Woman at her laptop computer trying to develop a deeper understanding of computer science Coding Bootcamp vs College

Coding Bootcamp vs Computer Science Degree: Which Is Right For You?

If you want to become a software engineer or a web developer, you should think about attending a coding bootcamp or earning a four-year degree in computer science at a university. Both are viable options, but how do you choose which type of program to attend?

This article will explore the differences between coding bootcamps and college in terms of cost, course length, flexibility, and career services. Whatever your current role is, a coding bootcamp or a college degree can help you.

Coding Bootcamp vs Computer Science Degree: Overview 

Key Features Coding Bootcamp Computer Science Degree
Length 2 – 12 months 4 years
Average Cost $13,500 total $19,081 per year
Specializations Web Development, Software Engineering, Data Science, Data Analytics, Cyber Security, UX/UI Design Data Science, Programming Languages, Software Engineering, Game Design, Artificial Intelligence, Network Security
Flexibility Self-Paced, Part-Time, Asynchronous Learning, Online, Hybrid Part-Time, Online, Hybrid
Career Services Career Workshops, Job Fairs, Mentorship, Career Coaching, Contract Negotiation, Interview Preparation, Resume Support, Social Media Profile Optimization, Job Search Help, Industry Insights, Cover Letter Guidance, Soft Skill Training, Networking Tips Job Fairs, Career Coaching, Interview Preparation, Resume Support, Job Search Help, On-Campus Recruiting, Internships, Networking Tips
Financing Options Upfront Payment, Private Loans, Income Share Agreement, Deferred Tuition, Split Payments, Tuition Reimbursement, Scholarships, GI Bill Benefits Upfront Payment, Private Loans, Federal Loans, Income Share Agreement, Government Grants, Deferred Tuition, Split Payments, Tuition Reimbursement, Scholarships, GI Bill Benefits, Tuition Discount
Job Placement Rate 71% – 95% 86%
Average Starting Salary $50,687 – $63,460 $68,668

Coding Bootcamp vs Computer Science Degree: Definition and Scope

A computer science degree is a common choice for those who want to break into the tech industry. These expensive degrees take around four years to complete, but you can complete a coding bootcamp for much less money within a year.

While holding a bachelor’s degree has its perks, the college experience also lacks some of the unique benefits offered by coding bootcamps.

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What Is a Coding Bootcamp?

Coding bootcamps offer short-term, intensive programs to help professionals break into the tech industry. The bootcamps provide both in-person and online programs, offered at different paces to suit different types of schedules.  

Coding bootcamp education encompasses practical training too. Whether you choose to learn machine learning, software engineering, data analytics and predictive analysis, or cyber security, you’ll have a decent portfolio to showcase by the end of the program. Bootcamps also do a decent job of updating their course content to keep in line with industry trends. 

What Is a Computer Science Degree Program?

Completing a four-year Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science will teach you basic and advanced computer science functions. Employers seek college graduates because they have the formal training and tech expertise to carry out the job. Computer science degrees teach software development, machine learning, programming languages, and other tech subjects.

More often than not, a computer science degree will help you find a job at major tech companies or tech startups. Universities offering accredited degrees will often include hands-on learning too. 

Coding Bootcamp vs Computer Science Degree: Cost Comparison

According to research from RTI Press, the average cost of a coding bootcamp is about $13,500 per program. On the other hand, the average annual cost of tuition and fees for a four-year bachelor’s degree program is $19,081, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). This shows that bootcamps are generally cheaper than computer science degree programs. 

Coding Bootcamp vs College: Career Services

The career services offered by coding bootcamps and colleges are similar. Coding bootcamps tend to focus more on these services because their main goal is to develop job-ready students. Coding bootcamps also have more to prove than colleges because they are much newer. 

Common Coding Bootcamp Career Services 

  • Career Workshops 
  • Job Fairs 
  • Mentorship
  • Career Coaching
  • Contract Negotiation
  • Interview Preparation
  • Resume Support
  • Social Media Profile Optimization
  • Job Search Help
  • Industry Insights
  • Cover Letter Guidance
  • Soft Skill Training
  • Networking Tips

Common Career Services Offered by Colleges

  • Job Fairs
  • Career Coaching 
  • Interview Preparation
  • Resume Support
  • Job Search Help
  • On-Campus Recruiting
  • Internships
  • Networking Tips

Coding Bootcamp vs College: Job Placement Rates

The job placement rate for college graduates is around 86 percent and between 71 and 95  percent for coding bootcamp graduates. The chances that you will find a job after graduation depends on your coding skills, your goals, and the available job placement support. 

To increase your chances of finding employment at major tech companies, pick a program with ample career support and networking opportunities. It’s equally important to opt for a program that trains you in practical skills.

Can You Get a Job with a Coding Bootcamp?

Yes, you can get a job after attending a coding bootcamp. Programming bootcamps want to help students secure a tech career because this proves the bootcamp’s worth. Flatiron School’s job placement rate is an impressive 86 percent, and General Assembly’s job placement rate is around 95 percent. Ironhack has a job placement rate of 89 percent.

After gaining practical skills from a coding bootcamp, you can become a data scientist or software developer at a major tech company. Coding bootcamp graduates often land full-time jobs as entry-level software engineers, data scientists, web developers, data analysts, cyber security engineers, and UX/UI designers. 

Can You Get a Job with a College Degree?

A college degree can also help you launch a tech career. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the employment rate for college graduates ranges between 74 and 90 percent, depending on your age. Two to eight percent of college graduates are unemployed after studying. 

Coding Bootcamp Graduates vs Computer Science Majors: Starting Salaries Comparison 

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the average salary for a newly minted computer science graduate is $68,668 per annum. The starting salary for tech bootcamp grads, meanwhile, varies from bootcamp to bootcamp. Lambda School’s graduates earn about $70,000 annually, whereas Flatiron School graduates earn $74,962 per annum. 

Companies That Hire Coding Bootcamp Graduates

  • Vimeo. Headquartered in New York City, Vimeo is a video platform that offers video hosting and sharing services. Vimeo has over 1,100 employees all over the world. 
  • Eventbrite. This company has a large engineering team and operates ticketing software. Eventbrite has more than 900 employees. 
  • Mobify. As a mobile ecommerce platform, Mobify has many opportunities for aspiring bootcamp graduates. This small company is based in Vancouver.
  • Slack. Slack is a social messaging platform that aims to make people’s lives easier. It has a workforce of over 3,000 employees. 
  • IBM. Besides offering apprenticeships and career opportunities to tech newbies, IBM also hires coding bootcamp graduates. As one of the major tech companies in the world, IBM has a huge team of more than 500,000 employees. 

Coding Bootcamp vs College: Key Takeaways

  • College programs require a greater time commitment and have a bigger risk of student loan debt because of the high cost. In contrast, coding bootcamps offer competitive employment opportunities at lower tuition costs, and they can be completed in a matter of weeks.
  • Whether you choose online or in-person programs, a coding bootcamp provides a more flexible learning style. Most college programs don’t offer you the same versatility and flexibility as coding bootcamps. It may be difficult for a college student to maintain a full-time job while studying in a college degree program.
  • Coding bootcamps offer more career support to help you find a job at major tech companies. Universities do offer career support, but the curricula focus more on theoretical than practical work. Bootcamp alumni tend to have a better combination of technical skills, soft skills, and career development skills than university graduates.

Coding Bootcamp vs College FAQ

Is it worth doing a coding bootcamp?

If you want intensive, short-term training, it’s worth joining a coding bootcamp in 2021. These bootcamps will help prepare you for your desired job while offering practical training and career services.

Do employers like coding bootcamps?

Yes, many employers do hire coding bootcamp graduates. Companies like IBM, Vimeo, Eventbrite, and Mobify hire bootcamp students. You may even be able to get a job at Google. Keep in mind that senior positions tend to be reserved for more experienced professionals.

Should I do a coding bootcamp or college?

This depends on your budget and how long you want to commit to studying. While a coding bootcamp isn’t as formal as a college degree, a college degree is much more expensive and time-consuming. What you pay for one coding bootcamp program is often much cheaper than one year of studying at college.

Can you get a job with just a coding bootcamp?

Yes, you can secure a job with just a coding bootcamp. The more experience and qualifications you have, the better your chances of securing a senior position. However, many companies will hire you with just a coding bootcamp certificate, as most coding bootcamps have hiring partners.

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