When considering coding bootcamps, one of the most important factors that prospective students consider is the cost. While some bootcamps may appear more expensive than others, there are several factors that can influence the price tag. In this blog post, we will explore the difference in cost between popular coding bootcamps and the factors that impact how much a student pays.
The first thing to understand when doing comparison shopping between different bootcamp programs is that there is no standard of regulation in the bootcamp industry. In other words, there’s not a national or international body of accreditation that can hold any given bootcamp to a standard of quality and cost. This is why we recommend doing extensive research before making a decision.
This is an investment! The right investment can pay dividends through the rest of your life in the form of a meaningful career that you love. Take your time and make sure you feel good about the choice you make.
Factors that Dictate the Cost of Coding Bootcamp Programs
Curriculum and Duration
The length and depth of the curriculum can greatly impact the cost of a bootcamp. Bootcamps that offer more comprehensive and in-depth programs tend to have higher tuition fees.
First and foremost, the length and number of topics covered in a curriculum plays the biggest role in cost.
Two main activities go into a good bootcamp program – teaching it, and developing the curriculum content for it.
Technology changes fast, and better methods of delivering education are innovated daily. A high quality program is going to find ways to dedicate resources to keeping their curriculum up to date to make sure that what is being taught is relevant to the job market today.
This means that there is often a content development team specifically dedicated to updating curriculum for larger bootcamps. In smaller bootcamps, the instructors themselves are learning the technologies, creating the content, AND teaching as well.
The longer a program is, the longer specific resources are tied up in the delivery of that program – for example, having a dedicated instructor to teach the course, and keeping that course up to date.
So as a rule, longer courses mean more content to keep up with and longer teaching terms. That can drive up the cost of a bootcamp. The tradeoff is that you can usually expect a better educational experience, although that isn’t always the case.
The big thing to look out for here is when you feel like there is a LOT of technologies being crammed into a short period of time. It may seem like you’re getting more bang for your buck, but this often leads to students who struggle to keep up with all the concepts and don’t effectively internalize the skills.
There’s no golden rule for this, so trust your gut and make sure to talk to instructors to get a feel for how the course is paced.
Instructor Quality and Experience
Another factor impacting cost is instructor quality and experience.
The more experienced an instructor is, the more expensive their salary will be, and the price of a bootcamp program will need to reflect that so the company can afford them.
Some bootcamps employ a mixture of full time instructors and teaching assistants who are often recent graduates of the program being taught and can assist in some basic instruction duties, like grading projects and offering paired programming support.
Others rely exclusively on full time instructors.
No single approach is “correct”, but depending on how a bootcamp staffs their instruction team, the cost of the programs will vary to reflect that approach.
Instructors come from a variety of backgrounds. Again, because there is no official accreditation process for bootcamps, there are also not ways to “certify” an instructor’s experience to make it visible. Even years on the job don’t accurately reflect expertise, as the amount of projects they’ve been exposed to can vary depending on the kind of company they work for and what work that company does.
You’ll find a good middle ground on cost when instruction teams have a solid mixture of newer developers who may also have other relevant background (like having worked in other educational environments previously) and more experienced subject matter experts with a lot of experience under their belts.
The big thing to remember is this – a very experienced developer can always make more at an actual software development job. So finding the right mixture of someone with the technical skill and the educational skill is a challenge from a hiring and retention standpoint. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the best way to know if a bootcamp has the right instructors for you is to talk to one while you’re in the research process for a given bootcamp. It’s also helpful to watch recordings of their lectures and demos to see if they have a style you can learn well from.
The most important job an instructor does is creating an environment where you can harness your inner capabilities to become an effective problem solver. There is a mixture of challenge and support that yields the best results. Use your judgement when choosing to make sure you get the best possible learning experience for your money.
Job Placement and Career Advisory Services
Many bootcamps offer job guarantees as a part of their offerings, which is very attractive to people who want to know for certain that their investment will yield a definite return. Others may not guarantee a job but still will offer career advisory services that include career counseling, networking events, and connections with hiring partners that can yield opportunities.
That usually means that they have dedicated career coaches and business development professionals who are full time staff, which again leads to higher costs.
If a bootcamp offers job placement guarantees, there are usually steep weekly activity requirements in the form of code written, applications submitted, and other accountability activities that show you are engaged in the process. After doing an intensive program like a coding bootcamp, that can be a tough sell, so make sure to look at the fine print of any guarantees.
Realistically, it’s impossible to guarantee anyone a job. Graduates of a bootcamp still need to go through an interview process and show they have the technical capability of being a contributor on a software development team. There are also market factors outside of everyone’s control that influences how easily one can find their first job.
This isn’t meant to dissuade you from going for it, because there are still plenty of opportunities out there and bootcamp graduates getting hired all the time. This is meant to make sure you’re going into the process with your eyes wide open.
Location, Facilities, and Resources
These days, it’s not hard to have a fully online business – especially in the field of technology.
That said, there are still many coding bootcamp companies with physical locations as well as online programs.
If a bootcamp has to maintain physical locations, facilities, and the resources to keep up with those physical spaces, that leads up to more expenses that revenue needs to meet and exceed in order for a bootcamp to make a profit.
Now, the benefits can outweigh the expenses. Many people prefer to be in-person and you have the added advantages of being able to cater to local job markets when you maintain a physical location.
WHERE a bootcamp locates its physical facilities is another big thing to consider. Cities with a high cost of living will naturally be more expensive to operate in, leading to higher costs all around.
When you are researching, keep this in mind. If you want to have the option of an in person experience, then the increased cost may be right for you. Otherwise, a fully online program can have lower costs because they simply have less expenses overall.
At the writing of this post, the price of a full time, immersive, online only bootcamp program ranging between 12-18 weeks falls between $7000 to $24,000. That’s a range of +/- $17,000!
There isn’t a hard or fast rule for what the best price is, but hopefully the factors we’ve outlined above will help you make an informed decision.
The best piece of advice we could give is to take the time to meet an instructor at each bootcamp you’re researching. They are 100% going to make or break your experience and will help you understand just what you’re paying for.