Coding Bootcamps vs CS Degrees. Which One to Choose?


Web developer bootcamps are very important for the tech industry. All big tech hubs have some and others have dozens, like San Francisco.

The bootcamps are very intensive and, in short periods of time, they claim to change your career to a tech-focused one. People are naturally skeptical about what this kind of camp can really offer them, but they gradually improved their reputation since 2012.

They have become well known as a developer of talents, and in addition to universities and other institutions, tech companies are starting to hire more bootcamp graduates as the years pass.

You might ask yourself if such a camp can be compared with 4 years of studying in a computer science program. Recently, this is a pretty common question, especially from people that are thinking of starting a career as developers. As a developer, I used my experience to write about the most important differences between a CS program and a bootcamp.

Opportunities, financial aspects, and timeframes

You need to consider the time you spend in training, the amount of money you actually pay and the opportunities you have when you compare the two training methods. A bootcamp usually takes about 13 weeks and you have a busy schedule. But bootcamp can take from 6 to 28 weeks depending on which program you are interested in, but for a college degree in a tech major, you need to be committed for four to five years. So, if we consider the time, bootcamp is the best alternative.

The situation is similar when it comes to the money you need to give, bootcamp costs approximately $10,500, while a degree will cost you at least $9,650/year or $24,930/year at a university. Considering that, in 4 years for a Bachelor’s degree, you have to pay ~$38,600 for in-state and ~$99,720 for out-of-state tuition. In summary, bootcamps are definitely cheaper than a four-year degree.

If we are to talk about opportunities, the bootcamp seems to be the right choice again. Finishing the camp in such a short period, you can start working and start making money, but college keep you occupied for 3 to 4 year and you can make little if any money meantime.

Job and Career Opportunities

Bootcamp and CS graduates who start on an entry-level job, both win about $65,000 per year on a national scale. The best thing that attracts people to the idea of a bootcamp is that more than 90% of graduates of a successful bootcamp find a job in the first 6 months and they always remember you that in their advertising.

With a CS degree, you have a bigger chance when it comes to highly specialized or senior-level jobs.

The strange thing is that according to a survey made in 2016 by Stack Overflow, 69% of developers are actually self-taught and don’t really have a degree.

Admission Requirements

It is fairly difficult to get in a CS program in college and many students give up before even trying because of the requirements. For bootcamps the acceptance percentage is very different from one camp to another. Some camps are only having a test for acceptance, others make interviews and even personality tests. But if you work hard you can get in even if you don’t have any experience in coding or engineering.

Objectives of Tech Schools

The ambition of all the bootcamps is to transform their students into a developer ready to start a job in the shortest time possible. They will put the accent on things you will need to know in order to do a good job after employment.

Computer programs teach you about the theory of Computer Science and Engineering. They will teach you how to think like an engineer and even more, how computers think. You will even have upper-level calculus and technical writing so at the end, students will know a lot about computer systems but will not have a portfolio to apply to jobs with. You will probably need to spend time after college to teach yourself how to actually program and make a small portfolio.

Diversity of the students

Recently, there were made a lot of efforts to integrate women in the industry, but still, most of the CS programs are male-dominated. Even more, 60% of the CS students are Caucasian.

Bootcamps have a lot more diversity when it comes to their students, 40% are women in contrast to 15% in CS programs. Ethnic diversity is a lot better as well, people from all notions are choosing to take this opportunity to learn and to get a good job. Bootcamps students are usually older than college ones because here are a lot of people who decided to change their career paths.