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    Are Coding Bootcamps Worth It?

    By Gabriel Jimenez-Ekman

    Gabriel Jimenez-Ekman is a content editor and writer at Scholarships360. He has managed communications and written content for a diverse array of organizations, including a farmer’s market, a concert venue, a student farm, an environmental NGO, and a PR agency. Gabriel graduated from Kenyon College with a degree in sociology.

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    Edited by Maria Geiger

    Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

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    Updated: June 6th, 2024
    Are Coding Bootcamps Worth It?

    Coding bootcamps are becoming more and more popular every year, and if you look at the benefits they offer, it’s easy to see why. 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?

    Most students accepted into bootcamps have a high school diploma or a GED. Some bootcamps accept students with no background in coding, while others expect some experience. Certain programs test English proficiency, math, and technical skills, and/or require an interview. 

    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?

    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. ZipRecruiter reports that the average salary for bootcamp grads is roughly $57,00 per year, with top earners making over $107,000 annually. 

    What to look for when choosing a bootcamp

    Success rate for finding employment

    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

    Program length

    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.

    Program model

    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 $5,000 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 $20,000, but becomes $31,000 when you utilize the income deferment program.

    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.

    Read more: The ultimate guide to income share agreements

    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!

    Key Takeaways

    Key Takeaways

    • Coding bootcamps offer time-flexible educational programs that do not require previous coding knowledge or college education
    • Well-reputed programs typically yield impressive career prospects for graduates
    • Many coding bootcamps offer income-share agreements, which allow you to pay nothing for the program until you start a high-earning job that you land with the degree
    • Programs can vary in length and intensity, so students can find a program that suits their needs

    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:

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