The explosion in SMAC technologies (social, mobile, analytic, and cloud) in recent years has created unprecedented opportunities for those who can code. Indeed, programmers are the gatekeepers who are on the frontlines of the most momentous technological transformation in our history. Those who can code the mobile apps, the games, the automation software of our digital world will demand the best jobs and garner the biggest promotions.
There are no lack of opportunities in software programming and development, and more and more folks are jumping on the bandwagon – either refreshing previous skills or changing careers and learning code from scratch. To meet the growing demand, coding bootcamps have sprung up in recent years. These are generally high priced, intensive (60+ hours a week) and onsite schools where you go to immerse yourself in programming for 6-8 weeks or longer, which at the end of the journey equip you for junior developer positions. While this is a great path for those who can uproot themselves, not everyone has that luxury.
Enter the online coding bootcamp! As a result of breakthroughs in HTML5 technologies that give fast and responsive audio and video capabilities, the remote student can now experience all the benefits of traditional classroom learning from the local café, their living room, or wherever. There are a growing number of online coding bootcamps available that provide much more flexibility and affordability to help achieve your dream of becoming a programmer. Let’s examine the top 5 options that are available on the market right now.
The word on the street is that Bloc is one of the best online coding bootcamps out there. You can choose one of five tracks: UX Design, iOS Development, Front-end Web Development, Android Development, or Full Stack Development (big focus on Ruby on Rails). The price is $4999 but it seems to be worth it in relation to the course content, mentorship, and guidance that students get. Bloc works on an “apprenticeship” model which means you focus your time on doing projects and then culminate in a “capstone.” Bloc also affords lots of flexibility for completing the courses; you can go with 12 weeks, 18 weeks, or 36 week sprints – depending on how much time you can invest each week. Mentors are assigned to each student and are available each week for guidance and Q&A.
This is another highly regarded professional online coding bootcamp, but is distinct in that it focuses on Ruby on Rails. The curriculum centers on 3 main coursex that are 4 + 4 + 8 weeks and $475 + $610 + $1485 – so the pricing option is cheaper than Bloc. The first 4 week course is called “Intro to Ruby and Web Development,” the second 4 week course is “Rapid Prototyping and Ruby on Rails,” and the last 8 week course is “Build Robust and Production Quality Applications.” Instead of doing multiple projects and a final capstone, Tealeaf students focus on one major project in each of the 3 courses. And instead of mentors, Tealeaf employs a global corp of teaching assistants that are available to answer questions at any time.
Thinkful is another online coding bootcamps that gets a lot of attention. It offers a Front-End Course, iOS Course, Python Course, Rails Course, and Angular Course. These courses run 3 months and are $500/month for a total of $1500 (except for the Front End course, which is $300/month). Students are expected to allow 10-12 hours a week for learning and are supported along the way with a dedicated mentorship model. Students are also placed in skill groups with other students learning the same subject. One potential drawback is that while Thinkful has done a good job of developing a structured curriculum, most of its lessons are not unique but are curated materials drawn from CodeSchool and CodeCademy.