Boot camp or university education?
A $260,000 four year investment or a $15,000 15 week investment with potentially the same outcome? Some aspiring software developers would choose the $15,000 option. After all, $1,000 a week to learn how to code would seem much more reasonable than over $60,000 a year. I think the most reasonable solution, however, is a blend of the two options. In order to arrive at this conclusion, I weighed the benefits of a university level education with the downsides:
Benefits of College
Silicon Valley is looking for degrees: Perhaps I am biased as a soon-to-be university graduate, but I believe that I have an advantage in the job seeking field due to my college level education. One factor in this is due to what Silicon Valley seems to be looking for: according to the Wall Street Journal, 75% of Silicon Valley tech companies specify at least a Bachelor’s Degree level of education as a requirement while only 58% of companies in other industries seeking software engineers require a formal education. I think this is probably partially due to the fact that at these top tier tech firms, the average code school boot camp graduate is competing with thousands of students with top tier, prestigious and highly coveted technical university degrees. Companies rely on the well-established pedigree of these schools in hiring developers and are therefore biased towards these students rather than someone who just took a 4 month course in coding.
Benefits of Boot camp
Short time span: If one wants to get up and running quickly in coding, then a boot camp is definitely the best option. You can avoid spending hours a week for several months a year on seemingly less useful classes like Philosophy and Literature. This, however, would make more sense for someone who wants to specialize entirely in technology and doesn’t feel pressured to have a more rounded education.
Blend of the two
I think a more sensible option might be to combine the quick pace of boot camp with the comprehensive nature and prestige of college in a two year college degree in computer science. This accelerated degree would only be suitable for people who were certain that they wanted to do computer science as it would only require fundamental computer science classes. Despite its accelerated nature and lower cost, it would still provide important foundational knowledge and a degree to ensure that its graduates landed good jobs. One important consideration in this type of program though would be that it can’t just award you with an associate’s degree. Because these companies are looking for bachelor degrees, this program would somehow have to result in an accelerated bachelor degree. I’m not sure if it would be possible, but I do think cutting classes like Physics I-II and Chemistry would be a good place to start!