Are Coding Boot Camps Worth It?

Written by Sarah Harris
Published on March 27, 2023 · Updated on April 13, 2023

Are Coding Boot Camps Worth It?

Written by Sarah Harris
Published on March 27, 2023 · Updated on April 13, 2023

What’s the most effective way for someone in a tech field to add to their skill set? Not long ago, students didn’t have many choices. They could enter into a local college or university program or wait for an opportunity to come up at work. Today, many are turning away from those choices and considering options that give them more control and faster results. This likely explains the sharp increase in the number of graduates from coding boot camps in major business hubs across the US and the sharp increase in boot camp graduates between 2012 and 2020.

Of course, that’s exciting, but does this indicate that it’s worth attending a coding boot camp online or in person? What if you buckled down to attend a college or university instead? Keep reading to learn more before you sign up for any programs.

What Are Coding Boot camps?

Coding boot camps are short-term, intensive training programs for developers or people who wish to enter that field. The objective is for students to complete the program with the skills they need to become employable.

A programming boot camp is often demanding and immersive, with students working on coding projects almost immediately. Students will also attend coding boot camp sessions for up to several hours each day. Some programs focus entirely on a single language  (e.g., JAVA), while others teach a suite of related skills (e.g., front-end web development).

Coding Boot Camps vs. Bachelor’s in Computer Science: At a Glance

Supporters say that attending a coding boot camp online is the best way to gain marketable skills and enter the workforce. Detractors claim that boot camp graduates may lack valuable soft skills and business understanding from earning a BS in computer science. Here’s a general comparison of the two.

Coding Boot Camps

Marketable languages for app and website development, development tools, and career coaching.
Under $15,000.
9 Months or Less.
Easy to Find a Coding Boot Camp Online. 

BS in Computer Science

Foundational programming courses, business, mathematics, systems design, operating systems.
Starting at $20,000 annually.
4 Years.
Online options are available. Some schools require in-person attendance.

What Can I Expect from Coding Boot camps?

A coder academy usually requires an out-of-pocket investment and a significant amount of your time. You should know what to expect if you sign up.

What Do Coding Boot Camps Teach?

The best coding boot camps teach a set of digital skills that provide students with the practical knowledge required to work in web development, app development, network security, or UX design. Some of the most common skills covered are:

  • Python
  • JavaScript
  • GitHub
  • Full Stack C++
  • Cyber Security

Generally, a student will choose a course of study that aligns with their career goals, then sign up for that program. If you are unsure of the path you’d like to take, consider taking a step back. Students are more successful if they can fully commit to a program and know the outcome they want to achieve.

Can I Get a Job After a Coding Boot camp?

Coding boot camps are specifically designed to make graduates career-ready. In fact, the best coding boot camps have connections with tech employers. Many also offer students assistance in building a resume, creating a portfolio, even building interview skills.

Should I Enroll in a Coder Academy?

Coding boot camps are intensive career programs. They are an excellent choice for someone who wants a fast track into an entry-level career in development or looking for a career change. Many of the first jobs people get after coding boot camps are junior-level positions that emphasize technical skills.

What a coding boot camp may not do is prepare you for moving through the ranks of a corporation, managing development teams, or becoming a product manager. Most boot camps won’t teach Agile, KanBan, or other development methodologies. They also don’t offer management skills courses.

What Can I Expect from a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science?

Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science is attained after attending school for a minimum of four years. That’s a major commitment and could lead to debt approaching six figures. Anyone who is considering this should be sure they will get the results they want.

What Does a BS in Computer Science Teach?

Special education can vary from school to school. Usually, a student of computer science will get a degree that focuses on higher-level subjects, such as computer architecture, mathematics, operating systems, analysis and design, and computer programming. With a four-year program, students have the time to take lower-level courses and some exploratory courses before choosing an area of specialty. Additionally, students can customize their programs based on the specialties they decide to pursue.

Can I Get a Job After Earning a Computer Science Degree?

Someone with a degree in computer science can pursue many career paths. However, these will also be at the junior or trainee level. Computer Science graduates become software engineers, quality assurance testers, database administrators, systems analysts, etc. The downside is that they may not have immediately marketable skills in the high-tech sector.

College graduates benefit from internships, alumni networks, and job placement programs as they pursue employment. They may also choose to continue their education by transferring credits to a graduate degree program.

Should I Enroll in a Computer Science Degree Program

If you are interested in studying computers from a theoretical perspective, visualize yourself working in analysis and design, or move up through the management structure, you might be an excellent fit for a computer science degree program. This is also an excellent degree for anyone who wants to pursue an advanced degree in computer science, computer engineering, or mathematics.

You may not benefit from this program if you are more interested in applied technology or you prefer a career path that is driven by your technical skills. It may also not be a good fit for you if you want to start working sooner rather than later.

What to Look for in Coding Boot Camps and Bachelor’s Degree Programs

Whether you choose a bachelor’s degree or a coding boot camp, it’s important to choose the option that works for you and gives you a quality education. You don’t want to waste time or money on any program that doesn’t get good results, costs too much, or leaves you with too much debt. You should also focus on choosing a program that aligns with your lifestyle.

Online vs. On-Campus Learning

Online learning isn’t necessarily better than in-person learning or vice-versa. However, these choices can make a big difference to your schedule, learning style, and flexibility.

Students interested in avoiding a commute, learning well independently, and want a flexible schedule will probably benefit from online options. At the same time, online students need to be motivated, self-starters.

There are some benefits to in-person learning as well. Many students learn better in an environment where there is discussion and debate. It also helps them to maintain a consistent schedule.

Job Placement

Someone who attends and graduates from a four-year university will have access to internships, academic clubs and other activities, student services, and their alumni network to help them find a job. However, colleges and universities don’t offer job placement guarantees. Students will pay for their degrees regardless of their ability to land a job in their field.

Many programming boot camps work directly with employers who are urgently seeking people with specific skills. Because of this, students may seek advice as to the specific boot camp programs they should take to land a job as soon as possible. Besides that, many boot camps help with resumes and show students how to display their work on platforms like GitHub. Some boot camps offer job placement guarantees and will not charge tuition for students who cannot get a job.

Exactly how likely are you to get a job? If you attend a coding boot camp, you have an excellent chance of landing a job. Around 83% of boot camp graduates land a job within six months.

It’s a bit more challenging to determine job placement rates for colleges and universities, especially narrowed down to students who receive computer science degrees. Many institutions don’t publish placement rates. However, it does seem as if long-term employment rates for people with a bachelor’s degree are quite good.


A four-year degree is going to cost significantly more than a two- to nine-month coding boot camp program. However, it’s important to remember that some factors can make a big difference in the final cost of your education.

For example, a four-year degree from a college or university may cost from $10,000 to $60,000 per semester. However, that cost can be reduced if a student attends a community college first to save on tuition fees, earn scholarships, participate in work-study programs, or qualify for grants. They may also be able to defer the cost of their education by taking out student loans. However, they will pay interest on any borrowed money.

Most boot camps cost less than $15,000 in total. That’s certainly less than the cost to get a degree. However, there are some things to consider. First, many coding boot camps are presented by privately run corporations, not schools. As such, they aren’t able to offer government-based financial aid. That said, some offer payment plans. Students may also look into personal loans to temporarily cover the cost of that. Anyone who is currently employed can also approach their HR department about tuition reimbursement.

Overall, you will spend more on a bachelor’s degree than a programming boot camp. However, you may have more opportunities to get financial assistance from various sources if you choose a college degree over a boot camp program.


A coding boot camp will only be accredited if it is connected to a college or university. In that case, graduates of the boot camp would likely receive a certificate of completion or diploma. However, there are other ways that a boot camp can attain some level of credibility. For example, they may be endorsed by major employers or recommended by unemployment offices and job placement agencies.

The way that employers view accreditation can vary. Some simply value any relevant education. Others value only accredited degrees from recognized colleges and universities. It may be helpful to research local employers to learn what their requirements are concerning formal education.

Anyone who intends to enroll in a four-year college to obtain a bachelor’s degree in computer science must ensure that their school is accredited. Additionally, look for programmatic accreditation. That may indicate the computer science program has been recognized as being particularly valuable. Unaccredited schools generally offer poor educations, give students very little in the way of job-search support, and other schools may not recognize their degrees. This is a problem if you want to transfer your degree.

Coding Boot Camp FAQs

  • Is coding boot camp for beginners?
    • That depends on the program. Many are intended for people with little to no experience. Others work well for people who want to add to an existing skillset.
  • Is coding boot camp free?
    • Coding boot camp is not free. Students may be able to get tuition reimbursement from their employers or take advantage of other options. It may be possible to obtain financing or other assistance.
  • Is coding boot camp hard?
    • They are pretty difficult for most people. However, the average person should be able to complete a coding boot camp if they make an effort. Students are generally expected to treat boot camp as a full-time effort.
  • How much do coding jobs pay?
    • The national average salary for a coder or computer programmer is just over $48,000 per year. However, this is variable depending on location and specialty. Boot camp attendees can research and choose programs that offer the best pay.