You don’t need a college degree to find work as a software engineer, although it helps with more specialized roles. Thanks to the rise of coding bootcamps and readily available online learning tools, developing the skills needed to prepare you for a technical role is much different in 2021 than it was a decade ago. According to a new study, bootcamps may even be more effective at getting students into tech jobs than colleges or universities.
But it depends on the bootcamp.
Research related to analytics company workforce trends Burning glass technologies and analyzed by Switch up, a site for finding bootcamps, says some bootcamps have higher tech employment rates than computer science programs at top universities. At the same time, bootcamp alumni are less likely to continue their education after completing their bootcamps than college alumni.
Burning Glass assessed the field employment rates of boot camp and college alumni in the year after graduation, as well as the percentage of people continuing their education. The top 21 bootcamps with over 50% field employment were compared to employment data from 35 top-ranked computer science programs. Learn more about the SwitchUp methodology.
The organization has found that bootcamps offer similar, and in some cases higher, field employment rates than computer science degrees from well-known and respected universities — around 67 and 68 percent, respectively. While these bootcamp graduates tend not to continue their education after graduation, many bootcamp graduates already have college degrees before entering bootcamps, the report notes.
Four bootcamps saw at least 80% of their graduates land tech jobs after completing their programs, while only two universities – University of Pennsylvania and that of Baltimore Johns Hopkins University — had the same rates. One of these bootcamps is technical lift, which has five physical campuses, including Philly, Pittsburgh and one soon in Wilmington.
Tech Elevator counted 85% of its graduates landing tech jobs, compared to Penn’s 84%. Of Penn’s technology graduates, 43% work in information technology, including a significant portion hired by the Big Five technology companies. Other ranked bootcamps include Flatiron School, with a field employment rate of 67%; General assembly, with a rate of 64% and an online “community” focused on Philly; and Coding Dojo, with a rate of 56%. (Flatiron, for its part, claims a global job placement rate of 86%, particularly for graduates seeking employment from calendar year 2019 who are now in full-time salaried positions, on-the-job contracts. full-time, internships, apprenticeships and freelance positions, and part-time, all related to their field of study.)
Although bootcamps can cost participants thousands of dollars, on average they are only a fraction of the cost and time of a typical college training. Bootcamps are not without their flaws, but the report is further proof that they should be considered a serious option for anyone looking to land their first tech job.
Michael Butler is a 2020-2022 corps member of Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism. -30-