Coding bootcamps cover many different specializations, come in several different learning formats, and vary in length. But how long are coding bootcamps, exactly? Some bootcamps only last one week, while others last over six months. A 2019 research report found that, on average, bootcamps take 16.5 weeks to complete -- or a little less than four months.
Certain bootcamp lengths are often associated with corresponding time commitment expectations and intensity levels. To help you figure out which length might work best for you, we break down some factors to consider below.
What Length of Bootcamp Is Right for Me?
When researching potential coding bootcamps, you should consider how much time you have to commit to your studies, as well as things like your preferred learning method and your professional goals.
First, acknowledge your own personal learning preferences. How do you learn best? Through guided instruction or independent study? Through textbooks and theory, or practical, hands-on projects?
Also think about whether you prefer online or in-person learning. Students with many other responsibilities, like a full-time job or family duties, often prefer remote learning for its greater flexibility. Online bootcamps sometimes offer self-paced schedules, which independent learners usually prefer. Some bootcamps offer hybrid options that include a mix of online and in-person instruction.
Think about how many hours each week you can invest in your bootcamp. If you have the ability to enroll in a full-time bootcamp, you can probably find an accelerated program that lasts three months or less. If your schedule varies and you need more flexibility, consider a self-paced bootcamp. For professionals unable to take time off work, a self-paced or part-time bootcamp is probably the best option.
Although bootcamps generally cost less than a two- or four-year degree, they still usually cost thousands of dollars -- ranging from a couple thousand to over $20,000, with the average bootcamp cost hovering around $13,500 in 2020. The more intensive the bootcamp, the more it generally costs.
Be sure to also carefully consider the available options for paying tuition, which can vary according to the length and time commitment of a bootcamp. Some payment options are only available for a full-time program, for instance. Payment options can include monthly payments, loans, scholarships, tuition deferral plans, and income share agreements.
Finally, consider why you want to enroll in a coding bootcamp. What is your ultimate goal? Are you trying to pick up a new skill? Switch professions? Refresh skills you already use in your career?
Bootcamps sometimes offer different types of programs depending on your goals and experience level. Individuals who want to start a career in coding but have no previous programming experience often enroll in a longer-term program, lasting five months or more. Tech professionals who want to pick up a new coding language or dust off a particular skill set can probably find a shorter program, lasting three months or less.
Bootcamp Program Lengths
Some bootcamps offer quick, immersive programs for students who can enroll full time and prefer to work at a quick pace. On the other hand, part-time bootcamps can last six months or more, which can be great for students who prefer long-term study over a crash course.
- 1-2 Week Programs
You won't find many 1-2 week coding bootcamps, but there are some, such as the five-day bootcamp at Master21. Bootcamps of this length require an intensive commitment, with students often attending sessions from around 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day of the bootcamp.
Sometimes these short bootcamps are introductory in nature, helping students become familiar with the basics of coding or even prepare for a longer-term bootcamp. For example, the two-week LearningFuze prep course teaches basic web development skills and prepares students to enroll in its longer-term programs. The Codesmith prep course is also two weeks, and prepares students for Codesmith's longer software engineering bootcamp.
Other 1-2 week bootcamps may focus on just one programming language, like Python, and require learners to be proficient in the foundations of programming before enrolling. They may operate more like a traditional course and be better suited to technology professionals looking for training in one discrete skill.
Prospective students can expect to spend a few hundred to a few thousand dollars on a 1-2 week intensive bootcamp.
- 1-2 Month Programs
Like 1-2 week bootcamps, 1-2 month programs are not very common. Many 1-2 month bootcamps are run online, with students logging on at their convenience and following a self-paced format. Learners can find programs ranging from a couple hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars.
1-2 month bootcamps can be great for individuals who want to learn the basics of coding quickly, or for established coders who want to expand their skills to include a specific coding language.
- Three Month Programs
Bootcamps that last 12 weeks are very common in the bootcamp industry. Because this length is so prevalent, students can find three-month bootcamps in several learning formats: online, hybrid, and in person. Some bootcamps are immersive, requiring students to attend classes full time. Others include evening and weekend classes or self-paced study.
These bootcamps tend to offer more comprehensive curriculum options than shorter programs. Many students enroll in bootcamps that cover full-stack web development, learning about both front-end and back-end programming. Instructors usually require students to complete a hands-on project -- or sometimes several projects -- over the course of the bootcamp. While some bootcamps of this length expect incoming learners to have some familiarity with coding, others are appropriate for beginners.
Students can find three-month bootcamps offered by both independent bootcamp providers, like Hack Reactor and General Assembly, and universities, like Northwestern University. The prices for three-month bootcamps fall into a wide range, with students most commonly paying around $10,000-$15,000.
- 4-5 Month Programs
Aspiring coders can find several four or five month bootcamps offered in both remote and in-person formats. Since these coding bootcamps span a longer period of time, they tend to be less intensive. Most of these programs do not follow a full-time schedule. Instead, students enroll part time, attending class sessions 1-3 times per week on campus or online. Some programs of this length offer self-paced online options.
Many 4-5 month bootcamps accept beginners who want to start learning programming at the basic level. These bootcamps tend to offer a more comprehensive curriculum, with topics often including front-end and back-end programming, user experience (UX) design, mobile development, and even project management. Therefore, these programs are great options for anyone who wants to start from scratch and learn many different technical skills.
Devmountain has a four-month bootcamp for UX design, Prime Digital Academy offers a five-month full-stack engineering program, and Evolve Academy offers a five-month cybersecurity bootcamp. These bootcamps also vary in cost, with the least expensive costing about $3,500 and the most expensive reaching around $20,000.
- Six+ Month Programs
Some bootcamp providers offer bootcamps lasting six months or longer. Generally speaking, six-month programs follow part-time schedules, with students attending classes during the evenings and weekends or following a self-paced schedule online. Therefore, students who work full time often prefer these longer-term bootcamps. Six-month, part-time bootcamps usually require 5-15 hours of study time per week outside of instruction time.
While you can find six month bootcamps at independent bootcamp providers, it is a common length for university-affiliated bootcamps. Harvard University, for example, offers a 24-week coding bootcamp. Schools like Washington University in St. Louis and the University of California, Berkeley, offer similar bootcamps. The typical cost is similar to 3-5 month programs, usually falling between $10,000 and $15,000.