Are Coding Bootcamps Worth It In 2020?
If you’re wondering whether you should pay for a programming bootcamp, then this article is for you.
After working as a tech recruiter, I’m going to reveal whether coding bootcamps are worth it, including:
- What to expect from the coding bootcamp experience and what you’ll get by joining
- What jobs bootcamp grads can get
- How much money bootcamp graduates earn
- The average cost of coding bootcamps
- The pros and cons of software engineering bootcamps vs. a four-year degree in computer science
Let’s get started…
The Bootcamp Experience: What You’ll Get
Coding bootcamps give you access to expert instructors and an organized lesson plan so you can learn software development in the shortest time possible (usually two to three months if you take a full-time schedule).
Bootcamps provide a nice middle ground between learning to code completely on your own (difficult and disorganized) and attending university for four years to study computer science (expensive and time-consuming).
Many of the best programming bootcamps also provide something that even universities don’t: Job placement services and connections to top tech employers.
Universities have career services, but that doesn’t compare to a coding bootcamp that specializes only in helping their tech graduates get hired for coding jobs.
So that’s another big advantage that bootcamp grads benefit from, and that makes coding bootcamps worth it for a lot of people!
Below are all of the main benefits of joining a coding bootcamp:
Benefits of Joining a Coding Bootcamp:
- Structured, proven curriculum so you finish job-ready with a complete set of software development skills
- The opportunity to ask questions and interact live with instructors and classmates
- Code reviews and feedback from peers and instructors
- The opportunity to complete real-world projects and build a portfolio that you can show to employers upon graduation
- Job placement services (Mentioned above. Not every software engineering bootcamp offers the same level of service here, though, so ask them about this!)
These are some of the reasons coding bootcamps are worth it for a lot of people. Now let’s talk about what types of jobs you can expect to land after finishing a bootcamp for coding…
What Jobs Can You Get After a Coding Bootcamp?
Based on what I saw working as a tech recruiter, your best shot at landing a great job after finishing a coding bootcamp is in the field of web development.
I recommend choosing a bootcamp focused on this type of skill set for that reason.
From there, you can obtain an entry-level web development job which will pay approximately $40,000 to $70,000 per year.
This is a very rough estimate and will depend on your city and industry. (Many industries need web developers, from tech startups and financial institutions to e-commerce companies and more. Salaries aren’t equal in all industries, though).
Whichever industry you join as a web developer, you can advance and get promoted as you learn and grow… becoming a Senior Software Engineer or even Software Engineering Manager over time and potentially earning $100,000 relatively quickly.
Are Coding Bootcamps Accredited?
Most coding bootcamps are not accredited. Instead, they teach job-specific skills to help you obtain a job in the technology industry. Fortunately, it’s becoming less common for technology companies to require a degree or diploma from an accredited program. Many employers focus on real-world software development skills when hiring.
Hiring managers often look for projects that demonstrate your coding ability, which is what you’ll be learning in a software development bootcamp.
However, because most online coding bootcamps lack accreditation, you won’t be able to transfer to a college or university and pursue a bachelor’s degree or other degrees with your credits.
How Much Do Coding Bootcamps Cost?
The cost of coding bootcamps varies depending on whether the instruction is live or self-paced. Overall, you can expect to pay $15,000 to $18,000 for a fully-immersive, live coding bootcamp. However, most top coding bootcamps offer payment plans, so you won’t need to pay the full cost upfront.
Self-paced options without live instruction are much cheaper. For example, TreeHouse offers a very highly-rated TechDegree program for $199 per month.
A couple of live bootcamps also offer deferred payment, where you pay nothing until you graduate. Then, once you land a job paying above a certain amount (usually $50,000 to $60,000 per year), you begin paying them back.
You can read more about all of the bootcamps mentioned above in our list of the top 18 online coding bootcamps.
Can You Fail a Coding Bootcamp?
Yes, it’s possible to fail a coding bootcamp. You’ll be taught a lot of information, including one or more programming languages, in a relatively short time period. If you’re unable to complete the projects and learn the material at the pace that the class is taught, you risk failing and being unable to graduate.
Because of this, graduating from a coding bootcamp requires a high level of commitment and focus.
If you can’t commit to studying and putting in work every day (essentially, treating it like a full-time job), then you shouldn’t invest in a full-time coding bootcamp.
Note that if you’re currently working or have other scheduling constraints, some schools offer part-time and night class options! These options require less time per week and run for a longer period of time in terms of total weeks.
Also, there are self-paced options where it’s impossible to fall behind. So if you’d like to learn at your own pace, look into an option like the TechDegree program from TreeHouse.
Programming Bootcamp vs. a Computer Science Degree: Differences
Coding bootcamps are worth it for a lot of people, but it’s important to know that bootcamp grads are not going to have the same skills as a four-year computer science graduate.
So let’s discuss a coding bootcamp versus a computer science degree in terms of worth and value.
Computer science students study a lot more than just programming, and they’re going to have a deeper understanding of this field.
They’re going to be able to pick up new programming languages more easily, for example.
And you won’t be viewed quite the same by employers versus someone with a computer science degree (including top employers like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, etc.)
But tech companies have room for both types of workers! There are plenty of tech organizations that need good bootcamp graduates and look to hire this type of person!
And many top bootcamps have relationships with these employers and help you get interviews at these companies (ask the bootcamps you’re considering if they help with this, and how).
So to summarize the differences…
In a coding bootcamp, you’re paying less and getting educated MUCH faster, but the trade-off is that they don’t go as far in-depth with theory and fundamentals.
You’re not going to have the same understanding of computer science, data structures, algorithms, etc., which means you’ll have to work harder to learn new programming languages, write very advanced software, etc.
On the plus side, a coding bootcamp gets you job-ready much faster and for much less money.
It helps you build a foundation in a particular set of programming languages that you can use immediately in an entry-level role.
So coding bootcamps are still a great investment for launching a tech career. And you can learn more and more over time after landing your first job.
Putting It All Together: Are Coding Bootcamps Worth It?
Based on everything above, is it worth it to do a coding bootcamp?
If you want to land a job in tech without a computer science background, coding bootcamps are worth it in my opinion!
However, they’re not a magic solution that will instantly find you a job. Coding bootcamps are only worth it if you’re willing to put in the work and take responsibility for learning the skills and conducting your job search afterward.
These programs will teach you and help you, but they’re not going to carry you through everything.
To learn this type of in-demand, high-paying skill in such a short time period requires a LOT of focus on your end.
You won’t succeed in learning the material or getting a tech job if you can’t commit to that.
However, if you put in the effort, you’ll have a bright future and exciting career path.
Coding bootcamp graduates are well-equipped to obtain entry level software development jobs. And from there, you can continue learning and growing your career as a developer!
Plus, software development is one of the best fields to work in and will continue to be among the best in the coming decade, in my opinion.
This makes coding bootcamps a good investment and one that is worth the cost.
What to Do Next: Talk to a Few Bootcamps
If you’re still unsure whether a coding bootcamp is right for you or worth the investment, I recommend contacting a few of the top coding bootcamps and talking directly with them!
Get in touch with their instructors in particular. This should be your priority, since that’s who you’ll be spending most of your time working with and learning from.
They should be able to give more information about what languages their bootcamp teaches and what types of jobs you can land with those skills. (And ideally, how they’ll help you get hired).
Coding bootcamps are worth it for a lot of people in general, but some are much better than others depending on your goals, so talk to a few.
And if you know any bootcamp graduates, talk to them! Ask them about their experience. Were they able to find work? How quickly?
The steps above will help you know what to expect in each bootcamp so you can decide which one is most worth it for you!