Coding Bootcamp Programs

Written by Teo Schmeetz


Coding bootcamps have grown exponentially since the first program launched in 2011. Schools offer nontraditional pathways into software engineering, and these schools met the demand for quick, intensive programming education outside the traditional university environment. Typically a few months long, top coding bootcamps take a trade school-like approach to coding, allowing graduates to learn the necessary information to enter the workforce.

According to a 2017 report in the New York Times, coding bootcamps numbered almost 100 and turned out 18,000 per year, a huge leap from the 2,220 graduated in 2002. Initially, schools propagated in Silicon Valley and other tech centers. Today, they spread nationwide and around the globe, continuing to boom.

Some of the biggest players in the industry, like New York-based General Assembly, now look almost like miniature universities, with multiple programs and large alumni networks. More than 70,000 students completed the company's programs, and it counts Google, Microsoft, Visa, and Loreal among its hiring partners. The General Assembly offers full- and part-time programs in data science, software engineering, data analytics, and web development at twenty locations across the country and online.

Schools like General Assembly created unique ways of luring students, beyond simply providing a quick turnaround and a route to coding jobs. Many, including Lambda and Fullstack Academy, allow students to attend for free, charging tuition only after they land a job. Others, including App Academy and Thinkful, offer money-back guarantees that graduates will find employment.

These sorts of enticements continue to attract aspiring programmers away from computer science degree programs. Read on to learn what the best coding bootcamps can offer. You can also learn more about bootcamps with our coding bootcamp guide.

The Best Coding Bootcamp Programs for 2020

Methodology

Because of the proliferation of coding bootcamps, finding the right program can seem overwhelming. The industry is still nascent, so it can prove difficult to determine which programs hold good reputations and which ones should be avoided. Currently, no accrediting agency exists for bootcamps, and because of this, many students feel wary to enroll.

We created this list to narrow down the options and single out the twenty best schools. To do so, we compared a variety of bootcamps, ranking them using several different criteria. First, we looked at the largest players in the industry, which included programs with the largest numbers of students and alumni.

We then evaluated student reviews, exploring how graduates felt about their experience. Did they learn what they expected to learn? Did they find their money well spent? Did they land a job after they left? We then factored in whether bootcamps provided verifiable outcomes, some sort of guarantee of employment, a deferred-payment or income share agreement option, or transparency through an outside auditing agency like the Council on Integrity in Results Reporting.

Many schools met these criteria, and we included only the top twenty.

Flatiron School Expand - Plus/Minus

Based in New York, the Flatiron School boasts nine locations across the U.S. plus a virtual campus. Founded in 2012 as an accelerated coding school in Manhattan's Flatiron District, the school now offers instruction in software engineering, data science, cybersecurity, and UX/UI design.

Flatiron hosts several kinds of classes. Its flagship software engineering course lasts 15 weeks and immerses participants in full stack web development, Javascript, and Ruby on Rails. Other programs, like cybersecurity, take 12 weeks. Online classes run in full-time, part-time, or self-paced sessions.

The mission of the school remains to provide an alternative to computer science university programs, removing the financial barrier to education. It does this using flexible finance options, including an Income Share Agreement. Students sign a contract, put down a modest deposit, and then pay nothing else until after they find a job and begin earning at a minimum threshold.

Admissions counselors use an interview-based process to determine whether applicants will fit into the Flatiron culture. The school offers career services and publishes an externally audited Jobs Report providing learners with outcomes. Flatiron also provides a money-back guarantee for certain programs.

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Fullstack Academy Expand - Plus/Minus

Established in 2012 in New York, Fullstack hosts classes in coding in Manhattan, Chicago, and online. The school offers full- and part-time coursework in coding, cybersecurity, and web development. The college places emphasis on problem-solving and writing code that proves efficient, secure, and maintainable. A founding member in the Council on Integrity in Results Reporting, Fullstack believes in outcomes transparency, giving students a guarantee of quality.

Fullstack's instruction starts before admission. The institution offers inexpensive bootcamp prep programs to ready students for the intensive experience, which it compares to moving to Beijing and learning Chinese. At the real bootcamp, the JavaScript-based curriculum opens with a deep immersion in the bedrock principles of computer science, including data structures, algorithms, run-time analysis, object-oriented programming, databases, and software design. Working in cohorts, students learn about front and back-end development.

In the latter stages of the program, instructors begin to match participants' interests with potential employers, a process that continues after graduation. Alumni now work at Google, Amazon, Facebook, Spotify, eBay, LinkedIn, J.P. Morgan, and Goldman Sachs. The school offers a tuition-deferred program for women.

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Hack Reactor Expand - Plus/Minus

Hack Reactor boasts more than 8,000 alumni. With locations in eight major U.S. cities and online, the school provides comprehensive software engineering instruction. In the bootcamp's three-month on-site and remote programs, students receive 800 hours of computer science and JavaScript training shaped by the needs of industry. The company also hosts a nine-month online option that runs part time.

The school uses a two- to four-month admissions procedure that begins with prospective students demonstrating the ability to complete an introductory curriculum. The multistep process includes completing projects, passing assessments, and finishing a precourse. Those who make it through the rigorous admissions gain acceptance into the bootcamp. The basic prep course costs nothing.

Hack Reactor connects students with reputable loan companies to help pay tuition and offers transparency through Council on Integrity in Results Reporting. The company enjoys relationships with 300-plus hiring partners, which landed alumni at organizations like Google, Apple, PayPal, Intuit, Yelp, and NASA.

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Bloc Expand - Plus/Minus

Bloc designed its career-minded, adult-oriented programs for beginners and keeps things simple. Students can select from two tracks in coding for the internet: web developer and designer. The San Francisco company offered the first 100% online bootcamp when it launched in 2012, following with the first tuition-reimbursement policy in 2015. Bloc guarantees graduates leave with the skills to land a job or offers their money back.

In the web developer bootcamp, online learners receive an education in the fundamentals of web construction, including front-end and back-end development. The design track features instruction in researching, developing, and building modern applications for the internet. Bloc set up its self-paced coursework to prepare graduates for careers within six months of completion.

Part of the Thinkful family, Bloc provides a variety of funding options for students. These include monthly subscriptions, prorated refunds for those who move quickly through the program, and extensions for those who need more time. The school uses an open-admission policy.

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Lambda School Expand - Plus/Minus

Established in 2016, Lambda ranks among the most high-profile coding bootcamps to offer a deferred payment plan. The Silicon Valley school uses an online format, offering programs in data science, full stack web, and iOS development. Classes meet in real time, and students work in teams under the guidance of team leads.

Like many bootcamps, Lambda requires applicants to complete precourse work before enrolling in one of its three tracks. Those interested in the web-development track must also pass tests before they matriculate.

In Lambda's deferred payment model, students pay nothing upfront and only repay their tuition when they land a job paying $50,000 or more. When they receive that new position, they pay 17% of their salary for two years. If they can't find work for more than 60 months, they pay nothing. Because the company invests in students' futures, it constructed a rigorous career services arm. The school connects learners with its large network of alumni, employee partners, and local mentors to help get them hired.

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App Academy Expand - Plus/Minus

Launched in 2012, App Academy offered the first deferred tuition plan among coding bootcamps. With campuses in San Francisco, New York, and online, the bootcamp boasts a very selective acceptance rate. Admitted learners join a class of smart, determined, like-minded people.

App Academy offers full-time, immersive classes, whether online or in person. Industry leaders helped the company design and adapt its curriculum to meet the needs of today's employers. The curriculum comprises rigorous, in-depth coursework in developing client and server software. The school boasts that it can turn students into full stack software engineers in just 16 weeks. Students who go through pre-bootcamp training significantly improve their chance of admission.

App Academy also caps its max tuition, never taking more than 28% of the first qualifying salary of those who opt in. Most who graduate report comfortable compensation, with a median salary of $101,000 among graduates. Since its founding, more than 1,000 companies hired the school's graduates. These include Google, Dropbox, PayPal, Facebook, and Pinterest.

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Thinkful Expand - Plus/Minus

Part of Chegg's academic empire, Thinkful offers a suite of online bootcamp programs beyond traditional software engineering. Students can also pursue data science, data analytics, UX/UI design, digital marketing, and even project management through the Santa Clara company. They pay nothing until they begin earning $40,000 or more.

Thinkful's programs adapt to participants' schedules. The school offers full-time, five-month options that require 50-60 hours of commitment per week. Part-time tracks accommodate students who need a more flexible schedule. They graduate in six months, working 25-30 hours per week. The company provides one-on-one daily mentoring advice from teacher experts during the program and six months of career coaching afterwards. Learners also often work with local classmates on projects, forming teams of support.

Career support includes interview preparation, networking help, and assistance in locating work. The company reports that graduates landed at Google, IBM, Boeing, Amazon, and Walmart Labs. Membership in the program guarantees transparency in results reporting.

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Springboard Expand - Plus/Minus

Established in 2013, Springboard has already educated more than 10,000 students and logged almost half-a-billion hours of instruction. The San Francisco-based company takes a mentor-based approach, assigning each student an advisor to help them master coursework. Online bootcamps typically last six months, with tracks in software engineering, ML engineering, data science, data analytics, and UI/UX design. Like many other bootcamps, Springboard offers deferred tuition and extends a job guarantee to its students.

Springboard uses problem sets, case studies, and project-based assignments to give distance learners hands-on experience. Many courses involve creating a portfolio, which many graduates use to show employers. Advisors make sure students stay on track and students present with their final project. Most classes run part time and take 10-20 hours a week.

At Springboard, cohorts begin every month. For each course, it offers a preparation track, readying participants for the rigor of the full-fledged bootcamp. Career advisors help graduates with the next steps.

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General Assembly Expand - Plus/Minus

Among the largest bootcamps, General Assembly began in 2011 in New York and now runs more than 30 campuses worldwide. The school boasts 70,000 alumni spread across the globe and over 19,000 hiring partners. The school offers an unusually variety of programs both online and in person and also provides training programs through employers.

General Assembly's extensive list of courses include full-time immersions in software engineering, data science, UX design, and digital marketing. The company's part-time offerings include subjects like Python programming, data analytics, product management, visual design, front-end web development, JavaScript, development, and React development. The program also offers shorter-term classes in data analysis, UX design, HTML, CSS, and web design, JavaScript development, and digital marketing.

Most of General Assembly's programs use pay-up-front financing, but the company hosts a Catalyst Program that features an Income Share Agreement.

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Tech Talent South Expand - Plus/Minus

Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, TTS hosts coding seminars, workshops, and bootcamps in more than a dozen cities. These include immersive, eight-week seminars in Java and two-day classes in Google Analytics. Most of the school's offerings fall into four categories -- front-end, back-end, programming, and web development. The company also built a reputation for its corporate training programs.

TTS aims its coursework at beginners and provides full- and part-time options. Typical camps last 8-10 weeks, though the company also offers four-week courses in advanced coding. Students can receive immediate help from mentors or tutors if they struggle with a topic. Once they go through camp, TTS places graduates in a customized "talent pipeline," using corporate partnerships to help land jobs.

The school offers several payment options, but most include paying upfront or in installments. However, TTS offers several scholarships and a $1,000 refund to those who get into coding through its bootcamps and migrate to an undergraduate program.

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LearningFuze Expand - Plus/Minus

LearningFuze specializes in web-development bootcamps, which it runs from its home in Irvine, California. The Orange County school's 12-week immersions give students a broad education in data structures, algorithms, HTML, CSS3, JavaScript, React, PHP, Bootstrap 3&4, Firebase, and a host of other web-building tools.

The company's curriculum spreads across three phases. Students begin in a two-week preparation class, setting the framework for the bootcamp phase. The bootcamp or immersion serves as phase two, a 12-week dive into project-oriented lessons. Participants work with coaches to maximize their education. The third phase comprises the post-class search for coding bootcamp jobs, during which learners conclude their projects and present them to future employers at a Demo Day.

LearningFuze offers precourse classes free to those who sign up for the full immersion. It provides future coders with a flexible payment system, including scholarships and help with loans. Most classes involve paying upfront. The company boasts a strategic partnership with Concordia University, which can aid learners wanting to enter a traditional degree program. The program assists graduates with internships, provides career services, and offers refunds but makes no guarantees.

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DigitalCrafts Expand - Plus/Minus

A training and staffing company with locations in Atlanta and Houston, DigitalCrafts operates one of the nation's best coding bootcamps. This stems from its commitment to small class sizes, personalized instruction, and transparency. Though it provides no guarantee that graduates will find a job, it created a proven pathway to coding bootcamp careers and charges less than most of its competitors. The program also offers deferred-payment options, where graduates pay nothing until they begin making more than $40,000.

DigitalCrafts curriculum revolves around full stack web development. Students can enroll in an immersive camp or take classes on a flex schedule. Beyond bootcamp, the school offers elective workshops to both current learners and alumni, allowing them to gain hands-on experience.

The company claims it wants to help graduates find their first coding bootcamp job and every job after that. As such, student services coordinators help with portfolio creation, interview techniques, and other career services. DigitalCrafts also partners with Kennesaw State University for campus-based full stack courses backed by accreditation.

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Wyncode Expand - Plus/Minus

Wyncode hosts coding bootcamps in full stack web development and UX/UI design at its headquarters in Miami and online. The company earned the distinction of being the first coding bootcamp licensed by the Florida Department of Education's Commission for Independent Education.

In the school's intensive 10-week full stack program, students receive 350 hours of instruction and write 5,000 lines of code or more. Accepted students receive precourse instruction to get comfortable with the languages they will work with during camp. The cohort-based UX/UI program also runs for 10 weeks, schooling learners in the design, strategy, and performance of customer-facing products. Courses include professional development to ready students to enter post-bootcamp jobs.

Wyncode provides students in the full program with an income share agreement if they prefer to pay once they enter the workforce. The company also offers graduates lifetime job support and boasts that the average starting salary for 2017 graduates sat around $50,000. Alumni found employment with Miami startups and industry giants like Amazon, Microsoft, Udacity, and Magic Leap.

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Data Science Dojo Expand - Plus/Minus

Data Science Dojo offers a variety of programming that lives up to the bootcamp name; many of the Redmond, Washington, company's courses take less than a week to complete. Some, like the Internet of Things bootcamp, require just two days. Others take place over five days. The most comprehensive offering, the practicum package, however, stretches over six months. The school also hosts corporate training sessions for an extensive list of companies.

Data Science Dojo's main curriculum explores the fundamentals of data science. Alumni can log in to recorded bootcamp sessions or use the school's 50 additional exercises to freshen their skills. Graduates of the 26-week practicum program automatically gain access to a 12-week internship where they can receive valuable hands-on experience. Only learners in the practicum program receive job placement services. The school partners with the University of New Mexico to offer a data science certificate program backed by an accredited university.

The school boasts more than 4,000 graduates working at over 1,400 companies. Data Science Dojo provides several payment plan options, including monthly installments.

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Noble Desktop Expand - Plus/Minus

Perhaps the oldest coding bootcamp, Noble Desktop began operation in the 1990s. Based in New York, the company offers an extensive selection of computer training programs, including UX design, web design, graphic design, UI or visual design, motion design, AutoCad, web development, and a long list of programming languages. These run in sessions that range from 3-132 hours. The traditional coding bootcamp features 72 hours.

All of Noble Desktop's classes take place in person in Manhattan, though the school does offer remote learning as a secondary option, and uses Zoom to view courses in real time. The company provides all software and hardware, and every student in classes longer than 12 hours leave with a certificate.

Noble Desktop charges tuition upfront or uses a payment plan. While the school does not offer an income share agreement, its tuition comes in well below what a college degree might cost. The bootcamp also offers free online training seminars.

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rmotr Expand - Plus/Minus

Affiliated with the IT training company INE, rmotr uses an unusual subscription-based model to deliver a coding bootcamp-type education. Founded in 2015, the company maintains a library of courses that students can take at their own convenience. Python serves as the language of choice, and online learners gain an understanding of it in a step-by-step process, taking one course at a time.

The library uses self-paced lessons delivered across the Jupyter platform. Most courses take less than 10 hours to complete, though some take almost twice the amount of time. Students learn via pre-recorded sessions with instructors and hands-on, project-based exercises and quizzes. Each course includes free previews.

Full access to the library and all its courses costs $19 a month or $190 a year. The company constantly adds to its library, which now consists of almost 90 hours of instruction. Prices go up as new material appears, but students can lock in their rate ahead of time.

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Metis Expand - Plus/Minus

With campuses in Chicago, New York, and San Francisco, Metis remains among the very few coding bootcamps to carry traditional accreditation. The school boasts bonafides from the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training. Along with the school's affiliation with Kaplan, this offers assurance to students that Metis provides the highest level of instruction.

Metis focuses exclusively on data science, teaching participants to extract, analyze, and interpret data. The school's 12-week bootcamp includes five projects to show students how to solve problems from the inside out. Rather than simply teach theory or techniques, the curriculum requires learners to do it themselves, which results in a portfolio of work.

The school invites guest speakers and hosts Career Day events for networking opportunities. The camp also provides career services like resume workshops, mock interviews, and salary negotiation. Metis offers scholarships and payment plans to help with tuition.

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Coding Temple Expand - Plus/Minus

Coding Temple incorporates a straightforward methodology. The Chicago-based school offers students hands-on experience building applications with the latest technology in small settings, limiting class size to 6-8 students. This provides participants with a very personalized education in full stack web development.

The school offers both a full-time, 10-week immersion and a part-time online course that meets live in the evening. No matter which path students choose, they complete a capstone project that becomes part of a portfolio to show potential employers. Based on Python, the program includes professional preparation, like interview practice, resume help, one-on-one mentoring, and networking using the school's employer network.

Coding Temple offers scholarships and payment plans. The school boasts that 86% of bootcamp graduates find employment and enjoy a salary boost of 30%. The school offers a money-back guarantee to graduates who did not land a job within six months.

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The Tech Academy Expand - Plus/Minus

The Tech Academy opened in Portland, Oregon, in 2014 now boasts campuses in Denver, Salt Lake City, and online. The school's list of bootcamps include software development, C# and .net framework, data science, Python development, UI/UX design, and front-end web development. These camps require 8-22 weeks of full-time study and typically longer completion times for part-time study.

Tech Academy's bootcamps comprises individual courses in an array of topics, including basic computer technology, JavaScript, HTM and CSS, data control, and project management. The final course in each class, job placement, teaches participants what they need to enter new jobs in the field. The majority of the school's students enroll online.

The school offers an income share agreement for some of its bootcamps but recommends students pay up front or in a payment plan to save money. It offers externally audited outcome data through CIRR.

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Tech Elevator Expand - Plus/Minus

Tech Elevator has an answer for people wondering, "What is coding bootcamp?" The Cleveland-based school offers an aptitude test that fills in the details and reveals whether a student might find this model a good fit. The program also offers free "learn-to-code meetups" at its centers in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia. These info sessions give candidates a chance to learn more about the company and its camps.

At Tech Elevator's 14-week camps, students can select whether to pursue full stack coding curriculum in Java or .net languages. The camp provides a laptop and all needed software. During the end stages of the program, participants begin career preparation. The school offers coaching from its instructors and provides a variety of free information on interviewing, resumes, and networking on its site.

The school offers payment plans and some financing resources but asks for most payment upfront. Tech Elevator boasts a 95% graduation rate and a 94% job placement rate. Those who do land jobs take home an average salary of $59,000. CIRR provides transparency and credibility to the school.

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