Technology is quickly transforming every sector and education is no exception. From online curricula at every stage of learning that accelerates the pace that students can complete their education or virtual classrooms and learning software, technology is aiming to dramatically change how people learn. Perhaps nowhere is this trend more pronounced than in the coding bootcamp industry. Coding bootcamps are disrupting traditional education in many ways, and they aren’t slowing down. Instead of studying broad subjects for years at a time, students are able to focus more on topics that interest them and compliment their passion and ambitions. Around the world, courses targeting various roles in the technology sector are growing in popularity. Attendance at coding bootcamps is expected to rise exponentially year over year for the foreseeable future. As an example of the explosive growth of bootcamp attendance, 2019 showed a 31.14% increase in graduates over 2018.
What is a Bootcamp?
Bootcamps offer an accelerated learning process in various subjects, most commonly in learning to code or other areas of technology. They usually last only a few weeks, are less expensive, and less time-consuming than pursuing a traditional college degree. The goal of a bootcamp is to focus on building one skill or highly specialized area to quickly gain practical knowledge and get people into the workforce. So, how can you decide if you should choose a degree program or a bootcamp? Well, take a look at the key differences:
- Cost: $10,000 - $20,000 per course
- Length: Ranges from 6-12 weeks
- Many creative financing opportunities
- Some offer a job placement guarantee after graduation
- Teaches practical skills that can be applied immediately
- Small class sizes
- Cost: $20,000 - $70,000 per year
- Length: 4+ years
- Limited financial assistance opportunities
- Rarely offers job placement assistance after graduation
- Teaches some practical skills, but mostly academic
- Typically have large class sizes
It’s important that you consider more than just the above statistics when deciding if a bootcamp is right for you. Although they offer a shorter-term, they also may require a significant time-contribution for the duration of the course. On the other hand, some do allow you to learn at your own pace. Your current commitments, financial situation, and desire to succeed in a tech career are all very important considerations.
Bootcamps Can Compliment a College Degree
Even if you already have a college degree, attending a bootcamp is a great way to polish your resume with continuing education. Regardless of whether your current degree is in a computer science field or not, many companies are looking for people who can combine technical skills with non-technical skills. Both workers and employers are seeing the changing requirements in many job fields and the need for the inclusion of more tech skills. Ultimately, you should strive to obtain skills that are not only relevant now, but will also be relevant in the next decade. Even though the exact technological trajectory is difficult to predict, there are several technical skills that can complement nearly any degree and personality.
Knowledge is Power; Skills are a Superpower
The focus of a bootcamp is to get graduates working as fast as possible in a new career or providing applicable skills for their existing career. Because they are so focused on this outcome, some bootcamps are quite intensive on their training. It may sound a little strange to think that knowledge is slowly taking a backseat to skills, but it’s true. Employers are looking for people who have the practical skills to start working on projects immediately. Although knowledge is power, practical skills that can be applied immediately are a superpower. You could hold three college degrees, but if you’re looking for a job in technology, employers will be most interested in your project portfolio. However, there is a caveat to all of this, and it’s that degrees still hold a lot of weight in the eyes of some old school employers. If you’re able to combine a strong project portfolio with a strong academic background, you are all but guaranteed to rise above the rest.
Traditional Education Will Need to Adapt
It is entirely possible that soon we may see traditional educational institutions following the trends that bootcamps are setting. Instead of relying heavily on testing, we may see more graduates coming out of school with project portfolios instead of grade point averages. Or, perhaps the opposite will be true where bootcamps adopt a grading system on projects to distinguish graduates from one another. Maybe some sort of middle ground is possible.One thing is for sure, though: Academia will never be the same. Nor will job recruitment practices. We are already moving toward a future where prospects are tested for skills before a human even sees their resume. If you want to keep pace with these changing trends, you’ll need to learn how to adapt and stay ahead of the competition. In other words: Never stop learning.