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. Through project-based learning, coding bootcamps get students job-ready for a career in tech in about 12 weeks. There are more than 100 coding bootcamps in cities across the US and Canada, and ~50 bootcamps internationally. The average bootcamp costs ~$13,500, and graduates report an average starting salary of $67,000. Since the first bootcamps opened their doors in February 2012, this 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 ~14 weeks long.
Bootcampers 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, 83% of bootcamp alumni report being employed in programming jobs.
This year marks the 8th anniversary for the coding bootcamp industry, and more students than ever are learning to code at a bootcamp. Coding bootcamps are a $309 million industry and will graduate ~23,000 developers in 2019. But a lot has changed since coding bootcamps opened their doors.
Course Report launched in 2013 with 30 total bootcamp-style programs in our directory. Today, Course Report lists 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 23,000 students and gross $309MM in tuition revenue in 2019. In addition to this growth of the core industry, we see growth in several other areas:
Note about Methodology: We survey actual schools for their graduation data each year. While there are other methods of estimating the bootcamp market like scraping LinkedIn, we worry that those methods severely overestimate the market because students rarely list the course taken at a bootcamp. Part-time or intro classes are often not outcomes-focused, so including them in a Coding Bootcamp Market Size produces a flawed view of the market. When we measure the market size each year, we are including only graduates of full-time, immersive bootcamps.
Coding bootcamps have different academic models than traditional universities which allow them to serve the needs of a variety of learners. There are 4 bootcamp models in the space: Full-Time In-Person, Full-Time Remote, Self-Paced, Part-Time Career-Focused. While the subjects taught are similar across models (typically web development, mobile development, UX/UI design, data science, and project management), the time commitment, outcomes expectations, depth and delivery of curricula vary based on model.
These are the schools that we typically think about when talking about “coding bootcamps.” Immersive, full-time, in-person – students attend class for 40-80 hours each week in a classroom. 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. The Flatiron School Software Engineering Immersive, Turing School's Back-End Engineering Bootcamp, and Codesmith's Software Engineering Immersive are examples of this model.
Online Coding Bootcamps almost mimic the classroom experience – these are full-time bootcamps that require 40-60 hours per week (this is no MOOC)! Typically, online bootcamps will either use pre-existing tools like Zoom Pro and build communities on Slack. Schools like Hack Reactor Remote, Thinkful's Engineering Immersion, and Lambda School's Full Stack Web Immersive are immersive, instructor-led bootcamps. Like their in-person counterparts, online bootcamps teach UX design, data science, and software development, have outcomes-oriented curricula that include one-on-one instructor/mentor guidance, interaction with classmates, and targeted career coaching.
Self-Paced Online Bootcamps require less of a time commitment each week (~10-20 hours) but take longer to complete. Typically, students complete curriculum and projects on their own schedule 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 and don't need to quit your job to upskill. Thinkful's Engineering Flex and Springboard's Software Engineering Career Track are great examples of the self-paced online bootcamp.
Part-time coding bootcamps usually meet on nights and weekends. Students study programming over a longer period of time (~6-9 months) and spend 6-15 hours per week in class and another 10-15 hours per week on outside work. Students in part-time bootcamps usually hold part-time or full-time jobs in addition to class. The goal for a part-time bootcamper is typically to land a new job or get a promotion at work, but some part-time students' goals are to simply add new tools to their resume. For example, a Product Manager may take a part-time coding bootcamp to become more fluent with developers at work. Examples of quality part-time bootcamps are Actualize's Nights and Weekends Course or DevMountain's After Hours User Experience Design Course.
Tuition ranges from $0 to $28,000 for an in-person coding bootcamp, with an average tuition of $13,584. The average online bootcamp costs $12,898 and lasts 24.3 weeks.
The cost of a bootcamp education doesn't even compare to a 4-year degree: While coding bootcamps cost an average of $13,584, the tuition at top CS programs can be triple or quadruple that in just one academic year. Carnegie Mellon undergraduate tuition and tuition at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is about $60,000-70,000 per year. Students also must consider opportunity cost and living cost – the longer you are studying, the longer you will have to make ends meet on a tight budget.
TREND ALERT: Over the years, coding bootcamps have gotten much longer: from just under 11 weeks in 2015 to just over 15 weeks in 2019. And interestingly, we find that the length of the bootcamp actually does have an impact on post-graduation average salary: the average salary after an 8-week bootcamp is $58,248 versus the average salary after a bootcamp that’s longer than 16 weeks, which is $71,103. While most bootcamps are 12-14 weeks long, schools like Turing School (7 months), Ada Developers Academy, and Holberton (up to 2 years) are examples of longer bootcamps.
In our latest research, we found that 26% of 2019 bootcamp graduates are using external loans to cover tuition (that's up from 23% in 2018). The most popular lending partners used are Skills Fund and Climb Credit. 45% of bootcampers who used an external loan opted for Skills Fund; 24% used a Climb Credit loan. Other lending partners in the space include Upstart, Quotanda, Sallie Mae, Earnest, and Pave.
As of June 1, 2019, there are coding bootcamp courses in 71 US cities and 38 states, and 14 online. Location data is from a sample of 180 courses from all 96 qualifying schools.
6 Canadian bootcamps graduated 888 students in 2018, will graduate an estimated 1,057 in 2019, and will generate $12,056,406 in revenue in 2019. The most popular teaching language in Canadian bootcamps is divided evenly between Ruby on Rails and MEAN Stack. As of June 1, 2019, there are coding bootcamp courses in 7 Canadian cities and 4 provinces.
On top of the technical curriculum, most bootcamps offer services to help prepare students for the job market. Almost all students report receiving some form of assistance: career days, resume prep, apprenticeship, on-site interviews, and more. The most popular services offered are resume assistance and networking events.
The majority of graduates of coding bootcamps are finding full-time employment, and 83% of graduates surveyed say they've been employed in a job requiring the technical skills learned at bootcamp, with a median salary increase of 51% or $22,000. The average starting salary of a bootcamp grad is $66,964. Course Report's Annual Outcomes & Demographics Study dives into graduates' success, analyzing not only demographics and outcomes, but also how previous experience, income, location, and other factors impact a student's average salary and ability to get a job.
As bootcamp grads progress in their careers, salaries rise as well. In our latest survey, Course Report found that in their second jobs, bootcamp graduates earn around $78,000 per year, and by their third jobs, alumni report earning, on average, $90,990 per year! This data confirms that as new grads become more experienced developers, they’re also increasingly valuable to their teams and companies (and can command higher salaries).
Other factors like location certainly impact salaries – graduates working in California see the highest salaries; the average is $100,482. Next up is New York, where grads make an average of $74,756. Interestingly, graduates who studied online had the third highest average salary of $70,500. However, living costs are likely to be higher in those tech hubs in California and New York, so students should make sure to take that into consideration when looking for a job.
The average bootcamper has 6 years of work experience, has at least a Bachelor's degree, and has never worked as a programmer. However, the number of students with degrees appears to be declining slightly over time.
ISAs and Deferred Tuition can align a school’s incentives with those of their students. Essentially, if their students aren’t successful, then neither is the school. However, these payment offerings require schools to take on additional risk, so you shouldn’t expect to see every school offering deferred tuition or ISAs. The terms and conditions between bootcamps are also incredibly nuanced, so students should do additional research to understand whether there is a cap on repayments, minimum salaries that trigger repayment, and the total amount paid compared to a traditional loan.
Deferred tuition means students pay no upfront tuition (or very little), then start paying a set tuition amount once they graduate and find a job. You should expect to see a fixed total tuition cost that you will pay to the school in installments.
An income sharing agreement means students agree to pay a percentage of their salary to the school for a set period of time. Depending on the school, the percentage can range from 8% to 25%, and you may be sharing your income for 1 year to 4 years. ISAs have also been popularized by colleges like Purdue University – though the minimum salary that triggers repayment at Purdue is $20,000, which pales in comparison to the $40-50K minimum salaries we see from bootcamps. At the end of the day, Income Sharing Agreements are another way for schools to show potential students that they're confident in their ability to get students jobs. Our recommendation is to ask the school for an Outcomes Report – that's the most transparent method to see if they get their students jobs.
Income Sharing Agreements are financial instruments (like a loan). But they currently fall into a bit of a grey area. Many schools use a third-party organization like Vemo Education or Leif to design, implement, and “take the complexity out of” offering Income Sharing Agreements. Traditional lenders like Skills Fund even started designing ISAs in 2020! We expect 2021 to bring regulation to the ISA industry.
Online coding bootcamps offer convenience and structure without forcing students to quit their job or move to a new city. 5,519 developers graduated from 14 of these full-time, remote bootcamps in 2019 and we expect this space to continue growing. The average online bootcamp costs $12,898 and lasts 24.3 weeks.
MOOCs have infamously low graduation rates, but online coding bootcamps are not MOOCs! Schools like Hack Reactor Remote, Thinkful, and Lambda School are offering immersive, instructor-led bootcamps that keep students engaged and even guarantee jobs. Like their in-person counterparts, online bootcamps teach UX design, data science, and software development, have outcomes-oriented curricula that include one-on-one instructor/mentor guidance, interaction with classmates, and targeted career coaching.
Each year, we spend months choosing a list of the best online bootcamps. But remember, there is no ultimate “best online coding boot camp” – the best code school for you depends on your own learning style, availability, and career goals. No matter how many accolades a school has, make sure to do your research: read reviews, talk to alumni, take an intro course, and ask about job outcomes data.
Typically, online bootcamps will either use pre-existing tools like Zoom Pro and build communities on Slack. Some schools like Software Guild have built their own proprietary learning platforms. Remember that learning to code online is different than learning in a classroom. Here's our advice:
As of August 2020, we estimate that more than $130MM has been invested in the bootcamp industry. The largest fundraises in 2020 include:
In 2019, we estimate that the bootcamp industry saw $170MM in fundraising (not including debt financing). The largest fundraises of 2019 included:
In 2020, the largest bootcamp acquisition has been online education company K12 Inc. acquiring coding school Galvanize for $165M. Later in 2020, Flatiron School announced that they cut ties with WeWork, selling to Carrick Capital partners for an undisclosed amount. Until 2019, the largest coding bootcamp acquisition deal was certainly General Assembly being scooped up by staffing firm Adecco for ~$400MM. In 2019, 2U broke that record by buying Trilogy Education, which runs bootcamps at universities across the US and around the world. 2U paid $400 million in cash and issued $350 million in stock to buy Trilogy. Later in the year, Thinkful was acquired by Chegg for about $80 million in cash. And New York-based bootcamp Fullstack Academy was acquired by Bridgepoint Education in a deal worth potentially ~$50M. Below is an infographic of every bootcamp acquisition since 2014:
Generally speaking, coding bootcamps are not accredited. However, the bootcamp you attend should be licensed by a state regulatory agency. Licensing often means that the school has to submit their curricula (and any major curricula changes) for approval, invest in liability insurance in case of closure, and publicize their course catalog. It does not mean that the code school is able to grant degrees.
State regulatory agencies like the California Bureau for Post Secondary Education (BPPE) and the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) have cracked down on schools operating without a license (and online schools, which present even more ambiguity). Lambda School was recently fined by the BPPE in California, Flatiron School was fined by the Attorney General of New York, and as the industry gains more steam, it also gains attention from critics and regulators.
To combat that outside criticism, a coalition of bootcamps formed the Council on Integrity in Results Reporting (CIRR) in 2016 and started publishing student graduation and job placement data in a single, standardized framework. The Council on Integrity in Results Reporting (CIRR) is a non-profit whose members include both bootcamps and "stakeholder" organizations, who have developed a common framework for reporting on, documenting, and auditing student outcomes. CIRR schools must report their outcomes every six months, and their data must be backed up by documentation (meaning schools must collect written confirmation from students and employers or offer letters) and verified by a third-party.
Before CIRR, schools attempted to form NESTA. And around the same time, worked with the Obama Administration on EQUIP. Under the EQUIP program, in essence, a university partnered with a coding bootcamp and a quality assurance entity (QAE), and as a result, students could effectively get financial aid and/or college credit for completing a coding bootcamp. The DOE called these partnerships “test sites” and announced awarded $17M in grants in August 2016.
Universities have now been partnering with coding bootcamps since 2016, but there is a ton of nuance between these university bootcamps. There are over 60 university bootcamps in 2020 and that number continues to grow. The majority of university bootcamps are operated by Trilogy Education. Trilogy bootcamps are offered through the Continuing Education Department at each university and do not qualify for federal student loans or college credit. Competitors to Trilogy, like Noodle Partners and Quickstart Education, have broken into the market in 2019 as well. Other university coding bootcamps offer college credit, like Dominican University and Make School. Portland coding bootcamp Epicodus has partnered with Warner Pacific University to create a program called sourceU, where students take introductory college classes through the university, then do Epicodus' 27-week web and mobile development course. Students then take an additional 4 months of WPU courses, before graduating with an Associate's Degree.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for software developers is expected to grow by 17%, “much faster than average” by 2024, which is about 200,000 more roles. Software developers are already expensive, and “harder than average to recruit," so more and more companies are thinking about re-training their own workforce. For example, AT&T is currently retraining 100,000 employees. As the industry grows, these bootcamps have identified a need for companies to provide in-house training for their employees. Many bootcamps now offer a range of customizable corporate training programs. In 2019, coding bootcamps trained 22,549 students in digital skills via 994 corporate training partners!
Bootcamps offer a number of ways to upskill/reskill employees in a corporate setting:
Last year, we reported a lot about the Forever GI Bill; in 2020 we’ll start to see more veterans taking advantage of VET TEC and depending on how that pilot goes, we could see even more veterans in bootcamps.
We’ll continue seeing bootcamps offering ISAs – and regulation will catch up to this space.
As the demand for cybersecurity and data professionals rises, bootcamps will continue to react and launch new courses to meet market demands.
There is a lot of opportunity in university partnerships – we hope to see rigorous and transparent outcomes standards applied to these university bootcamps.
We’ll see CIRR grow in it’s importance and membership.
|PREPPING FOR A BOOTCAMP||BOOTCAMP APPLICATIONS|
|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?|
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.
For more thoughts on self-stufy vs. coding bootcamps, read Bootcamp vs Self-Study: The Complete Guide.
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:
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.
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:
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!
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'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:
Further Reading: 10 Questions You Should Be Asking in your Code School Interview and our Ultimate Guide to Bootcamp Prep Programs.
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 Skills Fund, Pave, 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:
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. 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.
Further Reading: CIRR – Job Placement Reporting for Bootcamps