There are a lot of ways and a lot of reasons to learn coding. Anyone who has written a single line of code in any programming language will tell you that no matter how good you are at coding in one language, there is always some other language waiting around to make you feel like a complete idiot.
That is why there are coding bootcamps. Whether you are a beginner looking to get into coding for the first time, or a veteran programmer looking to pick up a new language, coding bootcamps are a great way to expand your skills. But there are a few important things a coding bootcamp has to teach.
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It is easy enough to say that coding bootcamps are “good for beginners and veterans”. But all the same, a beginner and a veteran are probably going to have wildly different needs when it comes to their coding bootcamps. Be sure that you find a coding bootcamp that meets your educational needs.
A bootcamp designed for beginners will go too slow for a veteran and waste your time. And a bootcamp designed for a veteran will be like taking a class in a different language for a beginner.
Be on the lookout for words in the bootcamps’ description that indicate the appropriate level of experience for the bootcamp. And remember that even if you have experience coding, you will need a bootcamp for beginners more often than not. This is especially true if you are learning a new language.
As with most things related to coding, finishing a coding bootcamp is more a question of time than skill. This is the classic struggle of computer programming: You will eventually be able to answer every question with perfect clarity. Then, all that remains is to type it up. This takes some serious patience.
But even with patience, if you are too busy to do a normal coding bootcamp, then you need to acknowledge that limitation. Just because your time is limited, however, that does not mean you have to give up. There are coding bootcamps that can be done on-demand, rather than on a schedule.
This is perfect for people who find themselves busy during the time when “normal” classes take place.
Answering this question is probably the most important of all. If you are trying to go from knowing nothing about coding to being able to get a job in coding, then one single bootcamp might not be enough. There are bootcamps that provide that amount of focus, but they are rare and difficult.
In that case, you are much more likely to benefit from taking a series of bootcamps. You can look up a user-recommended series of bootcamps, or you can make your own “lesson plan” of sorts. Just know that there is no way to become employable quickly. It will always take at least a few months.
On the other hand, you might have much shorter-term goals. These are usually more easily rewarded. Do you want a coding bootcamp that will teach you to program a game in C++? Or a bootcamp that shows you all the ways to avoid breaking HTML? The more specific your goals, it is to meet them.
And keep in mind, that is not to say that your goals need to be easy. Just specific.
Now that you have an idea of what to look for, let’s take a look at the best coding bootcamps available to you. All of these will have their own virtues, so use the metrics details above to determine which one reflects your experience level, matches your schedule, and meets your needs.
|1. UC Berkeley Extension – Best Overall Coding Bootcamp|
|2. Code Fellows – Best Short Bootcamp|
|3. Flatiron School – Best Discipline-Focused Bootcamp|
|4. Fullstack Academy – Best Community|
|5. Code Platoon – Best for Beginners|
|6. Coding Dojo – Best for Different Languages|
If you are looking for a “zero to hero” bootcamp, then this is the place to start. UC Berkeley is a computer science school with a strong focus on job placement. It is well-known as one of the best computer science schools in the world. Founded by Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple and Atari, the UC Berkeley Extension bootcamp will take you either 12 full-time weeks or 24 part-time weeks.
In either case, you will be producing 240 hours of coding work. The value that comes out of those 240 hours is ultimately up to you, but the UC Berkeley Extension will support you with a variety of tools. Specifically, you will have several scheduling options open to you for the actual classes.
This is important, as this is not an on-demand class. It is a class held live over the internet, where you can expect guidance directly from an industry professional on how to refine your coding abilities.
You will also get access to UC Berkeley’s on-demand services in addition to this, allowing you to hone your skills outside of the classes. These services include career services for learning what the most modern trends in programming are, as well as what prospective employers will be looking for.
Easily the biggest issue with UC Berkeley’s coding bootcamp is its price. It is nearly $12,000 for the bootcamp. This means that most people will have to get a loan in order to attend the bootcamp.
If going into debt in order to get an education in coding does not appeal to you, then this bootcamp is definitely a no-go. Most people will justify the cost by pointing out that it is almost guaranteed to get you a high-paying job. But if you know nothing about coding, you should think carefully about that.
Most people like consuming certain things, but not necessarily producing those same things. If you want to go to school to code, then be sure that you actually like producing code before putting yourself in debt in order to learn. If you have never coded before, you might not know whether or not you’ll like it.
Yes, you will always be able to get a job afterwards. But it is important that you be able to do that job without it being agony. Otherwise, you will just be in debt and have to suffer to pay the debt.
If you are not looking for a zero to hero bootcamp, then your needs are probably more focused on getting your coding skills up fast. Or maybe it’s not even that. Maybe you are an employer looking to make sure that your employees’ skills are up to speed. Whatever the case, not everyone has 12 to 24 weeks to spend on a coding bootcamp. Luckily, Code Fellow’s bootcamp is done in just four weeks.
What does it get done in just four weeks? Well remember, this is a bootcamp for people that have coding experience. You do not have to have a lot of experience, but you should probably be able to print “Hello, world!” at the very least. It is considered a “201” course, so right after a beginner’s class.
Code Fellow’s biggest strength is its scalability. You can take a four-week 201 class and be ready for the 301 class immediately. This class is also four weeks, making it easy to bite off small chunks at a time.
In short, there are higher-up options for people with more experience who want a more substantial lesson in advanced coding. You will have to test into those, however. The 201 course is the highest you can go without a test. Regardless, it provides a lot in a short amount of time.
The program is also noted for having great instructors and many alumni at large companies such as Facebook, Google, Apple, and Amazon. From this, you can figure that its lessons are reliable.
There are two issues with the way Code Fellows does its lessons. The first is its cost. Again, we have a code bootcamp that is priced in the thousands of dollars. $5,000, to be exact. And yet it comes with no on-demand services and no career services beyond what you can get from your instructor.
Granted, this cost is lower than almost all of the other courses on this list, but it is still quite high.
This means that it is cheaper than many college courses, but with commensurately less supporting structure. It also costs $5,000 for just one four-week class. This is why it was referenced as being a class for employers to buy its employees; the price to quality ratio is high, but the price to quantity ratio isn’t.
It is easy to think of coding bootcamps as homogeneous. Coding is coding, is it not? Well, yes and no. Coding is coding, but coding can solve a lot of problems. In fact, coding can solve so many problems that you can become specialized in coding the solutions to just that kind of problem.
Flatiron School specializes in offering bootcamps to all of these different kinds of “disciplines”. These disciplines cover just about every type of coding that you might need to do in the coding market.
There is the cybersecurity bootcamp for handling server and personal computer encryption software. Application development has its own bootcamp, which deals with both the creation of the apps and the porting from one platform to another. And of course, there is a web development bootcamp.
Web development is one of the biggest and fastest-growing industries in the world, so specializing in it can make you highly desirable. It helps that websites are frequently developed in a rush, therefore creating work for other website developers to do by going in and fixing old or hastily written code.
Flatiron also provides extensive career services, which its students have used for years to get into some of the best tech companies in the world. Noteworthy, however, is that they do not only get into the best tech companies in the world. Sure, they have job placement in Google and Facebook…
But fitting in with their construction as a school of specialties, you can get job placement that is far broader than just providing more tech to tech companies. They also offer placement in companies such as Goldman Sachs, the New York Times, and Kickstarter.
Essentially, Flatiron is a school for people who know what they want to do. They offer both full and part time options, with the part time options having flexible online-only class schedules. The full time courses can be done either in-person or online, meaning you can still do them if you are busy.
Just remember, it will help a lot if you know what you want to do before signing up for its classes.
Conversely, it is not a coding bootcamp for beginners. Those online-only part time courses can feel like a big step down if you were wanting the direct guidance that most bootcamps offer.
If you are a person seeking extra classes during a slow period at work, or while you are in school, then they are perfect for you. But these classes will be difficult to fit into the schedule of someone who is already a working professional, as both their individual classes and their semesters take a long time.
But the biggest issue by far is the absolutely nauseating cost of a single class. One 15 week class will cost $16,900. Good luck affording that without an employer to pay for you or a loan to finance you. Luckily, they do offer multiple payment plans. But not everyone wants to pay the cost of a car for a bootcamp.
Flatiron School is also known for only taking around 5% of its applicants. This means that you should definitely have some backup options if you do not get in. This does, however, contribute to their extremely high job placement rate. So, if you get in you can be assured you will get a job.
As you look through each entry on this list, you will begin to notice some common trends. Most coding bootcamps have good job placement, teach lots of languages, and have industry professionals teaching their lessons. This is basically normal for the ones that are actually worth attending for several weeks.
Fullstack Academy has all of that, but it also has something that many coding bootcamps lack: An outstanding community. This is a community of forums and advisors that includes people who just have a passion for code, as well as people whose job it is to help foster your growth as a programmer.
This growth can take multiple forms. It can be as abstract as gradually helping you get better at a chosen specialty, or it can be as practical and specific as getting a particular job at a particular company.
Community aside, this goal-focused approach is reflected in Fullstack itself. They have bootcamps for all skill levels, from the beginner who has never coded before, to specialist classes for specific languages trying to fit into specific jobs in a specific industry. Once you realize how big the industry is, and how critical some jobs are to fill, you can really make use of these classes to get exactly those jobs.
If you are curious about Fullstack’s job placement, it is predictably quite good. It is better with their in-person classes, since those give you access to the cities where the most growth is happening, but the online classes have a career focus that will get you placed quickly as well.
Fullstack also offers a great versatility of options for how to take your classes. Or, more precisely, when. They have full time and part time options, which in this case can basically be boiled down to being in-person or online. Online does not mean on-demand, however.
While Fullstack does offer a suite of on-demand courses, their part time program is quite similar to their full time program. This can be a blessing and a curse. You can still get a lot out of the minimum 15 hour semesters they offer, but taking all their classes will take far more semesters.
And as usual, the cost of the program is prohibitive in most cases. In this case, you are not paying for the individual classes, but the semester you spend taking those classes. This makes their bootcamp more similar to a college course in every way, except for one: You are not paying for individual classes.
This means that the most cost-effective way to navigate Fullstack is to take the maximum 30 hours of classes every semester. When you consider that every hour of class can imply one to three hours of work outside of class, this means that it is basically impossible to take a full-time course while working.
Granted, if you are working then you probably do not need one of these courses. But if you are not working, then you probably cannot pay for these courses. Of course, they have long-term payment options, but it makes the target demographic of the bootcamp hard to place.
If we were to make a statement, it would be that it is designed to take you from the absolute beginning of your coding journey, all the way to employment. It is well-equipped to do this, but it will cost you.
There is a worrying trend among code bootcamps to be highly expensive. This trend is so pervasive that it is well-represented on this very list. That makes it all the more important that an option exist that is not crafted to be as attractive as possible. That is what Code Platoon brings to the table.
There are three things that Code Platoon offers that makes it worth taking:
And on top of all of this, it is a free course. These features combine together to make it clear what Code Platoon means to offer: It is meant for someone who is fighting hard to learn to code, even when they don’t have money. To this end, they acknowledge and encourage getting outside help as being valid.
The class is a fundamentals class, focusing on the general basics of all programming languages rather than going into a specific programming language. This makes it non-specific, but highly versatile of where you take your education next. This means that you can use it as a way of discovering if you have an interest in the process of coding without dedicating thousands of dollars.
While a free option is wholly welcome in this environment of coding bootcamps the cost of a car, it comes with the obvious problem of not promising you a job. Many people forgive this because it is free, but you should go into the program with both eyes open: It is free, the education it offers is good, and the teachers are said to be far above average. But it can take quite a while outlining the basics.
It also lacks specific disciplines in its free courses. This means that finding something to specialize in will come later. In short, it is meant for beginners exclusively, from its scheduling, to its curriculum.
Specializations are one thing but learning different programming languages is quite another. No one in the professional programming world can get by only knowing what programming language. Eventually, the company you are working for will move to a new project, a new platform, or move you.
This is an obstacle that Coding Dojo can help you overcome. They easily have the most comprehensive list of classes that specialize in running down all of the most popular programming languages.
But of course, the most popular programming languages are not the problem. The problem is when your job saddles you with learning an unpopular, unintuitive, and esoteric languages. And while we won’t point any fingers as to which programming languages have this reputation, it provides for those too.
One of the most impressive parts of Coding Dojo’s bootcamp is what they offer once you get into the bootcamp. Most bootcamps only offer you their suite of tools while you are taking classes. This is understandable, but it can be frustrating when you cannot use their tools due to being too busy.
Coding Dojo gives you access to their tools for life. Once you enroll in their program, whether you complete it or not, and no matter how long it takes you to pay for the program, you get access to their on-demand knowledgebase, their career services, and advice from their instructors.
Because of their focus on different programming languages, they have less interest in getting you into specific jobs and more interest in preparing you for different situations. This is a different kind of educational focus, but it can be refreshing for anyone who is concerned about changing positions.
After all, it is possible to over specialize. This is especially true for people in leadership positions. If you are a designer rather than a developer, then knowing different languages and the different problems and interactions that can crop up in each of them is far more important than knowing a specific job.
Basically, this makes Coding Dojo a great place to go if you expect to be exposed to a huge variety of code over the course of either a project or a career.
While it is good that Coding Dojo will let most people into their bootcamp, that flexibility is not as well-represented in the actual scheduling of the classes. There is no division between full time and part time in coding dojo. They have live online classes and no in-person classes. They have on-demand learning resources, but the classes themselves are something you have to actually be there for every week.
On a smaller note, they also have a slight tendency towards web design in their different coding classes. The knowledge is easily transferred to other disciplines. It doesn’t constrain the number of programming languages you learn. But you will have an easier time finding a web coding class than a game coding one.
The lack of flexibility is stretched over 15 weeks. In short, this is a bootcamp for people who have the time, money, and availability to do exactly it. Thankfully, it is not the most intense or murderous workload. If you get off at 5 PM, then you can feasibly give Coding Dojo a try.
But just remember that it benefits someone who knows what they want.
Now that you have an idea of which bootcamps are generally the best, you probably have an idea of what your own personal limitations are in terms of time, money, and ability. But that still leaves a question remaining: Which disciplines should you focus on?
As you might be able to tell, specialization can do a lot to guarantee you a job. But what are the different specializations that are available? If you have never been in the industry before, then you might not know. So, here are a few of the specializations that you can expect to learn about.
This is the most popular and most common type of coding job. Everyone needs a website. Every business, every event, and almost every product in the 21st century. That means there is a constant outpour of work available if you can become a really stand-out web developer.
There is a downside, however, in that web developers are also the most common type of coder. You have to do a lot to stand out as a web developer. Sadly, this means that no matter how good you are, sometimes the demand just is not there due to the overabundance of supply.
This job goes by many names. Sometimes it’s “security expert” sometimes it’s “cyber security advisor” and sometimes it’s “technical security chief”. In short, you are looking for a job title with the word “security” in it that has something to do with coding.
This is a great job, as it is not as popular as web developer while still being in demand.
Every website needs a web developer, but every piece of software needs multiple software developers. This need for abundance means it is easy to get a job as one.
The different kinds of coding bootcamp are reflective of the almost unlimited ways you can approach a coding career in general. Just make sure a coding career is what you want. You can’t get the money back, you can’t get the effort back, and you most certainly can’t get the time back.
But what you can get is a way to make money, make your effort worth it, and spend your time well.
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