What is a Coding Bootcamp?
Coding bootcamps are educational experiences where students are immersed in the languages or skills they set out to learn. These intensive courses can take place over a weekend, a week, or even a month, if not longer. Bootcamps often focus on a specific skill set such as algorithms, web development, web design, or a subset of these. Since code runs so many things these days, students can likely find the niche they desire and a bootcamp that will teach them what they need to know.
From a big-picture, practical standpoint, bootcamps are non-academic courses that are grouped in a very tight timeframe. Students tend to enroll in a bootcamp as a way of gaining a lot of computer programming skills and knowledge in a short period of time. Since a bootcamp can take place over the course of a week or a weekend, this approach can be invaluable for someone who needs fresh job skills in a short period of time.
Coding bootcamps can be useful for a variety of students. They are often sought by tech workers who are recently unemployed and who need to refresh their resumes with new skills. They are also a good choice for non-tech workers to quickly gain new skills that can help them start a new, lucrative career. However, they may be used by companies who wish to provide their employees with new skills or a training session as a refresher. Finally, some college students may take a bootcamp course as a way to continue learning during a summer or winter break.
Why Learn with a Bootcamp Program?
Develop new skill-sets about a career you are interested in with a current curriculum to help you succeed.
Get Specialized Training
Further your education and training in a field you are currently in and impress potential employers.
Make yourself stand out, bootcamps can help you stay up-to-date and relevant in your current field.
Bootcamps are a cost-efficient way to start a new career or advance your current education without traditional degree costs.
What Types of Coding Bootcamps Are There?
Bootcamps come in all shapes and sizes. There are in-person, online, and hybrid approaches to bootcamps. They can also extend over the course of multiple months, or they may be intensive courses that last only a week or a weekend. Bootcamps are typically focused on technology, especially computer programming.
In-person bootcamps are a great option for students who are close to the school or training location and who prefer traditional classroom instruction. Many schools will provide hardware for students to work on, but there are many bootcamps that require students to bring their own laptop. Since many programming languages require special hardware to run, bootcamps may want students to learn how to set up their individual machines to complete the lessons.
Online and hybrid bootcamps are increasingly popular, especially in light of the COVID pandemic. Online only bootcamps allow students to learn with more flexibility. Hybrid bootcamps, on the other hand, let students complete lessons at home before returning to a classroom where they can discuss the assignments and any difficulties that may have arisen.
- Don't require attendance at any particular place or time
- Students can ask questions via email at any time
- Easier to review lecture materials
- There is no rush to make it to class on time
- Easier to schedule work and family activities around class
- No need to take time off from work
- Some students prefer a traditional classroom experience
- Difficult for some to manage their time effectively
- Hardware or software issues may hinder a student's ability to access materials or complete assignments
- Unreliable internet connections can hinder learning
- Employers may not reimburse non-academic courses
- Lack of interaction with other students inhibits networking opportunities
- Offer a more intensive experience
- Scheduled courses require a heightened sense of engagement
- Easier to ask questions during a lecture
- In-class discussions may spark new ideas
- Networking opportunities with other students may lead to opportunities later
- In-person courses facilitate group work and collaboration
- Bootcamp may be in another town, thus requiring travel expenses
- Difficult to review lecture materials if they aren't recorded
- Asking questions may be difficult since instructor can only address one student at a time
- Family or work responsibilities may interfere with class attendance
- Class sessions may be canceled due to weather, illness, or other unforeseen natural events
- Students can learn to apply classroom learning to online assignments
- The flexibility of the online portion helps students maintain their work and home responsibilities
- Students can bring questions from their online learning into the classroom
- Bootcamps can be structured in a wide variety of forms to meet the needs of their students
- Students enjoy the independent aspects of online learning but can also take advantage of networking opportunities during the classroom sessions
- May not provide enough in-class time to satisfy students who prefer that learning mode
- Students may not be able to schedule for every in-class session
- The shifts from online to traditional classroom work may be jarring for some students
What Skills Will You Learn?
Entrance to a bootcamp is often quite easy. These non-academic courses generally don't require scores from an entrance exam nor any transcripts. However, depending on the course topic, bootcamp administrators may want to see that students have some level of expertise prior to enrollment. For instance, a programming bootcamp may try to ensure that students have a background in coding language. Those with limited experience may still gain enrollment if their language is considered somewhat similar to the language(s) covered in the course.
Students who are interested in fighting cyber-crime may find a cyber security bootcamp. To gain entry to such a course, the administration may want to see basic programming skills and evidence that students know the basics of networking and computer hardware. Many cyber security bootcamps are geared toward specific cyber security certifications, so students can enroll based on a desire to earn a particular credential.
In fact, while most bootcamps will confer some sort of certificate of completion, many are designed to prepare students for an examination that leads to more robust credentials. Students who are looking for certification in specific hardware or software technology, such as Microsoft Server, Cisco Networks, or Linux, should verify that the bootcamp hold appropriate credentials of its own. This ensures that the material has been crafted to prepare students for success on the exam they need to pass.
While no educational institution should claim any specific student outcomes, they should have appropriate credentials and a reputation that engenders confidence. Students should also be certain that they have an appropriate background that will support success in the class.
What are the Coding Bootcamp Concentrations?
Bootcamps By Technical Discipline
- Web Development Bootcamps:
- Data Science Bootcamps:
Students with a background in math or computer science can expand their knowledge with a focused bootcamp. These bootcamps often cover programming languages, such as Python and R, which help data scientists parse data. Students develop their machine learning skills along with linear and logistic regressions. Most bootcamps will ensure that lessons are geared towards real-world business use cases so that students can knock 'em dead when they start interviewing for a data science position.
- Data Analytics Bootcamps:
Students learn to dive deep into Big Data and arise with actionable intelligence. While some background in statistics and advanced mathematics may help, most data analytics bootcamps will turn a novice data analyst into a pro. These bootcamps often focus first on higher order skills in Excel and then move into fundamental statistics courses before diving into programming. Python programming skills include, but are not limited to: NumPy, Pandas, Matplotlib, and API interactions. Students also delve into database management, front end visualization skills, and end with advanced topics including machine learning.
- UX/UI Bootcamps:
These bootcamps may be a great choice for programmers who need insights into how the end user interfaces with their work. This may also be a good choice for those on the software team who are helping to create a user-friendly application. These bootcamps are geared toward teaching students to design good looking applications and web pages. However, the curriculum also covers server-side applications and database interactivity so that designers will be familiar with the all-important back end of their projects. The best UX/UI bootcamps help students create a winning portfolio that they can use to land a job.
- Cyber Security Bootcamps:
These are increasingly popular given the rise in malware, hackers, and cyber-crimes. Students will learn how to create effective passwords, identify when a hacker is attempting to wrest sensitive information from them, and more. These bootcamps can also be very technical and cover specific topics such as how to encrypt a database or cryptography in general. There are bootcamps that can take a student who has a basic knowledge of IT and computer science and help them become a cyber security expert. Courses can cover security architecture, firewall technologies, and penetration testing skills, among many other topics.
- Software Engineering Bootcamps:
- Mobile Apps Bootcamps:
Students learn to create the next hot app on both iOS and Android devices. Over the course of these bootcamps, students learn to conceptualize a mobile app and then bring that idea through the entire development process and create a fully functional app. Upon completion, students should have a dynamite set of skills and a portfolio piece that will impress any software development firm. Students may even be able to launch a career as an independent mobile app developer.
- Coding Bootcamps:
- Digital Marketing Bootcamps:
Students learn how to advertise and promote businesses and products using the internet. Topics may include how to collect data from websites, statistical analysis, and pertinent web development tools. For instance, students may learn how to create cookies that track internet users.
- Python Bootcamps:
Students gain proficiency in this powerful data mining tool. Python is a powerful language that is most famous for its use in data science and data analytics. It cuts processing times drastically relative to its partner, the programming language known as R. Students in Python courses gain a deep familiarity with command line coding and complete the bootcamp with the ability to apply Python to data science and machine learning.
The Information Technology Field Currently
High technology fields such as computer science, cyber security, and information technology seem well-entrenched in our economy. While this is mostly true, there is still a lot of growth on tap for the future. Computer science, for instance, is a broad-based field that is in a state of near-constant growth. Experts in the field are making new advances into artificial intelligence and machine learning all the time. To achieve their goals, they often must create whole new programming languages, which can be a career of its own.
Cyber security is another field that is constantly evolving and in need of highly skilled experts to help keep our nation's vital infrastructure safe from bad guys. Its growth tracks along with computer science. This is because new technology from the computer scientists results not only in new solutions and technologies but also new vulnerabilities. Even the research that the computer scientists conduct must be protected so that bleeding edge ideas and technologies don't leak out to thieves who will misuse their ill-gotten goods. To gauge the demand for cyber security experts, look no farther than the effort of US government agencies to attract and develop new highly qualified cyber security professionals.
Finally, information technology is a field that is always in demand. Wherever there is business, there is a need for IT professionals. IT experts work on business networks, databases, and hardware solutions. IT has specialty applications in healthcare and business, too.
How Does a Bootcamp Certification Help Your Career?
A bootcamp certification can help a career in many ways. First off, these high-tech courses impart valuable skills and knowledge that is helpful in most any job. When students complete the bootcamp and receive a certificate, they can prove to future employers that they have a new set of marketable skills.
Since most hiring managers in the high-tech fields are looking for skill more than credentials, a bootcamp certificate can go a long way. In fact, many hiring managers still prefer to hire candidates who have learned in a less traditional manner. While a bootcamp is somewhat traditional, most bootcamp students have likely learned a lot as independent learners prior to enrolling.
Bootcamps also offer students the opportunity to dive directly into the subjects that matter the most to them. They don't need to take many, if any, prerequisites and there is no core curriculum involved with a bootcamp. That is, bootcamp students needn't take composition, lab sciences, nor college math in order to dive into computer programming. This not only makes a bootcamp more affordable from a financial standpoint, but it also makes bootcamps more time effective ways to get ahead in a career.
- Software Developer:
These technology workers devote their time to the maintenance and development of software packages. Many work on existing software applications to help them evolve to keep pace with new technologies and consumer demands. In their job duties, most software developers write code in a set of programming languages that meet the demands of the project. Most software developers find that they excel with certain languages and those skills then help to steer their careers into fields such as finance, gaming, or entertainment.
- Job Outlook Growth (2019-2029): 22%
- Median Annual Salary: $110,140 per year
- Web Developer:
- Job Outlook (2019-29): +8%
- Median Annual Salary: $77,200
- Cyber Security Analyst:
These cyber security professionals assess the efficacy of cyber security systems and protocols. They may work in conjunction with penetration testers who attempt to hack a system. Analysts report their findings to their supervisors with recommendations for how to improve the security system and even employee security protocols. Analysts must therefore keep constant tabs on new developments in the cyber security field. They may need to travel to cyber security conferences and write and present their own papers in order to be fully functioning members of the cyber security community.
- Job Outlook (2019-29): +31%
- Median Annual Salary: $103,590
- Data/Computer Scientist:
The rise of Big Data prompted whole new jobs, such as data scientist. These professionals typically write Python scripts and programs that can parse enormous data sets. This data might be used to track the spread of a disease, or it may be used to discover the target market for a new car, toy, or game. Data scientists also work in high finance where they track equities and assess whole industries in hopes of finding new, profitable opportunities.
- Job Outlook (2019-29): +22%
- Median Annual Salary: $126,830
- Computer Programmer:
All software packages require programmers for their development. Programmers are typically experts in one or two programming languages while having a working knowledge of a few related coding systems. Since certain languages are typically found in specific types of software, programmers soon carve a niche for their career. Programmers may also pair their coding skill with other skills, such as statistical analysis, and enter a whole new field as a result – in this case, data science.
- Job Outlook (2019-29): -10%
- Median Annual Salary: $89,190
What is the Cost of Attending a Coding Bootcamp?
Coding bootcamps come with a wide range of price tags. There are online bootcamps that may cost under $20 but which don't provide any feedback from instructors. These courses may in fact be quite good, but students should investigate the syllabus prior to spending much time on these. At the best, such a low-cost bootcamp should be assumed to provide a thin overview of the subject. There are also bootcamps that may be free but offer the option to pay for full college credit, which would then include more hands-on instruction.
Generally, a coding bootcamp is priced based on the skills imparted. A web design bootcamp may cost less than a web development bootcamp, primarily because developers tend to earn higher salaries than designers. Students may also find that a bootcamp is broken out into several courses, which may be bought and taken individually.
In a brief survey of available bootcamps, prices were around $10,000, with some costing as much as $15,000 for full tuition. Most bootcamps offer payment options for those who are not able to pay the full amount in cash. Students should be sure that whatever bootcamp they take offers a certificate of completion to help bolster their resume. It may also be beneficial to seek out a coding bootcamp from an established college or university with a reputation for having a strong computer science department. While a certificate is substantially different from a degree, the institutional backing will carry weight in the job market.
Why Consider Enrolling in a Bootcamp?
A bootcamp is a terrific option for a person who desires a career change, if not to launch their career from the ground floor. There are few, if any, requirements for enrollment apart from having a deep desire to learn about the technical field involved. Students can also focus on the specific field that interests them most, such as web development, cyber security, or data science.
Bootcamps are also very time effective. A deep dive into, say, Python may take only a few months, while a comprehensive web development bootcamp may take nine months. That web development camp will cover many topics and technologies while maintaining a laser focus on web development. By contrast, a college student in a computer science department may have to take a number of electives and core courses that they may never use in their careers as a web developer.
- Low cost relative to a college tuition rates
- Focuses on a single topic
- Frequently offer courses starting on a regular basis
- Often offered online
- Terrific way to get retrained for a new career
- Credits won't transfer to degree programs
- Some employers prefer to hire candidates with degrees
- Limited opportunities to rise into upper management
- No federal funding available to cover tuition