Are Coding Bootcamps Worth It? You Can Expect These Job and Salary Outcomes

By: David Yang

For years, recruiters and hiring managers at tech companies have scanned software developer job applications for candidates with a four-year computer science degree. But what if you can’t spend upwards of $100,000 on a degree? You may be wondering whether there’s another path to landing a tech job.

Enter coding bootcamps.

Coding bootcamps offer intensive training in software development skills and are typically designed for people preparing to enter the tech industry job market. According to Course Report's Coding Bootcamp Market Size Study, the average bootcamp is 14 weeks long and costs $11,400.

Because coding schools rely on successful job placement of coding bootcamp graduates to stay in business, they focus on teaching programming languages that are in high demand among tech companies. According to coding bootcamp review site Course Report, full-stack JavaScript and Ruby on Rails are the two most popular languages taught at coding bootcamps, followed by Python, Java, PHP, and .NET.

But the question still remains: Are coding bootcamps worth it? Even though 11K is a bargain compared to a four-year college degree, it’s still a hefty investment. Will 14 weeks of training really be sufficient to help land you a tech job, use your programming skills in the real world, and recoup your investment?

Are You Cut Out for Coding Bootcamp?

Before we discuss the benefits of coding camps, it's important that you understand the bootcamp experience and whether or not it’s the right model for you. So if the following statements describe you, you’re likely to thrive at a coding bootcamp.

  1. You are ready for an intense intellectual experience. If the idea of learning the intricacies of back-end development for 10 to 12 hours a day sounds a bit crazy, that's because it is. You have to be mentally prepared to challenge yourself in a full-time learning environment. (Sound a little intimidating? Consider part-time options.)
  2. You are committed to learning code. There will be moments when it’s going to be much easier to give up than to continue. If in the back of your mind you’re thinking, “It is not that serious,” you may have already sabotaged yourself.
  3. You like learning with others. One of the best reasons to attend a coding bootcamp is that you get to learn and network with a bunch of committed people who are also smart, hard-working, and dedicated to becoming skilled software developers. A huge benefit to the coding bootcamp model is that many employers will require you to pair program, or at the very least collaborate with other team members to complete projects and resolve issues, so your collaborative education will prepare you well for the workplace. (Consider yourself an introvert? Don’t worry; we have plenty of those, too, and they enjoy the program just as much.)
  4. You are competitive but self-aware. Students who are used to being over-achievers can become paralyzed with imposter syndrome when they struggle with the learning curve of a new programming language. But when a group of people is learning advanced concepts in computer science and web development, it’s important to recognize that it’s OK to be a few days behind someone else. It’s just part of the rapid-growth experience.

Top 3 Benefits of Coding Bootcamp

If you’re the right fit for coding bootcamp but are still on the fence, here are three benefits that will help you decide whether the investment is worth it.

1. Advanced Curriculum

Coding schools tout their up-to-date curriculum as an advantage over higher education options. University computer science degrees are accredited by national and state departments of education, which means their curriculum has to be designed months or years in advance. Coding bootcamps, on the other hand, while often approved or regulated by a government agency, are free to revise their curriculum as often as every seven weeks in response to the demands of the tech marketplace. As a result, some tech firms now prefer bootcamp graduates with their cutting-edge knowledge base, over those with a potentially outdated four-year degree.


2. Job Search Preparation

Another benefit of coding bootcamps is the built-in job search preparation. Most camps have a hands-on focus, and by the end students have built several live web applications that serve as great initial content for a software engineering portfolio.

Many bootcamps also have a technical interview training aspect. You’ll practice white-boarding difficult interview questions so you’ll have a better chance at securing a job as a software developer.

3. Job Placement

The biggest benefit of coding bootcamps is the impressive number of successful student outcomes. Course Report's Coding Bootcamp Outcomes & Demographics Report found that 80% of bootcamp graduates successfully found employment using their software development skills. Highly esteemed coding schools, such as Fullstack Academy and Hack Reactor, report even higher job placement rates at 90% or more because of their selective admissions processes and rigorous curricula.

Choosing Your Camp

When considering coding schools, you should note that bootcamp curricula are often tailored for the local tech market. Coding schools in San Jose and San Francisco tend to focus on Python, the in-demand language in the Bay Area, while New York bootcamps most often prepare their students to use JavaScript and MEAN stack.

Many coding schools have hiring partnerships with local tech companies, which helps boost bootcamp graduate job placement. It’s a wise choice to attend a coding bootcamp in the city you would like to work in.

The average bootcamp graduate had a 50.5% salary increase from their previous job. As you gain experience in your career as software developer, you will be closer to finding yourself in that high-paying job you’re after, and more importantly, a fulfilling role building awesome software applications.

Want to get started on your own first? Check out these resources to learn JavaScript for free.

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