Coding Bootcamp vs Computer Science Degree: Which Is Right For You?
There are many different ways to pursue a computer science career path. 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, so it is important to weigh the benefits of a coding bootcamp vs a computer science degree.
This article will compare coding bootcamps vs degree programs in terms of cost, course length, flexibility, and career services. Though both avenues can help you land a high-paying programming job, there are some key trade-offs if you opt for a coding bootcamp vs college. To help you make the decision between getting a computer science degree vs bootcamp certificate, we have broken down all of the essential factors to consider below.
Coding Bootcamp vs CS Degree: Overview
Coding bootcamps are short-term, intensive programs that help professionals break into the tech industry. The bootcamps provide both in-person and online programs, offered at different paces to suit different schedules. Coding bootcamp education encompasses practical training, and course content is constantly updated to keep up with industry trends. One key difference between a coding bootcamp vs a CS degree is that bootcamps often provide career services.
Completing a four-year Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science will teach you basic and advanced computer science functions. Computer science degrees teach software development, machine learning, programming languages, and other tech subjects. Universities offering accredited degrees will often include hands-on learning too.
Coding Bootcamp vs Computer Science Degree: Comparison
There are many reasons to choose a coding bootcamp vs a computer science degree. However, there are certain situations when it’s more advantageous to enroll in a computer science degree vs a bootcamp. Overall, there is a lot to consider when making this decision. Take a look at the differences between a coding bootcamp vs a degree program in terms of cost, pace, career services, and more.
According to data from Statista, over half of coding bootcamps in the US cost somewhere between $5,000 and $15,000. Another 23 percent cost $15,000 to $20,000, and a large portion of bootcamps, at 19 percent, cost less than $5,000. In comparison, 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.
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.
However, both types of programs offer a variety of ways to fund your education. Though each program has options such as private loans, scholarships, and upfront payments, there are some differences when it comes to paying tuition for a coding bootcamp vs a college degree. For example, a bootcamp may offer an income share agreement, while a degree program allows you to take out federal loans.
If you are looking for a more targeted and focused curriculum, you should choose a coding bootcamp vs a computer science degree. Coding bootcamps offer career-specific programs that help you build practical professional skills quickly.
When it comes to computer science degrees, the programs often take a more well-rounded approach. Degree students will study theory and also get hands-on experience in various computer science disciplines.
The duration of coding bootcamps vs computer science degrees is one of the biggest differences between the two programs. Coding bootcamps typically last anywhere from two to six months. In contrast, a Bachelor’s in Computer Science is a four-year program.
So, if you are trying to decide between a computer science degree vs a bootcamp, then you should think about how much time you want to spend studying. If you want to start your career in tech quickly, then joining a coding bootcamp is the more suitable option.
Pace and Format
Another key factor that can help you choose a coding bootcamp vs degree program is the pace and format in which you can learn. For example, bootcamps are often designed to cater to working students, so they offer a variety of flexible learning options. You can find online, in-person, part-time, full-time, and self-paced bootcamps.
When it comes to computer science degrees, classes may be offered online or in-person, but students will have a set schedule and timeline that they need to adhere to. However, you can also study for a computer science degree on a part-time basis, though this means it will take you over four years to graduate.
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.
|Coding Bootcamp Career Services
|Computer Science Degree Career Services
Social Media Profile Optimization
Job Search Help
Cover Letter Guidance
Soft Skill Training
Job Search Help
Job Placement Rates
The job placement rate for college graduates is around 86 percent, according to NCES data. The NCES also reports that the unemployment rate is significantly lower for bachelor’s degree holders across all age groups, which means that graduating college does indeed help you get a job.
The job placement rate for bootcamps depends on the program you choose. For example, General Assembly has an impressive job placement rate of over 99 percent after one year when students participate in the Career Services program. Meanwhile, Hack Reactor has a 180-day job placement rate of 85 percent.
The chances that you will find a job after graduation from either type of program 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. Opting for a program that trains you in practical skills is equally important.
Employers seek college graduates because they have the formal training and tech expertise to carry out the job. More often than not, a computer science degree will help you find a job at major tech companies or tech startups. You could work as an entry-level software engineer, web developer, information security analyst, mobile app developer, and more.
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. Overall, the career opportunities are not much different for coding bootcamp vs computer science degree graduates.
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the average salary for a newly minted computer science graduate is $81,202 per year. Your salary can vary depending on your location and the company that hires you, which is true whether you attend a computer science degree program or a bootcamp.
The starting salary for tech bootcamp grads, meanwhile, varies from bootcamp to bootcamp. Fullstack Academy’s graduates earn an average starting salary of $85,000 annually, whereas Flatiron School graduates earn $74,962 per annum, on average. A study conducted by Arc reports that bootcamp graduates consistently earn more than computer science degree holders worldwide.
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, which is something to weigh when choosing between a computer science degree or bootcamp.
- 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.
Computer Science Degree vs Bootcamp: Final Thoughts
Whether it is better to attend a computer science degree vs bootcamp program depends on your individual circumstances. A computer science degree is a common choice for those who want to break into the tech industry. However these expensive degrees take around four years to complete, and 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. If you want intensive, short-term training, it’s worth choosing a coding bootcamp vs a computer science degree in 2023. The best coding bootcamps will help prepare you for your desired job while offering practical training and career services.
Coding Bootcamp vs College FAQ
A computer science degree is hard because it focuses on highly technical topics as well as the theoretical knowledge behind the field of computer science. Getting a degree in computer science is also hard because it is a full-time, four-year program that requires a lot of dedication.
There are many top companies that hire coding bootcamp grads such as IBM, Vimeo, Eventbrite, and Mobify. Even some of the top players in the tech industry, like Meta, Amazon, and Microsoft, have been known to hire bootcamp graduates. You may even be able to get a job at Google after graduating from a coding bootcamp.
There are many things you can do with a computer science degree besides programming, such as working as an IT project manager. In this role, you won’t need to spend any time coding, but your knowledge of computer science will help you better manage and understand the project you are supervising.
You can get a job with just a coding bootcamp education. However, the more experience and qualifications you have, the better your chances of securing a senior position. Nonetheless, many companies will hire you with just a coding bootcamp certificate, as most coding bootcamps have hiring partners.