Computer Science Degree vs. Coding Bootcamp: Which Is the Best Choice for Aspiring Developers?

Austin Coding Academy
February 11, 2019
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If you’re just starting to consider pursuing a career as a developer, you’ve probably done your fair share of research. What does a typical day look like? How much money can I expect to make? What do I need to learn before I can apply for a position?

Depending on where you’re looking online or who you’re talking to, you may have picked up that many developers have a bachelor’s degree (or higher) in computer science. In fact, until recently, a CS degree was the most direct path into a career in code.

But while many people working as developers have degrees in computer science, that doesn’t mean it’s a requirement. In fact, as the cost of college continues to rise with every passing year, there are fewer people who are willing or able to sink that kind of money (or time) into getting a degree. Meanwhile, the demand for capable developers hasn’t slowed down.

This is where coding schools (like Austin Coding Academy) come into the picture. As more and more developers are needed to build the technology we depend on every day, and with fewer people able to press pause on their lives for four years, coding schools offer a way to get smart, motivated people up to speed so that they can enter the booming tech workforce.

To get a job as a developer, you could opt for an expensive four-year education— including a bunch of random classes that have nothing to do with learning to code— or you could enroll in a coding school and get your coding career started sooner. Here’s why a coding school (like Austin Coding Academy) is a better option for people who want to become developers:

More Life-Friendly Schedule

Students enrolled in a four-year degree program are generally unable to get their education while also holding down a full-time job. Between unusual course schedules, group projects, and study time for a wide variety of courses, most full-time college students can’t also be full-time employees.

Students in coding schools like Austin Coding Academy, on the other hand, are able to continue working in their full-time jobs while taking classes in the evenings. Many ACA students have said that this factor gave them the peace of mind and financial flexibility to take the leap. In just two nights a week, ACA students get the education they need to transition out of their current day jobs and into their dream careers as full-time developers.

Smaller Class Sizes

In most four-year universities, students are required to take numerous prerequisite courses before they get to start learning any of the practical knowledge they’ll need in the working world. These entry-level classes are big money-makers for universities, since they can pack huge groups of students into a lecture hall with one professor. In these environments, there’s often very little (if any) personal interaction between the instructor and most of the students.

At Austin Coding Academy, there isn’t a long list of prerequisite coursework to do before jumping in; there’s just one introductory course, and it has a limited class size just like our intermediate and advanced courses. We believe in keeping our classes small— a maximum of 20 students— so that each student is able to get individualized attention when they hit a snag.

As an added bonus, these smaller class sizes mean our students get a chance to know and build friendships with their classmates. The result is a warm, positive environment where fellow students and instructors serve as a support network to encourage each other when the going gets tough.

Lower Cost

The cost of a single year at a four-year university is enough to give most people a serious case of sticker shock. According to The College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees per year ranges from $9,410 at a public school (for in-state students) all the way up to a whopping $32,410 for private schools. These figures don’t include living expenses, either.

One of our goals at Austin Coding Academy is to provide the best value and return on investment for our students. That means keeping our class prices accessible to hard-working, motivated students, and it’s why we provide affordable tuition— with no opaque fees tacked on top. Our students know exactly what they’re paying for: a high-quality, useful coding education.

Professors with Real-World Experience

Academia operates with its own antiquated rules, meaning that most university professors are professors by trade. When students get a computer science degree, they’re likely to be taught by instructors who haven’t worked as developer recently— if ever.

In contrast, every Austin Coding Academy instructor is currently employed in the tech industry. Because of this, they’re able to adapt their instruction to reflect what’s happening in the industry at the moment. Even better: their students get to learn from people who know exactly what practical skills they’ll rely on to do their jobs every day.

Commitment to Getting You a Job

At the end of a four-year college education, students are rewarded with a diploma that proves they’ve taken the required coursework to graduate. This piece of paper may or may not help them get a job in their chosen field.

At the end of an ACA education, sure, there’s a certificate. But more importantly, our students leave with a professional network, an impressive portfolio demonstrating their new skills, and the support of our well-connected staff to help them find a job as a developer shortly after graduation.

Recent ACA graduate Stephanie had multiple job offers within a month of graduation— listen to her experience in her own words.

At Austin Coding Academy, we’re committed to providing the best possible return on our students’ investments. When students enroll at ACA to get on the path to their dream jobs, we’re with them every step of the way— from the first class through to a new career (and beyond).

That’s why we make it a priority to help our graduates find high-paying jobs in the tech industry as soon as they finish their ACA coursework. We’re able to do this through the connections our former students, instructors, and other staff maintain with movers and shakers (and hiring managers) all over the tech industry in Austin. Our former students are currently working as JavaScript developers, full stack developers, QA engineers, and project managers, to name a few.

Is ACA the Right Fit for You?

If you’re ready to make a career change to get into a challenging, exciting, dynamic role in the tech sector, it’s important to remember that a computer science degree is not the only way to get there. An Austin Coding Academy education can get you the same results in less time, for less money, and without the risk involved in quitting your full-time job to enroll in school. Our knowledgeable and supportive staff will ensure that your coursework reflects what’s needed in the real world right now, so you can be sure that you’ve got the most in-demand skills in the job market.

If you’d like to learn more, download our course guide and/or contact us today— we’d be happy to answer any of your questions or schedule time to give you an in-person tour of either of our campuses. Not living in Austin? We’ve got you! Our remote classes provide the same quality instruction you’d get in person.

Ready to take the next step toward your dream career? Our next session starts August 20. Apply here.