Coding Bootcamps in Chicago Guide
With the growing impact of technology in both business and society, pursuing a career in the tech sector can set individuals up for long-term professional success. In the windy city of Chicago, a major economic and research hub, career opportunities abound for those with coding skills.
CompTIA’s annual State of the Tech Workforce report highlights the prevalence of Chicago’s booming tech sector with the following statistics:
2,100 net new tech jobs are projected in Chicago within 2023
245,000 people work in tech in Chicago
$92,230 is the median wage for tech workers, 100% higher than the overall median
6.9% of the region's economy is attributed to the tech industry
11,295 tech businesses currently operate in Chicago
Growth projections for tech roles are favorable, giving the green light to individuals considering a career in coding to make the transition. In particular, CompTIA points out that specialized tech roles in software development, programming, and web development are growing most rapidly in Chicago, with a projected 2.5% year-over-year increase in 2023. As for the future of computer and information technology occupations, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 15% growth from 2021 to 2031—significantly faster than most occupations.
However, even with a nationwide shortage of tech talent, the competition for coding roles can be fierce. So, the question arises: How can I move from a non-technical job to a career as a software developer? If you want to break into tech, a coding bootcamp in Chicago can serve as a launching pad to help you meet your career goals. Continue reading this guide to coding bootcamps in Chicago to learn more about your options.
Guide to Coding Bootcamps in Chicago
While some may assume a computer science degree and prior tech experience are requirements for a career in coding, that’s not necessarily the case. According to McKinsey & Company, 44% of tech professionals started their careers in non-tech roles. A 2022 CompTIA survey also found that 85% of HR leaders support eliminating or relaxing requirements for four-year degrees on tech job listings.
In the current job market, tech companies are looking for diverse individuals with a range of both technical and interpersonal talents. This means people can succeed in coding careers by possessing transferable “soft” skills such as creativity and problem-solving in addition to programming skills, which a coding bootcamp in Chicago can help them acquire.
Attending a bootcamp empowers you to develop the skills and qualifications needed for entry-level coding roles in the Chicago area, remotely, and nationwide. Plus, many coding programs in Chicago offer career counseling, job search support, and employer networking opportunities to help graduates find their ideal job.
What Is a Coding Bootcamp?
Coding bootcamps are immersive programs that rapidly equip individuals with skills-based, technical career training. Tech bootcamps are a more flexible and affordable alternative to traditional higher education programs. The specialized focus on skills training and career preparedness makes a coding bootcamp a strong option for those looking to quickly enter the field.
Completing one of the coding programs in Chicago can take as little as a few weeks or months. Bootcamps are offered both in-person and online. Some online bootcamps offer live class schedules, while others are fully self-paced. Individuals pursuing a coding education should consider their unique goals, learning styles, and circumstances when selecting which program best fits their needs.
Financial Assistance for Coding Bootcamp
While coding bootcamps require a financial commitment, most help students research various payment options:
Scholarships may reduce the cost of tuition
Employers may offer reimbursement for bootcamp tuition
Local or regional government assistance programs may be available
For some coding bootcamps in Chicago, including those offered by Fullstack Academy, military veterans can get aid from the Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC) program
Personal loans may also be available at the student’s discretion
Why Choose a Coding Bootcamp?
You may be wondering—why choose a coding bootcamp? The bootcamp format offers a variety of benefits. Coding bootcamps in Chicago provide an excellent opportunity to break into the local industry and gain hands-on experience with the latest tools and techniques. These programs also allow students to learn directly from industry-experienced instructors at an accelerated pace. Plus, many bootcamps offer career success services and job placement assistance to help students get hired.
These key benefits of a bootcamp are attractive to many seeking to enter the field. However, others may choose a coding bootcamp in Chicago for additional reasons, including:
Coursework is industry-specific, skills-based, and directly job-related in a bootcamp.
The structure of bootcamps provides accountability in the education process.
Flexibility & Accessibility
With online bootcamps, students can join virtual classes from nearly any location.
Bootcamps can open doors to meeting other professionals in the field.
A bootcamp may include creating a portfolio to show potential employers.
Bootcamps help students practice new coding skills in real-life scenarios.
While bootcamps can help individuals quickly acquire in-depth coding skills and knowledge, they are also very rigorous. It’s critical to do research first to see if a program fits with your professional goals, budget, and lifestyle. Individuals should also look into the program’s hiring outcomes to see if it has a strong track record of placing students in coding-related jobs.
Typical Coding Salaries in Chicago
With over 50,000 new job postings in 2023 for Web Developers and Software Engineers in the Chicago metropolitan area alone (LightcastTM), top local tech employers like CapitalOne, Discover Bank, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. are offering competitive salaries to attract coding talent.
Compensation for coding professionals can vary based on several factors, including job title, skills, and location. Entry-level web developers in the Chicago area average an annual salary of $74,869 (ZipRecruiter; May 2023), significantly higher than the overall average entry-level salary of $32,899. The average entry-level salary for Software Engineers/Developers is even higher, nearing six figures at $97,951.
Earning potential rises with experience. According to 2023 LightcastTM data, below are some typical coding salaries in Chicago:
Average Coding Salaries in Chicago
Web Developer: $101,401
Software Developer/Engineer: $132,220
Median Coding Salaries in Chicago
Web Developer: $94,690
Software Developer/Engineer: $101,654
For those looking to earn a competitive salary, a coding bootcamp in Chicago may provide an accelerated path to a lucrative and engaging career.
Types of Coding Bootcamps in Chicago
When pursuing a coding bootcamp in Chicago, there are a few things to consider:
Duration: Determine if a full-time or part-time program is best for your schedule and goals. Those committed to a full-time job should consider enrolling in a part-time program, as a full-time bootcamp requires a significant time investment.
Career Support: Explore how a bootcamp aids its students in their job search through career success services such as coaching, resume and cover letter optimization, interview prep, employer partnerships, and more.
Subject Matter: Check if the program curriculum, skills, and programming languages taught align with your specific career goals.
Hiring Outcomes: Look for transparent hiring outcomes reports and read alumni reviews. A strong job placement record will indicate if the program equips students for success in the field.
While researching a list of coding bootcamps in Chicago and determining which one is the best fit, it’s important to account for the alumni network as well. Bootcamps with a high rate of graduate success are more likely to have alumni who can help other students get their foot in the door.
Fullstack Academy Coding Bootcamps
Whether you’re changing careers entirely or upskilling to elevate your current tech career, Fullstack Academy provides various types of coding bootcamps to help you reach your goals.
Full-Time Software Engineering Immersive Bootcamp
Part-Time Software Engineering Immersive Bootcamp
The Part-Time Software Engineering Immersive is designed for individuals of all skill levels who need to balance everyday life commitments with career development. It offers the same rigorous curriculum as the full-time bootcamp, spread out over 28 weeks.
The Grace Hopper Program Coding Bootcamp for Women
The Grace Hopper Program offers a gender-allied learning experience for women and non-binary coders. The bootcamp follows the same high-quality curriculum as the Fullstack Academy Software Engineering Immersive, teaching useful coding skills, providing individualized guidance, and fostering a culture of openness and empowerment. Designed for individuals of all backgrounds, it prepares students to become professional web developers in 16-28 weeks.
Fullstack Academy Coding Bootcamp Curriculum
Foundational Software Engineering Curriculum
HTML and CSS
Web development environment and industry-standard tools
Foundations On-Ramp Features
Supports learners of all skill levels
Student-centered, inquiry-based learning in teams
Instructor-facilitated, live online classroom format
Immersive digital learning tools
At the end of this unit, you will complete a project to apply your skills.
Git and Github
- Web Interface and Design - You’ll learn how content and imagery are best displayed on a website.
- Front-End Framework - You’ll start to understand pre-written modules and their primary use cases in web development.
- Pair Programming - Working with a fellow student, you’ll each use your newfound knowledge to write and optimize front-end code. This helps you build real-world experience and prepare for technical coding interviews.
React, React Router, and React Hooks
Throughout bootcamp, you’ll begin each project by scoping, researching, and beginning to build full stack web applications—touching on every stage of a typical, real-world prototype development process.
- Full Stack Capstone Project: You will work with a team of students to come up with an ambitious idea for an app, and start building it out. This will be the most impressive project in your portfolio and will demonstrate your full understanding of software development and industry best practices.
- Full Stack Project Pitching: After formulating your own idea for a web or mobile application, you’ll pitch it to the class. Taking market, design, and utility considerations into account, you’ll understand through your pitch process how development projects come to fruition in real-world scenarios.
Portfolio Development: As you complete your full stack web development projects, all your code will be housed in GitHub to demonstrate your technical prowess and creativity to potential employers.
Career Coaching: Fullstack Academy Career Coaches are your one-stop professional development resource. They’ll work with you on core aspects of the job search–from interview preparation to resume optimization–throughout the final stages of your bootcamp experience and beyond.
University Coding Bootcamps powered by Fullstack Academy
Fullstack Academy partners with leading institutions nationwide to prepare students for fulfilling careers in tech.
The University of Illinois Chicago Coding Bootcamp powered by Fullstack Academy provides an accelerated pathway for students in Chicago to gain industry-ready skills. Classes are offered on a full-time or part-time schedule, with multiple class time options to choose from.
Top Employers Hiring in Chicago
As the largest metro area in the Midwest and the third most populous city in the nation, Chicago offers a wealth of career opportunities. According to the BLS, the Chicago job market experienced significant year-over-year growth from 2022 to 2023, with over 81,900 net new jobs across all industries.
Chicago is a great place to call home for many individuals and companies alike. The city hosts over 400 major corporate headquarters across a wide range of industries, including more than 30 Fortune 500 companies. Some of these Chicago-based companies include Accenture, Hyatt Hotels, Abbott, United Airlines, and Mondelez International. Chicago is also home to leading universities, including the University of Illinois Chicago.
Information technology is a key market for the city, and the need for qualified coding professionals has skyrocketed across all industries—technical and non-technical. Employers hiring in Chicago range in size, from technology startups to the aforementioned Fortune 500 companies. Across the board, however, these companies are seeking the best and brightest talent to support continual innovation.
According to Lightcast™, the top employers hiring in Chicago for coding professionals are:
JPMorgan Chase & Co.
More specifically, these leading finance companies are hiring web developers, software developers, and software engineers. Coding programs in Chicago can help aspiring tech professionals prepare for these types of roles and more.
Meetups for Coding in Chicago
While bootcamps can provide the skills and qualifications to pursue many coding jobs, networking is a key component to maximizing career success in the industry. Coding events in Chicago—including conferences, meetup groups, and industry competitions—offer opportunities to learn from and collaborate with others in the field.
Here are a few of the coding events and groups in Chicago to explore:
Events and Groups
Fullstack Academy Events: Free intros to Fullstack Academy bootcamps, along with career-focused workshops offering interview preparation advice and job-hunting tips.
ChiWitCon: A gathering for industry professionals centered around empowering women technologists in Chicago and beyond.
Chicago Coder Conference: A three-day community coding conference in downtown Chicago.
Women Who Code Chicago: A community group for WWC members to gain new skills, knowledge, and confidence to advance their technical careers.
BSides Chicago: A conference for hacking and infosec enthusiasts to learn and connect, and for new and emerging speakers to present their work in a welcoming environment.
Chicago Innovate Hackathon: A competition for students and young professionals interested in the AECO industry to collaborate and innovate with others in the field.
Chicago Code & Coffee: A casual biweekly meetup group for industry professionals and coding hobbyists.
Chi Hack Night: A hub for Chicago’s tech community with weekly hack nights.
Code for Chicago: The local chapter of Code for America that aims to improve the public digital infrastructure through technology.
Code Whatever Meetup Group: A nonprofit dedicated to creating a supportive, inclusive learning environment and teaching tech literacy and coding skills via open video calls.
Coding bootcamps offer an excellent opportunity to break into the industry or advance an existing tech career. There are many benefits to pursuing a coding bootcamp. Students can expect to:
Gain hands-on experience with the latest coding tools and software
Learn fundamental knowledge from industry-experienced instructors
Acquire critical skills and build a professional portfolio of projects
Receive career support and job placement assistance
The typical salary for coding bootcamp graduates can vary depending on factors such as location, skills, certifications, and experience level. However, here are some general salary ranges for common entry-level coding positions, according to 2023 ZipRecruiter data:
Software Developer/Engineer - National Median: $118,556
Software Developer/Engineer - Chicago Median: $101,654
Web Developer - National Median: $77,022
Web Developer - Chicago Median: $94,690
Coding bootcamps provide an accelerated learning path that typically lasts several weeks to a few months. Some bootcamps follow a strict schedule with live classes, while others may offer a self-paced option.