The tech job market is super competitive today, and that’s why arming yourself with an invaluable education to get ahead of the game is more critical than ever. How often does it happen that students find their university or college experience doesn’t quite match their current discipline or passion? Moving the needle and seeking education in a field that you’re truly passionate about will allow you to fulfill your job expectations.
And that’s very much applicable in the ever-changing tech field.
With new advancements now and then, those interested in coding must have a solid background that matches the highly technical requirements of the field. It’s where a coding bootcamp will come in handy, helping prepare those who are new to the area to gather all the technical education they need or advance their skills. Before considering enrolling in a coding bootcamp, you may find yourself asking, “Which coding bootcamp is right for me?”
This article will help you understand the coding bootcamp industry and guide you through the criteria to choose a coding bootcamp..
What is coding bootcamp?
A coding bootcamp is an immersive technical program designed to cover all the details in programming, therefore helping students add new knowledge to their skill set. What makes coding bootcamps an attractive option for students is that they take less time to complete than a university or college computer science degree, opening the doors to the industry in less time.
Most of the programs and courses at coding bootcamps come from industry professionals who are already established in the field. It means that students get to learn and network alongside tech gurus, increasing their chances of ultimately landing a job.
More than that, coding bootcamps teach everything related to app and web development, which is essential for those looking to design/build websites and apps and UX/UI design, data science, machine learning, software engineering courses, and more.
5 questions to answer before choosing a bootcamp
Far from all coding bootcamps are created equal. So, if you’ve decided that you want to enroll in a coding bootcamp, it’s essential to do plenty of research and determine which school fits your needs and expectations best. Answering the below five questions will help you narrow down your search.
1. What do I want to learn?
It is key to determining which coding bootcamp is right for you. The most crucial step is to think about what you want to learn and research the different coding bootcamp curricula. Most coding bootcamps accomplish the same thing: teaching foundational programming skills while expanding on the technical skills.
There are various specialties offered at coding bootcamps, from web development, software engineering, digital marketing, data science, UI/UX design, to cybersecurity — it all comes down to what you wish to learn and specialize in. You must circle back to your career goals, interests, and strengths to help make a decision about which specialty matches these criteria best.
2. Do I have any background in coding?
As noted earlier, some bootcamps accept students at the beginner level, while others have some coding prerequisites. Throughout your research of coding bootcamps, you’ll find that some even incorporate a coding test as part of their admissions process. It’ll prove beneficial for you if you do already have a coding background, but if you don’t, you can explore some prep options online that aim to educate those at the beginner level.
There are a bunch of free online bootcamps that can help set you up for success prior to enrolling at a coding bootcamp, so spend some time going through them, so you at least have an idea of coding.
3. What are my professional and career goals?
Before you decide which bootcamp best suits you, it’s vital to reflect on your career goals and where you want to be in the years to come. Based on this, you’ll be able to choose a coding bootcamp that best caters to your career goals.
For instance, if you wish to be a full-stack web developer, a software developer, a data scientist, or a DevOps engineer, then picking a coding bootcamp that teaches the corresponding curriculum would be a plus. The same is true if you want to be a digital marketer: You’ll notice that not all coding bootcamps integrate marketing courses as part of their curriculum, which would be a mistake to ignore.
4. What learning format is best for me?
The beauty of coding bootcamps is the flexibility most of them offer in learning formats. The format you’re looking to enroll in will depend on your schedule. For example, if you’re already working full-time, then you will have to narrow down your search to online bootcamps or those that offer part-time formats.
Most part-time training programs will have classes scheduled on evenings and/or weekends. However, keep in mind that part-time formats do take longer to complete. If you’re flexible on options, consider enrolling in an online bootcamps format; this will widen your search as you’ll have access to various options across the country or globally.
Online coding bootcamps are often self-paced, allowing you to set your own schedule. The downside to online learning is that you won’t have access to in-person networking opportunities, which are often a huge advantage across coding bootcamps as you get to network with industry experts or instructors.
5. How much am I ready to spend on coding bootcamp tuition?
Enrolling in a coding bootcamp is an investment for your career, but, of course, the sum you are ready to spend on bootcamp tuition will all depend on your budget. On average, you’ll see that most coding bootcamps cost around $14,000, while some of them appear to be free of charge.
Thus, Codesmith bootcamp offers a program at the cost of $19,350; courses at Devmountain can range between $49 and $7,900, depending on what you want to learn. At the same time, courses at Tech Elevator coding bootcamp will cost you around $15,950.
Again, it all comes down to your budget and what you’re receiving against that budget. A more immersive coding bootcamp will definitely cost more than a short course. If you’re looking for the whole experience, expect to spend $14,000 or more.
Coding bootcamp requirements
Most bootcamps have no admission requirements, but a few do encourage a background in coding. To succeed in a coding bootcamp, it’s essential to be comfortable working with basic mathematical skills like addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, etc., along with some elementary algebra.
Moreover, logical thinking is another critical requirement before entering a coding bootcamp because you’ll be working with programs that require fundamental logic most of the time. In addition, HTML and CSS are two basic building blocks of web pages, and it’ll work to your advantage if you familiarize yourself with both before thinking about how to choose a coding bootcamp.
You can go the extra mile and practice building a static website, and then introduce it as an example of your practical work when applying for a bootcamp. It will tell admission officers that you’re a self-learner, capable of understanding and dealing with the basics of coding. You can start by checking out Codecademy’s HTML & CSS course and W3School’s CSS tutorial.
Most bootcamps do incorporate a similar application process, which consists of three steps:
- Submitting an online application
- Taking an aptitude test designed to measure things like critical thinking or a coding challenge that assesses your programming skills (if any)
- Completing an interview with an admission officer
Here’s what to expect in an interview for a coding bootcamp as part of the application process:
Candidates can expect to discuss their goals for the program and their career goals. Coding schools want the best of the best in their bootcamps, so it’ll be great if you could demonstrate a passion for the field of coding and express your willingness to learn and overcome any challenges that will be present in the program.
Get ready to talk about your passion for the field, why you chose this specific coding bootcamp, your previous experience, as well as your eagerness and determination to succeed in the program.
Three types of coding bootcamps
Most coding bootcamps offer three options to cater to each student’s needs when it comes to your learning pace. They last for approximately four months, though some training programs may take up to a year or even two to complete.
Here are the three coding bootcamp options you can choose from:
1) Full-time: You will have to attend coding bootcamp classes Monday through Friday for 40-80 hours per week, depending on the curriculum. It’s the quickest way to complete your coding bootcamp, and such full-time schools are also immersive and can take anywhere between 2-7 months, depending on the school.
In addition, full-time coding bootcamp students have the opportunity to use the school’s facilities to network with fellow peers/instructors and work on projects in these facilities. If you have a full-time job and wish to attend a full-time coding bootcamp, you must prepare to give that up until you graduate. A full-time coding bootcamp can also take place online if you don’t have the flexibility of attending it in person.
2) Part-time: A part-time coding bootcamp can also be either in-person or online if the option is available. Here, you can expect visiting classes in the evenings and weekends. The program is completed over a more extended period when compared to the full-time option: Typically, it takes between 6-9 months, depending on the school.
In a part-time coding bootcamp, you can expect to spend between 6-15 hours per week in class, depending on the school’s curriculum. As a rule, students who choose bootcamps with such a learning format already have some coding/programming background and just want to grow their skills while working a full-time job.
3) Self-paced (online): When you see that a coding bootcamp is entirely self-paced, meaning it means you’ll have the freedom of choosing which hours/days you go online to study. Such coding schools require less commitment when compared to full-time options, but they take longer to complete. Even though online, some self-paced schools offer students the opportunity to meet with their instructor(s) every week. It is an excellent opportunity for students to reiterate their course learnings and meet with their mentors and peers to network.
In addition, online coding bootcamps offer an online community meant to replicate the classroom setting somehow. Here, students get the chance to meet one another virtually, network, and learn from each other. The benefit of an online coding bootcamp is that you get to keep your full-time job (if you’re already working), and you’re learning at your own pace.
An average cost of coding bootcamps in 2022
Tuition for a coding bootcamp can range anywhere between $3,500 – 30,000. On average, most coding schools cost around $14,000, depending on the learning format and the program (curriculum) you choose. Some bootcamps even offer free courses to those wishing to familiarize themselves with the field.
Most of the immersive full-time coding bootcamps cost an average of $14,000+. For instance, Codesmith’s coding bootcamp asks $19,350 for their courses, while bootcamps at Devmountain can range between $49 and $7,900. Tech Elevator’s coding bootcamp costs around $15,950 but offers a few paying options like ISAs or deferred tuition to become affordable for more students.
Your criteria for a coding bootcamp will depend on just how much you’re willing to pay for it and what your budget is.
What paying options coding schools offer
The good news is that all accredited coding bootcamps offer finance options of some sort that can help you afford the program more efficiently. Below are some paying options that are available for those wishing to enroll in a coding bootcamp:
If you can afford it, an upfront payment is the easiest way to pay for your coding bootcamp. It’s done in one lump sum payment, with no interest whatsoever. The plus here is that you avoid dealing with any payment plans and thus prevent any claim, compared to other methods that accrue interest.
If you can’t afford upfront payments, consider one of the more lenient payment routes like the ones below.
Unlike learners enrolled in a college or university degree program, coding bootcamp students do not qualify for federal financial aid. To help make ends meet, some providers offer loans specifically for bootcamp students’ upfront payments. As a rule, such loans have much better rates than personal loans, but students must have a good credit history to apply for them. Read more about specific bootcamp loan providers when thinking about how to start a coding bootcamp.
Usually, loans taken for educational purposes have better rates than personal loans, so students are at an advantage if they choose to take out a loan to cover their coding bootcamp. Keep in mind that, as is the case with any loan, your credit history must be in good standing to qualify; or, you can choose to have a cosigner.
Income Share Agreement (ISA)
Another payment plan you can consider for your coding bootcamp is an Income Share Agreement (ISA) that has become a prevalent option among students. Here, you can join with little or no upfront payment, depending on the school requirements, and repay your tuition fees once you land a job upon graduating.
The way it works is that a specific percentage (between 8-25%) is taken out of a graduate’s salary over one to four years after graduation and landing a job in the niche. All these depend on the terms of the ISA between a student and a coding bootcamp.
Deferred tuition is somewhat similar to the ISA payment plan, and it allows students to pay their tuition only after they’ve found a job upon graduating. Depending on the school, some coding bootcamps will request a small deposit before accepting deferred tuition from their applicants.
The difference between deferred tuitions and ISAs is that the former have students pay a specified amount of money over a particular time until their tuition is paid, rather than withdrawing a percentage of their salary monthly.
Before applying for a coding bootcamp, there may be chances that you qualify for a scholarship there. Even though it’s less common for coding bootcamps to offer scholarships than universities/colleges, the option does exist.
The common theme in the industry is that coding bootcamps provide scholarships to minority/diverse groups or those who are generally underrepresented in the industry. Follow this guide for a compiled list of coding bootcamps that offer scholarships.
The GI Bill offers financial assistance to veterans or their family members who wish to pursue any education or career training. Even though most GI bills are traditionally accepted only by degree programs, some coding bootcamps do consider and take them, given the hefty cost of some higher-end coding bootcamps.
However, remember that far from all schools that accept GI bills do mention this information on their website; it’s a good idea to contact them and specify all the details. Also, note that you should check your potential program’s eligibility with the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs because not all coding bootcamps are federally accredited.
How to choose a coding bootcamp
If you’re in the process of researching coding bootcamps, you might get overwhelmed with the number of options available in the industry. Set your criteria for selecting a bootcamp early on, and conduct research that’s well-thought-out to compare all your options against one another. It may also be helpful to create an Excel sheet noting down all your criteria for easy comparison.
Below is a list of critical things to consider when choosing a coding bootcamp:
Even though coding bootcamps don’t have the same accreditation type as traditional universities and colleges, they should have a license from a state regulatory agency anyway. It reiterates trustworthiness because coding bootcamps are still obliged to submit their curricula for approval, including any changes to their program.
In addition, under the state regulatory agency, coding bootcamps are also required to invest in liability insurance (just in case the bootcamp decides to close) and make their course catalog available to the public.
That said, attending a coding bootcamp will not earn you a degree in the conventional sense of this word. And yet, these educational courses are highly respected in the tech world, led by industry experts, and provide all the knowledge and skills for entering the industry or growing as a specialist. So if you’re on the verge of making a decision but aren’t sure because of a lack of accreditation, don’t be hesitant.
Where you want to study coding should also depend on the type of course content that each coding bootcamp offers. Requesting access to a coding bootcamp curriculum is a great idea (if it isn’t available on their website):
It will provide you with a solid background in the courses offered by the bootcamp and the structure to expect once enrolled in the bootcamp program. You can then pick which coding bootcamp best suits your education needs based on what you have in mind.
When it comes to deciding on a coding bootcamp, this criterion is integral because it will determine your schedule and commitments.
If you’re working full-time, then it’s worth considering part-time or self-paced bootcamps. Most coding schools in the USA and other countries are super flexible, offering different learning formats for students to choose from. You can study there full-time or part-time, online or in-person, or decide on your own schedule but submit all the tasks and projects on time.
What’s great about the online option is that you can select a coding bootcamp that’s on the other side of the country.
Cost and Payment Plans
Most students want the flexibility of financing their bootcamp education one way or another — either through loads, ISAs, deferred payments, etc. So please pay attention to this factor when doing your research on a coding bootcamp. Cost is a significant factor for most people to consider; so, if you’re eying a particularly expensive coding bootcamp, be sure to ask what kind of payment plans they offer their prospective students.
Reading through alumni reviews and checking what coding bootcamp grads have to say is a great place to start. It will help you narrow down your search to schools that have the best reviews out there.
Talking to any coding bootcamp graduates in your network is also a great idea to get a sense of their experience. Also, don’t hesitate to visit a few independent third-party coding bootcamp review websites like ours to check the overall ratings of each coding school, compare them, and choose a few for further investigation.
Outcomes (Job guarantees and Employment Rate)
Most coding bootcamps incorporate what’s known as a job guarantee program, encouraging students to apply by promising a job within 6-12 months after graduation. If they don’t successfully land a job in the specified time frame, they can defer their tuition payment if it has already been made.
In addition to researching job guarantees offered by coding bootcamps, it’s a good idea to also look at the employment rate of each coding bootcamp. (If you check any of Bootcamp Advisor rankings here, you’ll see the tables specifying the percentage of students who’ve got employed after graduation.)
You can also find this information on the school’s website: As a rule, they are proud of their outcomes and don’t see anything wrong in sharing this information with the world). A bootcamp’s employment rate is an excellent indication of the student’s success, so it’s worth considering by all means.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
What is coding bootcamp?
A coding bootcamp is an immersive technical skills program designed to cover all things programming, helping students and junior specialists add to their skill set. What makes coding bootcamps an attractive option for individuals willing to enter a tech field is that they take less time than a university or college degree, allowing access to the industry in less time.
Most of the programs and courses at coding bootcamps are taught or led by industry professionals who already have tons of experience in the field. It means that students get to learn and network alongside tech gurus, increasing their chances of ultimately landing a job.
How hard is a coding bootcamp?
The difficulty of a coding bootcamp depends on a few factors: their curriculum and your background in tech. The full-time coding bootcamps, for example, are often associated with a high-stress environment, given the number of hours required to spend on learning and dealing with projects each week. That said, most coding bootcamps can appear hard for people with no experience because of their immersive nature and the short time they give students to complete.
How do I know which coding bootcamp is right for me?
When you choose a program to study, you’re investing both time and money into your education. So, make sure you allocate a decent amount of time researching the criteria that matter most to you. Search for the top coding bootcamps. It’s worth paying attention to a coding bootcamp curriculum, its learning format (whether it’s full-time, part-time, online, or in-person, etc.), the cost, and what paying options it offers. Alumni and students reviews and a bootcamp’s job guarantees and employment rates are worth checking too.
How to start a coding bootcamp?
After you’ve compiled your research about the various coding bootcamp options, and after you’ve decided which one best fits your criteria, you can start applying for it. The application process is usually in three steps: submitting an online application, taking an aptitude test, and completing a coding bootcamp interview with their admission officers.
What skills do I need to succeed in a bootcamp?
While some coding knowledge will be a plus, it’s not in coding bootcamp requirements to admission. Yet, some traits will come in handy once you’ve enrolled: being a self-learner with a passion for coding, being highly adaptable and capable of thriving in an intense learning environment, having the determination to succeed in the tech field, good communication skills, etc. — all this can make your study easier. Just be self-driven and resourceful, have an aptitude for learning highly technical coding programs and tools — and you’ll succeed in the industry.
What coding bootcamps are best for beginners?
Most coding bootcamps cater to beginners and those with some experience in the field. Here go some examples of coding bootcamps for beginners looking to kickstart their coding journey and enter the area: Flatiron School, Code Fellows, The Tech Academy, Coding Dojo, Ada Dev Academy, and Codesmith. Coding bootcamps appropriate for beginners are not limited to this list, of course, so do some research to find out which coding bootcamp is right for you.
How much does a bootcamp cost on average?
Tuition for a coding bootcamp can range anywhere between $3,500 and $30,000. On average, most coding bootcamps cost around $14,000, depending on the school and learning format you choose. The subjects also matter here: For example, bootcamps on Full-Stack Development or Cybersecurity are usually more expensive than those on UX Design or Digital Marketing.
Yet, some bootcamps offer free courses to those wishing to familiarize themselves with the field. You may want to check schools like Flatiron School Access Labs, Revature, or 42 School for free options.
Are coding bootcamps worth it in 2022?
Yes, they are. Research suggests that tech employment will increase by 22% from 2020 to 2030, which is a much faster rate than the average for all occupations. So, if you’re a beginner or an intermediate looking to advance your skills for better job opportunities, then a coding bootcamp is worth it. Those that graduate from coding bootcamps have a higher chance of getting hired when compared to their peers.
In a word
According to the latest statistics, the tech industry in the U.S is worth approximately $1.6 trillion and is expected to reach a $5 trillion market value by the end of the year. Such a boost in the market value means that there’s demand for top-notch talent in the industry. So, if you want to get ahead of the game, enrolling in a coding bootcamp is worth your time and money.