Guide to Coding Bootcamp Programs
| Victoria Leigh Modified on July 11, 2022
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According to an Indeed survey of more than 1,000 technical recruiters and HR managers, 72% of employers believe coding bootcamp graduates are just as prepared for work as computer science degree-holders. The demand for computer science professionals currently exceeds the number of workers in the field, making bootcamps an ideal way to quickly join the workforce.
Coding bootcamps provide short-term, intensive training focused on building job-ready skills. Enrollees explore coding fundamentals, learn industry-standard tools and software, and complete multifaceted coding tasks and projects. Coding bootcamps attract beginners interested in breaking into tech and experienced professionals looking to enhance their skills.
The following guide answers the most common coding bootcamp questions. We also include information on bootcamp costs, types of bootcamps, and available career pathways.
What Are Coding Bootcamps?
Coding bootcamps require several months of intense, practical, project-based training. Bootcamp enrollees will encounter in-person, online, hybrid, full-time, and part-time formats, delivered synchronously and asynchronously. Unlike massive open online courses, coding bootcamps provide a scheduled, highly structured learning environment with experienced instructors guiding you from start to finish.
Learners can choose coding bootcamps focused on specific tech job sectors. Popular emphases include full-stack development, data science, cybersecurity, UX/UI, and software engineering.
Most bootcamp applicants need little or no prior coding experience. When bootcamps require skills testing, they typically offer bootcamp prep courses designed to fill these knowledge gaps. An applicant may also need to complete an interview to discuss whether a coding bootcamp suits their personal and professional aspirations.
Learn About Bootcamps From Recent Graduates:
Who Offers Coding Bootcamps?
Independent providers and university-affiliated programs provide coding bootcamps. School-affiliated programs do not award college credit or qualify for federal financial aid. This guide primarily focuses on independent providers.
All coding bootcamps offer similar learning outcomes. However, prospective students should research and compare bootcamps to identify their specific formatting, payment plans, and career support services. Check out the link below for more information comparing bootcamp providers.
What Types of Coding Bootcamps Are There?
Coding bootcamps offer in-person, online, and hybrid delivery methods. A 2019 study by RTI International explored various data points associated with coding bootcamps. Of the 507 comprehensive career preparation programs they identified, 85% offered in-person classes, and 15% featured online bootcamp classes.
Bootcamps also offer several pacing options. According to the RTI study, 70% of programs took place full time, with 30% occurring part time. Full-time programs averaged 13.1 weeks in length, while part-time programs averaged 24.3 weeks in length.
What Subjects Do Coding Bootcamps Cover?
Coding bootcamps provide students with a broad understanding of coding languages and their applications in computer programming. However, most bootcamps regularly focus on other specialized subjects, including:
- Web development
- Data science
- Software engineering
- Mobile app development
- Language-specific bootcamps (Python, Java, Ruby, etc.)
These popular bootcamps offer fundamental coding skills and practical training focused on specific career sectors. Learn more about your coding bootcamp options at the links below.
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How Much Do Coding Bootcamps Cost?
Coding bootcamp costs vary based on subject, program length, and format. According to the RTI study, the median cost of a full-time web development bootcamp falls around $11,900. In comparison, the median cost of a part-time bootcamp falls around $7,500.
Longer programs tend to cost the most. Full-time bootcamps lasting 1-8 weeks carried a median cost of $8,500, while full-time bootcamps lasting 17 weeks or more had a median price of $17,780.
Bootcamp learners should also prepare for associated costs of attendance, like commuting expenses for in-person programs. For both online bootcamps and in-person intensives, attendees usually must supply their own computers.
Coding bootcamps do not qualify for federal financial aid. However, of the bootcamps included in the RTI study, 89% offered aid, typically through scholarships, loans, and deferred tuition programs. Many employers also offer tuition support to employees seeking continuing education.
Source: RTI Press
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How Does a Coding Bootcamp Help with Jobs?
Bootcamps deliver rapid, comprehensive, and affordable job training. Many prospective students can't help but wonder, "What job can I get with bootcamp certification?"
Learners with college degrees in unrelated fields can attend coding bootcamp for the boost they need to qualify for entry-level tech careers. For working tech professionals, a coding bootcamp can help build on existing education and experience. After a coding bootcamp, students frequently pursue opportunities as software developers, computer programmers, or web developers.
Like all higher education programs, coding bootcamps cannot guarantee your dream job after graduation, but many bootcamps offer job placement assistance. Common services include career counseling, resume guidance, and access to networking opportunities.
Software developers handle the entire development process of software programs. They analyze user needs, craft designs, and use programming languages to build applications for desktop and mobile use. Many software developers hold bachelor's degrees, but the right software development bootcamp can provide the knowledge and skills needed to pursue entry-level opportunities. Seek out bootcamps that cover multiple languages and deliver a portfolio of projects you can show employers following graduation.
Job Outlook (2019-29): +22%
Median Annual Salary: $110,140
Web developers create and maintain websites for clients. Their responsibilities include the site's technical aspects, functionality, and any associated applications. These professionals commonly specialize in front-end or back-end development, using code to construct the look, feel, and responsiveness of webpages. Reputable web development bootcamps can satisfy employer requirements for entry-level opportunities or prepare graduates for freelance work.
Job Outlook (2019-29): +8%
Median Annual Salary: $77,200
Data scientists apply an interdisciplinary mix of computer science, statistics, and mathematics to extract meaningful information from raw data. Programming languages and visualization software are key tools in this profession. Since most employers require candidates with bachelor's degrees, data science coding bootcamps may best suit working tech, science, and math professionals looking to advance their careers.
Job Outlook (2019-29): +8%
Median Annual Salary: $98,230
Information security analysts plan and carry out security measures to protect computer networks and systems from unauthorized access. These professionals install software, monitor networks for breaches, investigate violations, and recommend security enhancements. Most companies prefer to hire candidates with bachelor's degrees, so a cybersecurity bootcamp may be best for current computer science professionals looking to specialize in this sector.
Job Outlook (2019-29): +31%
Median Annual Salary: $103,590
Job Outlook (2019-29): -9%
Median Annual Salary: $89,190
Why Consider a Coding Bootcamp?
Coding bootcamps provide structured tech training at a faster pace and lower cost than a college degree. Graduates possess project-based portfolios, job-ready skills, and the confidence to compete in a bustling industry. Coding bootcamps also help individuals with non-tech degrees who want to launch careers in the field.
Is a coding bootcamp right for you? In the tables below, we take a look at a few pros and cons of coding bootcamps and how these short-term programs compare to traditional degrees in computer science.
Pros and Cons of Coding Bootcamps
Comparing Coding Bootcamps to Computer Science Degrees
Coding bootcamps offer experienced tech professionals new knowledge in specific areas. These programs also allow non-tech professionals to build skills that qualify them for entry-level jobs. However, a college degree may better suit those looking for an in-depth computer science education with broader career applications.
Take a closer look at how coding bootcamps stack up against associate and bachelor's degrees in the table below.
|Bootcamps||Associate Degrees||Bachelor's Degrees|
|Length||8-16 weeks full time; approximately 24 weeks part time||Two years full time; part-time pacing varies||Four years full time; part time pacing varies|
|Types of Classes||Practical courses focused on developing specific job skills||Theoretical and practical courses covering general education and fundamental major-specific education||Practical and theoretical courses exploring general education, fundamental major-specific education, and broader electives of choice|
|Student Demographics||Early- and mid-career professionals looking to enhance coding skills or change careers||Recent high school graduates, early- and mid-career professionals looking to advance||Recent high school graduates, early- and mid-career professionals looking to advance|
|Program Format||Online (asynchronous or synchronous) or in person||Online (usually asynchronous) or in person||Online (usually asynchronous) or in person|
|Program Goals||Build student familiarity with industry tools and technology; develop student skills in coding and programming; prepare enrollees for coding careers||Provide learners with technical or vocational training; enhance skills in major-specific areas; prepare students for diverse entry-level opportunities in a specific field||Deliver a broad liberal arts education; enhance skills in critical thinking, communication, and major-specific areas; prepare learners for diverse entry-level opportunities|
|Admission Requirements||Varies by program; some commonly require aptitude/skills tests||High school diploma, qualifying GPA||High school diploma, qualifying GPA, supplemental materials (letters of recommendation, essays)|
The responsibility of evaluating programs primarily falls on individual students. Unlike colleges and universities, coding bootcamps cannot obtain regional, programmatic, or national accreditation. However, some bootcamp programs participate in transparent, standardized data measurement in partnership with the Council on Integrity in Results Reporting (CIRR).
Prospective students should compare costs, payment options, admission requirements, emphases and areas of study, and outcome data from CIRR, if available.
Before starting a coding bootcamp, make sure you have access to a computer that meets your program's minimum technology requirements. You may also want to invest in a few free or paid introductory courses, as some bootcamps require skills tests in the admissions process.
Explore Our Rankings for Top Coding Bootcamps
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Frequently Asked Questions About Coding Bootcamps
Is a coding bootcamp worth it?
Bootcamps offer a strong, relatively low-cost way to build new skills and break into the tech workforce. However, their rapid training models do not suit everyone and do not guarantee job placement.
Are bootcamps accredited?
Coding bootcamps, as part of an unregulated sector of the higher education industry, do not hold accreditation like colleges and universities. Prospective students must evaluate each bootcamp themselves before applying.
How hard is it to get into a coding bootcamp?
Coding bootcamps maintain relatively simple admission requirements, with little to no prior coding experience required. You may need to complete a skills test or interview for admission. Some bootcamp providers offer free pre-bootcamp courses to help prepare beginners.
How much does a coding bootcamp cost?
Coding bootcamp costs vary by subject, program length, and format. According to a study by RTI International, full-time bootcamps cost a median of $11,900. In comparison, the median cost of a part-time bootcamp falls around $7,500.
Can you get a job with just a coding bootcamp?
Yes. The right coding bootcamp can qualify you for entry-level tech opportunities. Look for programs that emphasize theoretical and practical knowledge and result in a portfolio of projects to show employers after graduation.
Is a coding bootcamp hard?
Difficulty level varies by subject matter and program. The most well-respected coding bootcamps typically apply the most rigorous curricula. Students must work hard to pass these programs, but they often receive better professional opportunities as a result.
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