Investing in Your Career: Bootcamp or Degree?

There are many ways to pursue a rewarding career. There are more opportunities for education and high-paying jobs than ever before, but the competition is also more intense. The job market is competitive, and employers are looking for employees who are both capable and adaptable. Here are some things to think about to help you decide if a bootcamp or degree program will be best for your needs.


While cost may have been a barrier to formal education in the past, the rise of online degrees and bootcamps has opened more educational opportunities for students. The cost of a bootcamp can run from around $5,000 to $20,000, but it may surprise you that there are affordable online degrees that cost less than $10,000. Some online degrees can allow you to work at your own pace and offer job placement once you graduate and you might be eligible for federal financial aid.


Online degrees tend to take longer than bootcamps, but some colleges offer degrees that can be accelerated or that allow you to work at your own pace. An online bachelor’s degree may take from two to four years, while a master’s degree may take six months to three years. The length of bootcamps can vary widely, but most are from 10 to 20 weeks in length. Master’s and doctorate degrees may include a thesis that can take from one semester to a year.


Employers are becoming more open to alternative learning paths, but many employers still rank an accredited college degree to be more desirable than a bootcamp experience. Colleges and universities are increasingly offering accelerated degree programs online, and programs are becoming less expensive and time-consuming. As a result, a degree could be comparable to a bootcamp, but employers would find it more attractive. Bootcamps also might focus on specific skills needed for technical careers, while the courses in a degree may teach you how to gain skills so that you can adapt to changing technical requirements in the future.


If you already have one or more degrees and are looking for a way to learn new technical skills quickly, such as programming languages, then a bootcamp might be a solution that fits your needs. Often, bootcamps focus on individual technical skills, such as programming languages, marketing strategy, cybersecurity, and data analysis. Some bootcamps also offer classes in individual skills so you can focus on learning one skill or pick multiple skills that may help you in your future career. Many bootcamps and online degree programs offer job placement services to help you find a job as soon as you graduate.

Bootcamps can offer students an intense experience where they learn valuable skills in a short amount of time. Degrees offer more personalized education and may make you more attractive to employers, but can take longer to complete. The decision to invest in your career is personal, but you should have the knowledge and options to make the best choice for your future success.

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