August 17, 2018 - by Tori Tsu

TGIF: Bootcamp or CS Degree?

TGIF! This week we dove into a topic near and dear to our hearts: what's "better:" a traditional CS degree or coding bootcamp? The answer is not black and white. So let's dive right in.

Check back at the end of each week for our Friday finds. Here's what we're reading – August 17.

Coding Bootcamp vs. Computer Science Degree

Coding Bootcamp vs. Computer Science Degree by WhatsTheHost.

As you consider a career in Software Engineering, you'll likely ask yourself a lot of questions:

  • Why do I want to be an engineer?
  • How long will it take?
  • Do I even like coding?
  • How will I afford tuition?
  • Will I be able to get a job?
  • How much money will I make?

And of course, "Do I want to attend a coding bootcamp or get a computer science degree?" The answer you come to will depend entirely on your personal preferences, the stage of your career you're currently in, and a multitude of other factors.

This infographic from WhatsTheHost does a great job of breaking down the differences and comparing the results of coding bootcamps vs. CS degrees.


coding bootcamp vs cs Infographic courtesy of


Let's go back to some of the questions you might ask yourself before becoming a developer.

How much time do you have?

Traditional CS degrees typically take between 2- to 4-years in a traditional college setting. For those just graduating from high school, or currently in college, enrolling in a traditional CS program may be a more straightforward path.

If you're been working for a while, and want to transition careers, oftentimes bootcamps are better fits. The average bootcamp program in the Bay Area is between 12-24 weeks so you can learn the skills you need, and graduate in under 6 months. Some bootcamps also offer part-time programs or evening and weekend formats for working professionals who can't afford to leave their full-time jobs, but still want to change career trajectories.

What's the cost breakdown?

It's probably no surprise that cost correlates to time. The shorter the program, the lesser the tuition. Getting your CS degree will likely cost significantly more than attending a bootcamp. That being said, bootcamps aren't necessarily cheap. Be sure to research the financial aid and scholarship options for whatever program you may be considering.

As you look into programs, it's wise to look at the outcome as well. Bootcamps are growing in popularity and trustworthiness among recruiters and hiring managers. And the happy bottom line is that CS alum and bootcamp grads receive similar paychecks, so both options will help pay for themselves.

Anything else I should know?

It's not much of a surprise that bootcamps are a faster, cheaper option than a traditional CS degree. But some of the other factors that may influence you are what kind of experience you're looking for. Bootcamps have better representation of women, minorities, and other underrepresented groups.

Again, there's no right answer, and you may find that one option fits your lifestyle or needs better than the other. Talk to alumni/ae of the programs, visit campuses, and read reviews before you make your decision. Good luck!

What are you reading, watching, and listening to? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Interested in learning to code? Check out our upcoming Prep Course and our immersive 12-week full-time or 24-week part-time Software Engineering Programs


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