Are Coding Bootcamps Worth it?
Short answer: Determining if coding bootcamps are worth may depend on a few factors. Coding bootcamps are a way to learn coding concepts and applications in a short period of time. Are coding bootcamps worth it, though? The practical knowledge and project experience you gain in a coding bootcamp may make the experience worth it. But as a whole, are coding bootcamps a waste of money?
Some bootcamps offer financial assistance through loans, payment plans and tuition deferment plans where you don’t have to pay until you land a job (we’ll expand on these later). Our online coding bootcamp guide may help you find the best online bootcamp for you.
This guide can help you figure out whether or not a coding bootcamp is worth it for you.
What Are the Benefits of Coding Bootcamps?
Coding bootcamps offer students web development skills in a growing and in-demand field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for web developers is expected to grow 13% from 2020 to 2030, which is much faster than the average growth rate across all occupations. The BLS also reports that the median salary of web developers was $77,200 in 2020. The expected demand for and high salary of a web development career may make it an enticing option for job seekers.
At the end of a bootcamp, participants may obtain full-stack web development skills. Full-stack web developers have skills in both the front-end (user-facing) and back-end (server side) of websites. Coding bootcamps may be helpful for those who are trying to transition into a web development career with little experience. The cost of a bootcamp compared to a degree may make coding bootcamps worth it for some people. Here are five additional benefits of coding bootcamps:
- Support. Bootcamps that offer learning cohorts provide you with a group of people to work problems out with. Having this support may be nice to have while you learn about new topics. It also may present opportunities to practice collaboration through group projects.
- Structure. While some individuals excel with self-learning, many appreciate having the structure of a program. It may be overwhelming to learn a variety of programming languages and coding tools on your own. A structured program organizes and prioritizes the information so you don’t have to.
- Career placement. Many programs pride themselves on their career placement services. From offering resume writing workshops to networking opportunities, a coding bootcamp may make the prospect of getting hired more feasible. Some even defer tuition payments until a bootcamp participant lands their first job.
- Accelerated learning. Bootcamps are an intensive learning experience that consolidate a lot of information in a short amount of time. For people looking to make a career change, a bootcamp is a quicker alternative than a multi-year degree program.
- Project experience. Some degree programs offer theoretical knowledge but might not offer students project experience. Particularly in the coding world, employers may like to see coding experience through projects that imitate real-world tasks. Many bootcamps have participants work on these types of projects so they can build out their portfolios.
Do Employers Think a Coding Bootcamp Is Worth it?
Web developers are responsible for the technical aspects of a website, such as site performance, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes. When applying for a job in the tech industry, it may be helpful to not only show relevant classes you’ve taken but also relevant projects you’ve worked on. So then, do employers think a coding bootcamp is worth it? It’s tough to say what all employers think. However, your coding bootcamp training may be worth it for them (and you) if it prepares you for coding jobs.
It is important to check the bootcamp’s job placement rates.
Coding Bootcamp vs. Master’s in Computer Science
Coding bootcamps and online computer science master’s degrees each may prepare students for computer and information technology occupations, which are expected to increase 13% from 2020 to 2030, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, they may differ in their curriculum, duration and cost.
A master’s in computer science helps students specialize after obtaining a four-year undergraduate degree in a similar field. Computer science master’s degree curriculum tends to have a mixture of theory and practicum and allows students to focus on a specific track, such as machine learning or natural language processing. Coding bootcamp curriculum focuses on the necessary technical skills to help students be ready for coding work.
Duration and cost
In terms of duration, coding bootcamps generally take less time to complete than an online computer science master’s degree. Typically, participants complete a coding bootcamp in less than a year. Completing an online computer science master’s degree may take two to five years, depending on the program. The cost of a coding bootcamp versus master’s degree may depend on many factors, but coding bootcamps are generally less expensive than an online computer science master’s degree.
Are coding bootcamps worth it if you already have a master’s degree?
How Much Do Coding Bootcamps Cost?
Coding bootcamp costs vary. For example, consider the upfront cost of these coding bootcamps, as of April 2022:
- The Flatiron School—$16,900
- General Assembly—$15,950
Is it worth the money? Well, many bootcamps—including the ones mentioned above—allow students to enroll in flexible payment plans to offset the upfront cost. Many also offer loans to help cover coding bootcamp costs.
Another way people pay for coding bootcamps is through a tuition deferment program where you don’t have to begin paying tuition until you land a job. Oftentimes, this is tied to an income share agreement (ISA). With an ISA, you pay a percentage of your income each month. Payments vary based on your income. For example, the more you make, the more you pay; the less you make, the less you pay. This type of payment option may be helpful if you’re unable to cover coding bootcamp costs upfront.
How Much Will You Make After Coding Bootcamp?
As mentioned earlier, the median annual pay for web developers was $77,200 in 2020, according to the BLS. The top 10% of this group earned more than $146,430 and the bottom 10% made $40,750 or less.
So, are coding bootcamps worth it in terms of the earning potential you may have after? These statistics offer an idea of what a coding bootcamp salary may be like and whether or not a coding bootcamp is worth it. Ultimately, however, coding bootcamp salaries depend on many factors, such as the company you work for, your specific job within the company, the industry in which you work and your location.
The BLS reports the following 2020 annual median wages for web developers in these industries:
|Industry||Annual Median Wage|
Publishing industries (excluding internet)
Computer systems design and similar services
Management, scientific and technical consulting
Advertising, public relations and similar services
The top-paying states for web developers and digital interface designers in 2020, as reported by the BLS, were:
|State||Annual Mean Wage|
District of Columbia
Additionally, here are annual mean wages for the metropolitan areas with the highest concentration of web developer and digital interface designer jobs in 2020, as reported by the BLS:
|Metropolitan Area||Annual Mean Wage|
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
California-Lexington Park, MD
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA
Tips to Ensure Your Coding Bootcamp Experience Is Worth It
People may wonder, can coding bootcamps get you a job? The answer is, it depends. It’s really up to you to apply for jobs, but many bootcamps help provide job readiness and career support. In fact, some bootcamps provide a money-back guarantee if you don’t get a job within so many months of the bootcamp ending. But, is an online coding bootcamp worth it? Depending on your career goals and how much effort you put into the bootcamp, it may be.
Here are three tips to make sure you get the most out of an online coding bootcamp:
- Have a career goal in mind. Consider going into a coding bootcamp with a clear goal in mind. Do you want to learn a new programming language, advance in your company or pivot careers into the tech industry? Having a clear “why” may help motivate you to stay committed throughout the coding bootcamp. A career goal may also help guide your job search and networking efforts.
- Take prep courses. Taking prep courses is another way to get the most out of a coding bootcamp. Especially if you have little to no coding knowledge, prep courses help prepare you for the bootcamp so you can hit the ground running on day one. Some bootcamps may even offer free prep courses.
- Commit to the work. During the program, it’s important to keep up with the curriculum. Commit to the work by setting—and protecting—study times. If you struggle with the material, don’t worry. Commit to asking for help when you need it too.
Learn More About Coding Bootcamps
Are coding bootcamps worth it? If you made it this far, you probably have a good idea of whether or not a coding bootcamp is worth it for you. If you’re ready to learn more about coding bootcamps—including how to choose one—check out our online coding bootcamp guide.
Note: BLS information was last updated April 2022 and bootcamp information is up-to-date as of October 2020.