Graduates from coding bootcamps enjoy strong job prospects. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for web developers are projected to grow 13% between 2018 and 2028, which is much faster than the national average.
A coding bootcamp is a fast-paced training program that teaches individuals how to construct code for software, websites, and mobile applications. Private companies, colleges, and universities typically offer these learning opportunities.
Students who want to quickly enter the workforce to pursue a coding position should consider attending a coding bootcamp. Coding bootcamps aim to teach learners what they need to know to earn an entry-level web development position in the shortest amount of time possible.
This guide covers the best coding bootcamps and their cost, duration, and curriculum.
- What is coding bootcamp?
A coding bootcamp is an intensive learning program that prepares students to succeed in web development and computer programming positions. These programs do not provide degrees, but occasionally offer certificates of completion.
- How long do coding bootcamps last?
Coding bootcamps typically last 1-6 months. Students with busy schedules or little base knowledge of computer programming should consider a more comprehensive or longer bootcamp.
- Can I complete a coding bootcamp online?
Students can complete an entire coding bootcamp online. Some programs offer a mix of online and in-person classes.
- Are there any free coding bootcamps?
Some private companies offer free coding bootcamps. However, students should conduct research on free coding bootcamps before enrolling to ensure they attend a quality program. In some cases, a current employer may pay for a coding bootcamp.
How to Choose the Best Coding Bootcamp
With multiple coding bootcamps to choose from, selecting the right one can be challenging. Before deciding on a program, students should consider factors such as cost, duration, and structure. Below, we cover key considerations.
Although some organizations and companies offer free coding bootcamps, the typical price for coding bootcamps ranges from $349-$14,950. With such a wide range, students should ensure they research a program's cost before enrolling and factor in any additional enrollment fees and textbook costs.
Factors like program length and on-campus requirements can influence a program's cost. Attending a coding bootcamp online can help students save money on relocation, commuting, and housing fees. Colleges and universities that offer coding bootcamps sometimes provide reduced tuition to in-state students.
Students who pursue a coding bootcamp through a traditional college or university can also apply for federal financial aid. The U.S. Department of Education now offers aid to bootcamp students who demonstrate financial need. Opportunities like employer assistance and scholarships can also lower a program's out-of-pocket costs.
Duration and Structure
The length of coding bootcamps varies by factors like enrollment status, delivery format, and subject matter. For instance, some coding bootcamps focus on one subject, while others offer more comprehensive information, which lengthens the time to completion.
Many students who work full-time jobs may experience difficulty completing an in-person, full-time bootcamp. These students may benefit from attending a flexible online program or enrolling part time rather than full time.
Students who enjoy interacting with classmates and prefer a lot of structure typically thrive in cohort programs. During these programs, students progress through coursework with the same group of peers who all adhere to the same deadlines.
Many coding bootcamps offer job assistance, helping participants prepare a resume and portfolio and connecting them with hiring companies. Therefore, when weighing prospective coding bootcamps, students should research programs' business partnerships. Some programs maintain relationships with diverse organizations that can lead to employment after graduation.
Choosing a bootcamp program that focuses on portfolio development can also increase graduate success. Certain programs allow students to complete coding projects for local businesses, which provides individuals with real-world portfolio examples they can use to secure employment.
Speaking to bootcamp graduates can help prospective students learn more about the job assistance a program provides. Interested bootcamp participants can typically contact a program coordinator to connect with alumni.
Finding a trustworthy program takes some research. To aid in the research process, we ranked the top coding bootcamps based on information from the Council on Integrity in Results Reporting (CIRR).
This organization works similarly to an accrediting body, regularly assessing bootcamps for quality. CIRR evaluates bootcamp programs based on factors like the number of students who graduate on time, the number of graduates who receive employment within six months of graduation, and graduate salary information.
Prospective students should avoid programs with red flags like negative online student reviews, vague program descriptions, and gimmicky language. Individuals should also take extra precautions when enrolling in a bootcamp provided by a private organization rather than an accredited university.
2020 Top Coding Bootcamps | Affordable Colleges Online
We ranked the top coding bootcamps using information from the CIRR and data like cost and graduate success rates. Prospective students can use this information as a starting point, but we encourage learners to conduct additional research and select a program that meets their personal interests, schedule, and financial needs.
|Rank||Logo||School||Tuition||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate||Graduation Rate||Financial Aid||Credit For Experience||Placement Service||Counseling Services||Description & Additional Information||Toggle|
|1||Thinkful Brooklyn, NY||
Thinkful delivers 100% online coding bootcamps. Graduates land a job before paying tuition.
Thinkful offers seven part-time and full-time programs in software engineering, data science, data analytics, UX/UI design, product management, technical project management, and digital marketing.
Coding bootcamps require 427-850 instructional hours, including live coding demonstrations and workshops. In the data science bootcamp, students invest 25 hours per week for four weeks. During that time, students study Python programming fundamentals, basic statistics, and career planning.
Mentors guide students and communicate with them twice per week via Slack or email. Programs operate in phases and culminate in capstones and mock interviews.
Postgraduate mentorship and career services help online learners find careers. Communities offer meetups and workshops in 20 cities. Thinkful offers 10 start dates throughout the year.
$199 per month Tuition
Launch School emphasizes gradual development for proficient learners.
Launch School's coding bootcamps teach novice students the fundamentals in a programming language of their choice. Students take core classes for 8-16 months, totalling 1,200-1,800 instructional hours. The sequential core curriculum includes three phases: preparatory work, programming, and back-end development.
In the preparatory work phase, online learners take introductory programming and back-end classes. Then students move to object-oriented programming, networking foundations, and database foundations. After every course, students take an assessment to measure their knowledge. Finally, students finish the core curriculum by learning practical skills such as programming languages, asynchronous programming, and computation thinking.
After completing the core curriculum, students either find work, take the advanced electives, or complete a capstone program that runs 4-7 months.
Launch School also offers free preparatory coding bootcamps that students can take before beginning the core curriculum.
|3||Devmountain Lehi, UT||
Devmountain offers on-campus and online coding bootcamps. The school's campuses include a main location in Lehi, Utah, as well as additional locations in Dallas, Texas, and Phoenix, Arizona.
Devmountain features top coding bootcamps in iOS development, user experience design, software quality assurance, and web development. Most classes take about three months to complete.
While in bootcamp, students also work on building their career portfolios. For instance, the iOS development program lets students create apps that they submit to the Apple App Store. Throughout the bootcamp, students learn about programming languages such as Swift and Objective-C.
Later, career counselors and mentors help students transition to careers in their chosen fields. Graduates can also attend networking and hiring events at Devmountain.
|4||BrainStation Toronto, Ontario||
BrainStation provides digital skills development for working professionals with both in-person and online coding bootcamps.
The school offers full-time diplomas and part-time certificates. Students can complete onsite training in New York and Canada, or take courses completely online. Available coding bootcamps cover topics such as design, marketing, and development.
Students enrolled in part-time data analytics courses learn to create dashboards in Tableau. They also gain skills in organizing data and using structure querying language. Students gain practical experience with Tableau, MySQL, and Excel. After completing a project in which students collect and analyze data, they earn a data analytics certificate.
Diploma programs in web development, user experience design, and data science take 12 weeks to complete.
BrainStation offers scholarship opportunities to veterans, women in technology, entrepreneurs, and students from underrepresented communities.
|5||Nucamp Baton Rouge, LA||
Online bootcamps require students to invest 8-12 hours a week. On Saturday mornings, students attend four-hour workshops online or at coworking spaces such as WeWork and Impact Hub.
Bootcamps teach students coding languages, as well as server-side programming using HTML, CSS, and NodeJS. Students also work in groups to complete a portfolio project. In addition to online classes, Nucamp offers hybrid coding bootcamps.
After receiving a certificate of completion, Nucamp offers graduates a free six-week career development project to build their LinkedIn profiles and resumes.
|6||Innovate Birmingham Birmingham, AL||
Fully funded Tuition
Innovate Birmingham, a workforce development program, partners with colleges in Alabama to offer free fast-track coding bootcamps that students can complete in less than four months.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, free coding bootcamps help unemployed or underemployed individuals in Blount County, Walker County, Jefferson County, Chilton County, St. Clair County, and Shelby County, Alabama.
Innovate Birmingham partners with more than 30 local employers to help graduates network and find positions. Students also receive interview counseling and assistance with their resumes.
|7||Jax Code Academy Jacksonville, FL||
Jax Code Academy, in Jacksonville, Florida, offers coding bootcamps for beginners and intermediate students.
Students enrolled in the 12-week coding bootcamps study full stack web design and development. The coursework prepares students to become web developers, software developers, and entrepreneurs. Coding bootcamps also give students access to a coworking space at the Springfield campus for up to three months.
Graduates leave the bootcamp with a portfolio of work. In addition to classroom learning, students complete 12 weeks of internship experience. To provide further career assistance, Robert Half Technology and Apex Systems recruiters work directly with students.
|8||Byte Academy New York City, NY||
$7,475 (Remote) $14,950 (On Campus) Tuition
Byte Academy, a New York-based coding school, features personalized coding bootcamps that help individuals land jobs in technology and data science. The academy features both beginner and intermediate coding bootcamps.
Career-focused coding bootcamps feature synchronous classwork. Coding bootcamps allow students to learn in a cohort on a full-time or part-time basis.
A typical full-time online class begins with a 90-minute lecture and discussion. Students then take several hours to complete exercises and a group coding review. Students enrolled in the Python bootcamp learn data structures, algorithms, and web technologies.
Aiza, an artificial intelligence tutor, mentors students and helps them build a personalized school schedule based on their strengths.
Accelerated coding bootcamps in the summer allow students to learn Python, data science, and machine learning in 5-10 weeks.
|9||Lighthouse Labs Vancouver, BC||
$1,575 (Canadian) Tuition
Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Lighthouse Labs offers training and career services for both beginners and seasoned developers. Coding bootcamps feature personal interaction with an 8-to-1 student-to-mentor ratio.
Students learning online in a cohort format get access to mentors eight hours per day. The school features part- and full-time bootcamps as well as online courses. Full-time bootcamps prepare students for tech careers. Students commit to a 40-hour-per-week schedule for 12 weeks.
The coding bootcamps offer a rolling admission policy. Applicants should apply 6-10 weeks before their chosen start date.
|10||Bloc San Francisco, CA||
Bloc, an online education company in San Francisco, California, offers online coding bootcamps to help full-time working professionals become software developers.
The school features online training with full- and part-time formats. Students choose from online bootcamps with a web developer track or designer track. The coding bootcamps follow an independent study format with mentors available 12-14 hours a day. The track curriculum offers a self-paced format that appeals to career-minded students.
The Find My Bootcamp project also offers courses in full stack web development, mobile app development, and data science.
The school offers scholarships for veterans, women in tech, and underrepresented groups. Some tracks also offer tuition guarantees. Bloc allows students to begin bootcamps at any time.
Coding Bootcamps vs. College Programs
Coding bootcamps and traditional college programs both prepare graduates to succeed as web developers, but the formats vary greatly. An associate degree typically takes two years to complete, while a bachelor's degree takes four years to finish. Meanwhile, a coding bootcamp usually takes no more than six months to complete.
According to the 2019 National Survey of Student Engagement, 45% of first-year students at traditional colleges spend at least 15 hours per week studying outside of class time. Coding bootcamps can require up to 60 hours of class and study time each week, so students often find it challenging to maintain a job during the duration of the bootcamp.
Tuition serves as another important factor to consider when choosing between a coding bootcamp or college program. Traditional college degrees cost more than coding bootcamps, but not every coding bootcamp accepts financial aid or offers scholarships.
Academic focus also differs between these two types of programs. For example, traditional four-year degrees require general education courses and offer a more comprehensive, multi-subject curriculum, while a coding bootcamp focuses solely on coding.
Career and Salary Outlook
Graduates from coding bootcamps qualify for a variety of roles in areas like computer programming, web development, and software development.
The BLS reports that computer programmers earned a median annual salary of $86,550 in 2019. However, the BLS projects the need for these professionals to decline by 7% between 2018 and 2028. Computer programmers specialize in multiple computer languages and write and test code for computer applications and software.
Web developers also write code, but they specialize in writing and testing code for websites. The BLS projects this career to grow by 13% between 2018 and 2028. In 2019, these professionals earned a median annual salary of $73,760.
Software developers focus solely on creating applications that computers use. This career offers a median salary of $105,590 and a projected job growth of 21% between 2018 and 2028.
Students should keep in mind that job outlook varies by factors like experience and location. For example, employers in areas with higher living expenses tend to pay more, and experienced professionals often earn more than entry-level professionals.
How to Apply for Coding Bootcamps
Application requirements for coding bootcamps vary by program, but candidates must typically submit an online application form and recommendation letters. Competitive coding bootcamps often require additional application steps, such as an interview. This interview allows students to demonstrate their interpersonal communication and strategic problem-solving skills. Advanced coding bootcamps may require candidates to pass a technical exam to demonstrate their knowledge of coding basics.
Acceptance rates for coding bootcamps are relatively low, so we encourage individuals to apply for multiple coding bootcamps. Most bootcamps allow individuals to apply multiple times. Students who receive a rejection can improve their application by preparing answers to common interview questions ahead of time and learning more about coding basics.
What Do You Learn in Coding Bootcamps?
During coding bootcamps, students learn how to write and test code for mobile and web applications. The exact curriculum varies between programs, but most programs feature the same fundamentals. For example, all coding bootcamps teach students how to understand coding languages and apply these languages to solve problems.
However, more advanced coding bootcamps may focus on just one language or aspect of web development. These advanced coding bootcamps require basic coding knowledge. However, quality entry-level bootcamps can prepare students with the knowledge and skills required to secure a coding job immediately after graduation.
Below, we outline some common coding bootcamp topics. Some bootcamps may focus on just one of these topics, while others may offer surface-level knowledge about all of these topics.
Backend development involves an application's server and the code that communicates between the database and the browser. Learners studying backend web development learn how to write in computer languages like Java, Hypertext Preprocessor, and .Net.
Learners also discover how to access the backend of websites and evaluate existing code. Backend developers use code to enhance a website's speed. They also create dynamic sites that store database information.
Frontend web developers enhance user experience and search engine optimization, looking for ways to make a site or application easier to use and navigate. Learners studying this topic learn how computer design impacts a site's functionality. They also learn how to create responsive websites, select impactful typography and colors, and create an aesthetically pleasing layout.
A coding bootcamp that covers full-stack web development teaches both frontend and backend web development. Students learn about multiple backend and frontend computer languages. They also learn how to use common backend databases, like Oracle, MongoDB, and Sql.
Since full-stack web development involves both frontend and backend coding, these bootcamps may take longer to complete than others. They may also require 2-3 years of related professional experience for admission.
Mobile web developers use common coding languages to create responsive sites that change depending on screen size. A coding bootcamp that covers mobile web development teaches students how to design functional websites for mobile device users. Some mobile web development courses also cover the basics of creating mobile applications for Android and Apple products.
Similar to frontend development, mobile web development also teaches students how to combine design aesthetics with function.
Web developers can use data-tracking software to discover how users interact with websites. For example, data can reveal how long users spend on each page, which pages receive the most traffic, and what type of device users commonly view the site on.
Coding bootcamps that focus on data analytics teach participants how to use data to enhance a website's design. Students learn to form conclusions from data and make design choices that reflect findings.
Scholarships And Financial Aid for Coding Bootcamps
Although companies offer free coding bootcamps, the best coding bootcamps typically require a financial investment. To ease the potential financial burden, students can apply for financial aid like employer assistance, scholarships, and payment plans. Below, we offer details on each of these financial aid types.
- Employer Assistance
Some employers pay for a portion of a coding bootcamp, while others may pay for the entire program. Individuals who receive assistance from their employer might need to sign a contract that promises they will work for the company for a certain number of years.
Individuals who already work in a coding position usually experience the most success when requesting employer assistance. Employers typically require the recipient to explain how additional training will enhance their performance and how the company will benefit from the gained knowledge.
- Program Scholarship
Some coding bootcamps offer scholarships, typically based on financial need. In fact, some schools accept federal financial aid for training camps, so bootcamp applicants should submit the FAFSA to determine their eligibility.
Scholarship foundations may reserve funds specifically for underrepresented students, like minority women. Other scholarships award funds based on community involvement or career goals. Most scholarships require applicants to submit an essay and recommendation letters.
Private companies that offer bootcamps may waive tuition for graduates who work for the company after graduation.
- Deferred Payment and Payment Plans
Certain coding bootcamps offer financial assistance in the form of deferred payments. Programs that provide this benefit do not require graduates to pay tuition until a certain number of months after graduation. Some coding bootcamps do not require payment until the graduate earns a job in the coding field.
Other coding bootcamps offer a payment plan. Rather than paying full tuition upfront, students can make small, periodical payments, typically over the course of a year. Individuals should consult with their bootcamp's admissions team or financial aid department to learn more about payment assistance.