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Choosing the Best Software Engineering Bootcamp for 2023

July 28, 2022

Not terribly long ago, computer programmers were seen as highly specialized, mysterious geniuses. Movies depicted them as shadowy figures in a dark room, alone, surrounded by flashing computer screens, writing cryptic code that only they could understand.

Today that misconception has been blown wide open. The “computer programmer” of old is now more typically called a software engineer or developer, and this role has evolved from something only the highest tech companies need to one of the most important jobs at nearly every kind of company. In 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated the number of “software developer” roles in the country to be at over 1.8 million and growing at a rate of 22%, much faster than average.

Today software engineers are among the most highly sought-after and highly valued members of a team. In 2021, the SaaS (Software as a Service) industry was estimated to be worth 152 billion dollars and growing. Companies selling software and apps are often driven by large and influential engineering teams; software developers have risen from the basement to the board room, and they’re making decisions and influencing the direction of business as a whole.

Even outside of the software industry, software engineers and developers are in high demand. “Every company,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in 2019, “is now a software company...computing is a core part of every industry.”

We’ve established that software engineers are in high demand, and while the economy is in flux, that demand’s not likely to change soon. So how does a person become a developer? Do you need a bachelor’s degree to be a software engineer? What about all these coding bootcamps? Can you become a software developer by going to a software engineering bootcamp?

You’ll learn all that and more in this article.

What You Will Learn About Software Engineering Bootcamps

In this piece, you’ll learn about the requirements for attending a software engineering bootcamp, the skills you’ll learn in a coding bootcamp, and how coding bootcamps work. You may be surprised to learn that software bootcamps will teach you more than “how to code.” Given the overall power and influence of the software engineer in today’s business landscape, there are non-coding skills a good developer will demonstrate, and the best bootcamps will cover some of those along with teaching students to write code. These may include:

  • an understanding of business processes
  • coding sprints
  • software development cycles.
  • an impressive portfolio of work
  • stronger interview skills,
  • students job placement assistance upon graduation (dependent on the program and bootcamp graduate)

There’s certainly no shortage of bootcamps to consider. The industry first appeared in 2012 with a handful of programming bootcamps and grew quickly. With over 500 to choose from in 2022, the options can be intimidating. We’re here to help demystify the process and give you the information you need to make an informed, confident decision about which software engineering bootcamp to choose.

Benefits of Attending a Software Engineering Bootcamp

Why should you attend a software engineering bootcamp?

A software engineering bootcamp is an accelerated, intensive course of study designed to move students quickly into successful careers. It is not a college degree, and it does not typically require any coding experience. A coding bootcamp is set up to teach beginners the skills they need for careers in areas like Full-Stack Web Development, Data Science, UX/UI Design, and Cybersecurity.

Typically a coding bootcamp program will vary in length from 6 to 28 weeks, with an average of 14 weeks. The average price of a coding bootcamp is $14,000. Because these bootcamps aren’t overseen by the government, they are not eligible for federal student aid. But there are many funding options available, including private and personal loans, scholarships from the coding bootcamp, income-share or deferred tuition agreements, and employer-sponsored education stipends.

Are software engineering bootcamps worth it? The data is clear: it is worth it for students that fully immerse themselves. The average coding bootcamp graduate makes 51% more at their new job after graduation vs their previous job.

Whatever level of education you may achieve, through a bootcamp or a traditional college, know that a paper degree is not going to be enough to differentiate you in a growing field and land you the kind of jobs you really want. The most important thing is that you’re able to show a love for building software, a fluency and ability to learn new engineering skills, and a continuing love of learning. For this reason, you should focus on your personal portfolio both before and after graduation.

How can attending a software engineering bootcamp improve your job prospects?

A good coding bootcamp will not just give you the skills you need to land a new, higher-paying job as a developer. The best bootcamps will help you find that job. The data is in your favor and further supports the idea that bootcamps are “worth it”: 73% of coding bootcamp graduates report being employed as developers after graduation. A number of bootcamps also offer job guarantees. This typically looks like a full or partial refund if you are unable to secure a job within a certain amount of time after graduation. Some offer job placement assistance or internships with their parent companies, and some don’t collect tuition at all until the student finds a job.

Who will benefit most from a software engineering bootcamp?

Coding bootcamps are good for adults making career changes or students who know they want to be software engineers or web developers and don’t want to spend 4 years and tens of thousands of dollars (or more) on a college degree in Computer Science.

Because bootcamps are available both in person and online, they offer educational and career opportunities to a wide audience, including nontraditional students who might not be in a position to attend a 4-year college. The accelerated nature of bootcamp learning makes it a perfect fit for just about anybody who wants a career in software development and engineering and doesn’t want to wait years to get started. But it’s also a big commitment, often requiring 40-60 hours per week.

Bootcamps cover modern technologies and programming languages like PHP, Python, Ruby on Rails, and Javascript. There are specializations available for students pursuing careers in data science, UI/UX design, full-stack web development, and more. There are many different types of software engineer, and most can and do utilize coding bootcamps as starting points.

What to Look For in a Software Engineering Bootcamp

The wide variety of coding bootcamp programs means you have choices. It can be overwhelming at first glance, but we can help narrow down your choices in a few different ways by focusing on what matters most to you.

Schedule and Location

Do you want the traditional, in-person intensive learning experience? As we get a larger handle on the pandemic, some bootcamps are reopening and require 40-80 hours per week. This is the true “accelerated learning” model many associate with the word “bootcamp,” and will most likely require you to relocate to a new city. But it’s not the only choice. Other bootcamps are part-time and/or online. Evaluate your own lifestyle and decide whether you want to give up your job and focus entirely on upskilling through a coding bootcamp, or if you need to learn in your off-time while maintaining your current career.

One thing every coding bootcamp should have in common is structure, something that’s missing in the self-service coding courses found on sites like Udemy and Coursera. A coding bootcamp is a real class, with peers and instructors, with accountability and guidance. While many have touted the benefits of self-guided free and subscription coding classes, the fact is most of us are not as self-motivated, organized, and committed as we would need to be in order to gain a full coding education this way. Coding bootcamps, on the other hand, give you a community to learn and grow with and instructors from whom to seek guidance and assistance. And don’t forget the value of networking, before and after graduation and throughout the new career you’re building. Who you know can matter as much as what you know, and a strong software engineering bootcamp will introduce you to dozens of people, helping you start and grow your professional network as a developer.


A good program will give you a solid understanding of the technology you choose to study along with the technical skill needed to perform the job. Most likely, this will be full-stack web development; 90% of all bootcamp students are studying to be web developers, with Javascript leading the pack in terms of web development languages being taught. But if your interests are more niche, like data science or cybersecurity, you’ll want to seek out bootcamps that offer programs in those areas.

Job Placement

An excellent bootcamp will also go beyond coding skills and will offer career services including networking events, resume assistance, interview prep, and more. Be sure you ask about and evaluate these services before committing to a bootcamp. Ask the tough questions: how many of your graduates are hired as developers in the months following graduation?

Choosing a Bootcamp

Don't have a computer science degree but want to learn a valuable career skill? You’re in the right place if you’re ready to start exploring bootcamps. We’ve compiled qualitative and quantitative data on over 200 bootcamps to help take the guesswork out of it for you. Just click “Explore Bootcamps” at the top of the page to begin narrowing them down by location, or “Get Personalized Recommendations” to really dive into what matters most to you.