Career AdviceCoding Bootcamp vs. Degree: Which is Right For You?


Dev Support
writes on November 1, 2022

Becoming proficient in your dream tech job requires the right skill development. One practical step towards achieving this goal is to take part in a coding bootcamp program or graduate with a college degree in computer science. But when it comes to the educational path to take, you wonder what to choose – coding bootcamps vs. college degrees. 

In this guide, you’re going to learn what coding bootcamps entail, how they differ from college degrees, and how to choose the right learning path.

Cost Comparison

Coding bootcamps are an affordable path to learning tech development. There are several bootcamp programs designed to teach (and certify) you as a professional developer without breaking the bank.

At Treehouse, we designed five Techdegree programs that start at $199/month to train and certify you as a skilled developer in your desired field of study. 

According to College Tuition Compare, the average annual cost of a computer science college degree is anywhere from $7,073 to $10,690 for in-state students and $21,066 to $25,947 for out-of-state students.

Since a college degree takes four years (and more) on average, this means you could potentially spend over $100,000 on tuition – without including other expenses. This is more than a hundred times the longest Treehouse Techdegree program.

Because of this, the cost of investing in a coding bootcamp is much cheaper than taking a college degree.

Potential Salary Comparisons

A coding bootcamp graduate earns $69,079 per year on average while a college degree grad earns a median salary of $89,000 per year.

However, when it comes to getting a high-paying job, education is not the only thing involved. Other factors include: 

  • Skills
  • Portfolio
  • Experience
  • Interview outcome
  • Bargaining power
  • Location
  • Company budget.

So, depending on various factors, a bootcamp graduate can earn below or above the budget. The same thinking also applies to college graduates.

Overall, by taking the bootcamp route you can earn as much as a graduate with a computer science degree for only a fraction of the learning duration.

Course Length Comparison

Coding bootcamps are like a shortcut to your destination. In terms of duration, you can become a professional in your field within a short period of time.

A research report shows that on average, the duration of a coding bootcamp is 16.5 weeks. However, bootcamp course length can range anywhere from two weeks to over six months.

After analyzing the learning pattern of our Techdegree students, we came up with a duration list for our courses.

If you commit 3 hours every day to study, you will complete the:

On the other hand, the average duration to complete a Bachelor’s degree in computer science is 4.33 years (that is, 52 months). In some colleges, you could spend more than six years before becoming a proficient developer.  

Learning Environments

Coding bootcamps and college degrees have different learning environments and methods, and these learning environments have varying pros and cons.

Treehouse Learning Environment

Treehouse is a credible e-learning platform to learn to code. However, being a virtual coding program, the Treehouse learning environment has its advantages and disadvantages.

Pros of Treehouse learning environment:

  • Anyone can learn to code at their desired pace
  • You don’t have to be always present. Take a break if you’re not in the mood.
  • You can review learning materials as many times as you’d like.
  • You can learn from anywhere in the world. All that is required is a laptop and an internet connection.
  • You have access to staff and colleagues in one place.

Cons of Treehouse learning environment:

  • There’s no in-person learning option. But, Treehouse simulates this advantage by providing access to an exclusive Slack community for Techdegree students. Students can not only interact with other students, but also directly with the Treehouse student success team. All Treehouse students also have access to the public community forum.

Want to learn more about Treehouse? Click this link to schedule a Treehouse demo.

College Degree Learning Environment

A college degree has a great learning environment. Here are some pros and cons:

Pros of college degree learning environment:

  • The program can be in-person, online, or a hybrid model
  • There’s a human-to-human connection in the learning programs — for both physical and virtual
  • You can learn anywhere in the world (for the virtual model)
  • It teaches you how to focus and increases attentiveness.

Cons of college degree learning environment:

  • You need to have a minimum GPA before you’re admitted to learn
  • You have to always be present
  • People don’t generally learn at the same pace, but recapping is hard since everyone learns at the same time
  • The time commitment is significant due to the need to take often unrelated courses in order to earn the minimum required number of college credits. This in turn directly affects cost.

Career Opportunities & Advancements

A bootcamp graduate would have the chance to complete their learning and acquire over three years of experience within the length of time it will take someone studying computer science to complete the college degree.

A computer programmer makes an average of $89,190 per year. And according to Best Colleges, it takes an average of 6 months for bootcamp graduates to find jobs.

This means that a bootcamp graduate can potentially amass an income of up to $267,570 within the three-year gap (between coding bootcamps and college degrees).

When it comes to career opportunities, both bootcamp and college degree grads are eligible for a number of tech roles —such as front-end developer, software analyst, Python developer, and computer system analyst. This is because companies and recruiters are mostly interested in your skills and experience. 

Some Treehouse students have landed jobs in well-known companies like Adobe, Mailchimp, HubSpot, Nike, and Verizon after graduating from our bootcamp programs.

Having a college degree doesn’t mean that you’ll automatically land senior roles in tech organizations. Nothing guarantees that except your skills, experience, and passion for growth.

So, whether you’re a college degree holder or bootcamp graduate, there are constant opportunities to improve your expertise, and uplevel your career by applying for a higher position.

Coding Bootcamp vs. Degree FAQs

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about coding bootcamp vs. college degree.

Can Coding Bootcamps Get You a Job Without a College Degree?

You can get a job as a developer without a college degree by investing in a bootcamp program. Recruiters are mostly interested in your coding skill, portfolio, and experience.

By taking a coding bootcamp, you will learn and practice tech development and the soft skills you need to land a job in your chosen field of study.

For instance, at Treehouse, we train developers to work on real-life projects that can improve their skills and portfolio, and make them job-ready.

Can Coding Be Self-Taught?

Yes, you can become a self-taught developer. But, being a self-taught developer isn’t just about learning and practicing. It means that you create your own curriculum by yourself.

For example, if you search for “front-end development tutorial” on YouTube, you will find several videos. It’s now up to you to choose what to watch. This is quite tricky because you cannot say for sure what tutorial is better or should come first.

This is the part where you potentially lose time, energy, and enthusiasm if you’re not following the right guide.

This is why Treehouse created guided curriculums of courses to aid progressive learning and help you become proficient in your preferred field of study.

Is the Treehouse Techdegree Worth it?

Yes, a Treehouse Techdegree is worth it.

Whether you want to become a front-end, back-end, full-stack, UX, or Python developer, Treehouse has intensive coding bootcamps specifically designed to train and certify you as a proficient developer.

More so, certain features make Treehouse different and better than its competitors. Some of which are:

  • Live chat support
  • Video courses
  • Curated curriculums of courses
  • Certificate of completion recognized by third-parties
  • Community and collaboration opportunities.

Related: Treehouse vs. Codecademy — Which Is Right for You?

Start Your Coding Journey With Treehouse

You can become a proficient developer whether you choose to invest in a coding bootcamp or a college degree. However, taking a coding bootcamp will save you time and money, and help you achieve your dream faster.

Ready to become a professional developer? Get started with a Treehouse Techdegree today.


Learning with Treehouse for only 30 minutes a day can teach you the skills needed to land the job that you've been dreaming about.

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