This guide is about front-end developer bootcamps, including popular bootcamp options, cost, and time commitment.
Back in the day, if you were interested in computers or computer programming, you would study computer science at a traditional four-year university. Then you would either get a job at one of the tech giants or, depending on how far you wanted to take it, you might get a post-graduate degree and even become a professor or researcher.
However, humans didn’t predict that the tech boom would keep growing after the dot-com bubble, with no indication of it slowing down even today. The result? Many tech companies and startups are scrambling to find software engineers who were nowhere to be found.
Software development was always advertised as this thing you’d have to be a genius to study and preferably wear glasses and not go out into the sunlight very often. The solution to this pressing problem was the springing up of another branch in tech, that of intensive and rigorous education to fill in the employment gap quickly. What is this branch, you ask? Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you coding bootcamps!
Coding bootcamps, like military bootcamps, require an extraordinary amount of physical strength and endurance and require the same mental strength and capacity. What do I mean? Imagine never having seen code in your life and suddenly being thrown into an environment where within the first week, you get to build a small program or application from pure code. Sounds like sci-fi? Well, this is what these bootcamps do. They take you in with little knowledge in software development and turn you into a coder in a very short period!
Now, as their name suggests, they are bootcamps, which means they require a major time commitment on your part that usually comes with a hefty price tag. They might help you change your career, but they are by no means a magic pill. All students should expect to put forth a strenuous effort, with all-nighters being a common phenomenon.
The good thing about bootcamps is that they have become more flexible to accommodate parents and busy professionals in recent years. In the past, most of them were full-time, meaning Monday through Friday, 50 hrs/wk for 12 to 14 weeks. However, most of them now offer part-time and online courses ranging from a few months to a year and require only 20 hrs/wk. The tuition for each program varies depending on how extensive it is. Online programs are usually a bit cheaper but not enough to be a determining factor. To give you an idea, full-time programs typically range from $9,000 to $20,000 with an average of $13,584, and part-time ones from $3,000 to $14,000 with an average of $12,7940.
As far as job placement, most of them have a career department that helps place you after graduation. Some of them only provide career guidance, such as helping you write your resume and telling you where to apply.
However, the more established ones work with companies and recruiters to place you directly. The best part? A reported 72 percent of employers believe coding bootcamp graduates are just as prepared for work as computer science degree-holders. As you can see, tech companies welcome bootcamp graduates with open arms, so the opportunities are plentiful.
Finally, though initially created just for software engineering and web development, today bootcamps have courses for various careers in tech from UX/UI design to data science, though, in this guide, we focus on front-end development.
What Does a Front-end Developer Do?
Depending on the size of the company, front-end developers might also design the UI and therefore are responsible for the look and feel of the platform. However, for bigger enterprises, they work with UX/UI designers who hand over the design to them to be brought to life.
Front-end developers are often expected to have some back-end development knowledge since both ends of an application must be well-connected and work seamlessly. For example, if users’ data isn’t being stored in the database, the issue could be that the data isn’t parsing from the form on the client-side to the function responsible for storing it on the back-end. The only way the developers can debug this is if they understand how the platform works in its entirety.
This brings us to our next point. Most bootcamps are full-stack programs, meaning they teach both front and back-end development. One of the reasons is the one we just mentioned above. So that developers can understand how the whole system works to be able to write code and debug it even if their focus is on one aspect of the application. The other is so that students have the flexibility to decide where they want to specialize.
Students can even pursue careers as full-stack developers, some of the highest-paid, boasting an average salary of $108,000. Don’t fret, though, because front-end developers are not much behind, having an average salary of $105,221. Regardless, front-end developers need to be excellent team players as they are the ones who work with most departments from design to back-end.
We just laid the foundation by learning what front-end developers do and how bootcamps can help get into such careers. Now let’s look at some of the best developer bootcamps that could kickstart and accelerate your career in this field.
List of Top Coding Bootcamps
General Assembly is one of the oldest and most established coding bootcamps. Founded in 2011 in Los Angeles, it now has over 15 campuses worldwide, courses for most tech careers, and an extensive job placement program. It has won multiple awards for its curriculum, and its instructors are experts in their fields. In addition, it works with innovative programs to provide scholarships and opportunities to students.
Like most established bootcamps, it offers full-time and part-time courses and on-campus or online options. What sets it apart is that it provides both a full-stack and a front-end development program. The front-end development program is part-time, which is perfect for people who are busy professionals and do not have the resources to put their lives on hold. The cost of this front-end course is $4000, which is significantly lower than that of the average Bootcamp program. However, their full-stack full-time course tuition is $15,950, so definitely on the higher end of the spectrum.
Flatiron was founded in 2012, and though it only has two campuses and a smaller selection of courses, the quality of teaching is known to be one of the highest. Flatiron has been consecutively winning awards since its founding. According to Switchup, the job placement rate is high, with 67 percent of graduates getting a job in the field vs. 64 percent at General Assembly.
Flatiron offers full-time (15 weeks) and part-time (40 weeks) online programs though it does not have a specialized front-end course. Like most bootcamps, it offers a comprehensive full-stack program to supply graduates with all the skills they need for the workforce.
Another great thing about this Bootcamp is that they support women in tech, so they give $5000 scholarships to qualified candidates. This is very helpful in their case since the price of their program comes with a hefty price tag of $16,900. Moreover, the school has a robust career assistance department to help you on your professional journey upon graduation.
Like General Assembly, Ironhack is what you would call an international bootcamp having locations in all parts of the world, from Berlin to Miami. The pattern persists with on-campus, online, and full or part-time programs. If you want to be competitive in today’s bootcamp industry, you must cater to all needs.
The course offered is for full-stack web development though it seems more front-end heavy compared to other web development courses. Ironhack offers one of the shortest duration courses at only nine weeks full-time compared to the average of 12-14 weeks at most other bootcamps. In addition, they also offer a variety of financing options from loans to deferred pay since they are so confident in helping place you once you complete the program. Their tuition is much cheaper than the two above, at around $12000, which makes sense due to the duration of the program.
Springboard is unique from the bootcamps mentioned above in that it is all online. However, do not think that it is any less reputable. Despite being completely virtual, Springboard boasts of having some of the highest-paid graduates with an average salary of $75,237. Of those, 94 percent report getting a job within the first year of graduation. Moreover, for those with a career already in tech, completing the program gave their salaries, on average, a $26,559 boost.
Springboard offers a full-stack software engineering track instead of a specialized front-end one. The difference is that their demographic is purely busy people, so they only offer the course part-time. Their system is much more flexible, and you are given a 1-on-1 mentor throughout their 24-week program. The tuition is $9,900, which is much cheaper than the average. Here the scholarship and financing options are also plentiful, making it hands down the best program for busy individuals on a budget. Finally, there are career placement services upon graduation to help you land your dream job.
Thinkful is another great online Bootcamp worth mentioning. As with Springboard, it’s one of the highest-rated, providing students with invaluable 1-on-1 mentoring and a very high job placement rate for its graduates. Those already pursuing a tech career gave them an average salary increase of $17000, which is a bit lower than that of Springboard.
The main difference between Thinkful and Springboard is that Thinkful offers both full-time and part-time programs. The full-time program is five months long, requires 50 hrs/wk, and costs $16000. On the other hand, the part-time program is six months, demanding 20-30 hrs/wk, and costs $9,900. Another unique thing about Thinkful is that it attributes the success of its graduates to its strong online community.
How to Pick The Right Program For You
Which Bootcamp is right for you? This is for you to decide.
Determining factors should be price, financing options, lifestyle, job placement, curriculum, and what you are looking to get out of the course.
For instance, if you are a parent and a busy professional who wants to change careers and money is no issue, a comprehensive online part-time Bootcamp with one-on-one mentorship might be for you. On the other hand, if you are a female who is living on her severance package and is looking for a career boost, maybe a full-time on-campus Bootcamp that gives women in tech scholarships might be the one for you.
Still confused:? Let’s recap the pros and cons of full-time, part-time, on-campus, and online bootcamps.
- Can be done from anywhere in the world
- Slightly cheaper tuition
- Provides more flexibility
- Great for busy professionals and parents
- Even with 1-on-1 mentorship, it’s hard to replicate the team building, fast-paced on-campus environment that resembles that of an actual workplace on top of having the instructors immediately available for assistance.
- Need to be more self-motivated than in an on-campus setting where everyone is working on the same thing since there are many more distractions at home.
- Immediate instructor assistance
- Team building and collaboration among students
- Replicate a true work environment
- Less need to be self-motivated
- Easier and faster to get assignments done
- Need to be at a physical location, so cannot be done from anywhere
- More rigid due to having a specific schedule
- Not usually catered towards busy individuals
- Can get a job in a very short amount of time
- Replicate the fast-paced environment of startups
- Students in full-time programs are usually given more attention than ones in part-time
- Can be hard to process and digest all the information
- Require a strenuous amount of time and money
- Can often lead to burnout because of how rigorous and intensive it is
- Can be completed without having to quit your job
- Catered to busy professionals and parents
- Give a lot more time for students to process and understand the information taught
- Take much longer to complete and therefore get job placement
- Can still be hard for some people to balance due to its longer duration
- Do not prepare students for the fast-paced, collaborative workforce of tech startups.
Hope this guide helped you make some sense of it all. Remember this is just a guide to point you in the right direction. Research is key before making any major decision. Do your research, make a list of your top bootcamps based on your needs, interview them, and then make your final decision. Front-end development is both fun and challenging as a career, which is why it’s one of the most rewarding in tech.