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These 5 Coding Bootcamps Are Worth Considering

The thrill of running your first program is indescribable. Maybe you’ve finished a few online classes and you’re thinking “...I could do this.“ Or maybe you’ve been hooked since “Hello World” had you dancing around your bedroom. Programming isn’t just fun, rewarding, and lucrative. It’s accessible.

Software development is one of the few highly skilled occupations that doesn’t require any professional certification. To fill growing demand for skilled developers, coding bootcamps began popping up in 2012. Bootcamps typically last 2-4 months and cost around ~$12,000. Compare that to four years and $163,140 for an undergraduate SWE degree.

If you love development and you want to make the switch quickly, the value proposition is clear. But choosing the right one is a big decision. How will you know you’re getting a quality education? And what sort of guarantees can you expect for the hefty bootcamp price tag? To answer these questions and more, Exponent combed through bootcamp evaluations from three separate sources.

  1. CIO’s top 10, taken from Switchup.org, a review and ranking guide which examined thousands of alumni reviews to rank coding bootcamps based on price, location, job support and instructor quality.
  2. Course Report’s Top Schools of 2019-2020. Course Report has followed the coding bootcamp industry since 2013. It’s 2019-2020 rankings are based on alumni/ student reviews, transparency around career outcomes, financing and legitimate lending partnerships, selectivity, and other factors.
  3. Career Karma’s Online Coding Bootcamp Guide for 2020. Hot off the presses, Career Karma’s review was published only days ago and focuses on coding bootcamps with an online option.

Five bootcamps made the cut with appearances on all three lists. We’ve broken them down below.

Flatiron School

Overall Rating: 4.71

Full tuition: $15,000 (varies by campus)

Financing: Pay upfront, take out a loan through Skills Fund or Climb, or sign an Income-share agreement (ISA)

Duration: 12 weeks (dependent on program. Both full-time and part-time options available.)

Location: NYC, Brooklyn, Washington DC, London, Houston, Atlanta, Austin, Seattle, Chicago, Denver

Online Option?: Yes

Walk Away With: A strong portfolio, lab testing and client-facing experience, and career services including weekly 1:1 career coaching sessions, mock interviews, and employer introductions.

Focus Areas: Software Engineering, Data science, UX/UI Design and Cybersecurity.

Best For: Scholarship seekers. Eligible candidates may receive up to $2,000 off tuition, and have access to Flatiron's Access Labs initiative which does away with upfront payment.

Success Rate: 94% for graduates of the online SWE track, and higher for in-person immersive programs.

Flatiron School is a bootcamp OG. With in person-and online courses in SWE, data science, and cybersecurity, you’ll have a lot of flexibility. One of the first bootcamps to publish job placement outcomes, it boasts an employment rate of 94% for its online SWE immersive course. As a flatiron school student, you’ll receive weekly 1:1 coaching sessions, mock interviews, and a reputable network to help you land your first job. In fact, Flatiron is so confident their program will land you a job, they offer a money-back guarantee for their Software Engineering, Data Science, and UX/UI Design Immersives  (if grads don’t get a qualifying job offer within six months of graduation, they can get their money back.) There’s also an income share agreement option, which means students can pay their tuition as a percentage of their earnings once they’re employed. You may even qualify for student loans and/or scholarships.

Check out the full curriculum here.

Ironhack

Overall Rating: 4.88

Full tuition: $12,000 full-time or $13,000 part-time

Financing: Pay upfront, take out a loan through Skills Fund or Climb (in the US), or sign an Income-share agreement (ISA)

Duration: 9 weeks full-time or 24 weeks part-time

Location: Miami, Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, Mexico City, Berlin, Amsterdam, Sao Paolo, Lisbon

Online Option?: Yes

Walk Away With: Industry-vetted experience and a diverse portfolio, 1:1 mentoring throughout, and as a stong post-graduation support network of over 1000 graduates and 600+ partner companies.

Focus Areas: Web Development, UX/UI Design, and Data Analytics

Best For: Students looking for a bit more personalization in their education as students have the option to shape their coursework around personal goals.

Success Rate: 85% reported job placement rate.

One of the shorter bootcamps, Ironhack’s bootcamp will teach you web development, UX/UI design, and/or data analytics in just 9 weeks (full-time.) Locations are primarily in Europe, but an online option exists if you’re not near a campus. Ironhack’s program is a bit unique in that you’ll have input on your curriculum, meaning you can tailor your education to your goals. Apart from standard career counseling offerings, grads have access to a huge industry network - including 600+ partner companies upon graduation.

Check out the full curriculum here.

Hack Reactor

Overall Rating: 4.69

Full tuition: $17,980

Financing: Pay upfront, take out a loan through Skills Fund or Climb, or sign an Income-share agreement (ISA)

Duration: 12 weeks full-time, 36 weeks part-time

Location: San Francisco, Austin, Boulder, Denver, LA, NYC, Seattle, Phoenix

Online Option?: Yes

Walk Away With: In-depth knowledge of JavaScript as well as agile methodology general development problem-solving. Career coaching during and after graduation, including building an online presence, job-ready resume, and a LinkedIn profile.

Focus Areas: Software Engineering & Development with emphasis on JavaScript.

Best For: Those with a little more coding experience. Plan for a 2-4 month application process - you'll take an 80-hour pre-course even after passing a technical interview.

Success Rate: 98% placement within 6 months.

One of the oldest coding bootcamps, Hack Reactor offers 12-week immersive programs aiming to place students in mid-to-senior level positions upon graduation. Because of this, the bootcamp starts at a relatively advanced level. Beginners are advised to take Hack Reactors pre-bootcamp prep courses before applying. Applicants must then prove their skills during a technical interview and complete an 80-hour pre-course before beginning core coursework. All this work pays off though - average graduate salary was $115K in a 2018 San Francisco student outcomes survey.

Check out the full curriculum here.

App Academy

Overall Rating: 4.68

Full tuition: $17,000 (in-person) or $0 upfront, $28,000 once you find a job

Financing: Pay upfront, or defer tuition until you're employed.

Duration: 16 to 24 weeks (depending on program)

Location: San Francisco or New York City

Online Option?: Yes

Walk Away With: A comprehensive development education (from SWE foundations up through competency in several languages) and dedicated career services (or they don't get their tuition payment!)

Focus Areas: Web Development

Best For: Future web developers who are looking for depth. And for those still hesitant about dropping a whole year's rent on a coding bootcamp, App Academy offers its entire online course for free! You won't get the 1:1 coaching, but if you're serious about being a developer, this is a great place to start.

Success Rate: 93% placement.

App Academy tuition isn’t cheap - but there’s no better choice for a prospective web developer. App Academy’s curriculum is exceptionally well-rounded, meaning you’ll get the fundamentals in data structures and algorithms you’d get in an undergraduate program. These aren’t always covered in other bootcamps, and you’ll stand out amongst your peers. Another unique offering from App Academy is App Academy Open, which gives you access to the ENTIRE full-stack course for free! You won’t get 1:1 coaching, and you're on your own as far as career counseling goes - but you’ll get 1,500 hours of content to work through, and you’ll have access to a community Slack channel for when you get stuck or need to commiserate.

Check out the full curriculum here.

General Assembly

Overall Rating: 4.32

Full tuition: From $1,250 on-demand to $3,950 part-time or $15,950 full-time.

Financing: Pay upfront, defer tuition (at US campuses), take out a loan, or receive an employer sponsorship.

Duration: 12 weeks full-time or 10 weeks part-time

Location: Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York City, Orlando, Phoenix, Raleigh, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto, Washington D.C.

Online Option?: Yes

Walk Away With: A professional portfolio, a certificate of completion, and access to dedicated career services and a large alumni network

Focus Areas: Web and Mobile Development, Product Management, and Data Science

Best For: Those interested in all things tech. GA offers a much broader range of subjects compared to, say, App Academy.

Success Rate: 99% within 180 days of graduation.

You can’t beat General Assembly for sheer options available. With long and short courses in web and mobile development, product management, data science (and more!), GA grads have access to it all. For those employed full-time elsewhere or those looking to add to an existing skill set, GA offers evening and weekend classes as well as traditional bootcamp scheduling. You can even choose a short form bootcamp which will last just a day or two. Don’t expect to get the full breadth of knowledge you’d need to start coding from scratch at one of these on-demand courses - still, whether you’re just looking to pad your resume or dive into programming from an unrelated background, give GA a look.

Check out the full curriculum here

Wrapping Up:

All five of these bootcamps are great ways to fast track your SWE career - but they’re all a bit different.

  • If you’ve got some coding experience already, or you’re just looking to build an existing skill set, we recommend Hack Reactor. It’s rigorous application process and prep courses are tough on newbies, but great preparation for a mid-to-senior level role upon graduation.
  • If you’re a newbie, or you’re not sure where to specialize, we recommend either IronHack or General Assembly. IronHack allows students to structure coursework around personal goals, giving you some flexibility and room to explore. General Assembly has the widest range of courses of any bootcamp listed here - if you get hooked on bootcamp life you can always return later for a PM or Digital Marketing certificate!
  • Finally, if you’re dead set on a web development career, App Academy is the place for you. App Academy will give you the foundation you need in data structures and algorithms all the way up through coding experience in multiple languages. You’ll graduate a well-rounded and versatile programmer. Still not convinced? Try App Academy Open for free, and see how you fare.

Later, after graduation and a well-deserved rest, check out Exponent’s Software Engineering Interview Prep Course!

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