If you are looking to advance your tech skills, getting a college degree or enrolling in a coding bootcamp are promising options that you will need to weigh depending on career goals, cost, time commitment, and expected returns on investment.
- Coding bootcamps offer alternative paths to kickstart a career in the tech industry in just a few months instead of the several years it takes to earn a college degree.
- A college degree in computer science offers diverse career opportunities compared to a coding bootcamp certificate.
- Coding boot camps in the United States cost around $14,214 compared to a college degree, which will cost more than $40,000.
- If you are looking for flexible timelines or upskilling your skills, a coding bootcamp offers the best options in terms of standalone coding courses with full-time, part-time, and self-paced lessons.
As college fees skyrocket, more individuals looking to advance their tech skills are turning to coding bootcamps, which are relatively affordable. These nontraditional workforce training programs offer the perfect suite of short courses for postsecondary education, college graduates, retraining, and upskilling tech workers to meet industry demands.
A college degree in computer science or any other coding-related course prioritizes theory, while coding bootcamps prioritize learning specific coding languages and programming skills. Read on to discover the benefits and downside of coding bootcamp vs college degree and their role in diversifying your career.
What Are Coding Bootcamps?
Coding bootcamps are technical training programs designed to teach coding and computer programming skills in high demand in the tech industries. As more jobs shift from being physically intensive to technologically intensive, there’s an even greater need to learn coding skills that are applicable to solving real-world problems.
Coding bootcamps have gained popularity since the early 2010s, when the first coding bootcamps started offering training in web development and programming. Typically a full-time bootcamp can last 8 to 24 weeks.
A significant reason for the metric growth of the programming bootcamp industry is the ability to customize part-time learning while still getting intense training. This is highly recommended for individuals looking to upskill their tech skills while still working and engaging in their day-to-day responsibilities.
- Offers cheaper coding programs compared to computer science programs
- Instills applicable skills that are in high demand on the job market
- Great environment to learn and develop a network of like-minded bootcamp graduates
- Flexible study plans with most bootcamps offering a combination of in-person and online classes
- The curriculum is intensive, which makes it hard to juggle part-time classes with other responsibilities such as work
- Bootcamps are not accredited by any education body
What is a computer science degree?
Traditional learning institutions such as colleges offer computer science degree with an emphasis on coding and software development. These classes provide in-depth knowledge of data analytics, coding, cybersecurity, computer systems, mobile computing, and web and game design. The coursework varies depending on the degree programs, with most colleges offering students the choice to specialize during the third and fourth academic years.
A computer science degree or computer programming will grant you access to a wide range of career opportunities. You can become a software developer, information security analyst, computer support specialist, web developer, mobile developer, game developer, or data analyst.
Unlike a certificate from a bootcamp which limits careers to the specific coding course, computer science degrees allow graduates to work in just about any other industry as long as there’s a need for a computing skill set.
- Computer science degrees often have high-paying job opportunities
- A degree is often a prerequisite for managerial positions in tech
- Offers a wide range of careers in the tech industry
- Traditional college experience provides the right opportunity to build a strong network
- College education is expensive, and you may end up with unsustainable student loans
- The quality of the education and skills imparted vary from what the job market requires.
Coding bootcamp vs computer science college degree
To get a clear picture of whether you should choose a coding bootcamp or a college degree, we have to analyze their features, capabilities, costs, and limitations side-by-side.
Coding Bootcamp VS CS Degree Cost
On average coding bootcamps costs vary wildly, with the cheapest ones offering packages around $1500 to $2500. Most full-time bootcamps cost around $11,000 to $15,000, with pricier ones pushing the cost upto $20,000. With these figures, the median cost of coding bootcamps is about $13,600.
The primary reason why bootcamp costs vary depends on the training regime, with full-time bootcamp programs being the most expensive. Part-time and online bootcamps tend to be cheaper compared to in-person training packages.
College degrees in coding-related courses have varying tuition fees depending on whether it’s a public or private institution. The total cost of a public in-state college institution is around $25,620, inclusive of room and boarding. Private institutions are significantly more expensive, with an annual cost of approximately $53,950.
A bachelor’s degree in computer science or programming takes four years to complete. However, some colleges offer online computer science degree programs that allow you to save on transit and housing costs. This option makes it possible to study part-time while still working.
Coding Bootcamp VS CS Degree Fees payment plans
Most coding bootcamps offer tuition deferral plans that require the student to pay a small percentage of the total cost as deposit fees. The rest of the tuition payment gets postponed until completion of the bootcamp program and securing a job. Deferred plans also make it possible for bootcamps to cancel tuition reimbursement if the graduate is unable to secure a qualifying job within a specific time frame. In such a case, they don’t have to pay the balance of the fees.
If the student has difficulty securing an advance payment, some bootcamps offer income share agreements. This allows the individual to enroll in a coding bootcamp with an upfront fee. Instead of paying a fixed tuition amount, later on, they get to pay a fixed percentage of the salary they earn after securing a job.
While college education is significantly more expensive than bootcamps, you get more fee payment plans. College students with financial needs can apply for the Work-study aid program that helps them secure part-time jobs. These positions pay the state minimum wage, with the earnings credited to the school account to cover tuition and boarding fees.
College students can also apply for federal and private education loans to finance their college education. Federal loans have lower interest rates compared to personal loans, and the servicing conditions are much better.
Scholarships and grants are also available for eligible college students. Most of these require the student to enroll for specific credits and maintain a certain GPA in order to continue receiving financial aid.
Coding Bootcamp VS CS Degree Employment rate
Upon completion of a coding bootcamp or graduating with a bachelor’s degree program, it’s only logical that one should start looking for full-time employment. 79% of all coding bootcamp graduates manage to secure a job within 189 days. Most of these graduates get jobs in technical disciplines that they specialize in.
A substantial number of coding bootcamp graduates get employed in web development, data science, user experience design, or go on to become software engineers. A common way to earn money by the side while searching for a full-time job involves freelancing coding gigs.
Computer science graduates or any other coding-related course have an 86% employment rate. The category has a substantially higher employment rate compared to the overall national employment rate. As a coding graduate, you can access a broader range of career lines in the tech industry and companies looking to expand their tech integration capabilities. This diversity reduces the infield employment success rate compared to coding bootcamps.
Coding Bootcamp VS CS Degree Acceptance Rate
Due to a large number of applicants, most coding bootcamps have single-digit acceptance rates ranging from 3 to 6 %. This is also attributed to the fact that individuals seeking to enroll in a coding bootcamp will often apply to multiple bootcamps, which throws off the acceptance stats.
Another common explanation for the low acceptance rate is that most people assume that all they need to do is pay, and they will automatically qualify to enroll. As a result, a substantial percentage of the applicants are not even qualified to join a bootcamp program.
The lack of precise requirements during the application process prevents the filtering of unqualified applicants, hence the low acceptance rates.
Most colleges that offer coding-related bachelor’s degrees have full-time enrollments each academic year with an average acceptance rate of 4 to 17%. The major reason why this rate is on the lower end is due to the stringent qualification requirements in terms of grades, extracurriculars, and test scores. Colleges also require recommendation letters and personal statements while applying for a bachelor’s degree program. Tech programs are more competitive; hence not all qualified applicants can be admitted, leading to a low acceptance rate.
Coding Bootcamp VS CS Degree Graduation Rate
92% of all coding bootcamp students end up graduating on time. This high rate is attributed to the shorter study time required to complete a bootcamp. Most bootcamp applicants also tend to have a specific purpose for enrolling in the program, whether it’s upskilling their tech talents or looking to kick start their career in tech. This makes them more motivated to pursue the coding bootcamp program and attend a majority of the in-person lessons.
The average college graduation rate in the United States is 59% as of 2020. This low rate is attributed to a myriad of reasons, chief among them being financial problems, low performance by the students, lack of interest in the area of study, and failing campus culture, among others.
Most tech dropouts often cite the lack of correlation between what colleges teach and what employers look for. Most dropouts enroll in certificate programs and coding bootcamps, which offer technical training that aligns with the tech industry’s demands.
Coding Bootcamp VS CS Degree Study Plans
73% of coding bootcamps offer only in-person study plans compared to 15% that offer only online classes. A major reason why bootcamps still prefer delivering material in person is due to the comprehensive nature of in-person lessons where the lecturer and the students get to interact. 13%of all bootcamps offer both in-person and online classes for part-time students.
The program schedule intensities are split down right in the middle, with 31% of coding bootcamps offering only full-time programs, 28% offering only part-time programs, and 40% offering both part-time and full-time programs.
Colleges have increasingly adopted the online and in-person classes combination making it possible for students to partake in remote learning. Bachelor’s degree students can also pursue their studies in either full-time or part-time programs increasing the working and education flexibility. Keep in mind that these schedules will vary in each college and degree programs.
A significant consideration that anyone looking to start a career in tech has to contend with is whether to pursue traditional college degrees in computer science or join a coding bootcamp. This conundrum is also faced by tech employees looking to upskill their qualifications.
One thing is clear; it always boils down to a personal preference regarding financial capabilities and career preferences. On the one hand, a computer science program offers more job opportunities. On the other hand, a coding bootcamp certificate provides specific skills that can immediately land bootcamp grads in-field jobs.
Regardless of your choice, employees will always be more impressed by relevant experience and hands-on skills, so invest in yourself and stay relevant in the tech field.