The big data market is growing exponentially—as is the demand for data scientists. If you’re thinking about joining this exciting industry, a good data science bootcamp can help you to learn the necessary skills and gain hands-on experience.
But what constitutes a “good” data science bootcamp? And can a bootcamp really equip you for such a technical field?
In this post, we’ll briefly explore the role of the data scientist and provide an overview of the data job market. We’ll also weigh up whether or not a data science bootcamp is worth your time. Last but not least, we’ll compare ten of the best data science bootcamps on the market right now. If you’re completely new to the field of data, you might want to give this free data short course a go first.
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- What is data science?
- The data science job market
- Is a data science bootcamp worth it?
- What are the best data science bootcamps on the market right now?
- How much does a data science bootcamp cost?
- How to pay for your data science bootcamp
- Frequently asked questions
- Key takeaways and next steps
First things first: What is data science?
1. What is data science?
In very broad terms, data science is the art (or science!) of making sense of big data. With huge volumes of data being generated all the time, it’s essential that businesses and organizations are able to leverage it—and this requires expertise in specific domains.
Perhaps the best way to define data science as a discipline is to consider what a data scientist actually does, as well as the skills and tools they utilize. Data scientists draw upon their computer science, mathematics, and business expertise to run complex, custom data analyses, to build predictive models and algorithms, and to design new processes for data modeling—to name just a few. In a nutshell, they use a variety of tools, programming languages, and machine learning principles to optimize the way companies harness and learn from their data, enabling them to make smarter business decisions.
Data science is a broad and far-reaching discipline that covers many different facets, such as data analytics and machine learning. You can learn more about data science and how it differs from data analytics and machine learning in this post. For now, though, let’s take a look at what the job market is currently like for data professionals.
2. The data science job market
It’s estimated that the big data market will be worth a whopping $229.4 billion USD in 2025—that’s a compound annual growth rate of 10.6%. With such rapid growth, the need for data experts is continuously on the up. In their Jobs of Tomorrow report (published in 2020), the World Economic Forum identifies data and AI as one of seven high-growth emerging professions. And, of all seven domains, data and AI shows the highest growth rate at 41% per year.
As the demand for data expertise grows, many industries are facing a critical shortage of data scientists. A study from 2020 found that there are triple the number of data science job postings compared to job searches. And, when asked to identify the areas in which they expect to face the most difficulty in finding people with the right skills, 35% of respondents said data science and analytics—making it the second most challenging area after cybersecurity (39%).
In short, the data market is booming and the demand for data scientists far outweighs the supply. If you’re thinking about becoming a data scientist, now is a great time to join the field. But can a data science bootcamp really get you there? Let’s take a look.
3. Is a data science bootcamp worth it?
Data science is a highly complex field, and there’s no denying that the data scientist role demands a varied skillset and strong technical expertise. With that in mind, you’re probably wondering if a data science bootcamp can really equip you with the necessary credentials.
The short answer is yes—a data science bootcamp can set you up for a career in the field. However, not all bootcamps are created equal, so it’s essential to find one that suits your individual needs and objectives. If you’re a complete beginner, you’ll benefit from a comprehensive, mentored bootcamp with a strong focus on career change. If you’ve already got some experience and are looking to upskill, you’ll likely be looking for a bootcamp with a slightly different approach.
Regardless of your skill level or career goals, data science bootcamps offer many advantages. They are generally more flexible and affordable than traditional university or higher education programs, and they tend to take a more hands-on approach to learning—a major benefit for aspiring data scientists.
But do employers take them seriously? Again, the short answer is yes. With the demand for data experts on the rise—with no signs of slowing down—employers are less concerned with how you acquired your skills, as long as you’ve got them and know how to apply them. Gone are the days when traditional bricks-and-mortar institutions were viewed as superior to online programs or intensive bootcamps. As remote work increasingly becomes the “new normal,” attitudes towards education are also changing. So, if a data science bootcamp is more feasible or simply more appealing to you than a university degree, go for it! With a solid portfolio and a certification from a reputable bootcamp, you can confidently enter the data science job market.
So now to the crux of why we’re here: which data science bootcamps are actually worth your time and money? Let’s take a look.
4. What are the best data science bootcamps on the market right now?
In this section, we’ll compare a hand-picked selection of the best data science bootcamps on the market right now. As you read through each, think about your budget, the amount of time you can realistically commit to, and your overall career goals (i.e. changing careers, upskilling, or something in between). Keeping these points in mind will help you figure out which options are best suited to you.
So without further ado, here’s our selection of the best data science bootcamps.
- Mode of study: Online
- Duration: 5 months full-time, 10 months part-time or self-paced
- Price: $15,000 USD for the full-time and part-time options, $9,600 USD for the self-paced option
- Ideal for: Career-changers on a higher budget
Throughout this bootcamp, you’ll cover core data science topics such as Python and SQL, machine learning, big data, and natural language processing, culminating in a data science advanced project. You don’t need any prior experience to apply, but you will need to demonstrate some data science knowledge in order to be accepted onto the course. Prospective students are also required to complete a pre-work course before the bootcamp begins. In addition to a robust curriculum, Flatiron School offers extensive career support, including individual career coaching and access to a vast network of employers. This is a strong contender if you’re looking to build a career in data science and have a bigger budget to spare.
- Mode of study: Online, in real-time
- Duration: Around 3 months full-time
- Price: $15,950 USD
- Ideal for: Career-changers with some existing data science knowledge
If you’re looking for an intensive, immersive learning experience, you’ll want to consider the General Assembly online data science bootcamp. You’ll connect with instructors and fellow students in real-time via the interactive classroom, delving into topics such as Python, statistical modeling, decision trees, random forests, and more. Over the course of three months you’ll tackle five projects,building a professional data portfolio in the process. And, to help you with your career-change, you’ll work one-on-one with a career coach. It’s important to bear in mind that this is an intermediate-level course with some prerequisites; it’s recommended that you already have a strong mathematical background, as well as familiarity with Python.
- Mode of study: Online
- Duration: 6 months part-time
- Price: $7,990 USD
- Ideal for: Career-changers looking for flexible study
One of the more affordable options on our list, the Thinkful data science bootcamp offers a flexible pathway into the industry. You’ll learn at your own pace on a part-time basis, building up your knowledge over the course of six months. You’ll receive one-on-one mentorship throughout, graduating with a professional data science portfolio. And, if you can’t find a job within six months of graduating, you’ll get your money back. With a range of payment options available, this is a good option if you’re keen to kick-start your career change without investing upfront.
- Mode of study: Online
- Duration: 12 weeks full-time
- Price: $15,000 USD
- Ideal for: Career-changers looking for a collaborative learning experience
The BrainStation online bootcamp covers (almost) everything you need to start your career as a data scientist: a project-based curriculum, extensive career coaching and interview prep, as well as the opportunity to network with industry experts. You’ll attend live classes and lectures through the virtual classroom, exploring data fundamentals, machine learning techniques, and big data. This is an especially good option if you’re looking for an online bootcamp that still offers a collaborative element; as part of the course, you’ll have the opportunity to split out into breakout rooms and work together with your classmates. However, bear in mind that, despite being one of the pricier options on the market, this bootcamp doesn’t come with a job guarantee.
- Mode of study: Online
- Duration: 5 months full-time or 8 months part-time
- Price: $6,900 USD
- Ideal for: Career-changers with no prior experience
While this isn’t a data science bootcamp, the CareerFoundry Data Analytics Program does teach many of the fundamental concepts crucial to data science—making it a great starting point if you’re completely new to the industry. In fact, many professionals in the field start out as data analysts before transitioning to data science. You’ll start from the very beginning, learning how to prepare and analyze data, before moving on to SQL, Python, and interactive dashboards. In addition to a project-based curriculum with a strong focus on portfolio building, students benefit from a unique dual mentorship model. You’ll work with both a mentor and a tutor, as well as an expert career coach—and, if you don’t find a job within six months of graduating, you’ll get your money back. You can try a free introductory short course here.
- Mode of study: Online
- Duration: 6 months part-time
- Price: $7,500 USD
- Ideal for: Career-changers with experience in statistics and programming
The Springboard Data Science Career Track spans six months on a part-time basis, promising a project-based curriculum, unlimited one-to-one mentorship, and a job guarantee (or your money back). The curriculum is split into 18 units, covering topics such as data wrangling, storytelling with data, statistics, and machine learning. Admission to the Springboard bootcamp does come with some prerequisites: you’ll need six months of coding experience under your belt, and you’ll need to be comfortable with basic probability and descriptive statistics. This is a good option for software developers and analysts looking to move into data science.
- Mode of study: Online
- Duration: Flexible, self-paced
- Price: $29 – $49 USD per month
- Ideal for: Beginners on a budget
Unlike many of the bootcamps on our list, Dataquest works on a subscription basis, allowing you to learn affordably and flexibly at your own pace. The “Data Scientist in Python” learning path contains a variety of different courses, each teaching a crucial data science skill. Course topics include Python fundamentals, data cleaning with Python, SQL, statistics, and machine learning—to name just a few. If you’re keen to get hands-on and are happy to learn independently without the guidance of a mentor, this is a worthwhile route to consider. And, with no prior knowledge or experience necessary, you can jump straight in.
- Mode of study: Online
- Duration: Self-paced
- Price: $49 USD per month, or $499 per year
- Ideal for: Flexible hands-on learning
INE is best described as a content library, offering an extensive database of data science courses. Through video lessons, projects, exercises, and quizzes, you’ll get a solid introduction to data science with a heavy focus on Python. Learning is entirely self-paced, but the courses lay out a logical path for you to follow—starting with an introduction to programming with Python before moving on to topics like functional programming, scientific computing with NumPy, and data cleaning with Pandas. This is a flexible, affordable option if you want to try your hand at data science before committing to a complete career change.
- Mode of study: Online and in-person
- Duration: 12 weeks full time, 4-6 months full/part-time with the online-only program
- Price: $17,600 USD
- Ideal for: Career-changers with a large budget
The NYC Data Science Academy offers two flexible routes of study. The first is a 12-week intensive, with daily classes that are taken either in-person on campus, or remotely through live Zoom classes. The second option is distance-learning-only, which is completed either full or part-time over 4-6 months. Both types of the data science bootcamp involve the student completing four big projects, with the final project often being sponsored by companies located within New York City. This provider also boasts lifelong career support, which includes one-on-one resume reviews, interview preparation, and more. This is a good option for those who are changing careers and are keen to work on the East Coast of the U.S., as many of the networking and job opportunities provided through the program will be located there.
- Mode of study: Online
- Duration: 29 hours self-paced
- Price: $130 USD (approx)
- Ideal for: Complete beginners looking for a self-paced course
The Complete Data Science Bootcamp is part of the Udemy for Business collection. The course promises to provide “the entire toolbox you need to become a data scientist”—including on-demand video lessons, articles, and downloadable resources. You can work through the curriculum at your own pace, starting with a broader overview of the data science field before honing in on the specifics such as statistics, Python, and deep learning. The course has been designed for complete beginners, making it an excellent starting point if you’re looking for a flexible and affordable introduction.
5. How much does a data science bootcamp cost?
Many of the bootcamps we’ve listed here have considerable tuition fees, costing thousands—if not tens of thousands—of dollars. In paying these costs, students have access to world-class education, as well as usually benefiting from:
- Qualified teachers and mentors with industry experience
- Networking opportunities
- Interview coaching and job-search assistance
Of course, there are also programs we’ve listed that are much lighter on the pocket, being a self-paced or subscription-based model. These are great options for total beginners, those low on time, and those who are simply looking to upskill in a few areas (as opposed to learning about the field of data science as a whole). However, with the lower price tag comes a more scaled-back education—that is, without the additional benefits we’ve already mentioned.
For data science bootcamps that are hosted in-person, you may need to consider the costs of travel, accommodation, and living expenses, if the education provider is located in another area that isn’t local to you.
Some of the data science bootcamps we’ve listed will have specific hardware requirements in order to take the course. This is to ensure that your computer is capable of processing the complex applications that are included in the course. For example, Thinkful requires that you have a personal computer with “at least 4GB RAM, at least 1.8 GHz processor (above 2 GHz recommended), and at least 100 GB HD.” If you don’t already have this equipment to hand, it could be costly to acquire, on top of tuition costs.
6. How to pay for your data science bootcamp
While the listed price for a data science bootcamp may look intimidating at first, you’ll find that many bootcamp providers on the market give different options for payment. We’ll list a few of those options here, but do be sure to get in contact with your desired data science bootcamp providers to see if they have other options available.
If you’ve got the money to hand, it can be useful to pay for your data science bootcamp upfront, as many providers will give discounts for doing so. You can also save money when paying upfront—as opposed to taking out a loan—as this will avoid interest accruing and other potential fees.
Paying in instalments
Some providers give an option for partial payment, or paying in instalments, which is great for students who may have sporadic sources of income. It also avoids having a big chunk of money coming out of your account at one time, which can be stressful to some! The main downside to this method of payment is that data science bootcamp providers will often tack on extra costs.
This option will delay tuition payments until you find a job after graduating. Some providers may even have a salary threshold that you must meet before the payment cycle activates, which takes some of the pressure off, especially if you’re new to the field. It should be noted, however, that once you meet this threshold, your salary does not impact the monthly payment amount.
Income share agreements
Similar to the deferred payment model, income share agreements delay tuition payments until you find a job after graduating. However, with income share agreements, your loan repayments are made up of a percentage of your salary, set to a fixed term.
Some of the data science bootcamp providers we’ve listed work together with loan providers, to give another payment option to their students. These work just like any other loan you might take out for education or any other purpose that are subject to bank approval, and may accrue interest.
Some of the providers we’ve mentioned are so confident in your ability to find work after the bootcamp that they’re able to provide a money-back guarantee if you don’t land a job in the data science field within a specified time frame after graduating. Many of the courses that offer a money-back guarantee will also offer interview coaching and networking opportunities, to help you land the job you want.
7. Frequently asked questions about data science bootcamps
How helpful are data science bootcamps in finding a job if you have no experience in the field?
Many people who graduate from a data science bootcamp program are coming in from completely unrelated fields. Having a varied working background is appealing to many employers, as there are many areas of data science that require additional skills and experience that are not taught in a data science bootcamp. When it comes to entering the job market, the helpfulness of a data science bootcamp will depend primarily on the level of support included, coupled with your own job search efforts. For example, some bootcamps will offer one-to-one career coaching, while others will simply help you expand your network. Luckily, many of the providers we’ve listed have a career services team who will work directly with you to provide assistance with your portfolio, interview skills, and networking opportunities.
What skills do you learn on a data science bootcamp?
Each data science bootcamp will have its own unique curriculum. But, in general, you will cover some or all of the following topics:
- How to use databases and SQL
- How to write in programming languages, such as Python
- How to prepare and analyze data
- How to create different types of visualizations, as well as what they’re used for
- Visual design principles for creating visualizations
- How to create interactive dashboards, using tools such as Tableau
- Understanding data mining, big data analysis, machine learning, and ethics
If there’s something specific you would like to learn on a data science bootcamp, get in touch with the course advisors for your desired program to see whether they teach it or not.
Are data science bootcamps worth it?
If you’re looking to change careers into data science or simply looking to upskill, data science bootcamps offer an efficient and thorough option for people seeking to understand the fundamental skills and tools of the field. Many of the data science bootcamps we’ve listed provide collaborative, practical training, as well as career services that will be useful once you’ve graduated.
8. What now?
In this post, we’ve highlighted some of the best data science bootcamps on the market right now. So, what next? Hopefully you’ve found a few options that resonate with your needs and objectives. Now it’s time to conduct further research. Find out more about what each bootcamp has to offer, read through student testimonials, and get in touch with your chosen providers to ask any questions you might have. And, if you’d like to learn more about the data industry, check out the following: