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June 9, 2016

By Lisa Dare



Coding bootcamps offer a simple—and tempting—promise: spend some money and a few weeks of your life to jump-start a lucrative programming career. But are coding bootcamps really worth the cost?

Pros

  • Many people find the immersive experience the fastest way to learn about programming
  • While expensive (typically $10,000 or more), coding camps are much cheaper and faster to earn than a college degree
  • You’ll develop projects for your portfolio
  • You'll be exposed to great networking opportunities
  • Top employers use coding camps as a talent pipeline, so you may be recruited

Cons

  • There are lots of fly-by-night coding camps that over-promise and under-deliver—you may waste a lot of time and money for no real results
  • Your career options (especially mid- or late-career) might be limited without a computer science or related degree
  • Many camps boast huge hiring rates, but beware of these claims; the numbers can include short-term positions and internships, and some camps ask struggling students to drop out before graduating

Who will benefit?

People who have attended coding camps generally agree that it helps to go in with some programming background, whether acquired through work or as a hobbyist. They’re also a great choice for people who have any kind of math or engineering degree and want to transition to a programming career, or even computer science majors looking to learn a new language. 

How much do camps cost?

According to Switchup, the average tuition for coding camps hovers around $10,000.

A comparison of coding bootcamps

For a comprehensive overview of the best-rated coding camps, you can see read Switchup.org's list of the best coding campsWe’ve selected a few of the most reputable coding bootcamps based on reviews and online discussions (think Quora and Reddit) for comparison below. Note that many camps offer scholarships, summer discounts, need-based financial aid and financing options.

Name

Known for

Location

Cost

Time

Dev Bootcamp

Web development

10 locations in U.S.

$13,500

12 weeks

Hack Reactor

Famous alumni

San Francisco

$19,780

12 weeks

Fullstack Academy

JavaScript web development

New York

$16,810

13 weeks

Coding Dojo

Multiple stack approach

8 locations, mostly on West Coast

$13,495 ($9,450 in Dallas)

14 weeks

Hackbright Academy

Software engineering for women

San Francisco

$16,570

12 weeks

Tech Talent South

Web development

11 locations in southern U.S.

$6,750

8 weeks

Epicodus

Web and mobile apps

3 locations on both coasts

$4,875

25 weeks

Launch Academy

Software development

Boston

$15,500

10 weeks

Maker Square

Software engineering

4 locations across the U.S.

$16,920

13 weeks

Codesmith

JavaScript software engineering

Los Angeles

$17,200

12 weeks

Other options for learning programming skills

Harvard + Reddit = r/cs50

Well-respected in the programming community, Harvard’s CS50 introduces aspiring programmers to the fundamentals of enterprise computing through free online courses. Harvard offers a verified certificate track—always a bonus for getting jobs—that you can earn in about three months if you buckle down. A popular CS50 Reddit community supports students with questions and local study groups.

More learning options

If you’re motivated and adept at learning on your own, you can take advantage of free (or practically) MOOCs offered by top universities. You can either learn popular languages like Python, or study computer science fundamentals.

<How to get the most out of IT MOOCs>

If you love to learn by doing, you can also try the free interactive platform, Codeacademy, which offers online coding lessons in several programming languages.

TEKsystems consultants have access to over 3,000 online classes through Skillsoft, including the most commonly used programming languages. 

If you have experience with coding camps, tell us about your experience in the comments. Were you satisfied? Did you get a programming job?

Related reading

How to advance your IT career with MOOCs

Learn about the coolest IT jobs of 2016

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