What's the Difference Between a Coding Bootcamp and an Information Technology Degree?

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The popularity of coding bootcamps is on the rise as aspiring coders look to find the quickest entry into the ever-growing technology market. But is a coding bootcamp right for you? It depends on your career aspirations.

A coding bootcamp trains students for entry-level developer jobs. It's called "bootcamp" because the programs are short and intense. They generally churn out graduates in two to three months, and the New York Times reported tuition can cost $1,000 or more a week1.

Coding bootcamps have had their share of criticism because there are no accreditation standards, which makes it difficult to determine what programs are quality and what programs are not. In fact, earlier this year, officials California notified a number of coding bootcamp "schools" that the state might shut them down for failing to get properly licensed.

While coding bootcamps appeal to many people because of the short turnaround time, they may not be the best option for students in the long term. The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that in general, people with college degrees earn more than those without. Because coding bootcamps are so short and intense, they do not take the time to teach students the importance of critical thinking, problem solving, or working in a team -- all vitally important proficiencies to employers and skills typically needed to move up in the ranks of a business.

The educational experience of pursuing an IT degree is much different than enrolling in a coding bootcamp as well. An accredited university that offers a bachelor's degree in information techology is clearly going to be much more comprehensive than a bootcamp, and likely will cover not only basic coding, but also look at components like the selection, creation, application, integration, administration and management of various computing technologies.

Also, while many coding bootcamps require applicants to quit their jobs so they can dedicate their full time to the intense studies, pursuing an IT degree can be done at your own pace and without giving up your livelihood. Online schools can be a great option for those who need flexibility in class and study time.

In addition, a full range of specializations beyond coding are available in IT degree programs, ranging from digital investigations, and information assurance and security to network administration, or software analysis and development. By specializing in the field, you can make yourself even more attractive to employers who are looking for specific skill sets when filling jobs.


1. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/14/us/web-era-trade-schools-feeding-a-need-for-code.html [Retrieved 11.21.14]