Coding Bootcamp vs. Computer Science Degree [Infographic]

There is a common misconception that a degree in a relevant field from a well-known institution of higher education is the best path to a high-paying job. Many take this assumption one step further, believing that college is the only path.

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This assumption has wide reaching consequences, and it especially affects those who are looking to change their careers. Traditional higher ed institutions are not only prohibitively expensive for many, but their programs are also unaccommodating for adults who may already have a degree, student debt, work experience, or pressing financial and familial responsibilities.

Can someone who is looking to pivot their career and enter the tech industry in their early thirties really be expected to go back to an undergraduate environment for a 4-year program in Computer Science?

Ryan Craig, founder of University Ventures, sums this dilemma up well: “Many of our most pressing social challenges are a direct product of the lack of alternative pathways to good jobs.”

Those good jobs are certainly out there. Each year there are nearly nine times more open computing positions than there are newly graduated Computer Science majors to fill them. What is keeping these slots from being snatched up isn’t a lack of willing or dedicated applicants, it’s a lack of feasible education options.

As this infographic from WhatsTheHost demonstrates, coding bootcamps strive to be a viable alternative to traditional 4-year degree programs. The bootcamp model is simple: an accelerated curriculum, an emphasis on crucial work-relevant skills, and tuition that is flexible and affordable.

Unsurprisingly, this structure has proven to be appealing for a more diverse pool of aspiring programmers. Because coding bootcamps can accommodate life circumstances that don’t fit into the mold of the fresh highschool graduate, their average student already has several years of work experience. Furthermore, bootcamps tend to enroll a significantly higher percentage of women and racial minorities than do college Computer Science departments. Employers are reaping the benefits of this model too. A survey by Indeed found that more than 77% of tech recruiters consider coding bootcamps to be an important source for diverse hiring in their companies.

Explore below to see some of the most significant points of comparison between coding bootcamp and CS grads: