Thoughts on Coding Bootcamps vs College?

Biggest con I can think of is lack of college experience (meeting friends, living in dorms, etc). However bootcamps such as Lambda School seen very promising! Am wondering if anyone else has kids attending or has any thoughts they'd like to share.

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The biggest con I can think of is being 40 years old without a degree, and needing one to move into management positions, or if there are layoffs 10 or 20 years down the road, and people with degrees are getting priority for re-hire. I saw this happen to several people during the 2008-2009 recession. While it is true that college is not for everyone, and skills/trades are needed, it would be a good idea to at least get an AA degree by the age of 30 to have some career options and possibly enhanced job security.

Your question opens a lot of other questions ..... big questions about the purpose of college, what is an education, etc. I'll limit myself to the more practical question that seems to be your focus -- will my child be served well by doing a coding boot camp rather than a CS degree from a university?

1. A boot camp will give some quick skill development. Don't misunderstand -- they can be tough. This is intense work - cramming lots of learning into a short period of time. They will help you search for a job, but frankly there is no guarantee and I've seen kids struggle to get a job despite a college degree AND bootcamp.

2. This presumes your child really knows what he or she wants and has an unwavering commitment to CS. 

3. The boot camp will help him or her get an entry level coding job -- which can admittedly pay good money -- but these jobs are not as secure and come and go with the winds. He or she will not be prepared to go into higher level computer work, to think more strategically, etc. Some companies might promote from within so even without a degree he or she might advance -- but many others will want the college degree and all that entails -- a deeper knowledge of CS, certainly, as well as the broader thinking and knowledge base across the board.

4. 85% of college students today will work in jobs that do not exist today. Colleges are working hard to prepare students for a lifetime of different careers -- not just their first job. 

All depends on what you want out of life.  College you get a rounded education and a degree.  Bootcamps you learn a skill and do not receive a degree.  Also depends on where you want to work.  Not having a degree will limit job opportunities and advancements in ones career.  These boot camps are brutal.  To be successful you need to be dedicated.  Expect to  spend 60-80 hours or more per week  If you can't keep-up or can't devote the time you will fail. 

All of the material Lambda offers is online for free.  Or for $150 can be taken at a community college.  What you are paying for with these boot camps is the structure and to foruce you to complelte assignments.  Then have you looked at how much you will make?  Lambda considers $50,000 /$24.00 success.  And how much you are paying them?  Look at the one star reviews as the 5 star can be purcahsed.

Have you tried programming?  Do you even like it?  
Good first language to learn is Python.  Give it a try and you can learn it for free.  https://www.python.org/about/gettingstarted/

If the only skill you have is programming, you should realize that can be outsourced to anyone anywhere in the world.  Once of the companies I worked for outsourced programming to Poland for $20 - $25 per hour.  These "guys" were really good. 

Good luck 

I know three college graduates that attended boot camps. It worked out well for all of them. They all have good jobs and make good money. I do think that four years of college is a wonderful experience, a chance to make lifelong friends, and a time to grow up a bit. But if your child is chomping at the bit to be done and get into the workforce, a bootcamp is probably a good alternative. Another idea is to  attend community college for a year or two before doing a bootcamp. 

A coding bootcamp is great as an entry into the field for career-changers, but it does not replace a college degree. If you have a child who has no current interest in college and is struggling academically, it might be worth trying out Lambda (or any of a variety of other trade programs that might be a better fit than a traditional college program). But a college degree is still a prerequisite for a significant number of jobs, so it's worthwhile to have a plan for your child to pursue that path over time (community colleges are a great resource) even if he or she opts for a bootcamp experience to get into the job market initially. I will note that Lambda specifically is a very expensive way to pursue coding--you can find options for similar intensive training for a lot less than $30K. Your child might also consider taking a year off to work in an internship in his or her area of interest if the goal is to get into the workforce sooner rather than later, and then reassess at the end of that year.