Which Software Engineering bootcamps are worth it? 7 great bootcamps compared

Are Software Engineering Bootcamps Worth It?

From 2020 to 2030, positions for software engineers and developers are estimated to grow by 22%, according to the BLS. Compare that to the 8% average growth rate for all occupations, and it’s clear that software engineers are in high demand

Being a software engineer can be rewarding. The median annual salary was nearly $111,000 in 2020. If you are considering a career in software engineering and want to join a software engineer bootcamp, we outline everything you need to know below.

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What is software engineering? 

Software engineering is a branch of computer science that involves creating systems and applications to solve problems. Software engineers apply their knowledge of programming languages and engineering concepts to build software solutions like apps, websites, and programs

Typical duties of a software engineer

The duties of software engineers often overlap with those of software developers. The two titles are even used interchangeably, but their job responsibilities differ. While developers focus more on writing code, engineers consider the bigger picture and project.

Common day-to-day tasks of software engineers include:

  • Updating active programs
  • Designing and creating new software programs
  • Evaluating and testing new programs
  • Writing and testing code
  • Tracking software development

A software engineer’s role depends on their organization, industry, and development team. Software engineers often work with software developers, systems developers, application developers, stakeholders, and clients.

Skillsets needed for software engineering

Since a software engineer is responsible for developing, writing, testing, and debugging software, you’ll need a number of technical skills and some soft skills under your belt.

Technical skills include:

  • Coding languages like Python, Java, C, or C++
  • Software development
  • Object-oriented design (OOD)
  • Operating systems
  • Cloud computing
  • Design testing and debugging

Other skills include:

  • Problem-solving
  • Logical thinking
  • Attention to detail
  • Teamwork 
  • Written and verbal communication

To learn more about being a software engineer, try one of these must-read software engineering books.

How to become a software engineer

There are different paths you can take to become a software engineer. First, you must figure out what career path you’d like to follow. 

You might stick with software engineering in general. You might focus on the backend as a systems developer, or the user interface as an application developer. You may prefer a role in security or quality assurance. 

Once you’ve chosen a path, you’ll learn about software engineering through college, self-study, or a bootcamp (which we’ll discuss in the next few sections). As you build your portfolio after finishing your education, you can begin your job search.

What is a software engineer bootcamp?

In the past, software engineers were usually required to have a college degree, but things have changed. You don’t necessarily need a formal education to become a software engineer anymore. That’s likely why software engineering bootcamps have become popular in recent years.

Software engineering bootcamps, also called coding bootcamps, teach many of the real-world skills you’ll need as a software engineer. They’re an alternative to a college degree and offer more structure and comprehensiveness than self-study.

Many coding bootcamps also help students with their job search. Instructors and mentors often help graduates build a portfolio and can serve as contacts in their professional networks.

Popular software engineer bootcamps

Below we’ve compared seven popular software engineering bootcamps based on:

  • Total cost up front
  • Duration
  • Types of programs available
  • Features such as tuition payment, loans and scholarships, career services and mentoring, prep courses, and other notable details
  • Locations for in-person learning
  • Average rating on Course Report

The best bootcamp for you depends on your needs, like availability, learning preferences, and budget, which is why we’ve listed the bootcamps below in alphabetical order criteria. 

App Academy

  • Cost: $17,000 - $22,000 based on chosen program
  • Duration: 16 to 24 weeks based on chosen program
  • Programs: Online, full-time, part-time
  • Locations: Online, New York, San Francisco
  • Features: Deferred tuition option, flexible tuition payment options, loan financing, career success services, bootcamp prep courses, employer partnerships
  • Average rating on Course Report: 4.67 (1050 reviews); awarded “Established School” and “Top Rated” Badges of Honor   

App Academy aims to turn their enrollees until Full-stack Web Developers. Their program curriculum is based on JavaScript and Ruby on Rails. offers full-time, immersive 16-week classes both online and in-person. There is an option to complete pre-bootcamp training to improve your chances of admission to their coding bootcamps.

Flatiron School

  • Cost: $12,495 - $18,910 based on chosen program
  • Duration: 15, 20, 40, or 60 weeks based on chosen program
  • Programs: Online, full-time, part-time
  • Locations: Online, Colorado Springs, Denver, New York
  • Features: Flexible tuition payment options, loan financing, career success services, employer partnerships
  • Average rating on Course Report: 4.53 (543 reviews); awarded “Established School” and “Top Rated” Badges of Honor   

Flatiron School offers software engineering, data science, cybersecurity, and product design programs. Their awards from Course Report, Career Karma, and Switchup include Best Bootcamp 2021, Best Data Science Bootcamp 2021, and Best Online Bootcamp 2021. You can try a free intro to coding workshop to see if software engineering and Flatiron School are right for you.

Fullstack Academy

  • Cost: $12,495 - $18,910 depending on chosen program
  • Duration: 12 to 25 weeks based on chosen program
  • Programs: Online, full-time, part-time
  • Locations: Online, New York City
  • Features: Flexible tuition payment options, loan financing, scholarships, career success services, bootcamp prep courses, coding bootcamp for women
  • Average rating on Course Report: 4.86 (333 reviews); awarded “Established School” Badge of Honor 

Fullstack Academy emphasizes problem-solving and coding in their intensive software engineering bootcamps. Courses focus on coding, cybersecurity, and data analytics. You can pay tuition up front, use employer pay, or government assistance. Women and veterans may also apply for scholarships or be eligible for benefits.

General Assembly

  • Cost: $15,950 
  • Duration: 12 to 24 weeks based on chosen program
  • Programs: Online, full-time, part-time
  • Locations: Online, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, D.C.
  • Features: Flexible tuition payment options, loan financing, scholarships, career success services, optional post-course learning
  • Average rating on Course Report: 4.31 (580 reviews); awarded “Established School” Badge of Honor   

General Assembly is one of the largest software engineering bootcamps available, with over 80,000 global alumni. They offer full-time courses in software engineering and Python programming, as well as short-term classes in JavaScript development, UX design and more. General Assembly boasts a large global network of campuses, hiring partners, and alumni to help enrollees find jobs.

Hack Reactor

  • Cost: $17,980
  • Duration: 12, 19, or 36 weeks based on chosen program
  • Programs: Online full-time, online part-time
  • Locations: Online
  • Features: Deferred tuition option, flexible tuition payment options, loan financing, career success services, bootcamp prep courses
  • Average rating on Course Report: 4.69 (325 reviews); awarded “Established School” and “Transparent Outcomes” Badges of Honor   

Hack Reactor offers students immersive software engineering courses remotely; in-person courses are not currently available. Students learn multiple programming languages like JavaScript, HTML/CSS, SQL, and Python. Hack Reactor earned their “Transparent Outcomes” Badge of Honor from Course Report by publishing their alumni job outcomes as recently as 2021.

Springboard

  • Cost: $5,000 - $9,900 based on chosen program
  • Duration: 6 to 9 months based on chosen program
  • Programs: Online, full-time, part-time
  • Locations: Online
  • Features: Deferred tuition option, flexible tuition payment options, loan financing, scholarships, career success services, one-on-one mentorship, job guarantee
  • Average rating on Course Report: 4.64 (1212 reviews)

Springboard takes a mentor-based approach to software engineering, assigning every student an advisor to help them navigate their program. Courses include software engineering, data analytics, digital marketing, and more. On each course page, Springboard notes approximately how long the course will take to complete and how many hours students typically devote to the course each week.

Thinkful

  • Cost: $4,900 - $16,000 based on chosen program
  • Duration: 4 to 6 months based on chosen program
  • Programs: Online full-time, online part-time
  • Locations: Online
  • Features: Deferred tuition option, flexible tuition payment options, loan financing, career success services, one-on-one mentorship
  • Average rating on Course Report: 4.55 (910 reviews)

Thinkful is a service of Chegg, an American education tech company known for textbook rentals and online tutoring. Thinkful teaches courses in software engineering, data science, UX/UI design, technical project management, and more. Students can choose to study full-time at an accelerated pace, or part-time at their own pace.

Are software engineering bootcamps worth it?

The benefits of software engineering bootcamps

If you’re a little unsure whether software engineering is the right career for you, it may be worth completing a coding bootcamp. Tuition for a bootcamp is still an investment, and it varies based on the program you choose. However, it is still less expensive than pursuing a college degree.

Structure is another benefit of coding bootcamps. You can find a lot of basic coding information online for cheap, or even free. But if you don’t know where to find that information or where to get started, self-study can be difficult. A coding bootcamp is structured, and does all the planning for you.

Software engineering bootcamps are more flexible and affordable than a college degree. They also focus more on practical study, while many college courses teach theory. Furthermore, college degrees require you to take general courses and electives alongside program courses. As a bootcamp enrollee, you’ll only need to study coursework related to your chosen path.

Possible drawbacks of software engineering bootcamps

While bootcamps are a viable option for many people, they may not suit others. Many bootcamps have students work in cohorts, or groups. Cohorts work together in the same program and mainly interact with each other. Bootcamps may not be the best option for you if you prefer to work alone.

If you choose the self-paced or remote programs at a coding bootcamp, be prepared to learn a lot in a short period of time. Bootcamps require students to be self-motivated, driven, and quick learners. There’s a risk of falling behind or getting lost and failing to complete the bootcamp.

Consider the cost of software engineering bootcamps, too. Even though bootcamps are less expensive than four-year degrees, they can still be costly. Course Report found that the average in-person coding bootcamp cost $13,584 in 2019.  

Can you get a job after a coding bootcamp?

As you’ve seen, many software engineering bootcamps prepare their graduates for entry-level employment with career success support, mentorships, employee partnerships to help them get hired, and other services. Some bootcamps even offer money-back guarantees if a graduate cannot find a job within a certain time period after they graduate. 

A 2021 study by Switchup found that, when comparing how many bootcamp graduates found lucrative tech jobs against graduates of traditional colleges, the overall percentages were similar. Getting a computer science degree is no longer the only way to score a job at one of the Big Five — Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft. 

If you’re willing to work hard, it’s worth the cost

In our opinion, software engineering bootcamps are worth the cost if you’re willing to put in the work. You can learn the skills needed to become a software engineer and hone them at the same time. You can also choose to learn in-person or virtually, full-time or part-time. 

They’re not the best option for everyone, however. If you don’t like learning socially, need time to absorb coursework, or don’t have room in your budget, you might explore free or low-cost coding programs online first. 

Software engineering jobs aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, so if you’ve been thinking about making a career change or starting down this career path, a coding bootcamp may be a great place to start.

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