What Are the Best Coding Boot Camps?

For anyone who wants to break into a programming career, coding “boot camps” can offer a lot of benefits: In exchange for a few weeks of your time, you learn a new programming language that can eventually translate into a well-paying job.

But which boot camps are worth the time and money? Switchup, which collects data on boot camps and programming courses throughout the country, has a new list of what it considers the top 32 coding boot camps. In rating each institution, Switchup took into account everything from price and location to job support, alumni reviews, and instructor quality.

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Anyone Can Learn to Code (Chicago), App Academy (New York, San Francisco), BitMaker Labs (Toronto), Bloc (San Francisco and online), and Code Fellows (Portland, Seattle) composed Switchup’s top five.

Before signing up for any boot camp, it’s worth taking a look at your broader career and education goals, and evaluating whether the language(s) offered by the boot camp align with those goals. You should also make sure you’re comfortable with the boot camp’s instructor-student ratio, schedule, and curriculum. It may also be helpful to ask an instructor or representative to walk you through a typical day at the boot camp, so you can get a better sense of its culture.

Despite the rising popularity of boot camps, some employers aren’t convinced that 10 weeks’ worth of lessons are enough to handle the rigors of a full-time programming job. “Two months doesn’t prepare you for identifying serious problems and overcoming them,” Jason Polancich, CEO of SurfWatch Labs, recently told the Wall Street Journal.

But as the first step to a potential career in coding, it’s hard to beat boot camps for their intensiveness.

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10 Responses to “What Are the Best Coding Boot Camps?”

  1. If 10 weeks’ worth of lessons WERE enough to handle the rigors of a full-time programming job, then why does it take 4 years for a BS degree, and 6 years for an MS degree in Computer Science, and then have ENTRY-LEVEL programming jobs require another 1 to 5 years of experience before they even consider interviewing you for a job?

    I would HOPE they are skeptical about the adequacy of 10 weeks of training!

  2. Not that I necessarily believe boot camps totally prepare you for a full-time programming position, but to play devil’s advocate a bit…how many jobs does a 4-year degree typically really prepare someone for? Just because a college degree takes 4 years doesn’t mean anything, and a lot of comp sci grads come out not knowing how to code. Law school is 3 years, and the average lawyer should tell you that those 3 years are 95% a waste of time and have very little to do with practicing law.

    I bet the best boot camps produce people who can code better than a lot of comp sci graduates but nowhere near as well as good programmers. Plus, many people who go to those boot camps already have related degrees and/or some programming knowledge anyways.

    • Well believe me 4 or 5 years of a Computer Science programs give you a lot more information than a 10 week boot program. Computer science programs give you the depths you need for a full time jobs. I think a boot camp programs work best if you already have a degree in Computer Science and want to learn a new technology not taught at the time you earned your degree.

  3. 10 weeks is plenty of time as long as its a full day of training and not just a few hours. I went through Air Force computer school which is 12 weeks 8 hours a day. I’ve turned that into 25 years of programming. As long as there is some part of the class that weeds out the people who arent good at it (which isnt 100% foolproof we had people show up who passed who shouldnt have been anywhere near a computer), then that amount of time is fine. Are they going to be senior programmers who can handle anything? No, but neither are college grads. Most BS/CS degree holders might have 15-20 credit hours of actual programming. Most of the rest of those classes are math, which they’ll never use and a bunch of other classes they’ll have forgotten in a year. I’ve been to college too and nothing I learned there was any more useful than what I learned to begin with.

  4. Just for the record, a BS in Computer Science typically requires the learning of more than one language and MS programs (at least the one I completed) required the learning of a new language for many courses. After tutoring engineering students that were required to learn very basic C++, I can guarantee that not everyone can program. I would never hire a graduate of a programming boot camp for a programmer position unless they had at least two years of well documented success as a programmer.

  5. Ok so I hear a lot of people saying “I’m an employer and I wouldn’t hire someone with boot camp experience alone” and others saying “I didn’t go to boot camp, but I just KNOW there’s no way it prepares you for a job like college.”

    I have not seen anyone (not ONE person) say “I went to boot camp, worked hard and passed , and am now unable to find employment”. If that person exists, I’d like to hear their two-cents. I have been scouring the internet, and have not found 1 such comment.

    Not all college graduates are prepared for work and not all prepared job-applicants are college graduates. In computer science, many seem to say that you don’t even need to go to college if you’re smart/motivated enough to learn on your own.

    Also, those who say boot camp is rip off/doesn’t prepare you for work, how do you respond to App Academy, which doesn’t require any payment until they connect you with a job, with 95% graduation and 98% graduate employment, and average starting salary of 84,000 in NYC? I know it’s expensive once you get the job, but still. I have a B.S. in chemistry, with very strong quantitative skills, proven ability to learn new subjects fast, and I want to get into CS, though my prior knowledge in the field is superficial. Debating between boot camp and online college.

  6. The boot camps are mainly for people who have been to college, been through a few years of a career, and decide it is time to try something new. Given that, I would hire a programmer that showed good work ethic and had been through a boot camp.
    As for a 4 year degree, I had a college student working with me this summer after his junior year – I handed him projects requiring languages he had not formally learned, but due to the depth of his education he was able to perform very well. With more experience in business and further troubleshooting and problem solving, he’ll do fine.
    Both types of education have their place.

  7. Robin White

    Following those Python bootcamps http://www.thedevmasters.com I had so many questions and needed some explanations on some of subjects matters. The instructors were so accommodating and patient to set aside time out of their busy schedule to go over every single questions I had. They are also present at each bootcamp o address the issues that each students may encounter. I was still offered to retake those bootcamps because I loved it! I really recommend it to you!