Career Paths

Bootcamps V Master’s, Which Is Better Value?

3
min read
Mikaela Thompson

Why do a bootcamp?

Pros

i) shorter duration e.g., reputable university bootcamps are generally 24 weeks, private sector bootcamps can vary in length typically tied to their learning modes like part-time, fulltime, day or evening, Saturdays etc. but usually are around 3 to 7 weeks. This means they are ideal for candidates who need to work fulltime while studying or need flexible hours.

ii) Targeted, practical hands-on skills e.g., you’re likely to be involved in real-life projects where you can apply your new learning.

iii) Some courses provide personal career coaching and counselling support.

iv) Connections to the right jobs and companies. Many courses are run in partnership with these companies.

v)  A cost-effective way to learn hands-on skills or to add to a student’s resume or CV.

vi) Some offer the opportunity to take professional certification tests during or after the completion of their programmes.

Cons

i) The quality of these bootcamps can vary widely. Some firms may be reluctant to take on graduates for this reason

ii) Since these bootcamps run over a short period of time, the learning curve can be steep making the intensity unsuitable for some students.

iii) Topics are all studied at a higher level in the master's programme and a basic level in the boot camp.

iv) They do not result in a degree certification.

What are the benefits and disadvantages of a master’s?

Pros

i) According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, those who possess a master's level (as opposed to a bachelor's) make 10-20k more per year.

ii) Students who complete a master will cover the same topics as those attending a boot camp, but more in-depth and for longer, meaning they will more likely master the skills required for a career in this field.

iii) Only a master's program will culminate in holding a graduate degree and may considerably increase salary and employment opportunities.

Cons

i) Can take 3 years to complete

ii) More expensive. Students are likely to incur a hefty loan debt that will probably hang over them for years.

iii) Programmes can be highly competitive to get into, and usually require letters of recommendation as well.

Takeouts

Whichever you choose to do, make sure you do your research on what they offer before embarking on that learning journey. Sadly, not all bootcamps are equal – it’s a bit like the Wild West out there, so carefully evaluate each company’s course offerings and costs to make sure you’re not left feeling ripped off, as well as no better off. Check the qualifications, work achievements and companies worked for of their instructors; check out the post-course grad job placement rate too, if it’s available (a bit of stealthy stalking of their graduates’ LinkedIn profiles to see who they work for might be enlightening). Don’t rely solely on course reviews or company blogs which can prove to be unreliable jack ups. Some less scrupulous companies will direct their grads about what they can write in these or even write the reviews themselves. Of course, independent non-invested feedback will prove invaluable to your decisions. Unfortunately, there are currently no statistics on how completing a boot camp can affect potential career prospects. To be fair, masters’ programmes at universities can vary in quality too, so again do due diligence to get what you need.

Ultimately, choose the course which best serves your goals. Think long term. Where do you want to land in 15 years? Do you see yourself moving into management and less of a technical role? A masters will be super valuable then. Staying technical and not moving into mgmt or IT Security? Maybe rethink a masters. Each have their own advantages. The main differences are length, cost, and the accreditation awarded at the end of the program.

For tech bootcamps,  https://academy.happyer.io is a good starting point.

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