Student-centric advice and objective recommendations
Higher education has never been more confusing or expensive. Our goal is to help you navigate the very big decisions related to higher ed with objective information and expert advice. Each piece of content on the site is original, based on extensive research, and reviewed by multiple editors, including a subject matter expert. This ensures that all of our content is up-to-date, useful, accurate, and thorough.
Our reviews and recommendations are based on extensive research, testing, and feedback. We may receive commission from links on our website, but that doesn’t affect our editors’ opinions. Our marketing partners don’t review, approve or endorse our editorial content. It’s accurate to the best of our knowledge when posted. You can find a complete list of our partners here.
Are Coding Bootcamps Worth It?
Coding bootcamps are becoming more and more popular every year, and if you look at the benefits they offer, you can see why. According to Career Karma, the number of bootcamp graduates or students grew by 43% in the year 2020. If you are interested in information technology and want to learn a specific set of skills, land a job, and boost your salary significantly, coding bootcamps are well worth the investment.
But before making any decisions, it’s important to learn exactly what bootcamps entail. You should compare your options and determine how you will pay for the bootcamp. Taking all these steps will ensure that you are a good fit for your program.
Don’t miss: Top coding bootcamp scholarships
What are coding bootcamps?
Coding bootcamps are career-oriented, short-term programs that train participants for roles in the tech industry. They can last between 2 and 6 months, and are typically a 40 to 80-hour-per-week commitment.
These programs place participants in jobs immediately after their graduation. Participants learn a specific set of job skills, and many boot camps have placement programs to match their graduates with employers.
When researching bootcamp programs, you should pay attention to their focus, their academics, their placement program, and the success metrics of their alumni. These metrics include the percentage of alumni matched with a job, and their average salary.
Do I need a degree or background in coding?
Even students with no coding background can go to bootcamp. In fact, a study by the bootcamp research and review website Course Report found that students who started camp with no experience earned an average of $66,748 in their first job after graduation. Additionally, alumni without a college degree earned an average of $61,836.
So, there are no requirements for success at coding bootcamp. Whether you are completely new to coding, or if you are self-taught, or if you have a computer science degree, you are an eligible candidate to succeed in coding bootcamps.
Also see: Top computer science scholarships
How much will my income increase?
Course Report found that on average, alumni earn $69,079 at their first job after graduation– a 56% increase from their average pre-bootcamp salary. Salary after graduation can depend on a variety of factors, such as your success in the course, how much coding experience you had going into the course, and your level of education before the course. The bootcamp you attend and the city you live in also affect the salary of graduates.
What to look for when picking a bootcamp
Success rate for finding employment
Course Report also found that 66% of bootcamp graduates found a job within 90 days of graduation. Like income, your chances of employment after graduation would depend on the program you attend, your previous experience, and your educational background.
The biggest takeaway from employment success rate is that it is important to find a bootcamp with a robust placement program. When you pay for a coding bootcamp, you are not only paying for an education, but a reliable placement in a well-paying job. You should be sure to research the placement rate of your program, and what companies they place people at.
Some bootcamps may try to inflate their placement numbers to attract students. If possible, try to find statistics that have been verified by an unbiased party, such as the Council on Integrity in Results Reporting.
Longer programs tend to correlate with higher salaries after you’ve graduated, but these programs tend to cost more and lead to more lost wages, as you have to dedicate more time to the class rather than to working. The increase in expected wages can offset these costs quickly, but if you don’t have much saved up to fund your bootcamp, you may want to opt for a shorter one.
The most popular model for bootcamps is an intensive, 40 to 80-hour week curriculum. However, there are coding programs to cater to people in many situations. If you are looking to acquire new skills to advance at your current employer, but don’t want to take time off, there are programs that will meet on weekends.
If a 60 to 80-hour week does not sound like an ideal learning environment for you, or if you are not in a situation to take off several months of work, try looking for coding bootcamps that are less intensive to suit your situation.
Funding your bootcamp
Coding bootcamps usually cost between $7,800 and $21,000, and this number can depend on the length and prestige of the program. Although it can quickly pay for itself through the subsequent salary increase, many of us do not have that amount of money on hand to spend, in addition to paying for living expenses during the program.
Coding bootcamps are not recognized as a college or trade school by the federal government, so students are ineligible for any federal financial aid, including the Pell Grant and federal loans. However, there are many scholarships for coding bootcamps, and most programs offer their own scholarships as well.
Private loans can be used to pay for a coding bootcamp, and sometimes employers will help pay for the bootcamp to train you for a more advanced role at the company. In addition to these external options, most bootcamps offer income share agreements and tuition deferment.
Tuition Deferment and Income Share Agreements
Students who choose tuition deferment will pay little to no tuition up-front, and begin paying back a set amount of money each month once they find a job. They typically end up paying significantly more than they would have if they paid up-front.
Income share agreements function similarly to tuition deferment, but instead of paying a fixed amount, students pay a fixed percentage of their income once they have landed a job. If you expect to earn an especially high salary after graduation, it may be wiser to choose tuition deferment to minimize your costs.
Advantages and disadvantages
These agreements have unique advantages and disadvantages when compared with traditional loans. The biggest advantage is that they tie your success to that of the schools’; the school will not earn any money if it does not help you find a high-paying job. If you do not end up benefiting from the bootcamp, you will not have to pay for it. Additionally, they ease the stress of finding a job right after graduation; your loans won’t kick in until you are earning money
The biggest disadvantage of these agreements is that they end up costing significantly more than paying up-front. For example, at App Academy, upfront tuition is $17,000, but becomes $28,000 when you utilize the income deferment program, and can be up to $31,000 when you utilize the income sharing agreement.
Read the fine print!
These agreements can all vary in their fine print. But these small variations can have a big impact! So, make sure to look them over before signing on to one. For example, some might require that you accept any job offers that you receive. Others may only allot a certain amount of time for you to find a job. These details can play a pivotal role in determining whether it is a good fit for you.
They’re worth it!
In short, if you know what field you are interested in, coding bootcamps are definitely worth the time and money. Bootcamps are unique in that they offer massive income dividends and do not require a relevant college degree, or any college degree at all. If you think you have what it takes, start looking for a bootcamp program today!
More college alternatives
If you’re looking into coding bootcamps as an alternative to pricey and time-intensive 4-year colleges, you’re not alone. Coding bootcamps may be the right fit for you, but if they aren’t, there are other alternatives! Here is a collection of resources by Scholarships360 for alternatives to 4-year college: