The journey of becoming a developer is an experience many students contemplate when choosing which learning curriculum to use. Enrolling for a university degree is the common channel used by students but in 2020, a new challenger is entering the stage- boot camps¹.
Bootcamps are fast becoming convenient for students interested in learning data science and software engineering without much hassle compared to university degrees. Unlike the 4-year degree course in data science² or computer science, boot camps take 10–12 weeks and cost less than university programs. A Gartner poll found that American students spend over $700,000 in degree course programs with annual payments of $150,000.
Boot camps offer students hands-on skills³ needed by employers in the job market and with professional instructors, the experience gets better. For instance, a boot camp instructor gives students advice relevant in the industry and helps them apply their skills to maximum benefits.
There are concerns that 4-year university degrees cost students a lot and more so, focus on areas not relevant in the industry. Either way, some prefer degrees and others prefer boot camps but momentum for the latter is increasing.
In this article, I will explore the pros and cons of boot camps by comparing them with degree course programs and find common ground on this debate.
1. The Cost Factor
The average cost of data science boot camps ranges from $10,000-$12,000 compared to degree programs, which require a tuition fee of approximately $100,000 per year. This is a huge difference given the quick and effective learning at #bootcamps, which outshines university degrees.
Here is another problem with university programs- The longer you study, the longer you have to sustain yourself, and that gets expensive. If you add up living expenses and tuition, a degree in computer science could end up costing you.
Statistics show that boot camp graduates⁴earn over $80,000 after landing their new roles. This is cost-effective compared to degree courses.
2. Curriculum Differences
University degrees consist of course units, which students must complete each semester until graduation. For students enrolling in #universitydegrees, expect to learn about other disciplines such as biology while learning the background of the profession. This is not necessarily so in boot camps.
Data science boot camps go right into the trade and equip students with the demanded skills in the industry. Consequently, a boot camp student will focus more on developer education and tools needed to make them effective in their careers. Employers are increasingly looking to boot camp students because of their practical learning and implementation of developer skills⁵.
A coding degree will give you an understanding that will also go into the details of the industry and explain how and why things are used. A boot camp is more hands-on, and you are likely to learn the actual practice better.
3. Learning Duration
The duration of learning developer skills is another question many students ask when choosing between coding boot camps⁶ and university degrees. Computer science degree programs last 4 years. Some people get it done slightly faster, but they take a long time and a lot of work. Built into that, though, comes a lot of practice.
Boot camps have a shorter duration and get you at the center of the industry. Think of boot camps as a crash-course that teaches you what you need to put you on your feet, but you will not walk very far unless you use it every day. Computer science degrees have that time built into the program itself. Students without previous experience freelance for a month or two to accrue experience before applying for full-time positions in the field.
4. Industry Standards
Another major difference between boot camps and university degrees is the employer requirements⁷. Boot camps come out on top here because of teaching students the right skills needed in #datascience, coding, and developer education.
University degrees have good programs within the course requirements, which involve going to other disciplines and learning the experiences. Students then combine this knowledge with their course learning and widen their scope.
Boot camp students do not enjoy this privilege. However, employers are increasingly shifting towards boot camp graduates because of their practical skills, which add value to organizations.
Employers admit that graduates need training in their first job experiences compared to boot camp students who master skills faster. University degrees deviate from vital topics and sometimes this is not required in the developer industry.
5. Flexibility and Expert Advice
Students going through boot camps gain a lot of knowledge faster compared to students enrolling for university degrees. A Pew Research poll conducted among graduates in 2019 found that boot camp students have an understanding of the job market⁸ because of the practical lessons learned from instructors who happen to work in the industry.
Consequently, boot camp students outshine their university peers because they know what matters in the market and how to apply skills to the satisfaction of employers.
University lecturers focus on teaching alone and sometimes this means not having the latest industry trends. Students under such #learning environments fail to realize actionable steps to make them competitive developers based on industry standards.
Why I Like Boot Camps
These pros and cons of data science boot camps that I have mentioned highlight why enrolling for short course programs will get you started faster as a developer in the data science field⁹. Boot camps unlike universities have an experience equation, which brings out the best among students.
Boot camps can also be tough. They are rigorous and you are learning a lot of material very quickly. Nevertheless, if you put in the work to keep up, you really can improve your #coding skills by an impressive amount.
The many university programs that contribute to a degree in computer science or data science often bombard students with so much information not relevant in the technology industry. Boot camp students have a great experience because of exposure to in-demanded skills and learning how to become better as #digitaltransformation¹⁰ continues in the technology industry.
¹Boot Camps, ²Degree Course in Data Science, ³Hands-on Skills, ⁴Boot Camp Graduates, ⁵Developer Skills, ⁶Coding Boot Camps, ⁷Employer Requirements, ⁸Job Market, ⁹Data Science Field, ¹⁰Digital Transformation