Are Coding Bootcamps worth it in 2024?

Are coding bootcamps worth it

Are Coding Bootcamps Worth It in 2024?

Coding bootcamps can teach you in-demand software engineering skills faster than, and for a fraction of the cost of, a traditional degree. But are coding bootcamps worth it? Ultimately, yes, they can be, but it depends on your career goals and you need to be careful about what program you choose.

What Are Bootcamps?

Bootcamps are intensive courses designed to teach a specific set of skills. Since first hitting the scene in 2011, bootcamps have expanded to cover a wide range of topics and coding languages. Even colleges and universities are starting to partner with bootcamp companies to provide intensive tech skill courses.

The growth of bootcamps makes sense considering how in-demand many tech-focused roles are. For example, employment of software developers is expected to increase by 25%, and employment of data scientists is projected to grow by 35% in that same timeframe.

According to a 2023 study by Stack Overflow, nearly 10% of software developers surveyed reported learning to code through bootcamps. So, while they may not be the right option for everyone, coding bootcamps can be an excellent way to learn a coding language and other tech skills.

Types of Bootcamps

Many of the currently available bootcamps focus on areas like:

  • Front-end engineering
  • Back-end engineering
  • Full-stack engineering
  • User interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design
  • Data science
  • Cybersecurity
  • Marketing and business data analytics
  • Fintech

Bootcamps can also center around learning a specific coding language, such as JavaScript, Python, R, or SQL.

Pros and Cons of Coding Bootcamps

Bootcamps can be an alternative to college in certain circumstances, but the skills you learn from a coding bootcamp alone may not be enough to land the job you want.

ProsCons
Cheaper than a degreeCan be costly
Faster than a degreeTime commitment
Remote AccessibleBurnout
Provides a foundation in codingSoft skills wont develop

Bootcamps as a College/University Alternative

Coding bootcamps cost just under $13,000 on average, according to Career Karma’s 2023 State of the Bootcamp Market report. On the other hand, a traditional degree can easily cost alot more when taking into account books, fees, and room and board.

This isn’t to say that coding bootcamps are cheap, though.

Bootcamps are a faster option than most degrees. While a bachelor’s degree typically requires four years to complete, most bootcamps only take three to six months to a year. Bootcamps can be worthwhile investments for those who can afford to dedicate full-time commitment for several months, but not everyone can afford to go without a job for that period of time.

So, when the decision is between a college degree and a coding bootcamp, bootcamps can provide an attractive alternative route for those who can’t afford the cost or commitment of college. Bootcamps can be especially good options for students from communities who may not have the same access to higher education as other students.

Bootcamp Skills May Not Suffice

If your goal is to learn to code, bootcamps can do just that — these programs are typically designed to provide a strong foundation in coding and computer science. However, teaching coding or giving a general foundation is about as far as most bootcamps go.

According to Lawrence Alumini at codeworks, Bootcamp knowledge is useful, however with the development of time, soft skills are also a requirement, if you think that having the basic knowledge of today is enough you may be mistaken.

Although coding is a vital skill for many careers in tech, it may not be enough on its own to land a job. You may need a broader set of skills in computer science or a specialized field to get the roles you want. Additionally, you need interpersonal or soft skills that allow you to work effectively in a team and communicate with coworkers and stakeholders.

Bootcamps don’t have any standardization, either, so there are some discrepancies between different programs and companies. While colleges have accreditation metrics to ensure certain standards across the board, bootcamps don’t have this type of oversight. While one bootcamp may be thorough enough to land you a great job, a different program may not provide what you need. That is why we recommend you look at reviews and testimonials from places like Course report.

How to Determine if Coding Bootcamps Are Worth It

Determining if a coding bootcamp is worth it for you ultimately comes down to weighing different factors and figuring out which programs, if any, fit into your needs and lifestyle best. The factors to consider when considering a coding bootcamp include:

  • Online vs. In-Person: Online programs can be great for people who don’t live in areas with many in-person options. Also, online bootcamps can be more flexible, making them easier to complete for those who have children or need to be home during the day. However, in-person bootcamps may be better for people who want more direct interaction with peers and instructors. Having an in-person class every day can also keep you more accountable, ensuring you stay focused. Additionally, the networking that comes from in-person bootcamps can be invaluable.

  • Self-Taught vs. Instructor-Led: Self-taught courses, where you follow along a tutorial or guide but have no instructor leading you live, are good for people with a computer science foundation or some coding experience already. These courses are also typically self-paced, making them a flexible option for those who can’t commit to a full-time bootcamp. Keep in mind, though, that taking a self-taught program can be very difficult for those with no experience or who want the ability to ask for help easily.

     

  • Program Length: Shorter programs that take only a few weeks to finish can be a good choice for those with some coding experience who are looking to expand or brush up their skills. In addition, a shorter bootcamp can give you insights into programming skills, helping you determine if it’s something you enjoy and want to pursue before committing more time or money.  

  • Weekly Time Commitment: Although full-time programs (requiring 40+ hours per week) can provide in-depth instruction, they may not fit everyone’s schedule. Part-time programs (requiring less than 30 hours per week) are a better option for those who need to maintain a job while studying or have other obligations to family or friends. But less time commitment during the week often means the program will take longer to complete, especially for high-quality and thorough courses.

  • Coding Language: The language a program teaches is a crucial factor to consider. While JavaScript is the most commonly used programming language, other languages have their benefits and demand in certain careers. For example, data scientists need to know SQL (Structured Query Language), and back-end developers need a solid understanding of Javascript. The language you prioritize should depend on your ultimate career goals.

  • Eligibility: Some bootcamps may have prerequisites or require passing various technical tests before admittance. Additionally, not every program is built for beginners, so check that the bootcamp you want is designed for your skill level. In-person and free coding bootcamps may have even stricter requirements, too. For example, some free programs only accept students from specific socioeconomic backgrounds and some in-person bootcamps are only available to particular zip codes and residents.

  • Reviews: Before signing up for a bootcamp, look through some reviews. Places like Reddit and LinkedIn can be great resources for finding people who have gone through the bootcamp already and can give a thorough review. You can also talk to friends or family members who have taken bootcamps or work in tech jobs to better understand what options may be best for you.

  • Price: The cost of a coding bootcamp is one of the most important factors to consider. If you’re just curious about coding and want to see if it’s the career for you, investing thousands into a program probably isn’t worth it. On the other hand, if you want to make a big career change, spending more on a high-quality coding bootcamp can provide a good return on investment. 

  • Your End Goal: Determining what you want to get from a bootcamp is the primary way to determine if it’s worth it for you. Different bootcamps offer varying levels of training and come with a range of price points and time commitments. While one program may be perfect for someone wanting to go into data science, another would be better suited for someone who wants to try making mobile apps for fun.

Bottom Line: Are They Worth It?

Yes, coding bootcamps can be worth it.

Coding bootcamps can and will teach you to code, but you’ll need to pair that with soft and interpersonal skills to show employers you are a well-rounded employee. 

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