Recently, the number of online coding bootcamps promising to supercharge your programming career has increased dramatically. This is no surprise—digitization means that the demand for web developers is still growing, regardless of economic bust and boom. Just looking at web developer salaries also shows why so many want to switch to this career path.
But what makes one online coding bootcamp “better” than another? Which factors can help you choose the best one for you? First things first, we recommend trying out a free, hands-on, and self-paced web development short course to get a taste of whether coding is for you.
In this article, we’ll start by examining what an online bootcamp actually is and whether they’re worth it or not. We’ll cover the criteria to look for when comparing program offerings, and finally we’ll take a look at ten of the best online coding bootcamps out there right now.
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- What is an online coding bootcamp?
- Is an online coding bootcamp worth it?
- Things to consider when choosing an online coding bootcamp
- The best online coding bootcamps right now
- Key takeaways and next steps
1. What is an online coding bootcamp?
Essentially, these are digital training programs which equip people from a variety of backgrounds with the skills required to work as a web developer. Typically designed to be intensive in their learning, they take place over a number of months—longer if they include a part-time option. By the end of the bootcamp, the student should be sufficiently prepared to navigate the coding world, as well as to land a job as a programmer.
Online coding bootcamps are often seen as the quickest and most accessible option available to aspiring web developers. This is because you can learn wherever you want, without needing to live near the classroom. Remote education also gives you the ability to learn whenever you want, with a lot of programs built for asynchronous study.
2. Is an online coding bootcamp worth it?
If your goal is to switch careers and land a job as a professional programmer, the short answer is “Yes.” The best online coding bootcamps boast an impressive job placement rate, with the majority of students landing a developer job just months after graduating. One of the main reasons for this is the highly valued skill-set they teach you.
Many of the courses out there promise to teach you full-stack development. If you still don’t know what the difference between the frontend and the backend is, you’ll quickly learn. Being able to work smoothly on a project or application all the way from back to front is a prized skill-set, as one glance at full-stack developer salaries will show.
While (when possible) in-person bootcamps can be advantageous in terms of the networking opportunities with your peers and teachers, another benefit of online coding bootcamps is that they’re also teaching you how to work remotely. Imagine being able to work wherever you like—in your own home, or from a different country, should you so choose. Being able to work as a remote web developer is much more achievable than in most other occupations, owing to the in-demand and technical nature of the job.
3. Things to consider when choosing an online coding bootcamp
By their nature, online coding bootcamps are different to in-person web development programs, so you’ll need to focus on a slightly different set of criteria when you’re deciding which one to go for. The good news for you is that, these days, the choice is broader than ever, and growing rapidly.
With the arrival of Covid-19, most of the leading on-site web development bootcamps were forced online. According to careerkarma’s annual report, only 13 of the bootcamps they analyzed focussed on online learning before the pandemic. Because they can now reach more students around the world, a lot will maintain their online offering in addition to in-classroom teaching. This can come with its own potential drawbacks, as we will see.
A small note is that some coding courses have different labels to others. It’s just one reason why we’ve created a handy guide to the differences between web development and software engineering. Here are some other factors to look out for:
While working away by yourself, fixing errors in code can be satisfying and lead to “aha!” moments, it really helps to have someone to bounce ideas off of and to tell you if you are on the right track. The amount of support available can depend on your own personal needs, so it can help to find out how much is offered—is it one hour per week, on-demand 1:1 support, or more? Does your tutor have set office hours (like in most universities) and set meetings, or are they more flexibly available when you need them?
When it comes to learning to code online, it’s important to see how lessons are conducted—are they pre-recorded videos or live? Because of the scramble to move many coding bootcamps online during the pandemic, a lot are still using tools such as Zoom and Slack for their teaching. While these schools have years of live teaching experience, online learning is a different beast.
More established online coding bootcamps can offer you a smoother experience. Many have developed their own integrated learning platforms where you can take lessons, submit work, and communicate with your tutors easily. A good way of getting a sense of how an online coding bootcamp is set up for learning is to take a free short course. This a great time and cost-efficient way of getting a feel for a provider (as well as the subject matter).
For an example of a free course, in this video Abhishek, one of our own in-house web developers, gets you started out coding:
Several online coding bootcamps offer a job guarantee where, if you don’t find a position in the field within a certain period of time post-graduation, you may be entitled to a full or partial refund. As a result, motivation for them to help you succeed couldn’t be higher. A dedicated career advisor is an excellent guide to help you prepare for and negotiate the job market.
As with educational support, it’s important to check how much availability and expertise these specialists have. Other factors could be the network connections that a bootcamp provider has, where tech companies come to them for new employees as they know they produce employable talent. If there are graduate testimonials and reviews that can shed some light on what to expect in terms of support, definitely check these out before deciding.
Another major advantage of online bootcamps compared to in-person ones is the flexibility they can offer. While the classic bootcamp format takes place over an intense period of weeks with a fixed start date, learning web development online means that you can quite often fit the program into your own life, instead of the other way around. Part-time and flexible options may take longer for you to complete, but can also allow you to study at your own pace, maintain your job, and emerge with a more thorough knowledge of programming.
4. The best online coding bootcamps right now
Now that we’ve looked at what they are and whether they’re worth it, as well as what to look for when comparing your options, what are some of the best online coding bootcamps around? Now, without further ado, here are 10 of the best we’ve found:
- Fullstack Academy
- Flatiron School
- Wild Code School
- Coding Dojo
- WBS Coding School
- General Assembly
Let’s take a deeper dive into their offerings.
- Duration: 16 weeks (up to 28 weeks part-time)
- Cost: $6,900 / €5,900
- Features: Having been operating purely online from day one, CareerFoundry has an integrated learning platform, as well as the help of both a dedicated tutor and mentor throughout the program. You’ll learn with a hands-on, project-based curriculum, culminating in a fully-fledged professional portfolio. They also have a job guarantee, with 96% of eligible graduates landing a job in tech within 6 months of graduating.
2. Fullstack Academy
- Duration: 17 weeks (can be up to 28)
- Cost: $17,910
- Features: Working off of a project-based structure, Fullstack’s bootcamp aims for you to leave with four projects in your portfolio by the end. Offering a number of different coding courses, they focus on pair programming, a useful concept for web developers.
3. Flatiron School
- Duration: 15 weeks (20, 40, or 60 weeks possible)
- Cost: $16,900
4. Wild Code School
- Duration: 20 weeks
- Cost: €6,500 / $7,939
5. Coding Dojo
- Duration: 14 weeks
- Cost: $15,995
- Features: This bootcamp claims to teach you more full-stacks (Python, MERN, and Java) than their competitors. They also offer lifetime access to their career services, so that you’ll still be able to use their platform long after you graduate.
6. WBS Coding School
- Duration: 15 weeks (24 weeks part-time)
- Cost: €8,000 / $9,767
- Features: Based in Germany, WBS offer full- and part-time full-stack web and app development courses. Besides their online coding bootcamps with live teaching seminars, they also offer a hybrid version, where you come to their Berlin campus for the final three weeks of your study.
7. General Assembly
- Duration: 12 weeks (24 weeks part-time)
- Cost: $14,950
- Features: With campuses throughout the US, General Assembly’s online coding bootcamp offerings are taught similarly, through Zoom and Slack. The software engineering course focuses on teaching students the techniques and workflows that they will encounter as professional web developers in the field.
- Duration: 36 weeks
- Cost: $14,490
- Features: Much longer than the average bootcamp, this software engineering course comprises frontend and backend development (using Python, Flask, and SQL), and Node and Express to build applications. As well as a job guarantee, Springboard offer a deferred tuition system, where after paying an initial deposit, you don’t have to start paying the remainder back until after you start your new web developer job.
- Duration: 12 weeks part-time
- Cost: $1,508
- Duration: 25 weeks (up to 50 weeks part-time)
- Cost: $1,190 ($1,670 for Premium)
- Features: Altacademy’s coding bootcamps have always been online, so they are well-versed in flexible online learning. They offer three separate bootcamps for full-stack, frontend, and backend development. Mentor meetings are during office hours only and exclusively available on the premium path.
5. Key takeaways and next steps
By now you should be much better prepared in your search for the best online coding bootcamps. We’ve covered what they are, whether they are worth it if you want to become a web developer, as well as what to look out for when assessing them. We’ve also given you our selection of the best online coding bootcamps, hopefully bringing you one step closer to finding the one that suits your needs. You might be asking yourself “What now?”
Well, the research isn’t over—now you need to look at your preferred bootcamps more closely. Dig into each offering and find out what current and past students are saying about the programs, what they liked about them, and what they are doing now. Online coding bootcamp reviews can be really useful in terms of hearing how people really got on in practice.
After that, reach out to your chosen providers and ask any questions you might have. If you’re looking to learn more about web development in general, take a look at these articles: