Should you attend a coding bootcamp?

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72% of employers think bootcamp grads are “just as prepared” to be high performers as degree holders. 12% of employers take it even further to say bootcamp graduates are more prepared to be successful in the workplace than those with a traditional computer science degree. With the demand for developers projected to increase exponentially over the next decade, coding bootcamps are quickly rising in the ranks of viable options to jumpstart a career in tech.

But how do you know if a coding bootcamp is right choice for you? There are many benefits of both coding bootcamps and traditional CS degrees. Seen has rounded up factors to consider when determining how to begin your career as a developer.


Not all bootcamps are created equal

With over 90 coding bootcamps in the U.S. alone, choosing a camp can be a daunting task, especially when many of those camps receive mixed reviews from graduates and mentors. To begin to narrow down your search, ask yourself these questions:

  • What language(s) do I want to learn?
  • How much can I afford to spend on a coding education?
  • What is my learning style?
  • What are my professions goals?

Clearly defining the answers to these questions will help you weed out quite a few coding camps that simply won’t meet your needs. Furthermore, sites like Flatiron School and Course Report publish independently audited job reports and graduate employment data to ensure your investment is worth your while. 


ROI

If you’re operating on a budget, coding bootcamps are the better option for you. Coding bootcamp costs range from $10,000 to $20,000 total, while tuition at a four-year university for a traditional computer science degree falls anywhere between $20,000 to $60,000+ per year. And that’s not to mention the living costs of attending a university for four years.


Time commitment

While employers certainly value your education, 86% of tech hiring managers value extracurricular coding over GPA. A traditional university is more likely to give you this experience than a coding bootcamp, as well as ample time to practice. This is not to say extracurricular coding experience from a bootcamp is impossible to acquire, but you may need to be willing to take that initiative on your own.

Coding camps range from two to six months. If you’re a person with big obligations, whether that’s a family, a full-time job, or any other commitment, a coding boot camp will likely better suit your lifestyle. Similarly, four years of college is not for everyone. If you are they type of person who would rather see results quickly, a coding bootcamp is the path for you.


Curriculum differences

Given the difference between three months and four years, it should come as no surprise that curriculum varies hugely between the two options (and between coding camps themselves).

Computer science degree curriculum is generally known to offer a more rounded and comprehensive understanding of computer operating systems and the how’s and why’s. The components you will learn in a traditional four-year university, Java, C++, operating system design, and computer science theory, to name a few, are not necessarily what you will use to build the next cutting-edge app or website. But they will provide a solid foundation for programming and an in-depth knowledge of the algorithms that help developers scale apps.

Conversely, in a coding bootcamp you will learn the basic skills necessary to build websites and applications. Languages taught in bootcamps often include Ruby, Python, and JavaScript. Just remember that to demonstrate those extracurricular coding capabilities, you need to put in extra time outside of bootcamp hours to prepare you for success.


Longterm goals

When making a the decision to pursue a coding career, don’t neglect your long-term career goals (think 20-30 years from now).

What is your vision for your future? Do you see yourself as the VP of Engineering or CTO of a large corporation? If so, pursue a traditional CS degree. You will need an extremely comprehensive understanding of computers to make your dream a reality.

If you dream is to join a startup, or even launch a startup of your own, consider attending a coding bootcamp. The personal responsibility and initiative required to succeed in a camp will prove your drive and operational capability.


There’s no doubt about it. Employers are impressed by both coding bootcamp graduates and CS degree holders, and each bring a unique set of skills and experiences to the table. And remember, you are not limited to one. Budget too tight? Complete a coding bootcamp and pursue a CS degree later on in your career. Already have a CS degree? Attend a bootcamp to dive headfirst into a language you’re interested in mastering.

No matter what path you choose, prepare yourself to land your dream job and sign up for Seen to automatically be presented to top tech companies hiring developers like you.

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