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2021 Guide

Are Coding Bootcamps Worth It?

Yes, coding bootcamps are worth it because they offer a wide range of benefits, allowing graduates to gain in-demand skills in a short period of time, expand their professional networks, and eventually qualify for a high-paying job in a growing industry.

Although it is possible to learn to code by yourself, most experts in the web development field find that going the self-taught method is deeply time-consuming and challenging. And even college graduates with a degree in a technical field like computer science would be unlikely to possess the range of coding skills and programming knowledge necessary to thrive in development without the kind of further training that a coding bootcamp offers.

A web development course or coding bootcamp will first establish your foundations, deepening your HTML and CSS knowledge, and familiarizing you with frameworks including Flexbox, React, and JavaScript.

You’ll also understand server-side programming, how to build servers using a modern back-end framework, and how to manage databases and data on a web server. Most likely, you’ll also combine some of these competencies to create a project that follows industry practices – boosting your portfolio in the process.

You’ll also establish the beginnings of your professional network, getting to know other aspiring Developers, instructors who double as industry pros, and guest speakers from leading tech companies.

Also, some coding bootcamps focus on getting you ready for the interview process by putting you through mock interviews with a hiring manager and a Web Developer and then offering constructive feedback.

The Pros and Cons of Coding Bootcamps

Coding bootcamps are a popular way for people to gain the programming skills they need to transition careers and land a job in web development, but before signing up, it’s worth considering both the pros and cons. Here are some of the pros of a coding bootcamp:

  • Cost. Attending a coding bootcamp is certainly affordable in comparison to a four-year computer science college degree.

  • Focus on modern languages and frameworks. These coding bootcamps tend to have an edge over traditional college programs in one important area: flexibility. They tend to adjust their curricula often to ensure students are getting the most up-to-date education possible.

  • Immersive environment. These programs are laser-focused on getting you up and running as a Developer.

  • Networking opportunities. Intensive coding bootcamps can help you begin to build out your professional network as you begin pursuing your new career.

And here are some of the cons of attending a coding bootcamp:

  • Cost. Although coding bootcamp tuition is definitely less financially imposing than a four-year college degree or diploma, some people will still struggle with the expense. And if you want to enrol in a full-time coding bootcamp, it will be very difficult to work at the same time. And many aren’t eligible for Pell Grants or federal loans.

  • They require a time commitment. The average coding bootcamp is about 16 weeks, and it could potentially take longer for those who want to master full-stack web development, for instance. That doesn’t seem like much when you consider that you’re coming out with a totally new skillset, but it’s still a significant commitment to make. And again, it’s also a long time to be out of work or working only part-time. Prepare to give up some evenings and weekends for homework, too.

  • Not all coding bootcamps are created equal. Make sure you do your research and due diligence before making a commitment. Take a look through different curricula and gather as much information as possible about the coding bootcamp before you start to make sure it will get you where you need to go.

So, Are Coding Bootcamps Worth It?

Yes, these coding bootcamps are worth it for students who want to learn a skill very quickly in a focused environment, with the goal of getting completely prepared for a new career in a matter of months. College and university programs are not necessarily the best fit for all learners. They’re also comparatively much more expensive, with a four-year computer science degree likely to cost upwards of $140,000 on average. That said, coding bootcamps cannot match the depth and scope of a four-year computer science degree.

Ultimately, it comes down to the way you approach it. If you apply yourself and make the most of every opportunity, it’s likely you’ll be among the roughly 80 percent of coding bootcamp grads who find themselves employed in the field with a higher salary after completing the program.

How to Make Coding Bootcamps Worth It

To make coding bootcamps worth it and ensure you find a good job after you graduate, you should lean on your professional network, establish an online presence, and gain some real-world experience in development, any way you can.

Over the course of most coding bootcamps, you will complete a project that could be the cornerstone of a Developer portfolio site. Your website should be a showcase of your best work. Make sure the site is professional, attractive, and easy to navigate. Consider including some of the following: bio/about; resume; social media profiles; contact information; responsive design; and past projects with documented source code.

You should also be open to internships and apprenticeships, which are often a gateway to a job. Another idea is to volunteer. For instance, the Taproot Foundation helps nonprofits and social change organizations connect with skilled volunteers.

It’s also important to simply get out there. Attend networking events and Hackathons. Keep in touch with fellow coding bootcamp graduates and your former instructors – your personal network will often lead to opportunities. Also, be sure to keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date so Recruiters can find you.

Here are four tips for making a coding bootcamp worth it.

  1. Research Coding Bootcamps If employers have a complaint about coding bootcamps, it’s that they want more regulation. Not all programs deliver on their promises, so do a deep dive into your research – ultimately, the question "are coding bootcamps worth it?" often comes down to which bootcamp you attend. Go through LinkedIn to find graduates of the bootcamp and see what they’re doing now – if you’re comfortable, reach out to them and ask their opinion of their experience. What does the curriculum look like? Which programming languages will you learn? Does the school offer job training or employment fairs?

  2. Connect With Web Developers and Educators Your classmates will likely be colleagues in a short while, and every person you meet could eventually be a contact who could help you land a job in software development. The same goes for your teachers – who are also likely industry professionals – and any guest speakers who may come through the classroom. Most schools hold networking events, and it’s worth your time to attend.

  3. Make the most of your coding bootcamp experience Bootcamps aren't only valuable for building your coding skills. Top bootcamps also offer job placement services and career services – like resume help or mock interview assistance – that can give you an advantage as you begin your tech industry job search. Be sure to explore these resources to the fullest.

  4. Build Your Online Presence Sharing your experiences – and projects – on a blog or website is a good way to begin to get your name and skills out there for recruiters and potential employers to find. It will show that you’re motivated and creative, and it’s a nice way to showcase a bit of personality.

  5. Start Building Your Developer's Portfolio One reason such an overwhelming number of bootcamp students get hired after graduating is that they’re able to build an impressive portfolio over the course of the coding bootcamp. Keep in mind that this is what you’ll have to persuade potential employers that you’re the Developer they need.

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