4 Ways Coding Bootcamp Complements a College Degree

4 Ways Coding Bootcamp Complements a College Degree

A computer science degree opens lots of doors. That degree program provides theoretical concepts, an understanding of operating systems, a general foundation for programming, the mathematics involved, and a pretty strong dip into algorithms. You will also have a solid foundation for development, as most programs include programming in Java and C++.

While a CS degree will open doors for you career-wise, most graduates find that they will need to go on to graduate school and specialize in one or more high-demand areas – data science, for example. And as new advances in technology continue to occur at an ever-increasing rate, it will always be necessary to return to some type of educational or training venues in order to remain current and competitive in the job market. One option to consider, along the way, may be increasing your programming/coding skills.

The Difference Between a CS Degree and Coding Bootcamp

Many prospective CS students believe they will get the best head-start for their career by getting a university degree in computer science. Others think that a great bootcamp will give them practical experience and make them a better coder. Let’s take a look at the basic differences between these two modes of learning:

  • A CS degree provides a theoretical understanding of computer technology; coding provides specific coding skills in specific languages and does include theoretical or algorithmic study.
  • A CS degree typically include java and C++ but no other languages; coding bootcamps can include coursework in all programming languages
  • A CS degree requires four years of time investment and a great deal of money in tuition and fees; bootcamps are much shorter in duration, usually 3 – 6 months, with far less investment.
  • A CS degree is more conceptual; coding bootcamps involve more hands-on training, and a grad can “hit the ground running” immediately
  • A CS university course is much more rigid in terms of topics covered; bootcamps react quickly, they are much more nimble and introduce state-of-the-art knowledge
  • A CS degree typically provides a general overview of coding; in coding bootcamps, you can choose your specialization

Many young people, looking toward a career in development, find themselves weighing the pros and cons of a 4-year CS degree vs. several bootcamps that will provide practical skills and immediate employability in a short period of time. While personal financial situations may indeed make this decision for many, others opt for the CS degree because it has meaning in the IT “world,” even if they have to take out loans to make that happen.

Getting the CS Degree and Then Some

A computer science degree is nothing to underestimate. The program is rigorous, and graduates can move into a variety of specific employment fields – information systems management, system analyst, hardware and software engineer, programmer, system, and application software development. According to Glassdoor, a software engineer’s base pay in the Netherlands, for example, averages at around 60,000 euros.

But there are many equally attractive positions that do not require that degree or that actually want additional skills that the degree holder has not obtained.

This is where coding bootcamps can be a great advantage – they can enhance and complement a college degree. Instead of purely individual work and learning that’s typical for academic environments, in coding bootcamps, coders get the opportunity to work with real teams on real problems. This way, they are equipped to work both individually and in teams. Let’s take a look at all the other ways a bootcamp can be a sparkling addition to a CS degree:

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Ways in Which Bootcamps Complement the Computer Science Degree

  1. Increases Employability: while it may be difficult to perceive, having a set of coding skills that most CS degree holders do not have can make the difference when employers are narrowing down those final candidates to the one who will get the offer. If a specific language is predominant in a company and a candidate can show a portfolio of projects in that language, he obviously has an edge.
  2. Bootcamp Projects Can Demonstrate Creativity and Problem-Solving: If you have a nice portfolio of projects (and have perhaps have contributed to some GitHub open-source initiatives), potential employers may see attributes they consider valuable, especially creative problem-solving and perhaps thinking “outside the box.” A coding bootcamp requires you to apply your problem-solving skills in real, practical, time-sensitive situations. You won’t be protected by the academic bubble, and you will learn how to rely on your team. These are the exact skills that you will need in your everyday work environment in the future.
  3. Ability to Assist an Organization in “SideWays:” Kristin Savage, a contributing writer and editor at a website with free essay samples, relates this experience. She was in the process of working through a complete website redesign with their in-house developer. “Our developer was running into some issues with some bugs he just couldn’t fix. I mentioned this to a colleague at our corporate headquarters who remembered that their information systems manager had also completed a bootcamp course in full stack Javascript development. This guy was able to work with our in-house developer, and every issue was resolved quickly.”
  4. Value to Startups or as an Entrepreneur: More and more often today, there is a tendency for younger college grads to seek out non-traditional employment, either looking for exciting startups to work for or becoming entrepreneurs themselves. A computer science degree can be invaluable to newer tech-heavy startups. But bootcamp skills, especially personal projects and experiences through those projects, you have the coding expertise to build apps, websites, or other tools.

Increase Your Options

As stated in the beginning, a computer science degree opens a lot of doors. But you may want to add to your options for employment or entrepreneurship by enrolling in some bootcamps that will not only give you added skills. They may, in fact, trigger new ideas, generate excitement about possibilities, and move you in a totally new direction than you first thought your career would be headed.

Especially in the huge field of technology, career fluidity is almost a given. The career decisions you make today are never final. The more experiences you have, the more options will be presented to you.