//​Are Coding Bootcamps Worth It?
​Are Coding Bootcamps Worth It?2019-06-10T22:40:52+00:00

Are Coding Bootcamps Worth It?

Coding bootcamps are fast-paced, full-time programs designed to turn out entry-level developers in as little as three months. According to the 2018 Coding Bootcamp Market Size Study, there were 16,164 coding bootcamp graduates in 2017 (about 6,000 more graduates than in 2015 and 14,000 more than in 2013). Of course, coding bootcamps are not for everyone.

Depending on your interests and career goals, you may be better suited for a computer science degree program than a coding bootcamp. To help you decide if a bootcamp is worth the investment, here is a big picture look at how the tech industry perceives coding bootcamp graduates as well as note about the incredible job placement claims made by coding schools.

What Employers Think About Coding Bootcamps

What do employers really think about coding bootcamps? To find out, job site Indeed conducted a survey in March 2017 of over 1,000 HR managers and technical recruiters across the United States:

  • 72% of respondents think bootcamp grads are “just as prepared” to be high performers as degree holders
  • 80% of respondents have hired a coding bootcamp graduate for a tech role within their company
  • 99.8% of respondents who hired a coding bootcamp graduate say they would do so again

Clearly, employers think highly of coding bootcamp graduates and their abilities in the workplace. At the same time, there was unanimous concern among HR managers and technical recruiters about the lack of regulation and accreditation. Despite employer enthusiasm for the model, 98% of respondents want to see more regulation. Not all bootcamps are created equal, and the lack of uniform standards means employers are not convinced that all coding bootcamps produce qualified candidates.

Claims Made by Coding Bootcamps

According to Course Report, in 2016 there were 91 recognized full-time bootcamps. Many of these bootcamps advertise job placement rates well above 90%. However, because of the lack of regulation and oversight, these claims are not always verified by independent third parties.

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According to Course Report, in 2016 there were 91 recognized full-time bootcamps. Many of these bootcamps advertise job placement rates well above 90%. However, because of the lack of regulation and oversight, these claims are not always verified by independent third parties.

In 2016, the International Business Times examined the eye-popping claims made by top coding schools. According to Jonathan Lau, co-founder of SwitchUp, an independent directory of coding bootcamp reviews and rankings, these claims are not always rooted in actual student outcomes. “Oftentimes, bootcamps will make these numbers up,” Lau is quoted as saying by the International Business Times, “They’ll exclude students who they think were bad and mark them as a failed student and do all sorts of weird things that bump up their numbers and make it look better. With a third-party auditor, you can’t really do that.” Unfortunately, third-party verification is not common. In fact, according to the International Business Times report, most of the coding bootcamps it looked at did not release third-party verified and audited results.

Provider Job Placement Rate Job Placement Definition Third-Party Verified?
App Academy 98% A job as a full-time software developer within 12 months after graduation. No
General Assembly 99% Includes full-time, some contract positions and internships in tech roles obtained within six months after graduation. No
Hack Reactor 99% Includes full-time and contractor job offers in a tech role obtained within three months after graduation. No
Turing School 98% Includes full-time and some part-time positions, such as contracts and internships, obtained within three months after graduation. No
Wyncode 90% Includes full-time, part-time and internships obtained within three months after graduation. No
Source: “Code Boot Camps Fail Obama As Unaudited Stats Cast Doubt On Success Rates.” International Business Times. Retrieved September 7th,2019 from https://www.ibtimes.com/code-boot-camps-fail-obama-unaudited-stats-cast-doubt-success-rates-2301188

The message: be wary of any unverified job placement claims made by coding bootcamps, and also closely examine results that are third-party verified. Course Report published the following tips in September 2018 on what to watch out for when you see a “job guarantee” claim made by a coding bootcamp:

  • Is the school guaranteeing you a job or a job offer?
  • Are job search requirements clear? (i.e., networking, proof of minimum # of applications, time limit, reporting back to the bootcamp careers team)
  • Does the school count contract, part-time, non-developer, non-technical or the school’s own job offers as “offers?”
  • Are there any prerequisites to be eligible for the job guarantee? (i.e., city you live in, English skills, college degree, age, etc.)

Coding Bootcamp vs. Computer Science Degree

Referring again to the Indeed study, 41% of respondents would rather hire a candidate with a computer science degree than a coding bootcamp graduate. CS programs explore the theoretical principles of programming in addition to straight coding skills. Bootcamps, on the other hand, focus on programming alone. Anupam Joshi, Chair of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at the University of Maryland, sees the benefit of bootcamps as vocational training. In an article by the Washington Post, published in March of 2016, Joshi is quoted as saying, “Bootcamps are good for someone who wants to get an entry level job.” But Brian O’Neill, Principal Architect at Philly-based tech company Monetate, sees it differently: “You emerge from a bootcamp fit to do an oil change,” he’s quoted as saying to the Washington Post, “but not design a car.”

If you want to learn the fundamentals of how programming actually works and not just how to read and write code, a computer science program will provide the depth of study you need to understand what is going on behind the scenes. Consider the M.S. in Computer Science curriculum from our partner Syracuse University:

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Core Courses Structured Programming and Formal Methods

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Principles of Operating Systems

Elective Courses Object Oriented Programming C++

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Object Oriented Design

Software Modeling

Computer Security

Internet Security

Fundamentals of Data and Knowledge Mining

Machine Learning

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No CS background? No problem! If you have an undergraduate degree, you may be able to enroll in an online master’s of computer science program.

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