2020 Guide to Online Coding Bootcamps

Mastery of coding and programming languages is currently in demand in the workforce. According to recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projections, work in computer and IT fields should increase by at least 12% by 2028.

Online coding bootcamps offer interested learners a way to take full advantage of this landscape. These accelerated, intensive training experiences develop basic coding skills and introduce aspiring professionals to popular programming platforms.

According to a Business Insider report, learning to code may soon be as important as basic reading and writing skills. Under these conditions, online coding bootcamps provide learners with a crash-course in literacy that can help them expand their current career or enter a new field altogether.

This guide discusses what learners can expect from a typical online coding bootcamp. It looks at some major reasons why someone might consider a bootcamp and examines costs, learning outcomes, and average timeframes. It concludes by addressing a few frequently asked questions and outlining some major factors to consider when selecting a bootcamp.

Why Choose an Online Coding Bootcamp?

Most online coding bootcamps cater to learners with no experience in the field and design their curricula with career changers in mind. Courses do not assume prior knowledge or experience in the field. Instead, they help learners develop foundational skills in popular coding languages and programming frameworks like Python, JavaScript, and PHP.

Aspiring professionals enroll in online coding bootcamps for a variety of reasons. Computer science professionals may want to learn about the latest developments in the field. Others may pursue the opportunity out of personal interest or to cultivate a new hobby. However, most prospective learners enroll because they want to learn a completely new skill set or expand their career prospects.

Most online coding bootcamps cater to learners with no experience in the field and design their curricula with career changers in mind. Courses do not assume prior knowledge or experience in the field. Instead, they help learners develop foundational skills in popular coding languages and programming frameworks like Python, JavaScript, and PHP. Employers in many industries look for professionals with these skills to support their organizational needs as web developers, software engineers, and product managers.

For working professionals, an online coding bootcamp presents distinct advantages and benefits over traditional learning experiences. These programs often take place entirely online and use asynchronous delivery for increased flexibility and convenience. Learners can work through a program at their own pace, balancing study and existing social or professional obligations. Self-motivated individuals thrive in this environment, developing their own projects and honing new skills in user interface design, data science, and cybersecurity.

Beginning courses typically cover foundational topics, including languages like HTML and CSS and web application development. As learners progress to more advanced stages, they can choose different focus areas depending on their professional goals. Some may concentrate on back-end development or mobile applications, while others may be more interested in GitHub programming or data analytics.

Average completion times vary. Most online bootcamps offer an accelerated, intensive route to graduation and provide enrollment options that accommodate most learners' needs. Working professionals may find bootcamps with a slower pace and longer completion times more appealing. Individuals willing and able to devote more time to the program should have no problem finding online bootcamps with quicker timelines. Some programs only require a single summer.

Online coding bootcamp graduates benefit from lucrative earnings and a positive job outlook. According to recent BLS projections, software developers should see a 21% increase in job growth in the coming years. Web developers should enjoy a comparable growth rate of 13%. Salary prospects tell a similar story. Professionals in both occupations consistently report earnings well above the national median wage.

Should I Attend an Online Coding Bootcamp?

Graduating from an online coding bootcamp broadens job prospects and increases earning potential. Online coding bootcamps provide learners with transferable skills that remain in high demand across the workforce.

Aspiring professionals from all walks of life can enroll in an online coding bootcamp. Most programs welcome new learners from all educational backgrounds. According to Course Report, while the average online bootcamp student has some professional experience, most learners have never worked as a coder and rarely hold degrees in the field. Most online coding bootcamps create their curricula with new learners in mind.

Recent college graduates looking to start a new career may also benefit from an online coding bootcamp. Coding skills begin with critical thinking, so learners with some interest or experience in logic, mathematics, or computer science will be a natural fit in most programs. Many online coding bootcamps also maintain partnerships with local colleges and universities that can expedite the process. Learners should consult their school and potential bootcamps to clarify available opportunities and see if they qualify.

Individuals with experience in a relevant industry can also benefit from an online coding bootcamp. Coders, programmers, and developers work in nearly every industry and see especially high employment numbers in sectors that depend on technology for revenue and operational support. Computer science and information technology are obvious areas that benefit from these professionals, but demand also exists elsewhere.

TechGenix, a media outlet that focuses on IT professionals, reports that finance, healthcare, agriculture, design, and retail are the top five non-technology industries in need of coders and programmers. A similar CNBC report ranks data scientists, java developers, product managers, software engineers among the top jobs available for professionals with demonstrable coding skills. Online coding bootcamps prepare learners to fill these positions.

Graduating from an online coding bootcamp broadens job prospects and increases earning potential. Online coding bootcamps provide learners with transferable skills that remain in high demand across the workforce.

Seasoned professionals already working in the field may also benefit from an online coding bootcamp. Some may choose to enroll to fulfill professional development or continuing education requirements. The coding and programming world evolves rapidly, with new developments always on the horizon. Online coding bootcamps provide new learners and experienced professionals alike with opportunities to learn new skills or brush up on existing abilities.

How to Choose the Best Online Coding Bootcamp for You

All online coding bootcamps develop the same set of core skills and provide opportunities to integrate those skills in practice. However, each individual experience accomplishes these goals in different ways. Major factors to consider when choosing a bootcamp include personal ability to finish a program, completion timeframes, program costs, and professional goals.

Professional standing and future career prospects are by far the most important factors to consider. If a bootcamp does not provide you with relevant skills, then it may not be the right fit. However, if you plan to work in an industry that depends on coders, programmers, and developers, then an online bootcamp is likely a worthwhile investment.

Prospective learners should also consider whether they have the ability and availability to complete an online coding bootcamp. While these intensive training experiences generally offer scheduling flexibility, they still require a lot of time and energy. Employed learners may want to enroll part time. Many students enroll in the intervening time between jobs.

Cost is also an important factor when evaluating bootcamps. Professionals with future employment already secured can explore online coding bootcamps subsidized by their employer. Other learners can take advantage of bootcamps that provide professional incentives or reduced tuition rates.

Online Coding Bootcamps FAQ

This section looks at some common questions about online coding bootcamps.

How much do coding bootcamps cost?

Online coding bootcamps tend to offer a more affordable path to employment than traditional education. According to Course Report, full-time bootcamp tuition in the U.S. ranges from $7,800-$21,000. The average cost is $13,584. By comparison, learners enrolled in a public, four-year college or university pay an average tuition rate of $17,237 each year, according to data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics.

Many online coding bootcamps also provide payment plans that can help defray costs. Some offer scholarship programs for new learners or partner with prominent employers in the field. Employers or large technology corporations may agree to shoulder some tuition expenses in exchange for coding work upon graduation. Some bootcamps let candidates postpone payment until they graduate and find full-time employment.

How long does it take to complete an online coding bootcamp?

Most programs last 14 weeks on average, according to recent Course Report data. More intensive and accelerated bootcamps last as few as six weeks, while longer experiences can take up to 28 weeks.

How do I prepare for an online coding bootcamp?

While online coding bootcamps generally do not assume prior knowledge or experience, individuals with some background in programming or computer science are poised for success. That said, novice learners have no reason to worry and can prepare for their online coding bootcamp by reading up on the field and ensuring that they meet all technological requirements.

Is there any type of coding bootcamp accrediting agency or organization?

Because online coding bootcamps do not grant degrees, they generally do not receive accreditation.

However, online coding bootcamps still undergo oversight or quality assurance. They remain subject to regulatory policies at the state-level and constantly revise their offerings to incorporate new technologies and meet demand. Some online coding bootcamps are sponsored by or maintain a close partnership with higher education institutions with regional or national accreditation. Others implement their own measures for internal review and inspection.

Prospective learners should keep these circumstances in mind as they weigh their options and select a reputable bootcamp that meets their needs.