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Seeking the Best Coding Bootcamps? Here are 5 Great Options
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Are coding bootcamps worth it? And which are the best coding bootcamps to look at?
For that first question, part of the answer will depend on what job you’re shooting for. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for a software engineer is $105,590 per year, with openings expected to grow an impressive 21% by 2028. But for computer programmers, the median pay is $84,280, with openings expected to shrink by 7% in the next eight years, as employers outsource some of these jobs overseas.
At the end of the day, what kind of jobs you can get with a coding bootcamp education will depend a lot on the school. Wherever you go, you’ll want to first check what kind of work (and salary) recent graduates are getting. Only once you’re satisfied with the likely outcome should you sign up for bootcamp.
But where can you find coding schools with successful grads? Here are some solid options to help you begin your search.
Plus, here’s some more information to keep in mind:
Coding bootcamp reviews: Our picks
There are many bootcamps out there, but unfortunately not all of them are reputable.
To come up with this list of the good bootcamp choices, we looked at several factors. First, we only considered bootcamps that submitted Council on Integrity in Results Reporting documents detailing their graduation rates and employment rates. The Council is a non-profit organization that uses a common framework for documenting student outcomes.
We also looked for bootcamps where graduates at least earned a higher average starting salary than the national average for all U.S. jobs, which was $51,960 in 2018. And likewise, we considered whether a school offers a money-back guarantee (most do not), what its total program cost is, and what kind of financing options are available.
Note that the information below is provided by the schools, so make sure to do your homework by checking out a variety of coding bootcamp reviews for the schools you’re considering. With that said, here are some of the schools that we liked:
- Employment rate: 93% for online and on-campus students
- Starting salary: Average of $72,000 for online students; $76,000 for on-campus students
- $9,600 to $15,000 for online programs
- $17,000 for on-campus programs
- Money-back guarantee: Yes
The FlatIron School, which is part of the WeWork company, has campuses in Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Denver, Houston, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. It also recently opened a campus in London in the United Kingdom.
If you don’t live near one of the available campuses, the FlatIron School also offers online-learning options.
The FlatIron School offers several different courses. Courses range from 12 weeks to 24 weeks, but there are also self-paced options.
- UX/UI Design: In this course, students learn user experience, client management, and technical skills so graduates can begin careers as UX or UI designers.
- Data Science: In this course, students learn how to become data scientists.
- Cybersecurity Analytics: The Cybersecurity Analytics teaches students how to handle technology threats.
The FlatIron School allows you to make upfront payments, or, if you’re an online-only student, you can make monthly installment payments.
The school offers financing through its partners, the Skills Fund and Climb. Through these lenders, you can take out a loan and repay it over 36 to 42 months. Both also allow you to borrow an extra $7,500 above the price of tuition cost, so as to cover the cost of living.
The FlatIron School also offers income share agreements. With this option, you defer your tuition until after you graduate and start earning at least $40,000 per year.
- Employment rate: 87% of students at the Los Angeles campus graduate on time
- Starting salary: Median starting salary is $117,500 for Los Angeles graduates
- $18,800 for the full-time software engineering immersive on-campus program
- $12,500 for the part-time remote software engineering program
- Money-back guarantee: No
CodeSmith operates two locations: Los Angeles and New York. Students also have the option of enrolling online in a part-time program.
Whether you’re a full-time student on-campus or a remote student, CodeSmith is focused on software engineering. You’ll develop skills in computer science, front-end development, back-end development and the latest technology. By the end of the program, you’ll have a portfolio of work to show potential employers.
The full-time program is immersive, with students spending at least 70 hours per week learning and practicing over the course of 12 weeks. The remote, part-time option is spread out over nine months.
CodeSmith offers financing through two lenders, Climb and the Skills Fund. The school also has several scholarships in place for women, minorities and military veterans.
- Employment rate: 94%
- Starting salary: Graduates earn an average starting salary of $58,000
- Cost: $15,500
- Money-back guarantee: No
Tech Elevator offers in-person bootcamps in Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Detroit, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Unlike some of the other companies on this list, Tech Elevator does not offer a remote or online option.
With Tech Elevator, you can pay all at once or in installments. If you need financing help, the company partners with Sallie Mae and the Skills Fund to offer loans.
Tech Elevator is also an eligible training provider in select states under the Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act. In some cases, you may qualify for grants through the program.
- Employment rate: 66.7% of students in the New York location are employed within 180 days of graduating
- Starting salary: Median salary for New York graduates is $90,000
- New York location: $17,910
- Chicago location: $15,910
- Money-back guarantee: No
FullStack Academy operates campuses in New York and Chicago. There are currently no online learning options.
FullStack Academy has both a full-time and part-time bootcamp. The full-time version spans 13 weeks and is completely immersive. In the course, you’ll learn how to become a software engineer. You’ll develop skills in front-end and back-end development, as well as integrating databases into your applications.
The part-time option is only available in New York. It covers the same material as the full-time bootcamp, but it’s spread out over 28 weeks.
Financing is available through Upstart and the Skills Fund. In addition to the tuition, you can also borrow money to cover your living expenses during the bootcamp.
- Employment rate:
- Designer Track: 96.3% are employed within 180 days of completion
- Web Developer Track: 83% are employed within 180 days of completion
- Starting salary:
- Designer Track: Median salary is $67,500
- Web Developer Track: Median salary is $60,000
- Designer Track: $8,500
- Web Developer Track: $7,500
- Money-back guarantee: Yes
Unlike with the other bootcamps on this list, the programs at Bloc are entirely online. Bloc does not have an in-person campus to attend.
When you become a Bloc student, you have up to eight months to complete the program.
Both tracks are entirely self-paced. If you need additional time to complete the curriculum, you can add months for an additional fee.
Bloc offers financing through the Skills Fund. If you go this route, you can have up to five years to repay your loan. If you finish the program before the full eight months, you’ll get a pro-rated refund.
Bloc does offer a tuition reimbursement guarantee. If you don’t get a job within six months of completing your Bloc program, you can get your money back.
When deciding whether to attend a coding bootcamp, consider these benefits and drawbacks:
- You can switch careers within just a few months: If you’ve always wanted to switch careers, you can get through a coding bootcamp within just a few months. That timeframe is a much smaller commitment than the years it would take to get a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
- You can increase your earning potential: If you’re stuck in a low-paying job, you may be able to earn significantly more money after completing a coding bootcamp.
- It costs less than a four-year degree: According to College Board, a single year at a public, four-year university will run you $9,410, on average. Go to a private school, and that number jumps to $32,410. That means a four-year degree could cost anywhere from $37,640 to $129,640.
- You’ll need to be technology savvy to succeed: While some programs say they’re suitable for beginners, you’ll need to have some technology skills to succeed.
- You may have to leave your job: Most coding bootcamps are completely immersive, meaning you have to dedicate all of your time to the program. You’ll have to leave your job (or take leave), eliminating your income for that time.
- A bootcamp doesn’t replace a degree: While you can learn a great deal in a coding bootcamp, they don’t replace a computer science degree. A 2017 survey of tech recruiters and HR managers by jobs site Indeed found that 41% would prefer job applicants to have a four-year degree, so only attending a coding bootcamp could limit your employment options.
- Loans for bootcamps tend to be expensive: Coding bootcamps don’t qualify for most student loans. Instead, you’ll have to turn to lenders that offer loans just for coding bootcamps or personal loan lenders. These tend to have higher interest rates than you’d get with student loans, making them more costly, and the repayment terms also tend to be shorter.
If you decide that attending a coding bootcamp is right for you, make sure you do your research ahead of time. Even with the schools on this list, look for information on their costs, employment rates, career services departments, and their refund policies. As the demand for bootcamps grows, more and more companies are popping up — and not all of them are worth your time and money.
As noted above, coding bootcamps aren’t eligible for federal student loans or even most private student loans. If you need help paying for your education, consider these other options:
While you won’t be able to get federal student loans, there are loans for bootcamps available. Lenders like Climb, the Skills Fund and Upstart offer loans specifically designed for coding bootcamps.
These three lenders work only with certain coding bootcamps, however, so double check with the lender to see if your selected school qualifies.
Income share agreements
Another option is income share agreements. Some schools allow you to defer tuition until after you graduate and get a job. Once you find work and are making a predetermined level of salary, you’ll use a set portion of your income to repay the money you received. Not all schools offer this option, but talk to the school’s admissions department to see if an income share agreement is available.
If you have good credit, you may be able to get a lower interest rate and longer repayment term with a personal loan, rather than a specialty school loan. Personal loans are unsecured, meaning you don’t have to use any property as collateral.
Coding bootcamps can be a great way to learn a new skill and transition to a new career. However, not all programs are the same in terms of cost and quality, so do some research before submitting your application and deposit. Look at the schools’ Council on Integrity in Resulting Reporting submission and evaluate your own finances to decide which coding bootcamp is best for you.