Traditionally, employers have sought software developers who hold bachelor’s degrees in computer science or software engineering. While bachelor’s degree programs provide students with a well-rounded education, they typically take at least four years to complete. Additionally, these bachelor’s programs can be extremely expensive. And, while they do provide students with a base of knowledge across a wide range of topics, is it really necessary for coding students to take college level courses in American History and Music Appreciation? Enter “Coding Bootcamps.”
Coding bootcamps are a form of specialized education designed specifically to teach students how to code. Think of them like an accelerated trade school for computer junkies. These bootcamps are highly intense and typically last only about 3 to 6 months. During that time, students study multiple coding languages in preparation for a career in the software development field. With tuition costs that are often far less than earning traditional 4-year college degrees, coding bootcamps are becoming a popular option for students hoping to build their coding credentials.
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Are Coding Bootcamps Worth It?
Software developers are in demand, and they are being paid well for it. In 2014, the BLS reports a median salary of $97,990 for software developers. No matter how you slice it, that’s a nice chunk of change. And, for those who want to beef up their coding knowledge quickly, a coding bootcamp may seem like a no-brainer.
Tuition at many popular coding bootcamps starts around $10,000. Although the programs only last a few weeks, they are intense and can potentially lead to a 6-figure salary. Of course, the trick is finding work once you complete the bootcamp. You don’t want to drop several thousand dollars on an education that won’t lead to a job!
As of now, the coding bootcamp industry is not regulated in the same way as traditional colleges and universities. Additionally, these schools are so new that employers have not yet had a chance to determine the quality of candidates graduating from them. Of course, this make some employers a bit wary of hiring coding bootcamp graduates.
However, the coding bootcamps tell a different story. Many of the most popular coding bootcamps report an employment rate between 85-95%. So, if you can pay substantially less, complete your education faster, and find the same type of job, why wouldn’t you try a coding bootcamp?
Popular Coding Bootcamps
According to our research, there are currently over 70 coding bootcamps located throughout the United States. Here are 5 of the most popular, complete with tuition information and applicable job placement rates.
General Assembly (Web Development Immersive Program)
With 15 campuses around the globe, General Assembly is one of the most well-known computer skills training schools around. Their 12-week Web Development Immersive program held at the Chicago campus aims to teach students the coding skills necessary to land a job designing web sites, APIs, and data-driven apps. General Assembly also offers resume assistance and networking opportunities with industry professionals. Tuition costs $13,500. General Assembly boasts a 99% placement rate in your field of study.
Located in San Francisco, Hack Reactor has the fortune of being near some of America’s largest tech companies. With about 66 hours of study required each week, this 12-week coding bootcamp is a full-speed coding marathon. Graduates of the program will be able to build production grade web applications, solve coding problems, and think like software engineers. Tuition costs $17,780, but Hack Reactor reports an average annual graduate salary of $105,000 with a job placement rate of 99% within 3 months.
With 6 current locations (New York, Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle, and Austin) and more coming soon, Dev Bootcamp is one of the fastest growing coding bootcamps around. With over 1,900 graduates, it’s also one of the most popular. Dev Bootcamp’s program is a bit different from others you’ll find. The program consists of 9 weeks of part-time remote study, 9 weeks of on-campus immersion, and an optional week focusing on career preparation. Tution rates vary by city but range from $12,700 to $13,950. Scholarships are available to those who qualify. While Dev Bootcamp doesn’t publish its job placement rate, it does state that over 500 companies hired their graduates in 2014 alone.
MakerSquare operates an intense 12-week coding immersion course designed to prepare you for a career as a software engineer. The school is actually part of the Hack Reactor family, but it has three campus locations of its own – San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Austin, TX. Classes begin every 7 weeks, and housing is available to students at the Austin location. In addition to their coding instruction, students receive one-on-one coaching to assist with their job search. At $16,920, tuition isn’t cheap. However, MakerSquare claims that 96% of graduates find a programming job within 3 months. Additionally, they claim average graduate starting salaries that range from $75,000 to $106,000 depending on location.
Aiming to “close the gender gap in engineering and technology,” Hackbright Academy is a coding bootcamp created specifically for women. The “Software Engineering Fellowship” program is a 12-week course providing females with the coding skills needed to work in software development. Tuition costs a cool $16,570, but several scholarships are available. Approximately 90% of Hackbright graduates land a job in the tech industry, with 84% receiving their first job offer within 3 months.
With college tuition costs skyrocketing and student loan debt on the rise, vocational schools and professional training programs like these are certain to gain popularity. But, is a coding bootcamp the right choice for you? If you’re seeking an intense career training program that can save you thousands of dollars and years of your life, it just may be.