A lot has been said about the whole “bootcamp vs. college” debate. People argue from both sides of this coin and feel that they’re correct…so what’s the right answer?

Even with Skillspire being a coding bootcamp, you might be surprised to hear this answer straight from us: It depends. There are many factors at play here and as with most issues in life, context and circumstance play huge roles.

With all of that being said, here are 5 reasons why a bootcamp MAY be the better of the two options for YOU:

  1. Time

This is probably one of the biggest factors on this list, and it affects a large percentage of us.  

The question is, “Can you afford to wait three to four years before officially looking for full-time work?”

If you’re in the pool of people who can’t afford to wait that long, then a bootcamp is probably a better fit for you. Not only are coding bootcamps typically 3-6 months in length, you’ll also be cutting out all the theory and unrelated (PHED 1301, really?) college courses that require a good chunk of your time and money. Think of a bootcamp as a blitz attempt at getting you to the finish line. The goal here is for you to acquire all the technical skills in as short a time span as possible. There is really no fluff in a coding bootcamp.

  1. Money

Truthfully, this one is a bit of a double-edged sword. If you’re fresh out of high school and have a full scholarship offer in hand for solid computer science, software engineering, or data science program, you might actually better served going through the college route.

With that being said, the majority of people do not fall into the above category. If you’re performing a cost-benefit analysis and trying to maximize every last dollar, it’s hard to argue that the bootcamp isn’t the clear winner here. The most expensive coding bootcamps might cost around $20,000. Even in those cases, the average 4-year college degree will end up costing you much more. Let’s say you take some courses at your local community college during the first two years, in order to save money. Over those two years, you might end up paying around $5,000, depending on the school/geographic location. Then, you’ll probably spend a minimum of around $30,000 on tuition at whichever 4-year university you transfer to. That’s a minimum of $35,000 for a university degree, and that’s for the low-end, best-case scenario.

Bootcamps also offer a myriad of budget-friendly payment options and scholarships. Many university students finance their educations via student loans, but that may end up putting them in difficult financial situations for decades to come.

  1. Quality of Education

You might be surprised to see this on the list, but it tends to be true (although you might argue that this is our own subjective opinion). Because bootcamp instructors are top-notch pros who are actively working in the industry, learning from them just about guarantees that you’ll be studying under someone who is in sync with the most current technologies. We’re not here to say that college professors aren’t competent. On the contrary, there are plenty of accomplished college professors who consistently produce amazingly brilliant students. The issue here is that many professors aren’t working in the industry, as we speak. Since technology seemingly moves at the speed of light, it’s difficult to keep pace with the current scope of the industry without being ingrained in the day-in, day-out grind.

  1. Career Development

One huge perk that comes with attending most coding bootcamps is your access to career coaching/mentoring. You’ll literally receive 1-on-1 help during each step of the job hunting process…LinkedIn profiling, resume building, technical interviewing, etc. Many universities do a great job with this, as well, but it’s not as set in stone. A lot of times, it will depend on which particular university you attend. You may be fortunate enough to attend a university where career mentors take you under their wings and help you into your first job, but you could also find yourself at a school that doesn’t do as good a job in this area. With bootcamps, pretty much every school offers this service. Some even go so far as to offer lifetime access to their career development team, which is truly amazing.

  1. Proximity

This is probably going to be a big factor for many of you who are reading this. If you opt for college, you’ll be geographically limited to the schools that are local to you. If you live in Boston or Southern California, you might not have an issue with that. However, if you don’t have a local university that meets your quality standards, this could prove to be an issue. Considering that a large percentage of people looking to break into tech are people who already have families of their own, it’s simply impractical to head out of town/state for college.

With bootcamps, you have multiple options. You can always attend a bootcamp that’s local to you, but there are alternatives too. If you don’t have anything local, or simply prefer distance-based learning…there are countless number of online options. You might argue that universities offer the same type of setup. However, it’s important to keep in mind that not all universities will allow you to complete the entirety of your degree online.

While there really isn’t a right or wrong answer that can put an affirmative end to this seemingly endless debate, we hope that we’ve shed some light on how you can make a better decision for your personal situation. Our goal isn’t to simply convince you to sign up for one of our courses, our goal is to help you decide the path that is optimal for your desired goals/ambitions. This issue at hand certainly isn’t one-size-fits-all, and you might feel differently about some of the points we’ve mentioned above. Everything is relative, at the end of the day, and the factors mentioned above are simply a means to get you thinking about things from an objective frame of mind, without any personal biases or preconceived notions.

If you are interested in one of our courses, feel free to check them out, right here. We offer a variety of technical courses that cover all the main fields within this industry. We’ll also mentor and guide you through every stage of career development until you find the job that you’re looking for.

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