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College tuition in the U.S. is on the rise, making traditional degrees less accessible for many students. For those pursuing tech careers, coding bootcamps offer an efficient, affordable option. Still, coding bootcamps are intensive programs that require a significant commitment of time, money and energy.
Is a Coding Bootcamp Worth It?
While a coding bootcamp is not a substitute for a college degree, it may allow you to quickly enter the tech field, start making money and begin building a fulfilling career. So, are coding bootcamps worth it?
If you want to launch a new tech career, a coding bootcamp may be your best option. The benefits of completing a coding bootcamp include:
- Bang for your buck. A coding bootcamp costs a lot less than a typical college degree.
- Help finding a job. Most coding bootcamps offer job search assistance, so you won’t be completely alone in your search.
- No degree required. You don’t need to have a college degree in most instances, although a degree in a related discipline may help you have a broader understanding of your field.
- Valuable skills. You’ll gain in-demand skills in a short amount of time, so you’ll be ready to find a relevant job quickly.
- Versatility. Coding bootcamps are typically comprehensive, so you’ll learn a variety of skills to make you a marketable job candidate.
Reasons Why a Coding Bootcamp May Not Be the Best Choice for You
- You’re unsure about the type of career you want to have.
- You do not have the bandwidth to complete a comprehensive, intensive and demanding program.
- You are interested in a management career or another career path that may require a traditional college degree.
How Much Does a Coding Bootcamp Cost?
Coding bootcamp costs vary depending on program length, material covered and whether you study full- or part-time. A 2019 report by RTI International found that the cost of coding bootcamps ranged from $7,500 to $13,950. The median cost of full-time coding bootcamps was $13,500.
By comparison, tuition and fees for a traditional undergraduate degree costs an average of $9,349 per year for in-state schools and $27,023 per year for out-of-state schools, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. If it takes you four years to complete an undergraduate program, it might cost a total of $37,396 or $108,092, respectively. Private schools are often even more expensive.
What Are the Requirements for a Coding Bootcamp?
Coding bootcamps typically require the following of their students:
- You should have a high school diploma or a GED diploma.
- You should have excellent spoken and written skills in English or the language that is commonly used where you live and work.
- You must be willing to complete all of your assignments.
- You must have a payment arrangement in place. Some bootcamps offer scholarships, deferred tuition arrangements or income share agreements. You may also be eligible for financial assistance, especially if you are a veteran.
What to Consider When Enrolling in an Online Coding Bootcamp
When choosing among online coding bootcamps, you want to make sure you’re making the best decision for your career and financial future. Let’s delve into some factors you should consider before enrolling in a program.
Think in Terms of ROI
If you’re trying to decide if enrolling in a coding bootcamp is worth it for you, consider your potential return on investment. These two steps can help you determine the ROI for a coding bootcamp:
- Determine your total investment. This includes your tuition, housing, living expenses and computer equipment costs for the amount of time that you will be in the program, which could range from a few weeks to several months, depending on the bootcamp you choose.
- Factor in your starting salary goal. The average starting salary for students who complete a coding bootcamp is $69,000 a year. This amounts to a median salary increase of 56%, or $25,000. That means most bootcamp graduates should recoup their initial investment within their first year of employment after completing a coding bootcamp.
Consider more than just the financial ROI as well. Salary is important, but so are factors like schedule flexibility, benefits and career advancement opportunities. Think about your quality of life and long-term plans as you make your decision about enrolling in a bootcamp.
Whether you want to complete your coding bootcamp quickly or spend a longer period of time learning everything you can about coding, there are full-time and part-time bootcamp options for you. Some short bootcamps are just one to eight weeks. More immersive programs may run for nine to 16 weeks. A comprehensive bootcamp may take 17 weeks or longer to complete.
Students may prefer online coding bootcamps over on-site ones for various reasons, including convenience and availability. Online bootcamps are typically available in synchronous and asynchronous models.
Synchronous learning is when you attend online classes at the same time as the other students in your cohort. This online learning model allows you and other students to experience lectures together and engage with each other during class discussions.
Asynchronous learning is when you listen to lectures and complete assignments at your own pace and according to your own schedule. You can access videos and other materials at your convenience. This model allows students with outside obligations to work program courses and requirements around their busy schedules.
As you research your coding bootcamp options, consider how completing a bootcamp will affect your career plans. What are your goals for your career, and how can a coding bootcamp help you achieve those goals? What types of bootcamps would be most relevant to your long-term career plans?
If Possible, Communicate with Your Employer
If you plan to continue working for your employer after completing your coding bootcamp, it’s important to discuss your expectations with your employer ahead of time. Ask about opportunities for advancement, including a potential pay raise to compensate you for your new skills.
Some employers also provide tuition reimbursement for job-related coursework, which may include coding bootcamps. It’s essential to maintain open lines of communication as you make career plans.
How to Include a Coding Bootcamp on Your Resume
When you begin searching for jobs, it’s important to stand out from the competition. Including coding bootcamp experience on your resume is critical.
Make sure to highlight the specific skills you learned during your bootcamp and relate them to the required skills noted in the job listing. Your most relevant skills should be at the top of your list. Tell the hiring manager why they should consider you instead of someone else. Focus on how hiring you would benefit the potential employer.
You should also tailor your resume to each application. For instance, if you’re applying for a web developer position, emphasize any of your skills that qualify you for that particular position.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Coding Bootcamps
Are coding bootcamps good for beginners?
Coding bootcamps exist for students of all skill levels, including beginners. Most bootcamps require at least a high school diploma or GED certificate. The majority of bootcamps do not require a college degree or previous work experience in a tech field.
Will a coding bootcamp get you a job?
Some coding bootcamps offer job guarantees, but most do not. Even so, according to a recent report, 79% of coding bootcamp graduates surveyed in 2021 reported that they were employed in programming jobs.
Can you fail a coding bootcamp?
Yes, if you don’t do the required work or put in the effort needed to complete your coding bootcamp. Success is possible, but as with anything worthwhile, you must be willing to work for it.