For decades, university has been the best (if not only) way to learn advanced skills in programming. However, times are changing: in the social, economic, and educational fallout of the COVID-19 outbreak, the popularity of more affordable, accessible, and effective learning models – such as coding bootcamps – have increased dramatically.
Here are 10 things that make a bootcamp better than university.
Graduate in 6 months, not 4 years
Most people don’t have the time to dedicate to the three or four years it would take to graduate from university. Bootcamps, on the other hand, have an average length of about 14 weeks or about 3.5 months. Bootcamps cut down on the time factor of education by focusing on the essentials of learning programming – so that you can graduate faster and find work more quickly.
Shorter means cheaper
Coding bootcamps are often far more affordable than even the cheapest university. In the US, attending a university costs between $12,320 and $48,510, whereas you can enroll in an online coding bootcamp for as little as $3000. And that’s just tuition: a bootcamp will only cost you up to 6 months of living expenses before you can graduate and start working, compared to a university’s three or four years of rent and other costs. For a lot of people affected by the economic effects of COVID-19, the simple fact of affordability makes a bootcamp better than university.
More opportunities in bootcamps
The lower cost of a bootcamp means a greater level of accessibility. First, the lower fees of a bootcamp means that if you need a student loan to study, you have greater ease in both applying for and paying off this significantly reduced amount. Less debt means less money out of your future salaries.
What’s more, the disruptive nature of bootcamps mean they’re more open to a wider range of payment plans, more accessible credit and lending, and more experimental with arrangements – such as income sharing agreements, or free-until-you-work deferred payment systems – that would be far too risky for universities to adopt.
Changing attitudes towards needing a degree
Ten years ago, you needed a Bachelor’s just to get a foot in the door. Today, with the sheer overwhelming number of graduates out there, a bachelor’s degree isn’t the distinguishing accomplishment it once was. Simply put, many companies are increasingly preferring work experience and industry knowledge over college degrees.
Plus, the surge in popularity and prevalence in alternative learning models means that opting out of university doesn’t have the same negative stigma it used to.
“There’s no need even to have a college degree at all, or even high school. If somebody graduated from a great university, that may be an indication that they will be capable of great things, but it’s not necessarily the case. If you look at, say, people like Bill Gates or Larry Ellison, Steve Jobs, these guys didn’t graduate from college, but if you had a chance to hire them, of course that would be a good idea.” – Elon Musk, 2014 Auto Bild interview
Get earning sooner, with better career growth
Going to university will cost you more than just the fees you need to pay; you’re also paying for the lost time you didn’t spend working, and the lost opportunity from not having those work years on your CV.
Here’s a rough idea of what this might look like:
In the world of work, a faster start to your career means greater opportunity and more time to earn, which directly equates to higher earning potential. Greater, faster career progression and higher earnings can make a bootcamp better than university.
Learn from anywhere, uninterrupted
In the national lockdown following the COVID-19 outbreak, every school and university in the country (and across much of the world) had to close their doors and put entire academic programs on hold. Added to this new challenge was the fact that many universities suddenly had to make everything it offered digital – something coding bootcamps have been doing for years.
Most bootcamps feature a predominantly online learning focus, meaning you can learn from anywhere, and won’t have your learning schedule interrupted by external circumstances. What’s more, you won’t have to go onto a physical campus to learn – meaning more time for study, work, or family.
Most undergraduate degree programs will give you a weekly tutorial session, and perhaps a course convenor you can chat to. One-on-one oversight is usually limited to most advanced degrees or projects, for example writing a thesis or dissertation.
On our bootcamps, you get 1-on-1 expert mentorship from day one. We believe that coding mentors are essential for your development and learning. Our mentors help you to learn coding best practice, give you constructive feedback, and allow for individual attention. This high level of individual-tailored mentorship is another thing that makes a bootcamp better than university.
Dedicated tracks for specialisation
Beginners starting out on a computer science degree usually learn the basics of programming over a wide range of applications. But what if this doesn’t fit your tight work schedule? Or, to be more blunt, what if a discipline doesn’t interest you?
On a coding bootcamp, you dive straight into your field of interest. You can focus entirely on learning practical skills for your chosen career goal, be it software engineering, web development, or data science. Bootcamps are also practical, with capstone projects and code submissions rooted in real-world applications and business needs.
Learn only the necessaries
Universities are great places to have an extensive and detailed exploration of subjects you’re passionate about. Unfortunately, there’s one problem: the credits system.
To obtain a degree requires you to meet a minimum number of credits for your program. Often, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be allowed to study what you want, and limited class sizes mean getting a place in a course or minor can be difficult, especially if it’s in a subject outside of your department.
Often what this means is, you’re forced to take ‘arbitrary’ subjects just to meet your credits list. And while The History of Music, Psychology, Anthropology are interesting, there’s no reason that you should be forced to take one of them for a year just to get your degree in Computer Science.
Bootcamps, in comparison, stick to a specialisation and teach core values for the job: you don’t need to take unrelated subjects just to get enough credits to graduate.
Less confusing theory
Deep diving into theoretical concepts is useful and informative, but if you want to switch careers and have limited time and money, you probably don’t have the luxury of spending four years doing exhaustive research. In this case, learning practical skills quickly – such as the ability to create working websites, programs and data models – is far more valuable.
And that’s what bootcamps do best. They don’t require 4,000-word essays or 4-hour exams testing your memorisation skills; instead they focus purely on job-relevant skills that you can use to find work and build real programs, websites, and applications.
With the face of education being changed forever by COVID-19 and the global shutdown, coding bootcamps are quickly showing their power and value to a public that wants a risk-averse, job-ready translation to a tech career. When it comes to affordability, time-requirement, job-skills training, accessibility, and preparing you for a rewarding, successful career, the reasons we’ve shown above are hopefully evidence enough to answer the question, “is a bootcamp better than university?”
Our bootcamps provide personalised 1-on-1 mentorship in a tightly structured learning environment that teaches you everything you need to know to start creating the next big app, amazing websites, and powerful machine learning or data algorithms in less than 6 months.
Sign up for your free trial to start your journey to learning how to code, and get the inside edge on starting your tech career.