The coding boot camp is currently one of the most exciting innovations in tech education. Starting with Dev Bootcamp in 2012, the market for short-term, intensive programming workshops has exploded, with new startups emerging by the dozen; in only four years, nearly 100 boot camps have opened their doors (literally and virtually) in the US.
Boot camps tend to be short-term, usually 8-12 weeks, though some, such as Trilogy Education Service’s boot camp, take up to 6 months. A study by switchip.org found that class size tends to be small, so students get strong support and mentoring, and that the boot camp model is especially attractive to women, helping close the gender gap in computer science. Boot camps are also effective – nearly 60% of graduates received a notable salary increase. According to Course Report, the number of boot camp graduates has gone up to 18,000 in 2016, from just 10,000 in 2015.
With all this success, it’s inevitable that traditional colleges and universities are getting in on the act. Many institutions are simply starting their own boot camps, such as Northeastern University’s Level, but many are learning from the best and collaborating with established companies such as Revature, Trilogy Education Services, and the Software Guild. In other cases, companies like Strayer and Kaplan have just bought coding boot camps outright, including Dev Bootcamp themselves.
While the 18,000 boot camp students represent only a fraction of the 62,000 conventional computer science graduates, it’s an idea with traction. Working adult professionals in a variety of fields are choosing to change careers or further their existing careers with boot camps instead of traditional degrees, and that number is only likely to grow. According to the BLS, web developers and programmers can expect a median salary of nearly $80,000, and even more for software developers.
The Department of Education’s TechHire Initiative, and the Educational Quality through Innovation Partnerships (EQUIP) program, have only intensified interest in the boot camp phenomenon, as they provide an opportunity for conventional academic institutions to accept federal financial aid for these alternative programs.
Value Colleges has put together a definitive list of the very best university-affiliated coding boot camps. Some of these are partnerships between traditional institutions and private companies; some are developed by universities on the boot camp model. For these 25 programs, VC has researched their value and ranked them based on three metrics:
- Reputation: U.S. News & World Report overall ranking (of academic institution, if applicable)
- Cost: complete program tuition
- ROI: alumni salary data (as reported by program or Payscale)
While the coding boot camp model is new, and still has a lot of growth and development ahead of it, Value Colleges feels confident in guiding prospective programmers to these courses, offering students the best of both worlds – the fearless entrepreneurship of the coding boot camp, and the trusted security of long-established higher education institutions.
CUNY- Queens + Revature
One of the largest senior colleges of the City University of New York, Queens College has long been recognized as one of the best values in the north, as well as a key part of social mobility in the borough; it is one of the major employers in Queens, and a significant player in residents’ lives. Revature, a tech startup in Reston, VA, offers acclaimed programming boot camps online and on location, using its reputation as a cutting-edge company to get professionals up to speed.
Queens College has partnered with Revature to offer a coding boot camp opportunity entirely free for Queens graduates. Revature provides their 12 week on-location boot camp at Queens College, offering students who complete the program employment and continuing education opportunities. Queens students and alumni will also have access to RevaturePro, Revature’s online training platform, also for free. In all, Queens and Revature expect some 2000 graduates to participate in the next 5 years.
Cost: Free (some requirements need to be met)
Northwestern University is a world-renowned private research university in Evanston, IL, a suburb of Chicago, and their location has allowed them to grow into one of the leading institutions in the nation for business, technology, and entrepreneurship. It’s no surprise, then, that they have collaborated with Trilogy Education Services, an education corporation specializing in university boot camps, to provide working professionals throughout the Chicago area with a top-tier programming boot camp.
Northwestern’s Trilogy-directed boot camp is the only university-backed program of its kind in Illinois, a full slate of programming learning designed to be completed in 24 weeks. The Northwestern boot camp is offered at both the Evanston and downtown Chicago campuses from January to June, and students need not have coding experience. It’s a fast, intensive way for Illinois professionals to learn coding, and in addition to the Northwestern reputation, students get access to career coaching and support.
Part of the University of California system – arguably the top public university system in the nation – UCLA has always been at the forefront of business, technology, and innovation. In fact, as an original node of the ARPANET, UCLA was instrumental in bringing about the internet and modern communication as we know it – as well as helping to shape computer science and programming for years to come.
UCLA is, no doubt, one of the best possible places for programming learning, and UCLA Extension offers the Coding Boot Camp, also conducted by Trilogy Education Services, a six-month program designed for working professionals with or without programming experience. A boot camp from southern California’s most respected institution has tremendous job market value, making UCLA’s program a natural choice.
Northeastern University + Level
One of the leading private research universities in the nation, in the top tier of the Carnegie Foundation research categories, Northeastern University has major sway in New England. Northeastern’s pioneering cooperative education program – in which students alternate classroom learning with real-world work experience – has made it an indispensable part of Boston’s business and non-profit sector, and a job market titan.
Northeastern created Level, a university-backed coding boot camp, in 2015 to provide the latest in coding practice to college students, starting with their own. Level has opened boot camps in Charlotte, NC, Seattle, WA, and Silicon Valley, along with Northeastern’s original site, and plans to expand further. Recognized by the Wall Street Journal as a leading new name, Level provides students with programming skills, career guidance, and networking opportunities in less than a semester.
University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
The University of North Carolina claims the title of first public university, and their long history of excellence leads to an exceptional present. As one corner of the Research Triangle Park (with Duke University and North Carolina State University), UNC helped define technology, research, and development long before Silicon Valley, and their influence in all things tech continues to today.
Like UCLA and Northwestern, UNC has partnered with Trilogy Education Services to offer Trilogy’s top-quality programming boot camp in North Carolina. Working adults can learn all they need to know about web development in just six months, and while coding experience helps, none is required. Plus, UNC’s connections throughout the Research Triangle puts students in easy distance to tech luminaries like IBM, SAS, and more.
University of Missouri + Revature
No institution means more to the academic and cultural life of Missouri than the University of Missouri. The first university to open in the frontier west of the Mississippi, Mizzou brought education to the Midwest and remains one of the region’s leading research institutions. Mizzou’s College of Engineering is one of the top in the region, with an acclaimed Department of Computer Science and IT.
Like Queens College, the University of Missouri and Revature have come together to offer an incredible opportunity for both students and graduates – a completely free entry into Revature’s excellent coding boot camp. This on-campus, 12-week boot camp includes industry certifications, living allowance for attendance, and guaranteed employment by Revature for all who complete the program. At no cost for Mizzou alumni, it’s an excellent entry into the field.
Cost: Free for UM students and graduates
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX is known for culture, music, art, and all sorts of weirdness, but in the 21st century it’s also become synonymous with the tech industry, thanks to SXSW, a burgeoning tech economy, and the University of Texas. UT has always been an innovative institution, and their computer science department, plus the support and encouragement of the city, has made Austin a destination for start-ups, established corporations, and millions of workers.
UT Austin offers a coding boot camp in collaboration with Trilogy Education Services, providing working professionals throughout the region access to a thorough set of programming skills. This 24 week program prepares students for immediate entry into the programming field, and strong career support helps them get there. Plus, in 2017 UT will begin offering a second boot camp option, a 13-week program led by MakerSquare. This experiment, supported by the US Department of Education, provides non-traditional, especially low income, students with the means to attend courses and boot camps for an alternative education.
Seattle University is a small private Catholic liberal arts and sciences institution with a strong reputation. Ranked as one of the top 5 regional universities in the west by U.S. News & World Report, Seattle U is also noted for having one of the highest average salary rates for graduates in the nation. Seattle University is best known for the Albers School of Business and Economics, one of the top-ranked business schools in the region.
Rather than collaborating with another company or institution, Seattle University has developed their own coding boot camp, a 3 course, summer intensive introduction to the field for working adults with little or no programming experience. With regular course times on Monday-Thursday each day for 12 weeks, Seattle’s boot camp takes around 20 hours per week of work to complete, but the certification carries the name of one of the nation’s most trusted business schools.
Rutgers University lives up to its designation as the State University of New Jersey; a Colonial College (founded before the Revolutionary War), Rutgers is the premiere public institution in the state, a center of research and learning in the humanities, agriculture, engineering, health, technology, and every other field. The Rutgers reputation is known and appreciated across the US.
Working professionals seeking education and credentialing in programming can earn that Rutgers reputation themselves with the Rutgers Coding Boot Camp. Developed in collaboration with Trilogy Education Services, the Rutgers Coding Boot Camp is a 24 week program offered at Rutgers’ Somerset and Jersey City campuses, designed to get busy working adults programming across a range of languages. With Rutgers’ reputation and network of partners, it’s a safe way to move into a new career trajectory.
Bellevue College + Coding Dojo
Bellevue College is a large, open-enrollment institution, part of the Washington Community and Technical Colleges system. Formerly Bellevue Community College, Bellevue began offering four-year degrees in 2007, though they are still primarily recognized for their associate and transfer programs. With 37,000 students, Bellevue is the largest institution in Washington for 2-year degrees, professional studies, and continuing education.
University of North Carolina - Charlotte
The city of Charlotte, NC, has grown by leaps and bounds in the last two decades, driven by the global banking industry which has made Charlotte the second most important city for banking in the nation, after New York. Along with that explosive growth has come a booming job market, particularly in fields related to banking – including technology. UNC Charlotte has kept pace, developing their business and technology programs to meet the demand for qualified, trained professionals.
To move Charlotte’s working adults into the realm of computer programming, and to help older programmers keep up with the times, UNC Charlotte has built a coding boot camp with Trilogy Education Services, much like the program offered by flagship UNC Chapel Hill. The six month program meets at the UNCC campus on evenings and weekends, preparing students for the complexities of contemporary coding in a convenient format, with strong student support and collaborative work.
Wilmington University + Zip Code Wilmington
A mid-sized private liberal arts and sciences institution, Wilmington University is one of the most respected universities in Delaware. WU’s reputation has risen as it has developed its professional programs in fields like health sciences, business, and technology, while their online and distance education programs have grown to over 90 degrees and certificates. Wilmington University is showing itself a leader in the Northeast.
Wilmington University has teamed up with Zip Code Wilmington, a unique non-profit coding academy. Wilmington University’s 3-month Zip Code coding boot camp prepares students for the tech job market with courses dedicated to the languages and skills employers consider most in demand. Students who complete the program are offered 26-week internships with Zip Code’s local partners, a benefit unlike any competitors, and Wilmington University students can attend for free.
University of Central Florida
With more than 60,000 students worldwide, the University of Central Florida is the largest university in the US by total enrollment, an extraordinary feat for an institution that is just 50 years old. UCF was founded to provide professionals and technicians to drive Florida’s Space Coast, and as a space-grant institution, UCF’s research has helped fuel the discoveries that made modern technology possible.
UCF, in partnership with Trilogy Education Services, offers the only coding boot camp associated with a university available in Florida. The proven Trilogy method is a six month intensive boot camp that combines all of the most market-ready programming skills into one convenient package, giving students the equivalent of years of experience in only weeks. It’s an industry leader from one of the most innovative universities in the world.
Concordia University - St. Paul + Software Guild
Concordia University, St. Paul, is a small liberal arts university that has created a big reputation for itself in the 21st century. Part of the Concordia University system, Concordia St. Paul is one of ten organized Lutheran schools that together have become a name in online education, mixing the quality and student support of a small religious college with the convenience of well-developed online education. The Software Guild is a modern spin on the traditional medieval guild, setting students up as apprentices to learn a host of programming skills in a short period of time.
Concordia St. Paul and the Software Guild have teamed up to offer the Guild’s 12-week Coding Boot Camp for Concordia students. The Concordia/Software Guild boot camp includes 12 college credits for Concordia students, and a certification with the respected Concordia name. With a market-focused approach, students learn the most desirable programming languages and benefit from a strong network for a 95% job success rate.
Sacred Heart University
Sacred Heart University is one of the first-rate private Catholic liberal arts institutions in New England, ranked among the top regional university for the North by U.S. News & World Report, and second in student population only to the renowned Boston College. SHU’s business programs, from the Welch College of Business, have been recognized by Bloomberg among the best in the nation.
Now SHU is giving students a shot at the future of technology with the Sacred Heart Coding Boot Camp Graduate Certificate program. SHU’s boot camp is built on 4 to 6 courses from the Master of Science in Computer Science and Information Technology, and students who earn the boot camp certification can also apply those courses to a full master’s degree. With Sacred Heart’s reputation in New England, boot camp students can count on a place in the job market.
Seattle Central College + Launch code
Seattle Central College is part of the Seattle Colleges District, a conglomeration of three former community colleges which, taken together, constitute the second-largest college in the state of Washington. One of the nation’s most diverse colleges, Seattle Central specializes in professional and technical education, and serves a student population that includes many underrepresented, immigrant, and refugee students.
Seattle Central College has collaborated with LaunchCode as part of the TechHire Initiative to provide free programming courses throughout Seattle. The LaunchCode process sends students through an intensive training program, verifies them as apprentices in the LaunchCode network for mentoring, and connects them with LaunchCode’s many corporate partners across the Pacific Northwest tech community for apprenticeship and jobs. Some 90% of LaunchCode apprentices find full-time employment.
Marylhurst University + Epicodus
The first women’s college in Oregon, and one of the first colleges in the Pacific Northwest region altogether, Marylhurst University has been recognized as one of the top regional universities for the west by U.S. News & World Report. With an emphasis on the liberal arts and business, Marylhurst received Princeton Review’s attention as a top business school, and their appeal to working adult students has only increased in recent years.
Epicodus is a vocational coding and programming school in Portland, OR and Seattle, WA. As part of the Department of Education’s Educational Quality Through Innovative Partnerships (EQUIP) program, Marylhurst and Epicodus are offering a free coding courses for disadvantaged students, complete with college credit. Epicodus’ flipped courses focus all class time on actual team coding, solving real-world problems and preparing students for the real challenges of a computer programming career.
Central New Mexico Community College + Deep Dive Coding Bootcamp
Central New Mexico Community College, with 26,000 students, is the largest undergraduate institution in the state of New Mexico, bringing together technical education, professional studies, and liberal arts for students to earn associate’s degrees, certificates, and college transfer credits. CNMCC presents the best chance for Albuquerque’s working adults and young people from low-income and disadvantaged backgrounds to work their way into professional life.
Students at CNMCC have a unique opportunity to learn the most in-demand coding languages from the Deep Dive Coding Bootcamp, a part of the STEMulus Center, an innovative training center that also includes a brew school and accelerated business administration program. The Deep Dive boot camp is an evening and weekend intensive perfect for preparing New Mexico’s workers for the state’s growing tech industry.
Lynn University + Wyncode + General Assembly
A small, private college in Boca Raton, FL, Lynn University has made its name on experimentation, early adoption, and risk taking, from its pioneering iPad initiative to its global outreach. Named one of the most innovative universities in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, Lynn prides itself on career-focused education, winning Apple’s Distinguished School designation, and recognition as one of the best colleges to work for.
With their eye on the future, Lynn University has built partnerships with two cutting-edge tech educators. Lynn University and General Assembly have collaborated to provide Lynn students with entry into General Assembly’s acclaimed 16 week Tech Semester, or their 10-day intensive program, for coding education. In addition, Miami’s Wyncode Academy offers Lynn University students access to their 9-week coding boot camp. Both programs keep Lynn’s reputation for educational impact intact.
Cost: $14,000 (General Assembly)/$10,000 (Wyncode)
Community College of Allegheny County + Mined Minds
The Community College of Allegheny County is one of the most important educational institutions in Pittsburgh, educating more than 37,000 students, nearly all of whom live locally in Pittsburgh. As the city of Pittsburgh moves to a post-industrial economy, providing quality, low-cost technical and professional education is essential, and CCAC is making available the education Pittsburgh’s working adults need.
A non-profit software development training center, Mined Minds, offers a coding boot camp with CCAC, providing students with a 320-hour course in the most in-demand programming languages used in today’s systems. Mined Minds’ mission is to provide modern education for the people of western Pennsylvania and West Virginia, especially those left without work in the coal industry, and the CCAC boot camp is a merging of missions for the good of the people.
Wichita state + Software Guild
A mid-sized, public research university, Wichita State University has been widely recognized for its excellent social mobility standing, providing working-class and underserved students with educational opportunities and entry into professional careers. With its agricultural and mechanical background, WSU’s programs in applied sciences and technology are nationally-ranked, and their professional programs have had a major impact on the Kansas economy.
It is in that spirit of uplift and innovation that Wichita State offers the Software Guild Coding Boot Camp, a fully online, 10-month program in the most market-ready programming languages in the tech industry. WSU’s boot camp is designed for beginners, and with the Software Guild’s 95% job success rate, provides Wichita State’s working adult students with a secure way into a rewarding career.
Antioch College + Sabio
Antioch University, a five-campus liberal arts and sciences institution, is a system originally created by the renowned Antioch College (which is an independent institution today). With a focus on experimental education and experiential learning, Antioch uses a narrative-based grading system rather than conventional letter grades. Antioch University Los Angeles has been acclaimed for its diversity, its world-class MFA program, and its research in urban sustainability.
As part of Antioch’s mission to bring career success to Los Angeles’ working class, Antioch University offers a Web Development Certificate in tandem with Sabio, a Southern California and Seattle based software development boot camp. Antioch’s six month certificate program is taught in two 12-week intensive courses, for a total of 36 credits, which can also be applied to an undergraduate degree at Antioch. The Antioch certificate prepares students for a career in Full Stack web development.
Strayer University + New York Code & Design
Strayer University, a regionally-accredited, nation-wide for-profit educator, provides adult education in technical and professional fields at more than 75 campuses and online. With its roots in Strayer’s Business College, which was established to teach business skills to Maryland farmers, Strayer has always specialized in bringing practical, career-focused skills to the working class, and that mission continues today.
Kaplan University + Dev Bootcamp
Dev Bootcamp is widely recognized as the originator of the coding boot camp concept, appearing in 2012 to provide intensive web development and programming education in San Francisco, CA. It was immediately recognized as an idea whose time had come, and has quickly become one of the most imitated models in the tech industry. Today Dev Bootcamp offers more than 95 bootcamps in 65 cities, and has continued to grow after being bought by Kaplan, Inc. in 2014.
The Kaplan acquisition allowed Dev Bootcamp to expand its offering beyond its original borders. The Dev Bootcamp program is made up of three components: a 9 week series of remote coding classes, followed by a 9 week immersive experience at one of Dev Bootcamp’s locations (San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle, Austin, Chicago, and New York City), then a single week of career coaching. It’s a proven model that has shown exciting results.