Coding bootcamps are gaining popularity as more and more people want to get into code. While there is no shortage of programming jobs, do coding bootcamps really help graduates land these positions? There isn’t an easy answer to this question, as not every job candidate is the same, not every bootcamp is the same, and getting any job requires a certain amount of perseverance and dedication. You will need soft skills just as much as you are going to need programming skills, and you are going to have to prove that you are always willing to improve. Coding bootcamps might get you an interview, but it is up to you to get hired. So, are coding bootcamps worth it? Let’s find out!
What Would Make Coding Bootcamps Worth It?
As far as I’m concerned, the best way to determine if coding bootcamps are worth it is to evaluate the return on investment that you can expect from completing a bootcamp program. That is, can you expect to get more out of the experience than you put in at the beginning?
It’s true that coding bootcamps can be rather expensive, so you have to factor that in at the outset. You’ll also be investing a lot of time and energy into the program for several months–depending on the length of the specific program.
So, with those factors in mind, how can we evaluate the likely return on investment you can expect from attending and completing a coding bootcamp? Simply put, there are three things that will help you determine whether coding bootcamps are worth it from a return on investment perspective:
- Ability to Secure a Job in Desired Field
- Increased Income/Earning Potential
- Job Satisfaction
Let’s take a look at each one in turn to see how completing a coding bootcamp can impact these three considerations.
Job Potential for Coding Bootcamp Grads
Coding bootcamps are a rewarding way to learn new skills or improve your existing knowledge. They’ve been tried & tested to help people get ahead in their careers.
Yes, the questions still remain: “How much does a bootcamp really help,” “How long will it take?” Well, there’s no guarantee, but neither is a university degree or diploma. You’ll leave with the skills the industry is seeking, proficient technical knowledge, and an impressive portfolio. The rest will be up to you.
The best bootcamps make sure that students are equipped with the knowledge they need in the job search, too. More and more hiring managers are taking bootcamp graduates seriously. They’ve been around for nearly a decade now, and employers are coming around to understanding how valuable they are. Even companies like Google, Amazon, and Spotify are looking to bootcamps for good candidates.
From small startups to huge companies, the value of bootcamp alums has been proven over and over. Out of 1000 HR managers surveyed by Indeed, four out of five US companies have hired a bootcamp graduate—and nearly all of them would do it again. Are coding bootcamps worth it? Employers certainly seem to think so.
A survey conducted by Course Report in 2017 found that 80% of coding bootcamp graduates surveyed were employed in jobs that utilized the skills they learned in their bootcamps. Of those surveyed, there was an average salary lift of 51%. Keep in mind that these numbers are just the start; your salary will grow. Graduates who moved from one job to another and then another found a salary increase with each new job as their experience improved. From the research done by Course Report, it seems like coding bootcamps are worth it.
What Do Tech Companies Think of Coding Bootcamp Grads?
More and more businesses rely on computer code. A software engineer could work at a hospital, at Apple, or as an automotive factor– they’re needed in every industry at every level. In 2015, seven million jobs opened that required coding skills, and programming jobs overall are growing 12% faster than the market average.
They include jobs in many different areas, including information technology, data analysts, artists and designers, engineers, and scientists. Some of the skills that were most valuable on the market include R and SAS, AutoCAD programs for engineers, and other all-purpose programming languages like Java, Python, and C++.
And you don’t have to worry about restricting your work to an industry. On the contrary, half of all programming openings are in industries outside of technology. Those areas include finance, manufacturing, health care, fashion, and many more.
So coding is becoming more and more valuable of a skill. The great thing companies understand about coders is that they are so diverse, and each coder has a specific niche of different interests. You can tailor the way you develop your skillset to the industry you eventually want to break into.
So, in terms of job potential and career flexibility, are coding bootcamps worth it? The answer is a resounding yes!
Earning Potential for Coding Bootcamp Grads
Coding bootcamp graduates have reported an average income of just over $70,000 with a median salary of $65,000 in their first job. The average graduate sees their salary increase by over 50% within two years, and that helps immediately pay off their investment. Additionally, most people find a job within less than 120 days.
Coding bootcamp graduates’ salaries continue to rise after they progress. On average, they see their salary go up by $10,000 with every new job! As they become increasingly experienced, they become more valuable to their companies– and that means a higher income.
However, it does differ from person to person, and factors like what their background is and what their education is do affect income potential. Programming is a field that values ability over degrees, though, so, while the lack of a college degree can be slightly limiting, it’s also a great option if you don’t want to go to a traditional college or university. Coding bootcamp graduates without a bachelor’s degree see an average salary of $58,877, but the bootcamp is valuable either way; students who do have a BA see an average 58% salary increase compared with their pre-bootcamp jobs. The difference in post-bootcamp salaries also depends on previous experience: if you have worked in the field before, you could see your income reach $100,000.
So, from a potential earnings perspective, are coding bootcamps worth it? Survey says….yes!
Job and Career Satisfaction for Bootcamp Grads
Now, this one’s a bit trickier–after all, everyone’s different and has varying goals and values. However, if you are tired of your old job and have a passion for technology, learning new things, and being at the forefront of exciting innovation, odds are good that you’re going to be much more satisfied in a tech career than otherwise.
Indeed, if you’ve read this far, you probably already know that you have a knack–perhaps even a passion–for tech. If that’s what’s driving you, then working in a tech job and making a career out of it is bound to be satisfying and fulfilling for you.
Now, can a coding bootcamp guarantee job satisfaction? Of course not! But, if you love this kind of work, a coding bootcamp is likely the fastest and most effective way for you to get started and break into a new tech career.
So, are coding bootcamps worth it, job satisfaction-wise? Clearly, the answer is again an enthusiastic yes!
Choosing a Program: Not All Bootcamps Are the Same
With the rise in popularity of bootcamps, there are a number of bootcamps to choose from. The truth is that not all coding bootcamps are worth it. Picking the right one can mean the difference between finding a job quickly and struggling to get a company to hire you. The key is finding a bootcamp that has a proven track record. You want to read reviews and talk to other graduates to learn what their experience was like. Did they learn what they needed to know in order to get a good job? Did their bootcamp have a career services department to help them get a job?
At the end of the day, you want a coding bootcamp that will guide you to creating a strong portfolio. Does the bootcamp have a lot of hands-on challenges? Do they require you to complete a portfolio in order to graduate the program? Your potential employers are going to want to see what you are able to do and, if you already have a strong portfolio coming out of your bootcamp, it can save you a lot of time. If you want to find out more about the coding bootcamp experience and what to expect, you can hear from a coding bootcamp graduate here.
Paying for Your Bootcamp
The average cost of a coding bootcamp is $12,000, and that can seem pretty steep, especially if you are making less than $50,000 a year. However, as we’ve seen, coding bootcamps are worth the investment. But that doesn’t make it any easier to pay for it. The great thing is that there are options available because coding bootcamps are aware of how valuable their program is to their students.
A popular option when considering how to pay for coding bootcamp is an income share agreement (ISA). An income share agreement means that you pay nothing upfront for the bootcamp. You will actually pay nothing for the bootcamp until you land a new job. Once you have a job, you will pay a certain percentage of your salary back to the bootcamp. This percentage can range from 8% to 25% until the cost of the tuition is paid for. This may seem like a large percentage of your salary, but it is still less than the increase in salary you can expect after your bootcamp.
Whether or not coding bootcamps are worth it really depends on the person. Are you going to work hard throughout the camp and learn as much as you can to develop a strong portfolio? Are you going to be motivated enough to fight for a good job once you graduate? Many coding bootcamp graduates attributed their job success to their soft skills just as much as their coding skills. If you are willing to work hard, constantly learn, and stay on top of the latest trends and techniques, a coding bootcamp will definitely be worth your time and investment.
How to Ensure Your Coding Bootcamp Experience is Worth It
Undoubtedly, bootcamps are hard. It’s hard work but that’s how you learn so much. During the bootcamp, you can expect to feel lost, frustrated, stressed, or overwhelmed. You might feel like you’re not learning fast enough or like other people are learning faster than you. You might even question if you made the right decision.
You’ll make your bootcamp experience easier if you prepare a bit before. It’s not required, but it’ll make your time there much more valuable. If you know more when you arrive, you’ll be better able to build on your knowledge. So look for some intro to coding resources, like Codecademy, before you walk into your first day.
Do your homework. It sounds silly, but you’d be surprised how many people do nothing in the course they’ve paid for. You signed up and paid tuition to work hard; doing all the work you’re assigned will help you learn much faster. Coding bootcamps teaching through active learning: you’ll learn better by doing rather than by listening.
And last but not least, don’t compare yourself to others. You may be discouraged, but remember: the point of the bootcamp is to leave with more opportunities than you arrived with. As long as you keep that mindset, you’ll be able to kickstart your career with a bootcamp. Ultimately, if you’re wondering whether coding bootcamps worth it, just remember that whatever you put into them, you’ll receive tenfold.
If you want to learn more about changing your life with a coding bootcamp, visit Career Karma