So you want to go into tech, but you’re not sure if it’s time to head back to College for a degree, or sign up for a Bootcamp. Coding Bootcamps vs Computer Science Degrees: which one are you better off doing with respect to salaries, job placement and time commitments?
It Doesn’t Matter Where you Learn to Code
In the last few years, there’s been a massive tech skills gap in the US of approximately 500 000 vacancies. In response, ex-President Obama remarked: ‘It turns out it doesn’t matter where you learned code, it just matters how good you are at writing code. If you can do the job, you should get the job.’
It turns out he’s right: The 2017 Stack Overflow developer survey found that 90% of respondents reported that they were at least partially self-taught. This means that many are where they are today because they took decisive action to know more.
This ‘decisive action’ often involves online courses. ‘More developers say you should take an online course than any other method,’ states the Stack Overflow survey. In fact, 64.7% of developers recommend online courses, whereas only 11.2% advise a Master’s Degree as a recommended learning path.
After the Bootcamp
The point of Bootcamps, according to Business Insider, is ‘to take in students with minimal coding knowledge and shoot them back out a few months later as employable software engineers.’ Does this actually happen?
- The average starting salary for coding bootcamp graduates was between $60,000 and $80,000 (it was $45,000 before enrolling on the Bootcamp).
- 94% of students landed a job within three months of graduating, though not always in tech. The Stack Overflow Survey confirms this. Their research found that many who attended a Bootcamp (45.8%) were actually developers before starting the program. That’s because many developers like to upskill fairly regularly. But of the remaining respondents, 9.7% got a developer job before completing the Bootcamp program, and 11.3% immediately upon graduating. Only 3.3% of those attending bootcamps hadn’t yet found employment as a developer.
Coding Bootcamps vs Computer Science Degrees: Salaries
The 2016 Stack Overflow survey compared salaries in the US between Computer Science graduates and those who had picked up their expertise via Bootcamps. Those with a PhD or Masters in Computer Science earned the most ($122,219 and $118,803 respectively), but Bootcamp graduates (who had completed an ‘Intensive Program’) came it at 3rd place with an average annual salary of $112,493, which was above that of undergraduate degrees in Computer Science.
Remember, also, when it comes to Coding Bootcamps vs Computer Science Degrees, a Bootcamp is likely to be much shorter than a PhD or Masters program, which will take a number of years. There is loss of income, or opportunity cost, during this study period.
Only you will know what is best for you, but if you want to enter the lucrative tech field, keep in mind that the goal of a Bootcamp is to transform you into a job-ready developer in a short period of time. That’s an attractively efficient option.