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Choosing a Coding Bootcamp:
Your Comprehensive Guide And Complete School List

Choosing the right coding bootcamp is a big decision. We want to help. Use Course Report's comprehensive guide to narrow down your options and read our answers to the most frequently asked questions about bootcamps. Then check out the best-reviewed coding bootcamps in our exhaustive list below. Which coding bootcamps have the best instructors, job placement, and curriculum? You'll find it all here.

By: Liz Eggleston

What is a Coding Bootcamp?

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.

Coding bootcamps teach a technical curriculum in popular languages and frameworks like Ruby on Rails, Python on Django, JavaScript, and PHP stacks. They are also heavily project based, and require students to immediately put their learnings into practice. Students build fully functional web-apps, do data analysis and use real dev tools just weeks into their programs. In recent years, the bootcamp model has extended to other digital skills like UX/UI Design, Data Science, and Cybersecurity.

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, 78% 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 500! About 100 of those are full-time, in-person, immersive coding bootcamps in the US and Canada. There are bootcamp campuses in over 85 cities throughout the US/Canada. Coding bootcamps are predicted to graduate 20,000 students and gross $220MM in tuition revenue in 2018.

Top 13 Coding Bootcamp FAQs

1.  Coding bootcamp vs college: what's my best option? 8. What should I expect at a coding bootcamp?
2. Can I learn to code on my own? PAYING FOR BOOTCAMP
3. Am I ready for a coding bootcamp? 9. How much should I budget at a bootcamp?
NARROWING YOUR OPTIONS 10. How do I pay for a coding bootcamp?
4. What type of coding bootcamp should I attend? JOB PLACEMENT
5. Should I move cities for a coding bootcamp? 11. Will I get a job after a coding bootcamp?
6. Which programming language should I learn? 12. What can I do after a bootcamp education?
7. Where can I find coding bootcamp reviews? 13. Are coding bootcamps accredited?



1. Coding Bootcamp vs College: what's best for me?

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.

  • Cost. The cost of a bootcamp is equivalent to one semester of a CS degree program, but leads to a rewarding average starting salary of 60-70K.
  • Return on Investment.  You can complete a bootcamp in less time and with less money while still holding the same earnings potential as a CS grad.
  • Time Commitment. CS Degree programs require a longer time investment, which means deeper understanding and more practice hours. In contrast, you’ll finish a bootcamp in a matter of weeks, but may need to spend some time doing self-study to get up to speed.
  • Curriculum.  For a more well-rounded understanding of computer systems and a general understanding of coding, a CS degree is a better option. To delve right into coding languages and their practical applications, bootcamp is the way to go.
  • Career Outlook.  If you want to launch or join a startup skip the CS degree and go to bootcamp. If becoming an executive at Google, Apple or Amazon is in your future, plan to earn a CS degree at some point down the road.


2. Can I learn how to code on my own?

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.

  • Prior coding experience. Students with a computer science background or knowledge of programming, may find it easier to teach themselves. However, if you have no knowledge of programming and would like to learn quickly, it’s better to attend a coding bootcamp.
  • Coding curriculum. It’s difficult enough to learn to code, and if you don’t have a guide, it’s hard to know how to teach yourself. If you find it difficult to find the tools you need, consider a bootcamp with a set curriculum.
  • Learning style. Have you tried to teach yourself a new technical skill in the past? Were your past self-teaching attempts a success? Work out what your learning style is. If you find that you learn well on your own, it’s something you should try before bootcamp.
  • Time and commitment. What is your Bootcamp ROI (Return on Investment)? You may save in the long run by paying for a bootcamp and reaping the benefits of a salary increase in just a few short months. Use the Bootcamp ROI calculator to determine your ROI.
  • Your network. Do you know fellow programmers? Do you have contacts to find a job after you learn to code? If not, a bootcamp will surely provide a network and contacts, which are fundamental in any career transition.
  • Set your goals. Are you a career changer or just seeking a new hobby? Take some time to self-teach before taking the plunge and quitting your job to join a bootcamp.


3. Am I ready for a coding bootcamp?

Coding Bootcamps are intensive programs; while very rewarding, a coding bootcamp will be stressful and will push you. Before attending a bootcamp, consider if it’s the right fit for your learning style. Schools look for the following skills in intensive bootcamp applicants:

  • Willingness to work hard – this is particularly important when applying to an intensive bootcamp. It’s a huge investment to spend 40-80+ hours a week over the course of several months to learn a new skill. You'll often hear the word grit throughout the admissions process, and that's exactly what schools are looking for in applicants. Bootcamps want to know that their students are committed to doing whatever it takes to succeed for the duration of the bootcamp. At the same time, make sure you avoid burnout.
  • Ability to problem solve – An intense curiosity and desire to problem-solve are vital, because many bootcamps offer limited lectures and instead require students to spend most of the day solving challenges on their own. During the technical coding challenge, your approach to problem-solving can be even more important than solving the challenge.
  • Interpersonal skills – Whether it’s called empathy or just “playing nice,” a bootcamp is a team sport. You’ll be spending the majority of your days learning alongside and coding with a small group of strangers. Those that demonstrate a desire to learn from and work with others will do well.
  • Technical chops – Depending on the school. you may be required to pass a coding challenge in your interview. If you're not quite ready, take a coding bootcamp prep program.

If a full-time coding bootcamp is not an option, consider a part-time bootcamp or online bootcamp.



4. What type of bootcamp should I attend?

Acceptance rates at top coding bootcamps are notoriously low (some between 3-6%), but that doesn't mean that you're not ready to learn to code. Coding 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.

Immersive coding bootcamps – Immersive 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 hold part-time or full-time jobs in addition to class.

Online coding bootcamps – More recently, the bootcamp trend has shifted thanks to online coding schools like Bloc, Thinkful, and other popular programs. Even if you choose to study online, you'll still have options between flexible or full-time courses. 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.

Stuck between two bootcamps? Here are a few comparisons:

5. Which city should I attend coding bootcamp?

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 (there are coding bootcamps in over 70 US cities)! 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:

  • Where do you want to work after you graduate?  If your goal is to get a job in your current city, then there's no reason to pack up yet!
  • Do you have obligations in your current city?  If you don’t have ties or if you're just ready for a big move, then perhaps a fully immersive experience could be beneficial in freeing you from distractions and offering a new experience.
  • Does your current city have a credible coding bootcamp option? The Midwest, South, and even Malaysia, all have credible coding bootcamps. It’s not necessary to move cities (or countries) to get a solid foundation in programming and get a job as a software developer.

According to Course Report's latest 2016 Outcomes & Demographics Report, cities with the highest average salaries remain the large tech hubs with plenty of developer jobs: San Francisco, Oakland, Seattle, New York City, Denver, and Los Angeles were among the cities with highest mean and median salaries. States like California, Washington, Texas, New York, and Colorado were among the states with highest mean and median salaries. Bootcamp grads in San Francisco saw the highest average salary of $100,779!


6. Which programming language should I learn?

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!


7. Where can I find coding bootcamp reviews?

Check out Course Report for thousands of coding bootcamp reviews! Our school directory is sorted by the number of verified reviews. You can also find reviews on Quora and Yelp.

If you've graduated from a bootcamp, you should leave a review to help future students make their decision. 


8. What can I expect in a coding bootcamp interview? 

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:

  • Written or Video Application
    • Read Quora, the bootcamp’s website, and blogs by its founder, former students, and alumni.
    • Prior to the application do some self-assessment to determine your reasons for going to bootcamp. Are you preparing for a new career? Trying to learn a new skill to get a promotion? Scoping out a new hobby?
    • Set aside at least one hour to answer the questions thoroughly and also give yourself time to edit answers as needed.
  • Culture Fit Interview
    • Brush up on some of the online resources you started with, the bootcamp itself and its founders.
    • If you've built personal projects or worked on something technical at your current job, be prepared to walk the interviewer through your portfolio.
  • Technical Interview + Coding Challenge (optional)

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:



9. How much should I spend on coding bootcamp tuition?

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.

10. How do I pay for bootcamp?

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 Skills FundPave, Climb Credit and Affirm, in addition to scholarships and discounts for women, military veterans, and underrepresented minorities. 

Other creative ways to pay for your code school tuition:

  • Students who are already employed and are attending bootcamp to gain skills for their current job are often able to work out a deal with their employer to cover some if not all of the cost of the bootcamp.
  • Crowdfunding your coding bootcamp tuition is always worth a try!
  • Certain bootcamps like App Academy and Viking Code School won’t demand tuition until you’ve been placed in a job.
  • Ask the bootcamp if they offer a partial tuition refund if you accept a job with one of their hiring partners. Our research finds that 15% of graduates got a tuition refund this way.
  • There are many great scholarship opportunities for coding bootcamps based on merit, gender, race, service in the armed forces, and financial need. Explore all of these options and don’t leave money on the table that you could’ve been putting towards your education!
  • Course Report offers exclusive scholarships and discounts to over 25 bootcamps. Check out this list to see if your dream bootcamp is on our list!



11. Will I get a job after graduating from a bootcamp? 

  • Network and resources — If you’re attending a bootcamp in hope of changing careers, then you should find out what services are offered. Some bootcamps set up prospective interviews with potential employers, while others offer resume workshops and provide a list of hiring partners.
  • Job Placement —  Consider a bootcamp’s job placement rate 30, 60, 90 and 120 days after the program. While some schools like App Academy SF only require you to pay if you get a job, most bootcamps don’t follow this model. Some bootcamps provide this information publicly via an industry organization called CIRR, while others may require some digging on Course Report.  
    • Before applying to the bootcamp, do your homework:
      • Read about coding bootcamps and visit their website.
      • If you can't find a Student Outcomes Report easily, ask the school to provide one (along with their methodology)
      • Read programming bootcamp questions on Quora to read answers from bootcamps
      • Read bootcamp reviews and interviews with Alumni     
      • Visit the bootcamp space and talk to an instructor if possible

12. Where can I go with my bootcamp education?

Coding bootcamp graduates go on to do so many cool things. Here are just a few examples:

  • Get a job as a junior developer at a large company you've always admired.
  • Join a small dev team at a startup.
  • Take an apprenticeship and learn from the masters for a few months after graduating.
  • Become a technical co-founder and help launch a product.
  • Freelance while you travel the world.
  • Work for another coding bootcamp as an instructor, teaching assistant, or support staff.
  • Find a job as a technical product manager.
  • Take on new projects at your current company (and get a promotion or a raise while you're at it)!


13. Are Programming Bootcamps Regulated or Accredited?

Yes and no. Much of the appeal for a bootcamp is the agile curriculum and ability to teach the latest technologies. 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 government bodies, including the White House Office of the CTO, President Obama (who launched the TechHire initiative in March 2015), and the current administration. 

In March 2017, CIRR (Council on Integrity in Results Reporting) was announced as a group of over 50 bootcamps and member organizations who have developed a common framework for reporting, documenting, and auditing bootcamp student outcomes. This new coalition (which includes Course Report) is committed to publishing student graduation and job placement data in a single, standardized framework. Learn more as we break down CIRR here



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