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How much do coding bootcamps cost?

By Zulie Rane on May 24, 2022

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And an answer to what you’re really asking: “are coding bootcamps worth it?” πŸ”—

I’ll give you the quick answer right off the bat: coding bootcamps cost 13,500 on average based on the data collected by BestColleges. On the upper end of that range, coding bootcamps cost upwards of $20,000. Some of the less-expensive camps are a couple thousand dollars. It’s 2022 as I write this, so those numbers have probably increased even more in the interim.

The prices of coding bootcamps vary depending on a few different factors: whether you’re on campus or online (online is usually cheaper by about $500); whether you’re doing it full-time or part-time (part-time can be cheaper sometimes, but not always); whether it’s a single coding language or a full-stack bootcamp (more comprehensive coding bootcamps cost more).

Some coding bootcamps charge you an income share agreement (ISA) after you get a job. While that agreement is beneficial to you in the beginning, the total cost can skyrocket after graduation - leaving you owing tens of thousands of dollars. It also depends on the quality - the best online coding bootcamps of 2022 were on the pricier end of that scale.

If that’s all you needed, I could finish off this super-short article and send you on your way. But when people ask how much something costs, they’re usually asking something else.

You might want to know:

  • Is the cost of a coding bootcamp worth it?
  • I’m about to shell out $10,000 for this - what’s the benefit to me?
  • Why should I spend thousands of dollars on this and not an alternative?

Let’s answer those questions.

Coding bootcamps cost a fraction of a college degree. πŸ”—

One of the most useful comparisons is looking at the cost of a coding bootcamp as an alternative to a degree in software engineering or computer science. To get a job in data science or engineering, it’s no longer necessary to get a degree. Many entry-level computer science jobs only want proof that you can code in Javascript. Your skills matter much more than your diploma.

While you don’t need to go to Harvard to get your computer science degree, it’s still expensive. The average computer science college degree costs about $40,000 in total, not to mention the four years you’ll spend getting it. Compared to that, $13,500 and 16 weeks of intense work sounds pretty good.

Coding bootcamps cost months of full-time work. πŸ”—

Coding bootcamps cost around $13,500, yes. There’s also a high time cost, too. Coding bootcamps are specifically designed to get as much coding knowledge down your throat in as little time as possible. But condensing down the theory, the foundations, and the practical skills results in an extremely intense knowledge model. You’ll be learning at breakneck speed. At a minimum, you’ll need 40 hours a week to keep up with the workload. It’s more likely you’ll be working 50-60 hours a week.

Even if you’re on the part-time model, many coding bootcamps expect a time commitment of 20-25 hours per week, usually filled up in the evenings and weekends.

Full-time coding bootcamps run for at least 12 weeks, but sometimes up to 20 weeks on the full-time model. Even if you think the price is worth it, definitely consider the time cost too.

Coding bootcamps cost much more than the alternatives. πŸ”—

It’s also worth comparing the cost of coding bootcamps to the cost of specific courses. For example, if you were to go on Coursera, you’d be able to find a course in the basics of Python, run by the University of Michigan, that comes with a certificate. Coursera’s Python for Everyone specialization costs $49/month. They estimate you’ll get it done in eight months. That’s $400.

Coursera’s tracks run between $39-$79 per month. Even if you only did $79/month tracks and it took you a year to do each one, you’d be able to do 13 of them for the same price as an average coding bootcamp.

Then there are options like Like coding bootcamps, it’s a mix of coding and projects combined with job-oriented networking and resume review in a Discord channel. Unlike coding bootcamps, it costs as little as $24 per month to get access to the algorithms, data structures, and computer science content.

Having a college-backed certificate is powerful, but what I said earlier still stands: many employers just don’t care. If you can prove you have the skills, they’ll be thrilled to get you on board with or without a diploma or certificate.

Compared to the cost of a coding bootcamp, online courses or communities are a steal.

Coding bootcamps come with a lot of handholding. πŸ”—

The real benefit to paying $13,500 for a coding bootcamp is that mentally, you’re invested. (It’s hard to casually drop thousands of dollars on something and then not pay up.) Like a gym membership or private training, the more money you spend, the more likely you are to follow through.

Along with the financial commitment, the courses are designed to hold your hand through the course material and give you a deadline to complete tasks, homework, and projects.

But there are also totally free alternatives to coding bootcamps if you don’t need that kind of external pressure to get things done. You can watch tutorials on YouTube and read free online textbooks. You can pair that with a free online coding platform like FreeCodeCamp to get some guidance.

They don’t have the same commitment level, there’s very little community around them, and they’re far more self-guided. But if free is what you’re looking for, you can probably get the same set of skills as you would at a coding bootcamp – as long as you have the drive and motivation.

Coding bootcamps can guarantee a job offer. πŸ”—

One crucial aspect to remember is that many coding bootcamps come with a job offer guarantee or your money back.

Coding bootcamps are often well-connected in the software engineering industry, and they aren’t shy about putting their network to good use on your behalf. Especially for coding bootcamps that offer income share agreements, it’s in their best interest to make sure you’re employed soon after you “graduate” the bootcamp.

However, it’s also good to know that the requirements for fulfilling that job offer are pretty strict. Many require you to accept the first job you’re offered – even if it’s not what you want, or it’s a part-time or contract role. They may also need to submit a certain number of job applications per week.

If you’re happy with those conditions, then count that as an advantage of coding bootcamps.

Short answer: Coding bootcamps cost $13,500 or so on average, but only you know it is worth it. πŸ”—

The cost of coding bootcamps – $13,500 or so – is not insignificant by any means. It’s equivalent to ten months’ rent for an average two-bedroom house, or nearly 2,000 avocado toasts.

It’s impossible to say whether or not a coding bootcamp is worth it based on the singular data point of price. You’ll need to add some context. Is it expensive? Yes. But it’s cheaper than a college degree. And if you’re the kind of person who needs external pressure to accomplish your goals, that’s a small price to pay to learn to code, especially if you get a high-paying job after that.

Ultimately, I can’t tell you to shell out for a coding bootcamp or not. But with this additional context, you should be aware of your options and you should know whether it’s the right move for you personally.

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