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Best Online Coding Bootcamps 2020

Online bootcamps are a flexible way to gain your coding credentials. In the past, many adults with busy schedules (parents, full-time workers, etc.) couldn’t dream of career education, because there simply weren’t enough hours in the day to show up to school. Others who live in remote areas didn’t have access to career education. Thanks to the internet, it’s no longer necessary to show up to school in-person.

Today, there are over 50 online bootcamps to choose from. Online bootcamps are available for everything from software engineering to technology sales. Any adult interested in improving their career prospects (or starting their first career) can find an online bootcamp that fits their needs and helps them find a job in the technology career of their choice.

The most popular career paths for online coding bootcamp students are software engineering, data science, and web development. Each of these career fields have high starting salaries, and the potential to earn $100,000 per year or more with experience.

The American career landscape is changing dramatically. Old institutions aren’t the automatic ticket to success that they used to be, and the student loan crisis is reaching new heights. Bootcamps, though a new arrival to the higher education scene, have a decade of success behind them and are now a proven route into a high-paying career. If you’re looking to train for the tech industry or just learn the skills to find a new job, continue reading to learn more about online bootcamps.

Best Online Coding Bootcamps 2020

Why Choose an Online Coding Bootcamp?

There are myriad reasons to choose an online bootcamp. But if you’re unfamiliar with bootcamps, it’s important to have some background first. Before we dive into the reasons to choose an online program, we’ll discuss the advantages of the bootcamp model.

Bootcamps are short-term career education programs. There are several types of bootcamp, the most common of which are coding bootcamps. Coding bootcamps cover a large curriculum in a short time, helping students get into the workforce efficiently—hence the name ‘bootcamp.’ These programs cover in-demand technical skills and equip students with the know-how required to be competitive in the workforce.

They’re less costly than most college degrees and have an impressive job placement record—some programs (that track job placement) report rates exceeding 90%, though 70% seems to be the most common statistic. Bootcamp is a great choice for people looking to start a career in a timely fashion. Once employed, graduates fill whatever skill deficits they have with practical experience—which, in the tech industry, is often valued above education.

So, why choose an online bootcamp? Online programs offer unparalleled flexibility and provide the same level of education as most in-person programs. Students have a wide range of schedules and curriculum to choose from, along with live instructors to help along the way. If you’re looking for a career education on your schedule or at your home, an online bootcamp can’t be beat.

Online Coding Bootcamp Curriculum

Online bootcamp curriculum often mirrors in-person courses, but each program varies. Many online programs are slightly adapted versions of popular brick-and-mortar bootcamps, so students always receive the same coursework regardless of what route they choose. This system advantages students and bootcamps, as everyone graduates with excellent skills and resources.

To give you a better idea of what to expect, we’ll focus on software engineering. This popular career path is a common choice for online coding bootcamp students, and it’s a model representative of the bootcamp system. During the course, students learn a variety of programming languages with a progressively increasing degree of complexity. We compiled a list of typical coding languages covered during the course.

HTML

CSS

JavaScript

Python

Java

C++

C++

Each course curriculum varies, but the vast majority of online software engineering bootcamps cover most of these languages. During the beginning of the course, students start with basic instruction and practice. As the course progresses, students work on increasingly complex languages and projects.

Peer projects are a hallmark of many bootcamps, as programmers often collaborate in the workforce. Towards the end of the program, students work on a ‘capstone project’ which tests their new skills. These projects are often full-scale development activities, and help students build their professional portfolios. Some students build Instagram clones from scratch, and others develop unique programs to solve a problem they identify.

Before graduation, most bootcamps provide some sort of job placement services or career counseling. Students build their resumes, get connected on LinkedIn, and network with peers. After graduation, the job search begins—however, some students already have interviews arranged beforehand.

Popular Online Coding Bootcamp Courses

Virtually every kind of bootcamp is available online, and students can choose whichever program fits best. Plus, some online bootcamps don’t involve coding—there are plenty of career fields in tech that aren’t related to engineering. Whichever tech career you choose, a bootcamp is often a viable education option. Below, we compiled a list of the most popular online bootcamp career paths.

Software Engineering

Data Science

Web Design

Cybersecurity

Digital Marketing

Tech Sales

A wide range of schedules are also available. Some online bootcamps offer a full-time structured program, with rigid attendance requirements and live online lectures. Students often attend these programs via Zoom, Skype, or other video chat programs. Many students prefer this model, as structure keeps people motivated and on-task. Structured programs are also available part-time during weekends and evenings.

Other programs are completely flexible, allowing students to complete the course at their own pace. These bootcamps are ideal for adults with busy lives, full-time jobs, or college students looking to graduate with an edge over the competition. Many programs are available with multiple scheduling options, making it easy for students to find the course that fits.

Online Bootcamp Interview Process

Like colleges, bootcamps have a screening process to determine an individual’s eligibility. But unlike college, bootcamp admissions has little to do with previous academic success. Students are screened during an interview process to assess their ability to learn, career goals, and individual strengths.

Each bootcamp is free to go about the process as it chooses. Nonetheless, most bootcamps follow basic interview protocols. Initially, students submit an application with some basic information. If all goes well, students schedule an online interview with the admissions team.

During the first interview, admissions staff and potential students get to know each other and the program to see if it’s a good fit. Usually, students receive a ‘pre-test’ of sorts, evaluating their previous coding knowledge and ability to learn. Don’t stress too much about the test—it’s usually basic, and everything you need to learn is available online (with the exception of selective advanced bootcamps).

If students pass the test and interview well, some programs set up a final interview. Others simply offer the student a spot in the program, effectively ‘accepting’ the student. Additional interviews are often required for special financing programs or accelerated bootcamps.

Bootcamp Financing Options

Bootcamps, like colleges, charge tuition for their services. And for most people, online bootcamp tuition isn’t trivial—these programs usually cost between $5,000 and $20,000. Thankfully, there are a wide range of financing options available, and some don’t even require a credit check.

Scholarships

The first options that every bootcamp student should investigate (regardless of means) are scholarships. There are numerous scholarships available for coding bootcamps, and they can provide an edge during the job search. Also, the tech industry invests in women, veterans (and spouses) people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, and other underrepresented groups by offering dozens of high-value scholarships.

Income Share Agreements (ISAs)

Income share agreements, or ISAs, are the most promising ways to pay for an online bootcamp. ISAs are special tuition deferment programs designed to put the risk on the school—not the student. These programs defer the cost of tuition until after students graduate and find a high-paying job in the field they trained for.

Once employed, students pay a predetermined percentage of their income for a short duration, usually 2-3 years. After, students are free and clear of debt. Payments cease during periods of unemployment, and don’t begin until students make more than $50,000 or $60,000 annually. If students can’t find a job, most schools waive the cost of tuition entirely.

Here at BootcampRankings, we provide details about each school that offers an income share agreement. Some programs offer income stipends, which help full-time students cover basic expenses while attending the program. The goal of ISAs is to make career education accessible to everyone, and to encourage schools to keep the curriculum up-to-date and job placement high.

Traditional Private Loans

Traditional loans are also available to cover the cost of tuition. Alternative education finance companies like Skills Fund and Climb Credit are the primary providers of bootcamp loans. Terms are flexible, and many students qualify for these loans.

Online Coding Bootcamp Structure

All online bootcamp structures vary, but most programs follow the same basic outline. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll focus on online coding bootcamps for careers like software engineering, data science, web development, and cybersecurity.

Early in the course, students begin with a conceptual introduction that covers the basics of the career path. From this point, most students will have some very basic coding experience (from the interview test), which provides a platform to build on. Students then begin foundational coding lessons in a simple markup language like HTML. This allows them to grasp the basics of syntax, and ‘get the feel’ for programming. This part of the process often includes JavaScript, which is a true coding language.

As the program continues, students are exposed to an ever-increasing level of coding complexity. After mastering HTML and JavaScript, instructors move on to high-level coding languages like Python. For most people, Python is an excellent step-up from static languages. Python is a true multi-purpose language—it’s easy to get started with, and programmers can build enormously complex applications with it, too. From here, students also learn other high-level or career-specific languages and begin peer projects.

The final stage of an online coding bootcamp is the capstone project. Here, students have an opportunity to demonstrate their skills. Many students create entire applications, websites, or career-specific systems. The capstone project is often the first true portfolio-building activity for many people. Job placement and career counseling services are available during this period, and students begin networking with companies. If a bootcamp has corporate partners, this is the time when students begin to find a company that fits. Graduation comes shortly after, and the job search begins.

Online Bootcamp Alumni Projects and Portfolios

The capstone project is a time for coding bootcamp students to have fun with their new skills and demonstrate their value to potential employers. As a result, many students become particularly motivated to produce some amazing work. Make no mistake about it—capstone projects can produce marketable software programs and professional websites. We found an example that represents online coding bootcamp portfolio projects well.

Students from Fullstack Academy wanted to help people explore local restaurants in a fun and engaging way. Because let’s face it—there are dozens of local spots you probably don’t know about and would never otherwise experience. And if you’re on vacation or in a new area, you could be confined to fast food until the locals clue you in on the best places to eat.

For their capstone project, students built a full mobile application called BiteSwipe. This tinder-style app allows people to discover new restaurants in their geographical area. Currently, the team is working on developing the app into an high-tech drive-thru restaurant ordering service.

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