Coding boot camps offer a quick fix to the tech talent shortage for companies scrambling to hire skilled workers. These short-term certificate programs usually take three to six months to complete and cost a fraction of the price of a bachelor’s degree.

But how do coding boot camp graduates fare in the job market compared to applicants with computer science degrees? To find out how viable boot camp credentials are in the workforce, SwitchUp compared in-field employment rates for coding boot camp alumni and graduates from university computer science departments.

We found that, on average, coding boot camp certificates and computer science degrees result in nearly identical in-field employment rates.

Overall, 67% of alumni from coding boot camps landed a job in their field within a year. Comparatively, 68% of university graduates with computer science degrees found jobs in their field in a year.

While coding boot camp alumni and computer science majors typically get jobs in their field at the same rate, university alumni are more likely to pursue further education after their program.

Coding boot camp alumni enroll in graduate school less often, which makes sense given the nature of their program. Boot camps are designed to help people pivot into tech with the clear purpose of entering the field after graduation. In contrast, students in bachelor’s programs are more likely to enroll with the goal of pursuing higher levels of education.

It’s important to note that coding boot camp alumni represent a mix of educational backgrounds and work experience. While some people enroll without a degree or tech experience, others may have a degree in a different field or already work in the industry.

We took a deep dive into the employment rates for 22 coding boot camps and compared them to computer science departments from 35 well-known universities to get a better sense of how alumni fare in the workforce.

The very best (80% or higher employment rate)

The top programs with the highest in-field employment rates were coding boot camps. Codesmith, Devmountain, Tech Elevator and Hack Reactor all had at least 80% of graduates working in the field within a year.

Only two computer science departments — the University of Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins University — had in-field employment rates of 80% or higher.

These coding boot camps also beat computer science departments from many well-known universities:

  • Stanford University (61%)
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (56%)
  • California Institute of Technology (64%)
  • University of California – Berkeley (67%)
  • University of Southern California (72%)
  • Yale University (58%)
  • Princeton University (59%)

These findings don’t just highlight how viable coding boot camps are against computer science degrees in the workforce. They also reflect the growing trend away from traditional education models in the tech industry. As the demand for tech talent continues to grow, coding boot camps and other quick and affordable training programs will become increasingly necessary for the workforce to keep pace.

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