Coding boot camps, or coding bootcamps, are structured and intensive educational programs designed to help students gain key programming and technical problem-solving skills through short but highly-focused instructional sessions.
Coding boot camps (also frequently referred to as IT boot camps) were launched as a way for prospective employees to gain the needed skills for new jobs or career advancement without having to spend the time (4 years or longer) and money (often a hundred thousand dollars or more) required to obtain a college degree in computer science or a similar major.
These coding bootcamps also serve a valuable role for companies by helping to fill tech talent skills gaps and providing enterprises with knowledgeable, skilled candidates for employment quicker than the traditional college degree route, as most camps can be completed in several months.
Today there are more than 100 coding boot camp companies and schools across the world, with a wide range of both on-site and online options available. Some of the better known and more reputable IT boot camps include App Academy, Bloc, Coding House, Dev Bootcamp, General Assembly, Hack Reactor, and Hackbright Academy.
What Students Learn in Coding Boot Camps
Coding boot camps span an average of 12 weeks but can vary from 6 to 28 weeks or more in length, depending on the subject matter and the school or company providing the coding boot camp instruction.
Types of Coding Boot Camps
Coding boot camps are available in full-time, part-time, and online coding boot camps formats. Full-time boot camps are often extremely intensive and require up to 80 hours per week of work over a two- to seven-month period of time. These full-time coding boot camps can also be quite expensive.
For those with less time or money to commit to a full-time coding boot camp, part-time boot camps or online bootcamps are often a more attractive option. Part-time coding bootcamps typically require a commitment of 20 hours or so a week, which can be spent on location or online depending on the boot camp.
These part-time and online coding boot camps also tend to be more affordable than their full-time boot camp counterparts, making them an ideal option for those needing additional flexibility or a more economical coding boot camp option.
Low-Cost Alternatives to Coding Boot Camps
While cheaper and quicker than attaining a college degree, coding boot camps still require a substantial commitment in terms of both time and money. For those just getting started with coding, a free online course may make more sense and can be an economical alternative to a coding bootcamp.
Free online coding courses from Codeacademy, Code School, Coursera, and the online Computer Science and Programming courses through Harvard (edX) and MIT (OpenCourseware) are great places to start if you re just beginning to learn how to code or are considering a coding boot camp in the future.