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


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In the ever-evolving landscape of education, aspiring tech enthusiasts face a crucial decision: pursue a traditional college degree or opt for the intensive and immersive experience of a coding boot camp. This guide aims to unravel the pros and cons of each educational path, offering insights into the considerations that can guide your choice. As the demand for tech skills continues to rise, the debate between the swift practicality of coding bootcamps and the comprehensive knowledge of college degrees becomes more pertinent. Join us as we navigate the terrain of education options, helping you discern which route aligns best with your aspirations and career goals.

What is Coding Bootcamp?

A coding bootcamp is an intensive, short-term training program designed to teach practical coding skills and prepare individuals for careers in software development. Bootcamps are known for their hands-on, project-based approach, often lasting 8 to 24 weeks. They cater to beginners and career changers, covering programming languages, web development, and other industry-relevant topics. Unlike traditional education, coding bootcamps focus on swiftly equipping participants with the skills needed for entry-level positions in the tech industry.

What is a College Degree?

A college degree is a formal academic credential granted by a college or university upon completing a specified program of study. It validates proficiency in a chosen field and is awarded at different levels: associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. Typically spanning two to four years, degrees serve as recognized qualifications for numerous professions, offering a comprehensive education beyond specialized skills.

Head-to-Head Comparison Table for Coding Bootcamp vs College Degree

Aspect Coding Bootcamp College Degree in Computer Science
Learning Model Accelerated, hands-on projects Theoretical foundation, comprehensive curriculum
Duration Short-term (typically 8-24 weeks) Long-term (typically 3-4 years)
Cost Generally lower tuition fees Higher tuition fees, longer-term financial investment
Flexibility Often flexible schedules, some online options Typically rigid schedules, often on-campus
Curriculum Depth Practical, industry-relevant skills In-depth theoretical knowledge
Job Placement Assistance Often includes job placement support College career services, internships, and co-op programs
Alumni Network Growing, industry-specific networks Established broader alumni connections
Industry Connections Focus on current industry needs Broader coverage of computer science principles
Accessibility Accessible to diverse backgrounds It may require specific academic prerequisites
Time Commitment Intensive, shorter time commitment Longer duration, comprehensive academic commitment
Career Outcomes Quick entry into specific tech roles A broader range of career opportunities in tech and beyond
Individual Learning Style Suited for those preferring hands-on experience Suited for those valuing a strong theoretical foundation

What Are The Pros and Cons Of Coding Bootcamp?

Pros of Coding Bootcamp:

  • Quick Skill Acquisition: Coding bootcamps focus on practical, industry-relevant skills, allowing participants to acquire coding abilities quickly.
  • Short Duration: Bootcamps are typically shorter than traditional degrees, allowing for a faster entry into the job market.
  • Cost-Effective: Bootcamps are often more cost-effective than college degrees, making them a more accessible option for some learners.
  • Real-World Projects: Participants often work on hands-on projects, gaining practical experience that can be applied professionally.
  • Job-Focused Training: Bootcamps are designed to prepare individuals for specific roles in the tech industry, addressing the skills employers demand.

Cons of Coding Bootcamp:

  • Intense Learning Curve: The fast-paced nature of bootcamps can be challenging, and participants may experience high intensity and pressure.
  • Limited Theoretical Knowledge: Bootcamps may not provide as much theoretical depth as a traditional degree, potentially impacting a holistic understanding of computer science concepts.
  • Varied Quality: Quality can vary among bootcamps, and not all are accredited or provide the same level of education.
  • Job Placement Guarantees: While some bootcamps offer job placement assistance, securing a job is not guaranteed after completion.
  • Not Universally Recognized: Some employers may still prioritize candidates with traditional degrees, and certain industries may require a more comprehensive educational background.

Coding bootcamps offer a rapid and focused approach to gaining practical coding skills, but they come with challenges and may not suit everyone’s learning style or career goals. Individuals should carefully consider these pros and cons when deciding on the best educational path for their needs.

What are the Pros and cons of College Degree

Pros of College Degree:

  • In-Depth Knowledge: College degrees offer comprehensive, in-depth knowledge of a specific field, providing a strong theoretical foundation.
  • Broad Skill Set: Graduates often acquire a diverse skill set in their major and through general education requirements.
  • Credential Recognition: Many employers still value and require a college degree as a minimum qualification for certain roles.
  • Networking Opportunities: The college provides an environment for networking with peers, professors, and industry professionals, which can lead to valuable connections.
  • Personal Growth: College can be a transformative experience, fostering personal growth, independence, and critical thinking skills.

Cons of College Degree:

  • High Cost: Pursuing a college degree can be expensive, with tuition, fees, and living expenses contributing to a significant financial burden.
  • Time-Consuming: Completing a degree typically takes several years, delaying entry into the workforce and potentially accumulating student loan debt.
  • Evolution of Skills: The fast-paced evolution of industries may render certain aspects of a degree outdated by the time of graduation.
  • Not Always Job-Specific: Some degrees may not directly align with specific job requirements, leading to challenges in finding relevant employment.
  • Alternative Learning Paths: With the rise of alternative education options like bootcamps and online courses, traditional degrees face competition for relevance in certain industries.

While a college degree can open doors and provide a well-rounded education, weighing these pros and cons to determine if it aligns with individual goals and circumstances is essential.

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 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 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 always available.

We can conclude that prices may vary wildly based on the abovementioned things. According to Bootcamp statistics, the cheapest bootcamps cost around $1500. Conversely, 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 your institution.

The cost adds up whether you choose a two-, four-, or 6-year degree program (most are 4). 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 must 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 ready as computer science students when it came 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. You will only need to be prepared to prove your technical skills and knowledge.

Conversely, having a college degree might increase your chances of climbing 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 Degree: How Is a CS Degree Different?

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

Coding Bootcamps focus 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. Conversely, 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.

Due to the accelerated development of the tech industry, employers often don’t require employees to have computer science degrees. 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 have 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.

4-year university degrees, in general, will 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 teach you those skills!

Some employers even 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 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 must weigh the pros and cons of coding bootcamps and compare them to those of a computer science degree program. Cost, time commitment, and curriculum should be your big considerations.

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

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 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 better understood the differences between a Bootcamp and computer science degree programs. Whatever you choose, you’re sure to have a bright future in coding!

Frequently Asked Questions

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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