Should I Go to a Coding Bootcamp or Get a Computer Science Degree?

 

Whether you are exploring careers or considering a transition, becoming a developer could be a great career option for you. The job market for IT and programming related roles is ripe for the picking and projected to grow 30% in the next 10 years, according to switchup.com. There are open roles with starting salaries of $60K+ waiting to be filled, but currently not enough skilled workers to fill them.

That is where you come in.

If you are seriously considering a career as a developer, the next decision is if you should attend a coding bootcamp; or go to college to get a computer science (CS) degree. Both options have their pros and cons. You’ll benefit from this list we’ve put together to help you decide which choice is best for you.

There are a few things you should consider when comparing bootcamp vs. school:

  • Price.
  • Placement.
  • Program.

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Price 
A CS degree at a four-year university runs an average of $40K a year and you can apply for financial aid. A coding bootcamp will be much easier on your wallet, costing an average of $12K for the total program; however financial assistance may not be available. Overall, attending a coding bootcamp is the more affordable option to land a job as a software developer. Bootcamps offer the best ROI in the short-term because programs cost less and take three to six months to complete vs. four years. If cost is a factor for you, go to a bootcamp.

Placement 
Job placement and graduation rates are critical to measuring how successful you’ll be in completing the program and getting hired. For example, the graduation rate at MAX Technical Training is 95%, with a 93% job placement rate in an IT related field. Do your homework and compare graduation and job placement rates. Read reviews and ask alumni about their experience. Rates and reviews will give you the total picture of what success looks like both in school and after.

Program 
Coding bootcamps have a different curriculum than four-year CS degree programs. Bootcamps have a more hands-on approach, while degree programs focus on theory and foundations of coding. Think about how you learn best. Is it in a classroom experience, or do you learn by doing? Asking yourself these questions will help determine which environment you’ll be more successful in. A 2017 Indeed survey found that 80% of US tech hiring managers and recruiters said they have hired a coding bootcamp graduate for a tech role—and 99.8% said they would do so again.  If you want to start your own business or work for a start-up, then go the bootcamp route because start-ups put more emphasis on skills and experience.  

 

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According to a recent study by Deloitte, Since 1985, the cost of college tuition has risen by 538 percent. The consumer price index, by contrast, increased just 121 percent over the same time period. The price tag for a traditional four-year residential degree program now averages just over $30,000 per year and, barring major changes to the current cost trajectory, could rise to a staggering $62,000 a year by 2025.

The rising cost of college is, in turn, putting downward pressure on enrollments. Across the country, college enrollments have dropped from 20.2 million in 2012 to 19.9 million in 2013. Higher costs are not only placing higher education out of the reach of more Americans, but they also play a major role in determining where college-bound students ultimately enroll. According to the 2013 American Freshman Survey, 76 percent of students were admitted to their first-choice college, but only 57 percent actually enrolled in their top-choice school, primarily due to cost.

All that being said, Major Corporations are also looking for credentialed staff. Even if you already have a college degree, a coding bootcamp is a great way to credential your self as part of your lifelong learning. According to the Wall Street Journal employers are abandoning preferences for college degrees. Management consulting firm  EY did some research and they saw that the individual strengths and future potential rather than the academic performance of those they hired were a greater indicator of success in working at the firm. IBM has also taken a new approach, “We started to look at ways we could build new pipeline, whether that was through community colleges, boot camps, partnering with other companies who might be working on development, as well as what we could do internally around skill development, and that was when we launched our apprenticeship program as well,” says Kelli Jordan, IBM’s new collar HR lead. Roughly 15 percent of new hires come from these “new collar” programs.

 

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You can’t go wrong pursuing a career as a programmer, whether you get your education through a bootcamp or a CS degree. You can always do both! Think of your ultimate career goals and then compare price, placement rates, and program curriculum to find the right fit for you.

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Since 1998 MAX Technical Training has been serving corporate clients, technology and business professionals across the globe with training and consulting in today’s top technologies. MAX is privately owned, Cincinnati-based, a certified Woman Owned Business (WBENC) and Small Business Enterprise (SBE). We are a founding member of the EPIC Learning Network and are proud to have been named a Microsoft Gold Learning Partner for over 18 years.

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