Are Programming Bootcamps Worth It?

by Kayla Oak

With a time commitment from anywhere between several weeks to several months and an average price tag of nearly $7,000, many question whether a full-time coding bootcamp is worth it. These bootcamps, however, are trade schools for the digital age. They provide valuable hands on experience with the most up to date programs to prepare those enrolled for successful careers in the technology field.

At a coding bootcamp, you will be surrounded by fellow coders: novices and experienced professionals. The collaborative and intensive learning environment with around-the-clock coding is conducive to thorough understanding, making these programs highly effective. You will be taught new concepts and be given time to practice and apply them through various projects.

The easiest way to figure out the worth of a coding bootcamp is to compare it with a university Computer Science degree. As you can see in the graph below, the cost of a bootcamp is only a fraction of a traditional university degree. Additionally, hundreds of thousands of college graduates leave burdened with debt. Student loan debt coupled with a tough job market has approximately 1/3rd of millennials regretting going to college. The value of college degrees has been steadily declining. It is not a guarantee that a college graduate will get a job right after graduating, or even within six months of graduation.

Comparing Programming Bootcamp Cost to College Degree

The time commitment of a bootcamp is also minimal compared to a four-year degree. Not everyone has the flexibility and funds to put their career and commitments on hold for a few weeks, but for many, it’s easier to save up for a few weeks of bootcamp than for 4+ years of college. While computer science degrees are valuable in the work force, a coding bootcamp could help you learn comparable skills much quicker. Some CS courses teach concepts you will never come across in real life, but bootcamps focus on necessary and applicable skills. Many people would prefer the comfort of a four-year degree, but if you’re willing to take a risk and invest in your future by attending a bootcamp, the ROI is over 500% on average.

Computer programming bootcamps make the transition to the professional developer world easy. Many coding bootcamps spend time helping you build a portfolio to present to hiring managers, help with practice interviews, and even offer coding internships after graduation. Because of this, these intensive programs boast impressive hiring rates and starting salaries. Graduates from Hack Reactor, for example, make an average of $105k after graduation. The program also has a 99% graduate hiring rate (within 3 months of graduating).

Although some companies see a computer science degree as a valuable asset, many see value in hiring from diverse backgrounds. Some job posts request a BA or BS in computer science or “equivalent practical experience,” which would include bootcamps.

Hiring managers find bootcamp graduates appealing for a number of reasons. They took a risk to help forward their career, which is a testament to their commitment to and passion for learning new technological skills. Attending a coding bootcamp shows a willingness to keep learning and technical adaptability, regardless of age. Though some companies hire bootcamp graduates on a trial basis, most hire full-time permanent employees.

Bootcamp graduates are able to fill in-demand positions in the booming technology field and earn matching high salaries. Virtually every business needs tech workers to handle some of their functions.

Average Software Engineer Salary

The United States job market is undergoing a dramatic shift in the tech industry. By 2020 nearly one million coding jobs will be unfulfilled based on projections from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Computer programming bootcamps can only improve over time, fine-tuning their teaching methods. If you are able to take the time off to attend a coding bootcamp, why wouldn’t you?