On the Rise: Online Coding Bootcamps

By: The SwitchUp Team
Last Updated: April 10, 2020

Over the last five to ten years, the coding bootcamp industry has gone from a little-known phenomenon to a force in tech education. Data from SwitchUp shows that the number of bootcamp grads more than doubled in recent years.

Students are also looking beyond in-person programs, and online coding bootcamps are becoming a popular option for many. In the past, only a mere handful of online bootcamps existed such as Bloc, Thinkful, or Skillcrush. Now, many major players have ventured into the online space including Launch Academy, Hack Reactor, and Flatiron School. You can even take online Data Science courses from Data Science focused schools such as Metis or NYC Data Science Academy.

From MOOCs to Immersive Online Education

When online education first entered the marketplace, MOOCs, also known as Massive Open Online Courses, allowed an unlimited amount of participants to take a class and learn the basics of a given industry.

MOOCs have served as an introduction to coding, online programming, web development and more. Students who participate in MOOCs are able to set their own pace and direction, allowing them to approach the coding industry as they see fit.

Online coding bootcamps have shifted the paradigm in the coding industry by creating rigorous, curriculum driven options that are better reflective of traditional learning styles and certifications. Although MOOCs are usually free, the investment for online coding bootcamps offers mentorship, community guidance and support, and usually hands-on training.

MOOCs are often cheaper than both university degrees and online bootcamp training, and their credibility in the job marketplace seems to vary. Most employers we have found look for certification from a credible, online or in-person bootcamp to hire their future programmers.

Matthew Bell, who heads digital marketing at Treehouse feels online coding bootcamps are a strong choice for professionals who are already working or have already graduated from a university. "You can become a developer in a few months or over the course of a year in your free time. You also don't need to take out student loans because Treehouse is designed to be affordable, unlike a computer science program at a college or university," he says.

So what is causing the sudden shift from MOOCs to online coding bootcamps?

1. The cost for an online, immersive bootcamp is often lower than in-person programs at a university or otherwise.

Online programs offer alternative low-cost options when compared to in-person classes. For instance, Treehouse offers affordable technology education with a two-tier Basic or Pro plan. They offer special organization rates for companies, non-profits, schools, organizations and businesses interested in expanding their team's skill set. These programs cost as little as $29 or $49 a month while still teaching students Ruby on Rails, PHP, coding, programming or how to build apps. Using video lectures, this style of teaching keeps the cost low and the learning reward high.

2. Moving into the online space helps reach a wider audience.

Without being limited by geographic location, schools are able to expand their student body to reach different parts of the world. By diversifying classroom types, programming students are able to gain different perspectives on the industry and network on a global scale. This way, when online coding bootcamp students graduate, they can look for jobs anywhere.

3. Online bootcamps provide learning time flexibility.

Unlike in-person programs, online programs are built for those not looking to quit their day job. Most individuals searching for online programs have already earned a college degree. The cost of quitting a professional career to return to school can prove difficult. Instead, the time and timeline flexibility of online class completion allows professionals or parents to code early in the mornings or after hours when it fits in their schedule.

4. It is still possible to collaborate and work with other students through peer groups and messaging boards.

Because of this trend, schools have made it a point to replicate the closeness and team-building activities available for in-person students.

5. This form of learning helps to hone remote working skills which are commonly needed for job opportunities in programming, developing and coding.

Remote jobs require self-discipline and focus. Going to school from home helps students learn the power of time management and planning. Without a teacher watching, students are able to plan out their course load and figure out what works. This way, when students land jobs for companies across the world, they can work confidently in a remote setting.

Are you interested in pursuing an online bootcamp degree, but aren't sure where to start? Matt Bell says, "Start with what you're interested in. I would recommend focusing on your interests and skill sets first. Whether you want to be a back end engineer, building complex algorithms or a front end web designer, programs like Treehouse can help you get there. First, think of what you want to do after you gain your new skills, then search for the appropriate track or Techdegree and go for it!"

Want to learn about more online options? Check out SwitchUp's list of the Best Online Coding Bootcamps to find what you're looking for.

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