How Coding Bootcamps Compare to Traditional College Degrees

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People learn how to code in a variety of different ways. However, two of the most popular methods are coding bootcamps and traditional college degrees. 

So, how do these two options compare to each other? Is either better than the other? Should you pick one if you want to learn how to code and make a career out of it? Keep reading to find the answers to these questions and more.

Related: How to Become a Data Analyst Without a Degree?


One of the areas coding bootcamps and college degrees experience the greatest difference is in cost. This is also one of the most important differences for many people, so being aware of this is a necessity. 

The average cost of college in America is $35,551 per year. Most people spend around four years on their bachelor’s degree, which brings the total cost of the degree to around $142,204. 

However, this is the cost without a variety of other potential variables. If the degree ends up taking longer to complete, thousands extra will be added. If you want to go to school out of state or study at a private college, the costs will all be much greater. If you take out loans, you will have to pay back interest on them. Finally, for a higher degree, the cost may end up being double what it would be otherwise. 

Meanwhile, coding bootcamps tend to run between $8,000 and $15,000, with the lower end being more common. This means that a coding bootcamp can be completely finished for a price that is a fraction of a single year in college. 

The disadvantage is that, unlike college, coding bootcamps have very few financial aid programs supporting them. The cost of college can be a lot lower with good financial aid, though this will vary dramatically from person to person. However, some bootcamps do offer financing, which may make it easier to get the education you want now.

Time Spent

Money isn’t the only thing that is spent in order to learn how to code. You also need to spend your free time. Time is a valuable resource, so spending it appropriately is important. 

Most coding college degrees will take four years to complete. Over the course of this time, college students will typically spend the majority of their time as students. Learning effectively becomes their full-time job and, in most cases, will prevent them from holding any other full-time job. 

Most coding bootcamps last a few months. They also don’t have the same demands as a college and do not become full-time jobs. In fact, many people do coding bootcamps in their free time while they hold onto their current jobs. This makes switching or advancing your career much easier.

This gives coding bootcamps the advantage in this category. The old saying states that time is money, and coding bootcamps take less of both. 

This is particularly significant because spending less time learning how to code means you can spend more time making money from the high-paying job you can now get. With a college degree, it takes four years before you can make money from your skills. With a coding bootcamp, it takes months. So, a coding bootcamp allows you to make money for years before a college degree would allow you to. 

Want to learn to code without giving up your full-time job and current lifestyle? Learn more about how our bootcamps can help make your dreams possible.

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Eventual Salary

No matter what method you choose to learn how to code, the ultimate goal is the same. This is to get a job. So, which learning method allows you to achieve this goal best? 

You can expect to achieve a good salary after a coding bootcamp. However, you will generally make more starting with a college degree than you will after a coding bootcamp. This is a place where college degrees have an advantage. 

On top of this, college degrees are more versatile. If you end up not wanting to get a coding job, a college degree will still open up a lot of doors. A lot of jobs simply require that you have a degree, even if it isn’t directly related to the job’s field. 

However, this isn’t as clear-cut as it initially appears. While you can typically make more money going into a job with a degree than going into a job after a bootcamp, the fact that they take different amounts of time complicates things. 

You can finish a bootcamp in a few months and start working a coding job right after this. You will have that job for three years before you would if you had gone to college. This means you are not just someone with a coding bootcamp in their history; you are someone with three years of work experience as well. This gives you more leverage that you could use to negotiate a higher salary. In the scenario of a degree versus work experience, it is hard to say which is more valuable. 

Related: High-Paying Jobs Without A College Degree in 2023

Coding Bootcamp or College Degree?

After reviewing this information, it is clear that there are advantages to having a college degree and advantages to going to a coding bootcamp. So, is either definitively better than the other? 

The answer is no. There are a lot of factors at play here that impact this decision. Financial aid, work experience, financial restrictions, and even your general life trajectory will all influence this choice. 

Luckily, you don’t need to choose one or the other. You can get a college degree and also attend a coding bootcamp. You can do so one after the other or even at the same time. 

Doing this has its own advantages. For one, you will be far more knowledgeable about coding than you would be with either method on its own. This will help you in whatever career you pick. In addition, you have more credentials backing you up. This helps with getting a job in general and can help you get one that pays more. 

Ready to get started on your new career path? Schedule your interview to join our Web Developer Program today.

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Coding Bootcamps and College Degrees

Coding bootcamps and college degrees are both valuable. However, when deciding between the two, make sure to consider their cost, the time they will take, and how much both will end up paying you back. If you can’t decide between the two, just remember that going with both is always an option.

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