Best Software Engineering Bootcamps in 2020
Software engineering is one of the most popular fields in tech. This rewarding position allows developers to design and build software programs for a wide range of industries. Software engineers are also well compensated—the national average software engineering salary is close to $90,000.
Unlike many other engineering careers, entry-level software engineering positions don’t universally require a bachelor’s degree. Instead, self-taught engineers and coding bootcamp graduates can enter the industry and gain the experience needed to rise to a senior position.
The demand for software engineers is growing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the field will grow a whopping 21% in the next decade. Plus, companies have nearly exhausted the supply of qualified candidates. As a result, the software engineering job market is extremely favorable, making it a great time to transition into the industry.
2020 Best Coding Bootcamps
Why Choose a Software Engineering Bootcamp?
The tech labor shortage made bootcamps necessary. But they kept growing after the shortages began to improve for a simple reason—they worked for candidates and companies. Bootcamps solved the problem by cutting out the unnecessary information and getting right to the point, while simultaneously demonstrating a candidate’s work ethic and dedication.
In this rapidly developing economy, the bootcamp model makes sense. Careers change so quickly today, and traditional education takes too long and costs too much for many people. The bootcamp model is short-term and focuses on the software engineering skills that are in demand now, so graduates can land a job and continue to learn in the workplace.
Software engineering bootcamps are a proven route into the tech industry. Bootcamp’s don’t need to hide it—many programs willingly publish job placement statistics, usually citing placement rates between 70% and 90%. Software engineering bootcamps also teach people the skills they need to develop their own ideas into physical products, all with the encouragement of peers and the guidance of seasoned industry professionals.
Unlike college, you don’t have to go into crippling debt to attend a coding bootcamp. Many programs offer income share agreements and other financing plans that allow the school to absorb the risk, instead of the student. Plus, job guarantees help bring peace-of-mind and increase the odds of getting the most out of the program.
Software Engineering Bootcamp Curriculum
Coding is a huge part of software engineering bootcamp curriculum. Students begin with simple scripting languages such as HTML. After they begin to understand syntax and other coding quirks, they move on to complex coding concepts and high-level languages like Python and Java.
Each bootcamp is free to decide what languages it covers, so there is some variation in the field. Nonetheless, most software engineering bootcamps cover a set of core languages that are vital to many modern programming projects. We compiled a list of these common languages, so you can get a better idea of what to expect in the program.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but each of these languages are important in the field. Additionally, bootcamps focus on these languages because it allows students to pursue a wide range of specializations after the program, including web development, mobile app development, game design, and database management.
Popular Coding Bootcamp Programs
Software engineering coding bootcamps come in a variety of schedules. The most popular kind of engineering bootcamp is the traditional full-time model. Full-time bootcamps have a reputation for being intensive and (sometimes) exhausting, which can certainly be the case. These programs often run 8 hours per day, 5 or 6 days per week, for 6 weeks or more.
Part-time programs are also available for people who prefer (or need) a more relaxed schedule. These programs often run for a few hours in the evenings, and sometimes on weekends. However, part-time programs require a longer duration to cover the same material—usually up to 6 months.
Remote students can also attend both full-time and part-time bootcamps online. Schools often require students to participate in video lectures at set times. However, some schools offer flexible or self-paced online coding bootcamps, with live instructor assistance available if needed.
Part of the reason many people prefer in-person courses is because of the community. It’s difficult to overestimate the importance of surrounding yourself with a community of peers with shared goals and ambitions. In-person bootcamps offer face-to-face interaction and encourage the group to keep each other accountable, ultimately increasing everybody’s chance of success.
Software Engineering Bootcamp Interview Process
Coding bootcamps generally don’t admit just anyone. There’s almost always a multi-step interview process, which helps bootcamps find motivated applicants who will take the program seriously. Some programs are more selective than others, but the interview process benefits the bootcamp and the applicant.
Typically, students begin by filling out an application and listing relevant skills, interests, and why they think they’re a good fit for the program. This allows the admissions team to determine if the student is a good fit, and helps the student understand the program.
If the application meets admissions standards, the program reaches out to the applicant to arrange an in-person or video meeting. During the initial meeting, applicants have the chance to ask questions and get to know the program better.
After the initial interview, applicants are often required to pass a basic coding test. Don’t worry—most programs (with a few exceptions) generally use the test to gauge your learning abilities and problem-solving skills. Many programs provide study material with everything you need to pass the test.
After the test, some programs arrange a final interview. But afterwards, students are officially accepted into the program, and begin completing any additional prerequisite requirements (if assigned).
Financing Options for Software Engineering Bootcamp
Coding bootcamps aren’t like traditional colleges and aren’t bound by the same rules and aging financial institutions. That means they’re free to offer a wide range of financing options, free from the same pressures exerted on the old system.
Nonetheless, bootcamps can be expensive—especially if you want to pay upfront. Bootcamps in the U.S. generally cost between $10,000 and $20,000 making financing necessary for the majority of people. Here are some of the most common financing options offered by bootcamps.
Traditional Financing (Loans)
Traditional education loans are available at many programs. Some accredited bootcamps also accept federal student loans, along with programs like the G.I. Bill. However, most bootcamps aren’t accredited as colleges, because they’re not colleges. Still, private student loans are available through programs like Climb Credit and Skills Fund.
Income Share Agreements (ISAs)
Income Share Agreements, or ISAs, are a revolutionary new way to pay for higher education. ISAs defer the cost of tuition until a student graduates and lands a job in the field. Once employed, students agree to pay a fixed percentage of their new salary (often around 15%) for a short duration (often 1-3 years). After, students are completely free and clear of obligation.
If students can’t find a job in their field, the bootcamp absorbs the risk and forgive the cost of tuition. ISAs incentivize schools to provide up-to-date curriculum and excellent job placement services. Plus, ISAs give students confidence that their education is worth it.
Software Engineering Bootcamp Structure
Coding bootcamps are structured differently, depending on the subject and experience level of the students. Most software engineering bootcamps are directed at new programmers with little or no coding experience. As a result, students need a comprehensive ground-up coding education.
As the program progresses, students move on to field-specific languages and high-level programming tasks. During this period, students often work on collaborative projects.
Towards the end of the program, students build advanced programs with their coding skills. These projects also serve a dual-purpose as portfolio items, which can help students land a job. Students often build entire software programs by themselves, creating interfaces and performing functionality tests to prove the concept. Job training and assistance also occurs at this point. Students work with career advisors to craft a resume, portfolio, and make LinkedIn connections.
Bootcamp Alumni Projects and Portfolios
Coding bootcamp students often have an opportunity to build a full-scale software project by the end of the program. This results in some truly fascinating alumni projects and portfolios. By the end of a software engineering bootcamp, most students are skilled programmers, and capable of producing impressive application clones and unique applications and projects.
Lingua (Fullstack Academy)
In 2019, Fullstack Academy graduates Alexander Kramer, Sahil Pabby, Michael Leung, and Milly Yeh created an app called Lingua—a language learning app that works with your web browser. As you learn words in another language, the program uses a Chrome extension to gradually replace the English word in your day-to-day browsing. Effectively, it immerses you in a foreign language little-by-little, and helps you learn as if you were in another country. Check out the Lingua team’s YouTube presentation here.
Companies Hiring Software Engineering Bootcamp Grads
Virtually all well-known tech companies have bootcamp graduates working for them. Bootcamp graduates are known to work for companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon, along with countless startups. Some software engineering bootcamp students choose to start their own companies, and many find success with their ideas. Here’s a list of some companies hiring software engineering bootcamp grads.
Vimeo is an online video platform for content creators and viewers.
(San Francisco, Portland)
Skillz is a major Android-based sports game development company.
Embark is a genetics company that offers high-tech DNA testing for dogs.
Button is a mobile commerce service for businesses, helping companies handle online and app-based transactions.
(San Francisco, NYC, Phoenix)
Scribd is a large online library. The site features books, audio books, documents, and more.
Will coding bootcamp help me get a job?
Absolutely! Coding bootcamp is a proven way to train for a job in tech. Many coding bootcamps offer job guarantees, and some refund tuition if graduates can’t find a job in the field they trained for. In fact, coding bootcamp teaches skills that many college computer science graduates lack.
How much do coding bootcamps cost?
Coding bootcamp tuition varies. Coding bootcamps in New York City cost around $10,000 to $20,000. However, many scholarships and tuition deferment programs are available, so what you see doesn’t have to be what you pay.
What are income share agreements?
Income share agreements, or ISAs, are a new way to pay for education. These programs defer tuition until after students graduate and find a job in the industry. Once students are employed and making above a certain income threshold (usually $40-60,000 per year) they begin paying a fixed percent of their income, often for around 2 years. If students can’t find a job, many bootcamps waive the cost of tuition.
Do I have to learn coding to work in the tech industry?
You don’t have to learn coding to work in the tech industry. In fact, there are several non-coding bootcamps in New York City. These programs train you for a position in tech sales, marketing, or product management–all of which are well-paid positions with plenty of advancement opportunity.