Evaluating a Coding Bootcamp vs. Computer Science Degree

Many years ago, coding bootcamp graduates could be met with skepticism in the job market. Hiring managers may have questioned their qualifications and job readiness. But those days are long gone. 

Now, coding bootcamps are trusted avenues through which aspiring software developers can change their careers and their lives.

But for many, the path toward a career as a software developer begins with the question: Should I learn through a coding bootcamp or get a computer science degree? 

A recent Newsweek article titled Why Coding Schools are a Smart Choice tackles this question.

“Traditional four-year computer science degrees are time-consuming and often involve a broad range of coursework that may not be directly applicable to real-world programming tasks. Coding schools, on the other hand, typically offer intensive, focused programs that can be completed in a matter of months. This allows students to quickly acquire the skills needed to enter the job market and start building their careers.”

Coding bootcamps emphasize efficiency, real-world projects, teamwork, and hands-on learning. This approach ensures that students are job-ready and able to keep pace with their peers in their new roles. What’s even more important is that bootcamps have proven themselves as reliable sources for talent among employers across the country.

In this post, we’ll take a deeper look at why attending a coding bootcamp is a trusted path forward for those interested in becoming software engineers.

The market needs you.  

Software developers are in demand. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “overall employment of software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers is projected to grow 25 percent from 2022 to 2032, much faster than the average for all occupations…these positions are likely to see new opportunities because of the increasing number of products that use software.”

In fact, companies need developers so much that organizations that have traditionally required college degrees have dropped such requirements. According to U.S. News and World Report, Apple, Google, IBM and Accenture are just some of the most recent companies to take this approach.

At Tech Elevator, we don’t require a college degree as a prerequisite for the program. In fact, many students and alumni had never written a line of code before attending. Our curriculum is designed to teach the fundamental skills to code and builds upon each student’s unique skill sets to help them find a job. According to our 2023 Alumni Survey, 85% of respondents felt ‘prepared’ to ‘well prepared’ for their initial role, which tracks with what we know – and what employers know, too: coding bootcamps get you job-ready. 

A look at coding bootcamps vs. computer science degree programs:

These are two fundamentally different educational options, and both provide students with a lot of value. However, factors like time and cost often mean that people need to choose just one path forward. Here are a few practical reasons why a coding bootcamp might be the best option for you.

Program Speed 

For prospective coding bootcamp students, time is a huge factor. Many are individuals changing their careers who don’t necessarily have years to spend earning a degree as they look to shift into a new industry.

That’s why we provide learning options for maximum flexibility. Our full-time programs last just 14 weeks, and our part-time program (which allows you to continue working while learning) is just 30 weeks long.

Program speed is also about the pace at which you’ll learn during the bootcamp. You’ll learn in-demand programming languages and skills that employers are currently looking for, and you’ll learn how to develop a mindset of continuous learning, which is invaluable to have in a fast-paced, evolving industry.

Affordability and Financial Support

More often than not, coding bootcamps offer more affordable paths into tech than traditional degree programs. According to Nerd Wallet, the average cost of a coding bootcamp is $13,584, while the average cost of a four-year degree is $43,000.Here at Tech Elevator, our goal is to make coding education accessible to all, so we offer a wide range of financing options and financial support for our students.

These include Income Share Agreements, loans, Veteran education benefits, scholarships, and more. Learn about all of our financial options so you can begin planning your future.

Industry-Specific Career Coaching 

Career coaching also exists at universities, but it’s often less tailored to the software engineering field. At Tech Elevator, our Pathway Program offers 1:1 career coaching, job-hunting tools, resume workshops and personal branding exercises, as well as introductions to employer partners.

Students and graduates work directly with team members who understand the job market and all its complexities. Our program helped Tech Elevator graduate Abigail Clery work through job search challenges to land her role as an Associate Software Developer at Dart Container.

“Though difficult, the challenge was made much easier with the Pathway Program and its directors,” she said. “The support was there, and there was ample guidance. The Pathway Program directors knew the students individually and how to help them highlight their skills from their past to get the job. It was a little discouraging at times, but doing it with peers and a support system was super helpful. It was all worth it in the end.

Ready to get started? There’s not just one path for all, but if you’re ready to become a software developer right now, a coding bootcamp is a great fit. Learn more and get your new career started today!

Written by Vinny Sanfillipo, Senior Director of Career Development