Java, three popular programming languages in the tech industry.

Coding courses are grouped into levels based on difficulty, from beginner to advanced. Juni Learning follows a project-based curriculum that teaches students how to learn by doing. Student projects are published publicly, allowing them to showcase their skills to others. 

Summer Program | Kode with Klossy

Location: New York, Los Angeles, St. Louis, San Francisco, Portland, Chicago, Detroit, Washington DC, Atlanta, Dallas, Miami, Seattle, Austin, Denver, Philadelphia, Boston

Cost: Free 

Level: Beginner 

This coding bootcamp is specifically for women and non-binary high school students between 13 and 18 years old. Students attend the online coding bootcamp from 9am to 3pm for two weeks. These sessions are instructor-led classes, which are easier for most students to follow.  

This summer coding program for high school students also provides its non-binary and female members with non-curricular activities, which are designed to help them build their interpersonal skills and have fun while learning.

Summer Program for Machine Learning | NYU Tandon School of Engineering 

Location: New York, Shanghai, Abu Dhabi

Cost: $2,500

Level: Advanced  

This is a virtual summer program for high school students with an interest in modern and disruptive technologies. The machine learning program teaches students how to use machine learning and artificial intelligence to solve daily problems. Topics covered include linear regression, cross-validation, and neural networks. 

Note that getting into this bootcamp requires a high school GPA of at least 3.0. Applicants also need to have successfully completed Algebra 2 or an equivalent and have prior coding experience to be admitted.

Python Data Science Summer Course | NextGen Bootcamp 

Location: Online 

Cost: $2,199

Level: Beginner

NextGen Bootcamp offers a range of summer tech courses for high school students. However, this one is for students who want to learn about Python and data science. It covers data wrangling, Python fundamentals, data visualization, object oriented programming, machine learning, and algorithms.

While this program offers online classes, all classes are instructor-led. It contains about 45 hours of learning over three weeks. Both high school and college students are welcome to apply for this program.

Art and Game Design with p5.js | Upperline Code 

Location: New York City

Cost: $1,395

Level: Beginner to intermediate 

This program is for high school students who love gaming and want to evolve from players to developers. All games are developed using p5.js, a JavaScript library for quick and accessible game development resources. The course is great for beginners and is full of interactive activities. 

The course runs for about two weeks and covers object oriented programming, data structures, movement animation, and game design. It also teaches students collaboration in the tech industry through the use of group projects. 

Additional Ways for High School Students to Learn Coding

Aside from coding bootcamps, there are several alternatives to help high school students learn to code. Keep reading to find out other ways you can learn the basics, try out coding, and build a strong foundation for a career in tech.

Free Coding Websites for High School Students

Free coding websites for high school students are designed to help them get acquainted with coding fundamentals through the use of interactive resources. Sites such as Blockly or Scratch can help young students grasp basic coding concepts without the need to invest in courses or other forms of training.

Coding Classes for High School Students

Coding classes for high school students are designed to help young learners dive into the world of computer science, learn the fundamentals, or even focus on a specific subject and deepen their knowledge before they move on to college. 

Classes such as the ones offered by Create&Learn are led by experienced instructors and focus on developing students’ creativity while providing them with simple ways to master coding fundamentals. They are a great way to supplement their learning while they move through their school curriculum.

Coding Competitions for High School Students

If you already have some experience with coding, a great way to put your skills to the test is through coding competitions for high school students. Competitions such as the Imagine Cup hosted by Microsoft provide learners with a chance to collaborate with other learners and further develop their skills. Participating in a competition is also an excellent way to bolster your college application.

Coding Camps for High School Students

Coding camps for high school students are intensive programs that take place over the summer. They provide students with an immersive experience where they will be surrounded by peers who are equally enthusiastic about coding and led by experienced teachers who can help them further develop their technical skills. They are great for students who have a passion for coding and see it as a long-term pursuit.

Should You Apply for a Bootcamp in High School?

A classroom full of students attending a lecture.
Attending one of the best coding bootcamps for high school students can prepare you for college courses and help you choose a career path.

Yes, you should apply for a coding bootcamp if you are a high school student with an interest in learning technical skills and developing your critical thinking skills. Coding bootcamps for high school students provide different levels of tech education that help students decide if a career in tech is right for them. Also, the high school years are key formative years, so learning coding during this time may be easier and more interesting.

The best high school coding bootcamps are affordable and some are even free. They aren’t as competitive as traditional bootcamps and coding isn’t the only subject they cover. There are high school bootcamps for data science and other non-software engineering tech fields as well.

Bootcamps for High School Students FAQ

Can I put a coding bootcamp on my resume?

Yes, you can put a coding bootcamp on your resume. While bootcamps don’t offer degrees or certifications, most of them offer a certificate of participation or certificate of completion, which can help you stand out in a job or college admissions process. In addition, the portfolio of projects that you completed during the bootcamp can also be helpful when you apply.

Are there cyber security summer programs for high school students?

Yes, there are cyber security high school summer programs that you can enroll in to learn cyber security fundamentals, such as the ones offered by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Will a summer coding bootcamp help me get into college?

Yes, a summer coding bootcamp for high school students can help you get into college. Gaining practical skills and having experience in your chosen field can help you stand out from other applicants in the admissions process. 

Do you need a high school diploma for coding bootcamps?

Yes, usually you do need a high school diploma for a coding bootcamp, or a GED at the very least. However, there are many free courses and other online resources that you can use to help you learn to code, even without a high school diploma. If you join a coding bootcamp that’s geared toward high school students, you don’t need a diploma in hand to participate. 

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