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Are coding bootcamps worth it? How to calculate the return on investment

Are bootcamps worth it? If you are considering enrolling in a coding bootcamp, learn how to calculate the return on investment of attending one.
Written by Bethanny Parker, Contributing Writer

You may be considering enrolling in a coding bootcamp, but you have some questions first. Some common questions include:

  • How much is a coding bootcamp?

  • Are bootcamps worth it?

  • Do coding bootcamps work?

The good news is that coding bootcamps do work. In fact, bootcamp grads see a median salary increase of $22,000 over their pre-bootcamp jobs. Considering that the average cost of a coding bootcamp is $13,579, that's a pretty good return on investment (ROI). 

What is a coding bootcamp?

What are coding bootcamps? Coding bootcamps are intensive training programs designed to quickly prepare students for careers in tech. You can find bootcamps for software engineering, data science, cybersecurity, and other tech careers. Most full-time bootcamps last around three to four months. Part-time bootcamps take longer but allow students to attend without quitting their jobs.

Coding bootcamps appeal to people who want to start a new career quickly without taking four years to earn a bachelor's degree. They also appeal to people who already have a four-year degree but want to improve their skills or gain new skills in order to advance their careers.

What are the requirements for a bootcamp?  

The requirements vary from one bootcamp to another. Some are designed for complete beginners, while others require some coding experience. Check with your bootcamp provider to find out if coding experience is required. Even beginner-friendly bootcamps typically require a good grasp of basic math and English proficiency. 

Most coding bootcamps require a high school diploma or GED. In addition, you may have to take an assessment or participate in a technology interview. These tests evaluate your coding skills and ability to think like a programmer. Many bootcamp providers offer pre-work or free introductory courses that help you prepare for the bootcamp.

What jobs can I get after a bootcamp?

You can qualify for a variety of jobs after taking a coding bootcamp. Some of the most common are junior developer, front-end or back-end web developer, full-stack web developer, software developer, and software engineer.

Junior developer: Junior developers represent the bottom rung on the software developer career ladder. They are just getting started in their careers. Junior developers may work in mobile app development, software development, or web development. They earn an average of $53,800 per year.

Front-end developer: These professionals work on the front end of a website, which is the part that users can see and interact with. They format text, insert links where needed, and control the overall look of the website. They may design forms for user input as well. They earn an average of $75,310 per year.

Back-end developer: Back-end developers work on the back end of the website. That means they work on what you don't see. For example, if the site has a login form, the programming that lets the website find your account and pull it up is happening in the back end and was likely programmed by a back-end developer. These professionals earn an average of $81,160 per year.

Full-stack web developer: Full-stack web developers work on both the front end and back end of the website. They need to know the programming languages that are used in both. Surprisingly, they don't earn more than front-end or back-end developers. Full-stack web developers earn an average of $67,170 per year. It pays to specialize.

Software developer: These professionals evaluate users' needs and create software designed to meet those needs. They create models and flowcharts that show how a program should function. Programmers then use those models and flowcharts to help them create the code to run the program according to the software developer's specifications. Software developers earn an average of $72,590 per year.

Software engineer: Software engineers work with designers to create a variety of software products. They might work on video games, operating system software, or other applications. Software engineers use engineering principles as well as programming knowledge to help them plan their projects. They earn an average of $87,550 per year.

How can I calculate a bootcamp's return on investment? 

Are dev bootcamps worth it? One way to find out is to calculate the return on investment you can expect to receive if you attend one. ROI is a calculation that helps you determine whether the amount you will make from an investment is enough to be worth making the investment.

You can calculate ROI by dividing the net return on the investment (the amount of profit) by the cost of the investment and multiplying by 100. So, to figure the one-year ROI of a bootcamp, you would take the amount you expect to make in your new job and subtract the amount you make now. You would then divide that number by the cost of the bootcamp plus the cost of not working for the duration of the bootcamp. Multiply that by 100 to get the ROI.

Let's do an example. You currently earn $35,000 per year as an administrative assistant and expect to earn $60,000 per year after your bootcamp. The bootcamp costs $15,000 and you will miss three months of work, which will cost you $8,750.


ROI = --------------------------  x 100 = 105.26%


Where else can you get a return of over 100% on your investment? This calculation assumes that you'll see all of your return in the first year, but you'll keep earning returns on an investment in your education for the rest of your life.

In most cases, coding bootcamps will provide a good return on your investment. However, that is not always the case. For example, if you currently make $60,000 per year and you expect to make the same after the bootcamp, you are not going to see any return on your investment. Make sure to do the math yourself with your own numbers to determine whether the bootcamp is worth it.

Which tech companies are hiring bootcamp graduates? 

Many companies hire bootcamp grads. Here are a few that have open tech jobs, according to AngelList. 

  • Vimeo: Located in New York City, this company creates videos and helps you share your videos with others. Their open jobs include senior product designer, software engineer II, senior full-stack developer, and senior back-end developer.

  • Scribd: This company offers ebooks and audiobooks that customers can access through their app. They have six locations around the world. Their open jobs include senior software engineer-payments, senior back-end engineer, and software engineer.

  • Synapse: A US banking firm providing crypto as a service, Synapse has nine locations throughout the country. Open jobs include software engineer, technical implementation manager, and senior security engineer.

  • Skillz: A platform for mobile gaming, Skillz has locations in Portland, San Francisco, and Las Vegas. Their open jobs include senior security engineer, data engineer, and senior data engineer.

  • Vroom: This company helps people buy and sell used cars online. They have locations in New York City and Stafford, Texas. Their open jobs include software engineer, senior front-end software engineer, and full-stack software engineer.

How to market a bootcamp on a resume 

Since coding bootcamps are relatively new, you might need to put a little extra effort into proving to a hiring manager that you have the right qualifications for the job. Here are a few tips that might help.

  1. Link to your online portfolio in the header of your resume. This is a good way to show the hiring manager what you can do.

  2. List your most impressive software projects under the job you created them for or in a separate section titled "Projects." Be sure to list the programming language you used for each one. This will help you get past any automated screening software.

  3. List your bootcamp along with any college experience in the education section. If you have a college degree, be sure to include it –– even if it is in a different field.

  4. Use the professional summary section to tell the hiring manager what you learned in your bootcamp. Be sure to include the programming languages and tools you know how to use.

Which bootcamp is the best for me? 

There are many factors to consider when deciding which bootcamp is best for you. Here are some things to think about before making a decision.

  • Technical discipline: Most bootcamp providers offer software engineering or web development, but less popular options such as cybersecurity and data science are harder to find. Make sure the bootcamp provider offers the type of bootcamp you need.

  • Programming languages: Consider what programming languages the bootcamp teaches and whether they are in demand in your area.

  • Format: Some bootcamps are online, while others require in-person attendance. Some online programs are self-paced, while others require you to log in at a specific time. Think about what will work best for you and choose accordingly.

  • Price: The average bootcamp costs $13,579. If you are considering a bootcamp that costs more, think about whether the bootcamp is still a good value for the price.

  • Career services: Many bootcamp providers offer career services for a limited time after graduation. If you expect to need career services, make sure you know how long you'll have access to the service.

  • Graduation rate: What percentage of students who start a bootcamp with the provider actually finish?

  • Employment rate: Many bootcamp providers publish information about their graduates, such as the percentage who were employed within six months after completing the bootcamp. Try to select a bootcamp with a high employment rate.

Are coding bootcamps good for beginners?

Some coding bootcamps target beginners, while others require some coding experience. Check with the bootcamp provider you are considering to find out what their requirements are. You may be required to take a test or pass a technical interview in order to get into the program. You can increase your chances of success by taking advantage of any free resources you can find before entering the bootcamp program.

Do bootcamps actually get you a job?

While you are not guaranteed to get a job after completing a bootcamp, your chances are pretty high. Many bootcamp providers have job placement rates in the 80-90% range. You can increase your chances of landing a tech job after graduation by working on your portfolio, touching up your resume, and practicing your interview skills.

Can you fail a coding bootcamp?

Yes, you can fail to complete a coding bootcamp. This often happens if you are unprepared and unable to understand the material being presented. It can also happen if you don't take the bootcamp seriously and put in the effort required to succeed. Most full-time bootcamps meet for eight hours per day or more and then expect you to do homework on top of that. You must be prepared to meet the heavy workload demanded of bootcamp students.

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