These days it kinda feels like everyone’s telling you to learn to code, right? Learning how to code is swiftly becoming one of the most important skills to know in today’s job market, and many people are therefore interested in getting the education needed to become a developer, or simply add to their own skill set.

The question for many people is whether to return to college or to attend a coding bootcamp. The answer, as you may imagine, depends on each person’s individual circumstances. Here we’ll mainly look at the advantages of a coding bootcamp (since that’s what we are), though we encourage you to consider the type of job you’d like to end up with, whether you’re interested in an intensive course and how realistic your expectations are for either: both take a lot of work, and you shouldn’t expect to walk into a job with either unless you’re determined to learn code and get the most on your investment.

If you’ve got the motivation and the grit it takes, either way you’re going to come out enriched, enlightened and most likely in love with the world of software engineering.

What is a coding bootcamp, anyway?

A coding bootcamp is an educational institute that seeks to teach programming to students within a shorter space of time than a typical college degree.

Rather than being focused on theory, coding bootcamps tend to hone in upon high-impact, practical skills that are sought after in today’s job market.

A full-time coding bootcamp will usually run for 12 – 18 weeks, where students are taken from a beginner to professional standard during this time and, afterwards, are guided along on their path to employment using the connections of the bootcamp.

How does a coding bootcamp work?

How is it possible that bootcamps can get you job-ready in such a short space of time? Well, on the face of it, it seems like a Herculean task: cram four years of university study into a 3 month program. That’s what coding bootcamps appear to promise, which can seem impossible upon first glance.

Breaking it down, however, reveals a more nuanced reality. First, consider that in college, most students are not in class all day, every day with a tutor. In a bootcamp they are, and so the level of intensity is very different.

On top of this, coding bootcamps tend to focus on specific, practical skills. The very nature of a coding bootcamp is not to attempt to cover everything, but to get you job-ready. Therefore, bootcamps offer a razor-sharp focus on the high-impact skills you’ll need in the workplace. That’s why we at SPICED focus so heavily on Javascript: it’s one of the most important programming languages in the world, and the only one to run natively on all major web browsers, and it’s a great language for beginners. There isn’t so much time spent on a deep understanding of computers or algorithms, for example, since it doesn’t apply much to most developers’ every day work.

So, is a coding bootcamp for me?

For people looking to completely master a topic like computer science, then, a coding bootcamp perhaps isn’t the way to go.

For many other people, however, it’s just the ticket. For those looking for a quick entry into the job market as a developer who don’t have the time or desire to gain an in-depth university education, coding bootcamps are often the ideal solution. This could be product managers looking to add to their skill set, designers wanting to start building their own sites, entrepreneurs looking to kick off their business, or just about anyone that’s looking to start a career that offers great salaries, high job satisfaction and high potential for remote work.

The data matches up, too. Over at Triplebyte, a developer recruitment agency, they conducted an analysis of the data gained from their candidates and found that bootcamp graduates and university graduates to be roughly equal in terms of overall aptitude: “We’ve found bootcamp grads as a group to be better than college grads at web programming and writing clean, modular code, and worse at algorithms and understanding how computers work.”

Ultimately to answer the question of should you go back to college or go to a coding bootcamp, it really depends what you’re after. I suspect for most people considering going back to university, a coding bootcamp may be a more fitting arrangement thanks to the ease at which one can enter the market in such a short space of time. As always, however, it’ll depend on the person.


Interested in learning to code in 12 weeks? To learn more about our Full-Stack Web Development program here in Berlin, click here!

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