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What is a Coding Bootcamp?

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Coding bootcamps are a great way to quickly learn a skill that helps your career without the associated cost and length of a full college degree.

A coding bootcamp offers intensive training for careers in the tech field that can be completed in a short amount of time. According to Course Report, coding bootcamp graduates see a 51% increase in their salaries and report higher employment levels.

During a coding bootcamp, students explore in-demand programming languages like Python, JavaScript, Ruby, and C++. Bootcamps use project-based instruction and emphasize the technical skills required for the workforce while helping students build portfolios of work.

Bootcamps prepare graduates for careers in software development, programming, web development, and data science. There are more career options for graduates of coding bootcamps than you might think; many tech companies no longer require a four-year degree, including major companies like Google, Apple, and Tesla. And unlike a computer science degree, which typically takes four years, coding bootcamps often only require 12-16 weeks.

Are Coding Bootcamps Worth It?

While the answer to this question will vary by student, a coding bootcamp can often help increase salaries and open new job opportunities. For example, coding bootcamp graduates report a higher employment rate than they enjoyed before completing the program, according to the 2019 coding bootcamp report from Course Report.

A coding bootcamp can often help increase salaries and open new job opportunities.

Completing a coding bootcamp also translates to a higher salary. Coding bootcamp graduates report a median salary increase of 51%, which translates to around $22,000 more per year.

However, prospective learners must also consider the potential disadvantages of coding bootcamps. Signing up for an in-person bootcamp might not work for someone with a busy work or personal schedule, and taking a bootcamp from a less established company may not open as many professional doors.

Thus, prospective bootcamp students must carefully consider the type of bootcamp and program they want to pursue before enrolling.

Types of Coding Bootcamps

Coding bootcamps come in many different formats. While they may teach the same content, the style of your bootcamp can shape your experience and outcomes.

Many bootcamps offer both online and in-person options, with online options appealing to learners with busy schedules. Students can also choose between full- and part-time programs, depending on their schedules and timelines for completion. Many bootcamps also offer specialized training in certain programming languages or fields.

Colleges can also offer coding bootcamps, which may grant a certificate in specializations like web development, UX/UI design, or cybersecurity.

Choosing the right bootcamp for you can make a significant difference in your career. A 2019 study found that graduates of longer coding bootcamps earn higher salaries than those who choose shorter ones. According to the study, individuals who completed 16-week or longer bootcamps earned $13,000 more than those who took 8-week bootcamps.

Read on for more information about the different types of coding bootcamps.

Campus vs. Online Coding Bootcamps

Both on-campus and online coding bootcamps train students in programming languages, coding skills, and technical problem-solving. However, they operate on different schedules and appeal to different students.

An in-person bootcamp requires set meeting times in a physical classroom or learning space. Some require full-time classes during business hours, while others offer night and weekend classes designed to accomodate working professionals.

Online bootcamps typically let students complete coursework on their own schedules, but some may require set meeting times. Self-paced online programs, like a Python programming online bootcamp, require strong self-motivation and organizational skills.

In general, learners should pick the format that works best for their schedule and learning style. Online and campus programs typically cost similar amounts, but online enrollees save in associated travel costs.

Full-Time vs. Part-time Programs

Many coding bootcamps offer a full-time, intensive option to train students in the least amount of time possible. Others include part-time options designed to help working professionals add to their skills or transition into new fields. These enrollment options can also vary by program length, cost, and scheduling format.

Usually, full- and part-time programs use similar curricula, but with different schedules. For example, students in a full-time bootcamp might complete the course in 12 weeks, while learners who choose a part-time option study the same materials over six months.

In addition to affecting program length, full-time vs. part-time enrollment can alter the cost of a coding bootcamp. Since part-time programs take longer, they may end with a higher price tag.

Coding bootcamps can also offer asynchronous online classes for students with unpredictable schedules. These courses offer added schedule flexibility.

Program Specializations

Many coding bootcamps offer specializations that prepare learners for different career paths or build their skills in a specific programming language. For example, a Python coding bootcamp prepares graduates for careers as Python developers, data analysts, and software engineers.

Similarly, bootcamps train students in high-demand programming languages like JavaScript, PHP, Ruby, and C++. A coding bootcamp might specialize in a single programming language, like a Python bootcamp, or introduce students to several, like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Bootcamps also offer programs tailored to specific tech careers. For example, a data science bootcamp provides the training and knowledge for careers as data analysts or data scientists, while learners in UX bootcamps focus on aesthetics and functionality.

A cybersecurity bootcamp teaches students about protecting operating systems, preventing network attacks, and mitigating risk. Graduates can apply for jobs as security analysts, security engineers, or security consultants.

Coding bootcamps can also train learners in web development. These programs lead to job opportunities as front-end, back-end, or full-stack developers.

How Much Does a Coding Bootcamp Cost?

The cost of a coding bootcamp varies depending on the length, specialization, format, and organization offering the bootcamp. For example, a longer, more intensive coding bootcamp will typically cost more than a short-term coding class.

According to Course Report, the least expensive coding bootcamps often charge around $7,000-$8,000, while the most expensive can cost over $20,000. On average, full-time coding bootcamps cost around $13,500.

Prospective bootcamp students can lower the cost of coding bootcamps by investigating scholarship opportunities, employer sponsorship programs, and income share agreements. In an income share agreement, enrollees agree to pay their tuition retroactively after finding employment. In this scenario, some bootcamps charge a flat monthly fee, while others take a percentage of the graduate's salary.

Learners can also take out private loans to pay for coding bootcamps. Unlike with scholarships, however, students who go this route must pay back their loans with interest.

How Do I Choose a Coding Bootcamp Program?

Prospective students should start by identifying their goals: Are you interested in learning Python, or do you want a program specializing in web development or UX/UI design?

Also consider factors like cost and format. Do you need the flexibility of an online program, or do you prefer the structure of in-person classes? What's your budget for a coding bootcamp? Understanding your goals and needs can help narrow your search.

Once you've identified several potential programs, look into each program's curriculum, instructors, and placement record. Reach out to programs to learn how many enrolled students complete the bootcamp compared to how many drop out before graduation. Ask where graduates work and what kinds of jobs they find.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Coding Bootcamps for Beginners?

Depending on the bootcamp, yes. Many coding bootcamps offer programs designed for beginners with no previous coding experience. People with intermediate or advanced skills in a tech field can also find more advanced coding bootcamps.

Do I Need to Be Good at Math to Code?

Some coding professionals need basic math and logic skills, like data analysts and data scientists. However, programmers do not necessarily need strong math skills to succeed; they only need to understand logic and coding languages.

Are Coding Bootcamps Legit?

Yes. Coding bootcamps provide technical training for learners interested in tech careers as software developers, programmers, or web developers, and many accredited colleges also offer coding bootcamps.

Does FAFSA Cover Coding Bootcamps?

No. The federal financial aid program typically does not cover coding bootcamps. However, students enrolling in a bootcamp can take out private loans or apply for scholarships.

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