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    Information technology (IT) boot camps, also known as coding boot camps, are intensive, short-term training programs in information technology fields. These boot camps offer instruction on a wide array of computer programming languages, philosophies, and skill sets such as HTML, JavaScript, Python, PHP, and Ruby. They are cheaper and faster than traditional education and often include career support for graduates.

    How IT boot camps work

    Similar to a trade school, an IT boot camp is typically run by a private, for-profit company and is offered either in-person or online. Camps span an average of 12 weeks but can vary anywhere from six to 40 weeks in length depending on the subject matter and the company providing instruction. Most IT boot camps provide intensive, accelerated learning curriculum with hands-on projects where students develop their own software programs, web apps, and other digital tools.

    According to Course Report, the average tuition for a boot camp is $13,728. The cost varies by location and the method of learning, whether in person or online. Most boot camps offer payment plans, scholarships based on merit or need, and deferred tuition until a graduate is hired.

    Read also: Facts about IT and Coding Boot Camps

    IT boot camp accreditation

    Most IT boot camps are not accredited in the same way colleges and universities are. They are not able to grant degrees to students who successfully complete the boot camp. Many of the larger, more recognizable IT boot camps do work with state agencies to become accredited as an IT boot camp. Colleges and universities that offer their own IT boot camps or partner with IT boot camp companies are able to rely on their reputation and accreditation to provide boot camps that are frequently held in high regard by employers.

    Some well-known schools providing reputable IT boot camps today include Northeastern University, the Coding Bootcamp at UT Austin, Georgia Tech Coding Bootcamp, the Coding Bootcamp at UNC Chapel Hill, Northwestern Coding Bootcamp, University of Minnesota, Seattle University Coding Bootcamp, DeVry Bootcamp, California Coding Bootcamps (at UCLA, UC Irvine, UC Berkeley and UC San Diego), and Rutgers Coding Bootcamp.

    Popular IT boot camps

    • IronHack: Curriculum is focused on web design and UI/UX design. Locations include Europe, South America, and the U.S. All courses are taught in person.
    • AppAcademy: A full-time, full-stack developer training program that spans 12 weeks. No previous coding experience is required.
    • General Assembly: Numerous courses are offered for coding, web design, UI design, digital marketing, and front-end development. Multiple locations across the U.S are available.
    • Bloc: Offers 12, 18, and 36-week courses in full-stack development, front-end web development, iOS and Android development, and UX design.
    • Thinkful: Courses are career-focused with one-on-one mentor pairing and a guaranteed job placement after graduating. Courses are offered in web development, design, and data science.

    IT boot camp alternatives

    IT boot camps often require a serious commitment in terms of both time and money and are not for everyone. For those just getting started with coding, a free online course often makes more sense and can be an economical alternative to an IT boot camp or a great way to get hands-on knowledge of coding without a significant investment.

    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 getting started with coding or are considering an IT boot camp in the future.