The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected that between 2020 and 2028 the number of job openings for software engineers alone will grow by about 21-24%. Web developers and data analysts can expect a surge of anywhere between 15-20%.
These numbers are off the charts compared to the average employment growth rate of 7-8%. If you pair the demand with the tempting salaries, it’s easy to see why so many people are gravitating to the tech industry.
Even as more and more people enter the tech industry, it’s still growing too fast to be able to fill all the open positions. So if you’re looking to become a developer, whether you ultimately choose to enroll in a coding bootcamp or a traditional college, you don’t have to worry about any shortage in opportunities. The industry needs you now, and it’ll need you 10 years from now, too.
If you want to jump into tech, the question you’re probably wondering now is whether you should enroll in a coding bootcamp or pursue a traditional degree. This answer will be different depending on where you’re at in life. So, we’re going to compare the two options so you can see which learning route will suit you best!
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Cost and Time Commitment
If you choose a coding bootcamp, you’re going to save quite a bit of time and money. The time saved is likely why the average student that takes coding bootcamps is around 30 years old. If you choose a part-time bootcamp, you’ll be able to work while you take the course which is beneficial for you if you have financial responsibilities.
If you choose a bootcamp, you can expect to study for 3 months to a year depending on the program. In terms of costs, you’ll spend anywhere between $11,000 -$14,000. The nice thing about bootcamps is that you’ll usually be ready to find work within a year or less from the day you start.
On the other hand, if you choose a full-time college degree in computer science, it can cost you up to $150,000 at some schools! It’ll also take about four years to complete, and because of that, the average age of a first-year student is 18. However, your chances of moving up in the industry may be at a slight advantage, but we’ll discuss that in detail later in the article.
Pros and Cons of a Bootcamp Vs. a Degree
Bootcamp: The most obvious difference between a coding bootcamp and a degree is the fact that in a bootcamp, you’re left to your own devices; you’re given the opportunity to have a flexible schedule. So, bootcamps are great for people who are working or have other important commitments. They allow you to adjust your schedule around your other commitments, but still receive a good education. They also squeeze in a ton of information in a short period of time; so don’t worry about not learning everything you need to know about coding in a bootcamp, because you will.
Some people think that a bootcamp education is not the best option due to its fast-paced nature. It can be hard for some people to fully digest each concept when the course is moving at such a fast-pace. However, for many students this isn’t a problem. You’ll have to determine if you’re a quick learner, or if you prefer a slower learning model before choosing a coding bootcamp.
Degree: University graduates, on the other hand, have 4 years to understand the concepts around coding. This allows for more time to truly absorb the knowledge, and hear it repeated over and over again for a clear understanding. After graduating from a computer science degree or related degree, you’ll have a very precise and clear understanding of code and the technical world.
Also, many people really value the university experience because of the social aspects. There’s a lot of variety in the courses, and you’ll take many required courses that aren’t related to your major at all. So, if you’re curious about studying other areas and being in close proximity with your peers, then getting a degree is a great option.
Do Employers Prefer Coding Bootcamp Graduates or Traditional Degrees?
As you might expect, computer science graduates will likely have a better understanding of the field of computer science. If you choose this method, you’ll spend at least 4 years learning about the subject, so you may have more confidence in the field when challenging tech problems come your way.
This basic difference could open up more job opportunities, as employers look for confidence in candidates. However, a lot of university graduates claim that most of the learning they did was after they got hired, since a college education doesn’t guarantee you mastery at everything.
On the other hand, if you graduate from a bootcamp, you’ll have the advantage of prior work experience and useful soft-skills. This is for a few reasons. One of those reasons is because many bootcamp students are professionals looking to change careers. But, it’s also because in bootcamps like ours at Thinkful, we’ve organized the courses in a way that you’ll spend 50% of your time doing hands-on, practical projects. This means that you’ll have practical experience, and a portfolio ready to go! This is super valuable to potential employers.
Although a CS graduate and bootcamp graduate are both applying for similar roles, they’ll likely get hired for different jobs. For example, a company looking to get a major online revamp which requires advanced IT design will need a more seasoned programmer; they’ll need someone who’s well-grounded in programming and theoretical frameworks. In this case, the CS graduate will likely end up getting hired over a bootcamp graduate.
Some companies who find themselves in this type of situation would get their computer scientists to prepare the blueprint or design for the code, while the actual coding is carried out by people hired from bootcamps.
On the other hand, projects that involve coding and programming in addition to other skills are where bootcamps graduates shine. This is due to their better communication skills and prior work experience. If you fit into this category, you’ll also have the option to eventually transition into product management and digital marketing roles after your first few years in the industry.
Making The Right Decision for You
Regardless if you choose a bootcamp or a degree, you’ll be set up for a career in the tech world. So really, it’s up to you which method of learning fits your lifestyle the best.
Let’s make it a little easier for you to choose. If you have the time and money to attend college, and you’re looking for the traditional college experience, then go for it! You can benefit from the variety of courses, as well as the social aspects of a college or university experience.
On the other hand, if you’re short on time and money, then choose a bootcamp. This usually works best if you want to kickstart your career fast. This is also a great option if you want to balance other aspects of your life with your education because you have the option of part-time or full-time studies.
In our full-time programs, remote attendance connects students to a live presentation. If you choose to enroll in a part-time program, you’ll have the flexibility to watch pre-recorded lessons at your convenience.
All of our programs include hands-on projects, so you’ll actually know what’s expected of you in your first role. Plus, if you don’t get hired in a qualifying position within 6 months after graduation, you’ll get a tuition refund. It’s that simple.
If you’re interested in one of our coding bootcamps, you can reach out to a member of our team and ask all of your burning questions about the curriculum, mentor pairing and payment options. If you’re still not sure which path is best for you, you can also continue to read useful articles like this one on our blog. We want to see you thrive in a career you’ll love, however you choose to get there.