Coding bootcamps are intensive, accelerated learning programs that teach beginners digital skills like Full-Stack Web Development, Data Science, Digital Marketing, and UX/UI Design. Since Dev Bootcamp first opened their doors in February 2012, the programming bootcamp industry has grown throughout the US and around the world. Bootcamps can vary in length from 6 to 28 weeks, although the average bootcamp is ~12 weeks long.
Following intensive coursework, bootcamps train students for their new career in the tech industry. Students graduate from bootcamps with a portfolio, an online presence, interview skills and more. Most bootcamps help graduates find an internship or match students with an employer network- in fact, in Course Report's most recent research, 89% of alumni report being employed in programming jobs within 120 days of graduation.
Course Report launched in 2013 with 30 total bootcamp-style programs in our directory. Today, we list over 300! About 90 of those are full-time, in-person, immersive coding bootcamps in the US and Canada. There are bootcamp campuses in over 69 cities throughout the US/Canada. Coding bootcamps are predicted to graduate 18,000 students and gross $200MM in tuition revenue in 2016.
|PREPPING FOR A BOOTCAMP||BOOTCAMP APPLICATIONS|
|1. Is a bootcamp or college my best option?||8. What should I expect?|
|2. Can I learn to code on my own?||PAYING FOR BOOTCAMP|
|3. Am I ready?||9. How much should I budget?|
|NARROWING YOUR OPTIONS||10. How do I pay for this?|
|4. What type of bootcamp should I attend?||JOB PLACEMENT|
|5. Should I move cities?||11. Will I get a job?|
|6. Which Programming language should I learn?||12. What can I do with a bootcamp education?|
|7. Where can I find reviews?||13. Are bootcamps accredited?|
Can you really learn everything you need for a job in the tech industry without a computer science degree? Here are 5 things to consider when deciding between 4 months vs. 4 years of school.
Once you’ve decided to learn how to code, you may be wondering if you can teach just teach yourself. History says, "YES!" Plenty of successful developers are self-taught using books, online resources, etc. Here are 6 things to consider when deciding if you should attend a bootcamp or teach yourself.
Coding Bootcamps are intensive programs- while very rewarding, they will be stressful and tiring. Before attending a bootcamp, consider if it’s the right fit for you. The following are skills that schools look for in intensive bootcamp students:
If an immersive bootcamp is not an option, consider a part-time bootcamp or online bootcamp.
Top bootcamps' acceptance rates are notoriously low (some between 3-6%), but that doesn't mean that you're not ready to learn to code. Programming Bootcamps are generally upfront about the minimum demands they make on their students. Some "zero to sixty" code schools are meant to bring beginners into the fold and other "twenty to one-twenty" bootcamps aim to help current developers make a leap or learn a new technology stack. First, figure out what your own skill level is, and then find the bootcamp that aligns with that level.
Intensive coding bootcamps – Intensive bootcamps usually last 2 months to 7 months. Classes are held full-time and students can use facilities after class to review concepts and work on projects. Many intensive bootcamp students put in 80 hour weeks. To attend an intensive bootcamp, students must be prepared to give up their full-time job and limit outside activities for the course of the program.
Part-time coding bootcamps – Part-time coding bootcamps usually meet on nights and weekends. Students study concepts over a longer period of time and spend 6-15 hours per week in class and another 10-15 hours per week on additional concepts. Students in part-time bootcamps usually remain employed during their program.
Online coding bootcamps – More recently, the bootcamp trend has shifted thanks to online coding schools like Bloc, Thinkful, and other popular programs. Students can choose an intensive or part-time course. Students complete curriculum and activities on their own and meet with a mentor several times each week. Most online schools also have an online community where students can connect with each other. One plus? You can enjoy the benefits of bootcamp from the comfort of your own home. Watch demos of online coding bootcamps here.
While you will still find the majority of dev bootcamps in major tech hubs like San Francisco and New York, bootcamps have sprung up in smaller markets since 2012. Coupled with legitimate online coding schools that offer mentorship, you no longer need to move cities in order to get a solid education. Consider these things when making the decision:
According to Course Report's latest 2015 Outcomes & Demographics Report, cities with the highest average salaries remain the large tech hubs with plenty of developer jobs: Palo Alto, San Francisco, Denver, New York City, Chicago and Boulder were among the cities with highest mean and median salaries. States like California, Colorado, New York, Illinois, and North Carolina were among the states with highest mean and median salaries. That's right, bootcamp grads in North Carolina saw an average salary of $61,465!
Coding bootcamps employ teaching languages to introduce students to the world of programming. While language shouldn’t be the main deciding factor when choosing a bootcamp, students may have specific career goals that guide them towards a particular language.
In that case, first decide whether you’d prefer to learn web or mobile development. For the web, your main choices are Ruby, Python, LAMP stack, MEAN stack and .NET languages. For mobile, choose between Java for Android and Swift or Objective-C for iOS. Learning a specific language may lead you to a new job market and offer pathways to different career tracks, average salaries and areas of business. However, many recent bootcamp graduates find that they end up learning and using a completely different language on the job. There is no “right” or “wrong” language to learn!
If you look at the data, graduates who learned Python report the highest salary after graduation ($80,368) and the most drastic change in salary after graduation (a $33,713 lift). Students who reported learning C# are most likely to be employed as a developer after graduation (71%).
If you've graduated from a bootcamp, you should leave a review to help future students make their decision.
While coding bootcamp interviews will differ by school, you can expect certain elements across the board. Some interviews will begin with a “culture fit” while others begin with the coding challenge. Some schools have only one interview to assess both culture and technical aptitude. Here’s how to prepare:
Keep in mind that an interview is also an opportunity for you to have your questions answered so come in ready to pick the brain of your interviewer.
Most of all, don’t freak out! If you’re passionate about getting into coding and you study up, you have nothing to worry about. You’re going into a bootcamp to learn better skills. They won’t expect you to know everything- most importantly, show that you're receptive to teaching and eager to learn.
Many code schools have placement tests or online pre-work assessments that you complete as part of your application. Check out these tools for further practice:
The average full-time programming bootcamp in the US costs $11,450 with some bootcamps charging up to $20,000 in tuition. When making a decision, first calculate your Return on Investment (ROI): do your research and compare bootcamp tuition costs to the average starting salary of past graduates. Be sure to consider the opportunity cost incurred by quitting your job, room & board, and any hidden fees from loans. Some bootcamps offer free or discounted housing. The amount of money that you’re willing to invest should probably correlate strongly with the amount of time and energy that you’re willing to put forth. Compare coding bootcamp tuition costs here.
Bootcamps are expensive. Because code schools are not degree-granting institutions, most bootcampers don't qualify for traditional student loans like Pell Grants. As a result, many students put their tuition on a credit card, borrow money from friends and family, or use savings. As the coding bootcamp industry has grown, so too has the business of financing them. Most bootcamps offer financing options, payment plans, and loan partnerships through companies like Earnest, Pave, Climb Credit and Lendlayer, in addition to scholarships and discounts for women, military veterans, and underrepresented minorities.
Other creative ways to pay for your code school tuition:
Coding bootcamp graduates go on to do so many cool things. Here are just a few examples:
Yes and no. Much of the appeal for a bootcamp is the agile curriculum and ability to teach the latest technologies. In early 2014, the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) sent cease & desist letters to many California code schools, later coined a "crackdown." While a few coding bootcamps have been "shut down" by their state's regulatory agencies, many are actively working with those agencies to become accredited. Accreditation does not mean that the code school is able to grant degrees. So what does it mean? Accredited coding bootcamps often have to submit their curricula (and any major curricula changes) for approval, invest in liability insurance in case of closure, and publicize their course catalog. Here's an interesting perspective on accreditation from Bitmaker Labs CEO Craig Hunter.
Coding Bootcamps have caught the attention of many politicians and governments, including the White House Office of the CTO and President Obama, who launched the TechHire initiative in March 2015. In conjunction with TechHire, a group of top bootcamps announced the New Economy Skills Training Association (NESTA) to establish best practices, standards, and increase accountability for outcome-based NESTA organizations. Once code schools begin publishing their outcomes through NESTA, this will likely become much more credible than state accreditation.
In October 2015, the Department of Education announced EQUIP (Educational Quality through Innovative Partnerships). EQUIP is a US Department of Education initiative that encourages partnerships between universities and alternative education providers (read: bootcamps)! You could read the entire Federal Register or the slightly more condensed fact sheet. Or, spend a minute reading this NYT article + this NPR coverage. What does EQUIP look like? Flatiron School's partnership with Southern New Hampshire University could be an example. So could General Assembly's partnership with Lynn U. We'll keep an eye on this.