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Thinking About Doing a Coding Bootcamp? Here is our Ultimate Guide

Sep 02, 2021
13 min read

As college fees get ever more expensive, tech savvy individuals are increasingly looking for fast, exciting and better value alternatives. In the past decade, the Coding Bootcamp has stepped up to fill this growing need, offering long-term, intensive business courses that promise quick results and eye-openingly high graduate salaries.

Indeed, impressive figures from organisations like Course Report suggest that the average starting salary for a Bootcamp graduate is $69,000, whilst the average Bootcamp course costs just $14,000. These are highly exciting figures, and offer a tempting alternative to a Computer Science degree course at a traditional college, where fees can be three times that of a Bootcamp. If you’re thinking about taking a Coding Bootcamp yourself – we’ve got the lowdown on your options.

What is a Coding Bootcamp Exactly?

Whilst coding Bootcamps vary greatly, they typically consist of a full-time course, taken online or in person that aims to provide students with the critical skills needed to boost their career. They are time-intensive, sometimes requiring as many as 60+ hours per week of training, and the average length of time for a course is four months.

The teaching, whether online or in-person, is often a combination of lectures, projects, assessments and one-to-one (or small group) sessions, allowing you to engage with in-person teachers and develop skills alongside your classmates. Other Bootcamps are entirely online and simply offer you access to a series of videos, to be watched at your own pace.

Largely focused around developing coding skills, Bootcamps offer courses in Full-Stack (Front- and Back- End) Engineering, Cybersecurity, Data Analytics and other forms of web and mobile development. In recent years, courses have also extended to other fields, such as UX/UI Design and Digital Marketing, indicating a growing demand for Bootcamp graduates in ever more industry sectors.

Coding Bootcamps vs a College Degree

Most people who take a coding Bootcamp already have a college degree, as well as several years industry experience. They are most commonly taken by people keen to shift career path into something more technical, wanting to acquire necessary skills without having to go back to school or take too much time out of working. 

Perhaps more interestingly, there is also a growing number of people who take these courses in place of a college degree, and a great many major firms, including Google, have stated that they would happily consider an application for a programming job from an applicant with a Bootcamp qualification in place of a college degree. 

Coding Bootcamp Career Prospects

Some figures estimate that 76% of Bootcamp graduates are employed in programming positions after completing their course, with an average starting salary of $69,000. However, these figures should be taken with a pinch of salt, since Bootcamps vary greatly in quality and reputation, and many people take them to expand existing skillsets as opposed to starting from scratch.  

It is generally accepted that taking a high-quality, well-respected Bootcamp dramatically increases your chances of getting hired in a $70k+ programming position, but it is not a magic bullet or replacement for long-term hard graft and learning. In order to get onto the Bootcamp course, candidates must generally display pre-existing coding skills (even if rudimentary), or at least a strong aptitude for critical and analytical thinking. 

Not only that, but most high paying jobs require several years industry experience, even if not completely relevant. You may find that without the right experience, your first job following a Bootcamp. However, those dedicated to mastering their skills and specialising in a particular field (such as Data Security Analyst or Software Engineer), will likely find themselves rising the ranks very quickly!

What is the Learning Format of a Bootcamp?

Full-Time vs. Part Time – Some Bootcamps are full time, and this is generally the best way to really commit to your learning. You may find yourself working well into the night on a particular bug or trying to finesse a project! Others prefer to juggle a part-time job whilst they learn, so they keep both their industry experience and their learning going at the same time. However, this can be a little full-on and many students report it being very hard to juggle both commitments.

In-Person vs. Online – Particularly for those based around major cities in the US, there are many excellent in-person Bootcamp programmes. However, the majority of courses take place online, with a combination of live online classes and face-to-face conference calls to facilitate your learning. Depending on your personal circumstances, both offer different benefits.

How Much Do Coding Bootcamps Cost?

The average price of a Coding Bootcamp is $14,000, although there is great variation, depending on format. Some Bootcamps cost a couple hundred dollars and focus more on growing skills through pre-recorded videos, rather than giving any form of official qualification. 

The most expensive Bootcamps tend to be the most well-respected and employable, although it is important to do your research as there are many misleading, fraudulent and/or generally money wasting courses out there. 

You need to think most about Return on Investment – i.e., the amount of money you can hope to earn, following your training. If your course costs $20,000 but your starting salary on completion is $80,000, this will have been well worth the investment. Read reviews and check official statistics very carefully when comparing courses, to find the right one for you and your budget.

Financing Options for Coding Bootcamps:

Many of the biggest bootcamp schools nowadays partner with a financing company, such as a lender or scholarship fund. One particularly popular scheme is the Deferred Tuition or Income Sharing Agreement, where a small percentage (e.g., 15%) of your salary for the first 1-4 years of earning will be paid to the school, capping at a fixed amount. The benefits of this are that students can pay absolutely zero up-front tuition, giving them the financial freedom to get where they want to be. There are various terms to these agreements, and it is very important to read the fine print before signing away your salary. 

How Do I Choose the Best Bootcamp for Me?

There are literally thousands of Bootcamps out there, so the best way to compare is via a comparison website, such as Career Karma, Course Report, or Bootcamps by Best Colleges. Here, they will give up-to-date statistics, reports and reviews detailing hundreds of Bootcamps across the world. 

Below, we’ve provided three examples of Bootcamps that we’re particularly loving in 2021:

Coding Dojo 

The courses offered by Coding Dojo start at $4,745, with the full-time Software Development course costing $16,245 (with ISA financing available). Alumni from here have gone on to work at Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple and many more top firms. 89.1% of their graduates have found a relevant job within 180 days of graduating, rising to 95% within a year. The average starting salary for graduates of the full-time course is $72k. 

They also boast a stellar alumni service, continuing to offer guidance and networking opportunities long after you graduate. However, their courses are limited, offering only a Full-Stack Software Engineering course full-time and Software Development, Cybersecurity and Data Science courses part-time. 

General Assembly

General Assembly offer courses that start at $3,950, with the full-time, 12-week Software Engineering course costing $12,447. 90.5% of full-time graduates who had also completed the Careers Service programme were employed in a relevant field of study within 180 days of graduating.

This schools offers a more diverse selection of courses, including Data Science, Digital Marketing, Software Engineering and User Experience Design. The courses are designed to be taken either remotely or in-person, giving you the freedom to make it work for you. Financing options include scholarships and ISA’s or even the possibility for employer sponsorship.

Flatiron School 

Flatiron school courses start at $9,600, with the full-time Software Engineering course costing $16,900. The course has an 87% graduate employment rate (in any position), with an average starting salary of $66k. The course is 15-weeks, and can be taken online or in person. 

Other courses available are Data Science courses, Cybersecurity Engineering and Product Design, with a few free online courses available as a taster. 

How Can I Find a Job After a Bootcamp?

Good news! Due to the prestige and partnerships of most of the mentioned coding bootcamps, you won’t find much difficulty in securing a job post-bootcamp. 73% of bootcampers report being employed as developers after graduation. And, this percentage can be even higher when you consider the alumni of specific bootcamps. 

Even so, some coding bootcamps even offer a job-guarantee which means you can receive your tuition costs back – partially or fully – if you can’t find a job after a predetermined amount of months after finishing. Usually, you will be required to complete normal entry-level applications yourself, but sometimes, coding bootcamps already have a wide array of hiring partners to help place their graduates into. 

In case the coding bootcamp you partook in doesn’t have direct partnerships with the hiring departments of top tech companies, you can still take the extra step and research which companies have hired bootcamp graduates. There are numerous lists available on the internet, but to give you a quick preview, some of these include Vimeo, PwC, Cisco, EventBrite, Capital One Labs, and more. If you’re targeting one of these companies already, you can also analyze which bootcamps their recent hires came from if you are stuck between choosing yours. For more information on how to find a job after bootcamp, make sure to read up on our latest guide: How to Find Job After Bootcamp.

…Feeling inspired? Get researching your perfect Bootcamp course and get ready to jump-start your next big adventure in tech! 👋