There’s no way to evaluate coding talent in America without first thinking of San Francisco. The city is synonymous with America’s tech sector, and the number of bootcamps surrounding the bay area shows no signs of slowing down. Founders flock to the city regularly and the American “seat of power” for VCs is a short ride outside of the city down in Silicon Valley. There are a plethora of boot camp options for coders looking to take advantage of the target-rich job market. That’s good news for new software engineers: San Francisco experienced significant growth in tech jobs over the last decade and reached #2 just before the pandemic.
It’s not exactly a secret that San Francisco is an attractive hub for tech talent. It’s a great place for developers to be. However, before committing to a bootcamp in one of the most expensive cities in America, there are two important factors to consider before we even get started.
First, you should think about which type of career you’d like to pursue and choose a bootcamp that will suit your needs and offer programming courses relevant to those interests (full stack web development, data science, cyber security UX/Design etc.). There are many different types of coding bootcamps, all with their own educational style and focus on specific programming languages and technologies.
Second, it’s also important to think about your budget. The tuition for coding bootcamps, various types of programs offered, and any scholarships or income share agreements you agree to with the program should all be factored in. For all coding bootcamps, make sure you’re maximizing your investment by going in with some introductory programming (the best bootcamps require this), or are enrolled in free bootcamp prep classes prior to beginning your on-ground or online coding bootcamp.
Start considering both of those things as you drill down a bit more. As we begin this guide on choosing the best coding bootcamp in San Francisco, you’ll think about what field you want to transition into, and consider some questions that that will put you on the right coding journey for your career:
- What’s driving your interest in coding? What are some of the projects you’ve dreamed of working on that a San Francisco coding bootcamp will help you gain the skills to do?
- What’s your current coding proficiency? Coding bootcamps offer programs to people at different levels, and before applying to a program in San Francisco you’ll want to answer this question.
- Do I see San Francisco as a long-term destination? This is an especially good question for coding bootcamp students who want to be conservative about projecting how much they’ll earn at their first coding job in a city that’s famously pricey. San Francisco and Oakland, however, are target-rich environments for front-end, back-end, and full-stack web developers, so you want to weigh the high volume of jobs and beautiful surroundings with the cost of living.
Consider these questions as you read more about the city with the 4th highest GDP in the country and plan for a career in the tech industry. There are several benefits to choosing a coding school in the greater Bay area, so start thinking about the coding skills you’ll need for the job you eventually want to land.
Before Attending a Coding Bootcamp in San Francisco: How to Prepare
Coding bootcamps in San Francisco offer attractive options to students. Depending on the chosen programming language, data science immersion, and/or design tracks you choose, curriculums will vary both on content, breadth, and on length. A “typical” bootcamp curriculum will have several paths that require a base knowledge of the concepts. Let’s explore what skills an aspiring software engineer, full stack web developer, or data science professional will need prior to entering the bootcamp.
One of the benefits of this important step before enrolling in the boot camp is that it allows you to assess your current skill level, and choose the programming course that best suits your budget and proficiency. Perhaps more importantly, preparing for your boot camp allows you to understand the nuances of coding languages, prepare for your boot camp interview, and engage in introductory projects with other students.
Preparing for the coding bootcamp and the evaluations you’ll complete will help ensure that you receive a return on investment for the time and money you put toward your coding education.
Benefits of a Coding Bootcamp in San Francisco
No other city in America is more synonymous with startup and legacy tech companies than San Francisco. As recently as summer 2020, just six tech stocks made up 50% of the NASDAQ’s value. The majority of those companies had either a headquarters or an important regional hub in the Bay area.
However, traditional Silicon Valley powerhouses aren’t the only companies thriving. San Francisco startups proved themselves to be highly resilient. This is likely due to the city’s natural advantage at attracting tech talent. At the time of this article’s publication, CBRE’s 2021 report in Scoring Tech Talent placed the city at the top spot (again) for attracting tech talent.. This level of competition drives up the cost of salaries in an already expensive town, but the high cost of living is offset by the high average salaries of these roles. These positions are naturally attractive to a software developer permanently relocating to the city after they become a bootcamp grad.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise. San Francisco and the surrounding area is the nucleus of the tech world, bringing both transient workers and permanent residents to the West Coast. The city’s famously walkable and considered one of America’s best destinations for outdoor activities and fine dining.
There are benefits of living and working in San Francisco measure up to the volume of career opportunities that await those with tech skills after they complete a programming bootcamp. Established Fortune 500’s and startups, in the greater San Francisco area (big and small) are hiring tech talent at a significant pace. Every industry the city is known for outside of tech -life sciences, agriculture, and international business - are making it a priority to recruit the type of talent that can combine digital expertise with their core product. Famous American companies like Facebook & Salesforce are headquartered near San Francisco as well as retail companies like Allbird, Gap, & Everlane. There’s no shortage of opportunities when you're living and working in a city whose job growth increased in the pandemic-challenged July 2020 - July 2021 period.
San Francisco tech jobs offer some key advantages over tech-related positions in other cities. Notably, employees of San Francisco tech companies pay among the highest average salaries in the entire country, due to the rising cost of living. Despite that high cost of living, nearby San Jose (#5) and San Francisco (#13) are both among the happiest cities in the country, according to research done by Wallethub. . Jobs in the tech industry include average salaries of nearly $165,000 for a dev engineer, $151,000 for a Design/UX professional and $144,000 for a Data Science professional in 2021. San Francisco’s coding bootcamps feature training for each of those positions.
Cost of Coding Bootcamps in San Francisco
The cost of a full stack software engineering bootcamp in San Francisco isn’t that different from the national average. According to Nerdwallet, the average cost for a bootcamp is nearly $13,854, but several different payment options are available should you be considering different ways to pay for coding school. If you’re considering paying for a coding bootcamp upfront with a credit card, you may want to consider opening a travel card to meet the minimum benefits of a bonus card while earning miles. However, several other options exist. Many students use third-party financing options like Meritize or Ascent, two popular bootcamp loan options that allow you to study, and feature grace periods for repayment. Regardless of how you plan to pay for a bootcamp education, always consult a financial planner to help calculate your living costs on a software engineer salary once the course is completed.
Considering the high cost of living in San Francisco, there are belt-tightening opportunities for all bootcamp students. Here are three great tricks to funding your coding bootcamp enrollment:
- Apply for every coding scholarship. Several coding bootcamps offer scholarships geared toward increasing the number of underrepresented coding professionals in the tech sector. Need-based scholarships are also popping up across different coding schools across the country.
- Research income-share agreements. Some coding bootcamp graduates pay for their tuition using income-share agreements (ISAs). An income share agreement is a written agreement between you and a bootcamp provider that says you’ll commit to paying the provider a percentage of your income for an agreed amount of time. A hidden advantage of ISAs is that they force you to calculate how much you will need to be paid per year in order to be able to live, commute, pay back your tuition, and save. Pay careful attention to the minimum salary you need to make before an ISA kicks in and that you don’t accept a web development job for too low of a salary. If your agreement stipulates that you must pay back the online coding bootcamp if you land a job making above $35,000 to $40,000 per year, that doesn’t leave you much room for living expenses. (The good news: The average salary for even an entry-level programmer is $50,000 per year, but those of you in high cost-of-living cities should be doing the math closely.)
- Project your salary earnings. Carefully evaluate the tech job you can realistically land and the median salary of your desired position. Is that desired position going to be paying you significantly more than your current role? Will it earn you a higher multiple several times over than the cost of the bootcamp itself? For example, if you want to be a full stack developer and or are also seriously considering data science roles, know the market rates for each of those positions.
Remember that the cost of a coding bootcamp is your tuition and your time. Always estimate the cost for both prior to enrolling in a class for the next 12-16 weeks.
Choose a Coding Bootcamp in San Francisco
If you’ve decided on attending a San Francisco coding bootcamp, here are some on-ground programs in the city who report:
Flatiron School. Flatiron’s San Francisco campus is located just north of the Mission in the Mid-Market neighborhood which is pretty easily accessible on the BART. They offer in-person fully immersive courses in software engineering, data science, cybersecurity engineering, and product design.
While no in-person return date was posted as of this article’s publication, the Flatiron School’s been providing continual e-mail and blog updates to prospective students looking for an in-person experience. The Flatiron School uses an independent auditor to measure outcomes for students in each of its cities, however, they don’t currently list independent results data for the city of San Francisco. When applying, we recommend asking the admissions team if they have any recent results from a San Francisco audit. As always, we recommend prospective students pay attention to the fine print on these numbers, as the average salaries are often not inclusive of students who took on contract roles after graduating.
Hack Reactor. One of the toughest programs to gain admission into, Hack Reactor finds itself in good company in San Francisco’s Rincon Hill neighborhood. This program is a prime destination for highly competitive students as the market for engineering talent in San Francisco is always hot and favors the hiring company. Hack Reactor’s gained a national reputation for its software engineering immersive which takes place in-person or as an online bootcamp. The CIRR’s last audit of Hack Reactor took place in 2019, and the outcomes were promising: 71% of San Francisco bootcamp grads were employed in the field within 180 days of graduation and the median base salary of recent graduates was $110,000.
App Academy. Another bootcamp with a reputation for its competitive admissions process, App Academy’s on-ground classes (though all being held online until the pandemic threat subsides) are located in northeast San Francisco. App Academy offers full and part-time immersive in software engineering, as well as prep courses to ensure you’re able to practice prior to your admissions exam. The roster of employers who hire from App Academy’s bootcamp grads is impressive: Google, Slack, Amazon, and they list 200 others.
Get matched to your San Francisco Coding Bootcamp
Whether you’re a longtime resident, a recent transplant, or a future resident, San Francisco offers ample opportunities for learning and working that cover the spectrum of programming languages and future jobs in tech and beyond. Once you understand your intentions for what you want to do in the tech world, whether it be web development, machine learning, computer science, or something more tied to product design, you'll have a good start to make an informed decision on which program is right for you.
A San Francisco coding bootcamp can unlock the opportunity to work in the global city most famous for its tech roots in a diverse city with plenty of job opportunities. With many outlets to take advantage of outside of learning and working hours, current students and bootcamp graduates alike will have plenty to keep themselves busy. If you are considering continuing, transitioning to, or starting a tech career, click here to find your future boot camp in San Francisco.