If you are researching how to get a job in the tech industry, you’ve probably heard of coding bootcamps as an easy way to break into tech. Thousands of people have received training in web development, data science, software engineering, and UX/UI design, so you might be wondering if coding bootcamp is hard.
Coding bootcamps are hard because they are an intensive learning experience. Bootcamps fill an important educational gap between learning on your own and a traditional college program. Any bootcamp is hard, but some are harder than others because bootcamps vary in level, length, intensity, curriculum, and cost. In this article, we’ll break down the variables so you can decide whether you are up to the challenge.
What Makes a Coding Bootcamp Hard?
Coding bootcamp is hard because you learn a lot of new skills in a short time. Even if you are a quick learner or know a little about coding already, some parts of your bootcamp will be hard for you. How hard a coding bootcamp is, depends on the pace of the program, the level of the curriculum, and the number of topics covered.
One of the main reasons why coding bootcamps are hard is the technical curriculum. Coding can be intuitive for some people, but most students find it challenging to learn the logic and syntax of a programming language. Like any new skill, it takes time and patience to learn how to code.
Some bootcamp curricula are more difficult depending on the subject and level. A data science bootcamp for people with a tech background will be more difficult than a tech sales bootcamp. Digital marketing and front end web development have less math, so they are typically easier for most students.
Intensity and Pace
Other key factors that determine how difficult a coding bootcamp is are intensity and pace. Intense and fast-paced bootcamps are more challenging because of the limited time. However, more relaxed, part-time bootcamps can be harder to finish because of the longer time commitment.
Full-Time Bootcamp Schedules
If you enroll in a full-time bootcamp, you’ll have class five days a week for five to eight hours plus homework and assignments for one to three months. This kind of learning environment can be very difficult if you haven’t been in school for a while, but it also gives you a chance to really focus on the material.
Flexible Bootcamp Schedules
A flexible bootcamp schedule can be easier to keep up with, but the longer timeframe presents more opportunities for life to get in the way before you can finish the program. A part-time bootcamp usually meets two to three times a week in class plus 10 to 20 hours per week of homework and assignments.
While coding bootcamp tuition can be less expensive than a traditional college education, it is still a significant investment. According to our 2023 Bootcamp Market Report, the average tuition for a coding bootcamp is $12,953. Part of what makes coding bootcamp hard is figuring out how to afford bootcamp tuition costs.
There are a few different ways to pay for coding bootcamp. You can pay the whole cost upfront or pay in installments during the program. You can’t get a federal student loan for a bootcamp, but you can enroll in a deferred tuition payment program or income share agreement where you start paying your coding bootcamp tuition after you start working. You can also apply for private loans.
Levels of Coding Bootcamps
There are different levels of coding bootcamp programs for students at different stages in their tech careers. If you are having trouble deciding if a particular level of coding bootcamp is right for you, try talking with that school’s admissions team.
Beginner Coding Bootcamps
Beginner coding bootcamps are for prospective students who don’t have any experience or education in coding. In some cases, these are intermediate programs with an optional pre-work section for beginners. Some popular programs for coding beginners are:
- Cybersecurity Engineering by Flatiron School. Students in this Flatiron School bootcamp will learn about network security, system security, and coding in Python. Absolute beginners will have 40 hours of pre-work to complete to prepare them for the course.
- Online Software Engineering Program by App Academy. In this App Academy program, students start by learning programming fundamentals, introductory computer science, and foundational web development skills. The final module of the bootcamp prepares students for the job market.
Intermediate Coding Bootcamps
With an intermediate coding bootcamp, you need to have some knowledge of coding, math, or statistics. These programs build on your foundational knowledge and get you working on real-world projects. Here are just a few of the intermediate coding bootcamps available:
- Part-Time Software Engineering Immersive for Intermediate Coders by Fullstack Academy. This program is for students who already know how to code and want to learn web development. The focus of this bootcamp is for students to develop a portfolio of projects to help them break into web development.
- 12-Week Online Immersive Coding Bootcamp by Hack Reactor. This accelerated version of Hack Reactor’s online coding bootcamp is for students who already have some programming experience. Students will learn what they need to know to become software developers.
Advanced Coding Bootcamps
The hardest bootcamps are advanced programs for students with an advanced degree or extensive career experience. These programs don’t need to take the time to bring everyone up to speed, they can jump right into the most challenging material. Some advanced coding bootcamps are:
- Online AI Program for Professionals by Simplilearn. Simplilearn and the Wharton Business School have teamed up to provide this AI bootcamp for business consultants and senior-level management. While the level of coding isn’t advanced, prospective students must be at an advanced stage in their business careers.
- Data Science with Machine Learning by NYC Data Science Academy. Only prospective students with a graduate-level degree in a STEM field are encouraged to apply to this advanced bootcamp.
- Data Science Bootcamp From The Data Incubator. To join this advanced bootcamp, students need either a graduate degree or a bachelor’s degree and work experience with data analysis. At The Data Incubator, students get support from a career coach until they land a tech job.
How to Choose a Coding Bootcamp That’s Right for You
There are a lot of options out there when it comes to bootcamp courses. Bootcamps have great marketing, and simply browsing their websites won’t help you make a decision. The best way to choose a coding bootcamp is to start by thinking about your background, your personal circumstances, and your career goals.
Consider Your Background
Bootcamp students range in age and experience from young adults fresh out of high school to seasoned workers looking for a mid-life career change. One of the more striking aspects of the bootcamp experience is how diverse the student body is.
While bootcamps tend to be structured so that even total novices can excel, you need to think carefully about your previous experiences and how well they’ve prepared you for what’s ahead. If you’ve programmed before, you’re less likely to struggle with lectures on object-oriented software design than a coding newbie.
Consider Your Personal Circumstances
Bootcamps require a lot of time and energy. You’ll have a hard time graduating if you don’t have the recommended number of free hours per week for your program. This doesn’t mean it’s impossible to finish. Plenty of bootcamp students have graduated while taking care of children and families.
To decide what type of bootcamp program is right for you, you need to consider what your life is going to be while you complete your bootcamp. Are you prepared to have significantly less free time for three to six months? Prepare yourself for the steep climb ahead and think about how you’ll take care of your existing responsibilities while in bootcamp.
Consider the Bootcamp
Some of the difficulty of attending a bootcamp depends on the subject or career track and the bootcamp itself. For instance, data science bootcamps require a lot more math than web development bootcamps. Some bootcamps are designed for complete beginners, while others are for tech professionals looking to reskill.
Once you decide on the subject you want to study, do your research to find a bootcamp that is at your level. Most bootcamp courses have a well-defined set of prerequisites or an admissions quiz to make sure you have the right background to do well in the course.
Try a Free Coding Bootcamp Program
If you are worried about how hard coding bootcamp is, you can try joining a free coding bootcamp. With a free program, you can try out the pace and difficulty of a coding bootcamp without having to worry about wasting a lot of money.
Most free coding bootcamps are shorter programs than the paid versions, and you might not have access to career services like you would in a paid program. However, free coding bootcamps let you explore whether you like coding enough to take the next step with a paid bootcamp.
Are Coding Bootcamps Hard? Final Thoughts
If you want to launch a new tech career or change jobs in the tech industry, you’ll need to work hard to learn new skills, whether you attend a bootcamp or a traditional university. Coding bootcamp is hard because you are learning a lot of new technical skills in a short amount of time.
Coding bootcamps are certainly a challenge, but you can prepare for coding bootcamp to make the transition easier. Take some time before the course starts to learn fundamental concepts so you can focus on the applications in class. You should also try to clear your schedule so you can immerse yourself in learning job-ready skills and building your tech career.
How Hard Is Coding Bootcamp? FAQ
It isn’t difficult at all to get into a coding bootcamp designed for beginners. Coding bootcamps for beginners don’t require any coding experience and usually have some pre-work to prepare students. It can be hard to get into an in-person coding bootcamp with limited seats or a program designed for intermediate or advanced learners.
What should I do if a coding bootcamp is too hard?
If coding bootcamp is too hard, the first thing you should do is get to the root of the problem. Is it too hard because you don’t have time to study, or is it too hard because you can’t understand the material? If you can’t understand the material, get back to the basics and try to work with an experienced teacher in person. If time is your issue, find creative ways to open up your schedule.
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Is coding hard to learn?
A lot of people think coding is difficult, but coding isn’t that hard to learn. Students are intimidated by coding because it overlaps with math, but it also has a lot in common with language and logic. If you can forget about the rumor that coding is hard and just focus on learning, you can learn how to code with enough practice.
Are online bootcamps more difficult?
Online bootcamps can be more difficult than in-person bootcamps, even though they cover the same material. Learning online at home is challenging. There are so many potential distractions, and it can be hard to balance personal responsibilities with online classes and projects. Some people also find it more difficult to focus on online lectures than in-person teaching.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.