Coding Bootcamps: A Fast-Track to Success

For recent graduates looking to continue their education in a booming field, there’s an increasingly popular alternative form of education: the coding bootcamp.

If you’re looking to become qualified and enter the programming industry in a short amount of time, here’s a brief look at what a coding bootcamp is, and some interesting broader implications it has on the higher education

What is a coding bootcamp?

A coding bootcamp is a short-term intensive digital skills training course, that usually takes about 10 weeks to several months. Coding bootcamps teach skills such as Full-Stack Web Development, Data Science, Digital Marketing, and UX/UI Design. Many coding bootcamps are full-time, and some have an internship requirement. However, there are some part time programs and distance learning programs available.

President Obama has recognized coding bootcamps as a viable fast-track form of education and skills training. He included them in the recent multi-sector initiative named TechHire, designed to support employers in the U.S. that are in need of talented candidates for positions that don’t necessarily require a four-year degree.

Most coding bootcamps are not currently accredited, though some have recently paired with accredited universities to offer coding bootcamps through these institutions. Moreover, a group of coding bootcamp leaders recently formed the New Economy Skills Training Association (NESTA). NESTA is designed to establish standards, best practices, and accountability for skills training programs like coding bootcamps.

Financing a coding bootcamp

The average cost of a coding bootcamp is roughly $9,900, though some can run a tuition rate as high as $20,000. Students in coding bootcamps cannot take out federal student loans to cover the cost of tuition, but have to consider commercial bank loans.

Additionally, there are a number of free, online resources that teach students how to code such as CodeAcademy.

Implications for post-secondary education

The fact that coding bootcamps are a rapidly-growing form of education that don’t result in a traditional degree may have broader implications for the higher education system. With many college graduates facing unemployment or underemployment, as well as crippling student debt, it seems like students who choose to enroll in coding bootcamps are making the decision to take a quicker route to starting their career at a relatively high cost.

Privatized vocational education certainly isn’t something new. What’s interesting about the coding bootcamp, however, is the fact that instead of paying for a degree to put on their resume, students are paying for experience in specific skills-sets that they believe will help them gain employment in a specific field.

So, how important is a degree compared to demonstrated skills? In the case of a four-year degree, many students graduate with a degree and a wide-breadth of knowledge, yet not necessarily the practical skills and experience to put on their resumes.

On the other hand, graduates of coding bootcamps have a core set of skills that will quickly qualify them for a job, yet don’t have the broader academic background that will necessarily lend well to career shifts or changes in the job market. Will graduates of college bootcamps who do not hold a four-year degree find that this inhibits their ability to find work at some future point in their career?


It will be interesting to watch as coding bootcamp options continue to grow, if any federal student loan assistance will be offered to students of these programs.

What are your thoughts on coding bootcamps? Feel free to respond to the questions posed above in the comment field below!

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The Author

Dave Harriman

Dave Harriman

Dave Harriman, SHRM-CP, has a background in human resources, anthropology, and international education. His experience teaching English abroad during a gap year as an undergraduate student in Spain ignited his passion and advocacy for student travel. As a human resources professional, Dave is interested in helping students prepare for future career growth, and for helping facilitate social & cultural inclusion in the workplace.