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Coding Bootcamp vs College Degree – Which Is Right for You?


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Do you want to become a coder and start your career but do not know where to start?

That’s why we wrote this article. We tried to gather all the verified information and provide unbiased research on the topic. So let’s start.

Well, there are two main routes you can take to learn the skills you need to be a professional coder:

  • You can attend a college or university to earn a computer science/coding degree,
  • You can attend a coding Bootcamp.

When trying to decide between coding Bootcamps vs. computer science degrees, there are many factors to consider that can help you make your decision. The big ones are the length of time, the cost, the curriculum, and the career prospects of each option.

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about a Bootcamp vs degree program at colleges and universities.

What Are The Pros and Cons Of Coding Bootcamp?

One of the most attractive things about Bootcamp is the cost. Not only is it much cheaper than earning a degree, but Bootcamp programs often offer flexible payment options like tuition deferral or income share agreements.

Tuition deferral means that you don’t have to pay until you finish the program and find a job. Income sharing means that you pay a small fee upfront, then you pay a portion of your salary back to the program once you start working in your first job as a programmer.

Another benefit of attending a Bootcamp is that they are only going to teach you the most job-relevant skills. Since the programs are so short, the focus is on the most current coding technologies you will use in an entry-level programming job.

Speaking of program length, bootcamps are usually 3-6 months long, so you can learn the skills you need to enter the workforce in much less time than if you attend a college or university to get a coding degree. There are even faster programs that last as little as 8-10 weeks!

Since the cost and time commitment are less than getting a degree, a Bootcamp is a good option if you already have a different degree and want to learn new skills or change careers. 

Going back to college for another four years might not be realistic if you want to change fields, but a 6-month program might be a good solution there.

Pros of Coding Bootcamp:

  • Affordable, flexible payment options
  • Very up-to-date curriculum
  • Relatively short compared to degree programs
  • Good choice if you already have a different career or degree
  • Can easily qualify you for entry-level coding jobs

All those pros make Bootcamps sound great, right? But it’s important to understand its cons as well before you make a decision between going to a Bootcamp or a college.

For starters, if money is tight, you won’t be able to get the same financial assistance to attend a Bootcamp as you would go to college. Since bootcamps are not accredited as educational institutions, financial aid programs do not apply to them.

Also, if you want to gain a broader understanding of computers (not just job skills) a computer science degree program is going to cover much more ground than a coding Bootcamp program. 

You’ll be equally qualified for entry-level jobs with a college degree, but a degree might make it easier to climb the corporate ladder down the road in your career. This is something to consider if you aspire to be a manager or an executive someday.

One last thing that you should make sure you understand before signing up for a coding Bootcamp is any fine print related to their flexible payment options. 

For example, tuition deferral or income-sharing agreements might stipulate that you accept the first job you find, which might not always be the best one for you. So, you could end up working somewhere less than ideal until you pay off what you owe for the program.

Cons of Coding Bootcamp:

  • Financial aid options are limited
  • Narrower focus than a computer science study
  • Payment options might have inconvenient strings attached
  • It may be harder to climb the ranks in employment without a Computer Science Bachelor’s degree

When you’re researching different coding bootcamps and computer science degrees, make sure to keep these pros and cons of coding Bootcamp vs. degree programs in mind to help make your decision easier.

Coding Bootcamp vs College: How Much Does It Cost?

 Price is one of the most important factors when we decide on something. Calculating the return on investment of attending the coding Bootcamp might be a good first step.

The price of the coding bootcamps varies based on several factors:

  • Location – If attending a Bootcamp in person, your location may determine your price. For example, Le Wagon is one of the most prominent bootcamps, and the price of the same course (Web Development Course) in Mexico is $5,700, while the same program in Santiago costs around $4,800.
  • Program – Prices vary wildly here. Depending on what type of a Bootcamp you want to attend (whether it’s software development, cyber security, artificial intelligence or data science Bootcamp, or something else), it may affect the price in total.
  • Commitment – Part-time programs are often cheaper than full-time courses, and online bootcamps are cheaper than in-person training. However, as with everything else, all options have their strengths and weaknesses. Attending the part-time course will give you a more flexible schedule, but it may negatively affect your motivation and productivity. Also, online Bootcamps may be cheaper, but you miss the opportunity to connect with other students or have instructors available all the time.

Based on the things mentioned above, we can conclude that prices may vary wildly. According to Bootcamp statistics, the cheapest bootcamps cost around $1500. On the other side, the most expensive ones go up to $20,000.

The median and average cost is set to just a bit over $13,500.

If money is your biggest concern when you’re trying to decide between coding Bootcamp vs degree programs, Bootcamp is the more affordable option. 

Unlike bootcamps, computer science programs can cost as much as $20,000 per semester, depending on what institution you attend.

Whether you choose a two, four, or 6-year degree program (most are 4), the cost adds up. If you choose Bootcamp, you will pay a big chunk of change upfront (or after), but then you’re done paying.

Coding Bootcamp Certificate vs College degree

Many coding bootcamps include a certificate after graduation. However, we have to point out that bootcamps are not accredited by the US Department of Education.

However, almost all of the Bootcamp grads were able to find a job within the industry. According to the information from employers, BootCamp grads were as much ready as computer science students when it comes to entry-level jobs.

Many coding bootcamps have good relations with tech companies and it shouldn’t be difficult for a Bootcamp graduate to find a job in the industry. The only thing you will need is to be prepared to prove your technical skills and knowledge.

On the other side, having a college degree might spike up your chances of raising on the ladder in most companies. A college education is often seen as well-rounded and complete, and it might be easier for college grads to climb up the corporate ladder. Also, some companies require a college degree for senior positions jobs.

Coding Bootcamp vs college comparison

Here, you can see all the main differences between attending a coding BootCamp and a college.

Coding Bootcamp College Education
Average cost is $13 500 Average cost is $40 000
Accelerated timeframe (up to 24 weeks) Four-year program
Small classes Larger Classes
Rolling start dates Defined start dates
Not accredited Accredited programs
Career Support  Minimal career support
Mentor support Professor and TA support
Job guarantee No job guarantee
Focuses on practical knowledge and projects Focuses on theory and practical knowledge
Up-to-date curriculums Behind the curve with technologies
The average salary is $69 000 The average salary is $75 000


Coding Bootcamp vs Degree: How Is a CS Degree Different?

Besides the higher cost and the bigger time commitment it takes to get a college degree, the main difference between a CS degree and a Bootcamp is the scope of what you learn. 

Coding Bootcamps are much more focused on the most current, relevant job skills in the tech industry. On the other hand, computer science degree programs usually have well-rounded programs that besides practical skills, provide you with a lot of theoretical knowledge and a deeper understanding of computer systems in general. On the other side, Bootcamp graduates will be ready for specific technical skills that will enable them to start their tech careers. Bootcamp education is mostly oriented towards programming skills to match the demand on the market for specific jobs.

Whatever route you decide to take, you can be confident that your job prospects in the tech industry will be good.

On average, people who attend a Bootcamp earn about $60,000-$70,000 a year when they enter the field. On the other hand, the average salary for computer science graduates is anywhere from $50,000-$90,000.

As you can see, this is not a huge difference, so you shouldn’t let how much money you’re going to make in an entry-level coding job influence your decision. The cost, time commitment, and curriculum are more important things to consider.

Due to the accelerated development of the tech industry, employers often don’t require employees to have a degree in computer science. The most important factor for getting a job is to have desired skills and practical knowledge. However, based on statistics, computer science graduates are more likely to climb up the ladder in the company because their knowledge is a bit broader.

Coding Bootcamp Curriculum vs College Curriculum

The curriculum in Bootcamp and coding degree programs can vary widely, but coding bootcamps typically focus almost entirely on web development and major programming languages. 

Coding Bootcamp Curriculum Topic Examples:

  • Full-stack web development
  • Ruby
  • Python
  • JavaScript
  • C++
  • HTML
  • APIs
  • GitHub
  • Career development coaching (soft skills)

For comparison, computer science degree programs teach you about web development and coding languages, as well as additional subjects like mathematics, algorithms, computer science theory, and operating system design.

Do I Need a Computer Science Degree To Be a Coder?

You don’t to worry about whether or not you’ll be able to get a job in coding after completing a Bootcamp. You definitely can! Nowadays, a college education is not a requirement to become a coder.

In fact, 4-year university degrees, in general, are going to become less and less important in the tech industry (and all career fields for that matter). The important thing is whether or not you have the skills to do the job, and coding Bootcamps can definitely teach you those!

There are even many employers that have relationships with schools and like to hire recent coding BootCamp graduates from them. 

In a recent survey by Indeed, almost 90% of employers surveyed stated that they considered coding Bootcamp graduates to be just as qualified to work for them (or even more so) as people who attended computer science programs.


By now you know that both a Bootcamp accreditation and a CS bachelor’s degree can provide you with the skills and qualifications you need to get a great job as a coder.

Ultimately, you will need to weigh the pros and cons of coding bootcamps and compare them to those of a computer science degree program to make a decision. Cost, time commitment, and curriculum should be the big considerations you make.

Something else to consider is how you prefer to learn. Coding bootcamps are much more fast-paced and hands-on. So, if you like to learn by doing, Bootcamp might be the right choice for you.

However, if you’re more of a traditional learner, you might appreciate a CS degree program’s more traditional approach and curriculum. You’ll have more standard coursework including lectures, labs, lesson plans, and tests.

Another thing you should think about is your career goals and what you want to ultimately achieve as a coder. If you want to join a big tech company and work your way up to management or higher, Computer Science programs may help you do that.

On the other side of the coin, if you just want to dive right into work as a coder, or if you want to found a startup or develop your apps, a Bootcamp is going to give you the skills you need to do it in a much shorter amount of time.

After reading this article, we hope you’ve gained a better understanding of the differences between a Bootcamp and computer science degree programs. Whatever you end up choosing, you’re sure to have a bright future in coding!


1. Is a Bootcamp better than a degree?

It depends on your goals. Bootcamps teach you specific skills for a particular job in the industry, while colleges provide well-rounded programs that last longer.

2.Is coding Bootcamp worth it without a degree?

If you want to start a career in the tech industry, bootcamps can be a good start. Many tech companies and startups consider bootcamps worthy and hire their graduates.

3.Do companies hire coding Bootcamp graduates?

Yes. Many coding bootcamps have good relationships with tech companies. According to the research, employers claim that Bootcamp graduates are qualified for entry-level jobs as much as college graduates.

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