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by Marisa Upson

Updated September 16, 2022

Reviewed by Andrew Lauchengco

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An unprecedented shortage in tech talent continues to affect companies, both globally and nationally. According to a survey by Gartner, Inc., 64% of IT executives said that talent shortages pose the greatest barrier to adopting emerging technology.

As this shortage intensifies, the presence of coding bootcamps continues to increase. They offer students a quicker and often lower-cost option to entering this burgeoning field when compared to a four-year college degree. A 2017 Indeed survey revealed that 84% of employers found coding bootcamp graduates as or more prepared for their jobs than those with a computer science degree.

Many of the best coding bootcamps require some level of coding experience. A coding prep program can help you gain the knowledge to increase your chances of admission and successfully complete a coding bootcamp.

What Is a Prep Program?

A bootcamp prep program prepares you for the rigors of an intensive coding bootcamp. Many of the best coding bootcamps require basic knowledge of JavaScript and other programming languages. Many prep programs are designed to help beginners get up to speed on these languages and other foundational skills.

Applicants may also find intense competition to get into the top bootcamps. Most prep programs help applicants gain admission by teaching the fundamentals of programming, preparing them for the technical tests, and offering tips for the bootcamp interview process.

Some programs offer guaranteed admission for those who complete their prep program. Others discount the cost of a prep program from the bootcamp tuition. The costs of a prep program vary, but often range from free to about $1,000.

Coding bootcamp prep programs come in different learning formats. Students can complete self-paced, online programs at any time. Other programs offer live, scheduled online sessions with peers and instructors. Intensive full-time prep programs may take one week to complete, while most part-time programs require 2-4 weeks.

Keep in mind that these prep programs differ from the pre-work many bootcamps assign after you have gained acceptance into their bootcamp.

Do I Need a Prep Program?

A prep program prepares you for the fast-paced, intensive workload found in most coding bootcamps. They can also offer an accurate gauge to help you determine if you are ready for the challenging schedule.

Completing a prep program can also help you gain admission, making sure you cover the correct material and giving you a heads-up on what will be expected in your coding bootcamp interview.

Coding bootcamp aspirants enroll in a prep program for several reasons. A prep program may be right for you if:

We have listed some of the best prep programs to help you find one that works for you. Many of these programs cover the basics of JavaScript and HTML, some offer practice bootcamp admission interviews, and others guarantee entry into their coding bootcamp.

The Best Coding Bootcamp Prep Programs

App Academy

  • Location: Remote, New York City, San Francisco
  • Programs Starting At: $2,999
  • Admission Guarantee: This program comes with a money-back guarantee if you are not accepted into a coding bootcamp at App Academy, Bloom Institute of Technology, Hack Reactor, Flatiron School, Fullstack Academy, or Rithm School.
  • Curriculum: Intro to Web Development, JavaScript, Practice Problems, Interview Techniques
  • Learning Format: Online, Live
  • Time Commitment: Part Time, Self-Paced

App Academy's four-week, part-time bootcamp prep program consists of 40 hours of instruction with a strong focus on JavaScript, including intermediate and advanced concepts. They offer a money-back guarantee if you are not accepted into one of the selective coding bootcamps listed above.

The live prep sessions take place on Monday-Friday evenings. Currently, these live sessions are held remotely. The self-paced online prep program consists of video lectures, practice problems, readings, and quizzes. Online students also receive remote assistance from instructors. App Academy suggests that the online program may require about 70 hours.

Both options provide interview practice and application assistance that helps prepare you for the bootcamp admissions process. According to App Academy, their online and live bootcamp preps boast a 100% acceptance rate into at least one of the bootcamps included in their money-back guarantee.

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  • Location: Remote
  • Programs Starting At: $875
  • Admission Guarantee: If you pass the assessment at the end of the prep program, Codesmith will allow you to skip the first non-technical interview in their software engineering bootcamp admissions process and go straight to the technical interview phase.
  • Curriculum: JavaScript, Computer Science, Engineering Soft Skills, Project Building
  • Learning Format: Online
  • Time Commitment: Part Time

Codesmith's two-week prep prepares students for their immersive software engineering bootcamps. Live online instruction focuses on JavaScript concepts like call stack, functions, and closure. Codesmith prep also covers computer science fundamentals and engineering skills. Students complete two projects by the end of the program.

The prep program takes place on Monday-Wednesday evenings and Saturdays and consists of about 30 hours of instruction. If accepted into their software engineering immersive, they discount the prep program fee from the bootcamp tuition. Before starting the prep program, students must complete a free online precourse in JavaScript.

For those with no coding experience, Codesmith also offers a two-day, part-time remote program for introductory JavaScript. Live online instruction occurs on two consecutive Saturdays.

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Flatiron School

  • Location: Remote
  • Programs Starting At: Free
  • Admission Guarantee: Flatiron School does not guarantee admission. Students who complete their data science prep program receive priority when applying for the data science bootcamp.
  • Curriculum: Intro to Web Development, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Ruby, Interview Prep
  • Learning Format: Online
  • Time Commitment: Self-Paced

Flatiron School's free, self-paced bootcamp prep program offers 75 lessons in HTML, JavaScript, and Ruby fundamentals. Students can complete these lessons at their own pace.

Students can also access real-time support from bootcamp prep coaches and collaborate with other students. After completing the first 20 lessons, you can start the application process for one of their intensive bootcamps.

Students gain real experience with programming projects as well as interview tactics to help get into selective coding bootcamps. The prep program consists of text with images and videos to help students understand concepts and labs that enable them to practice the concepts.

Flatiron School also offers a free data science bootcamp prep program. Lessons consist of basic data science concepts like SQL, machine learning, and Python. This bootcamp prep consists of about 61 lessons and enables students to begin building their project portfolio.

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Fullstack Academy

  • Location: Remote
  • Programs Starting At: Free
  • Admission Guarantee: While Fullstack Academy does not guarantee admission, they state that students who complete their bootcamp prep course are 2.5 times more likely to gain acceptance to their bootcamp programs.
  • Curriculum: Functions, Data Types, Objects, Recursion
  • Learning Format: Online
  • Time Commitment: Part Time, Self-Paced

Fullstack Academy bootcamp prep prepares candidates with some coding experience for top coding bootcamps and to pass the Fullstack Academy and Grace Hopper admission assessments.

Students can choose from three different learning formats. The free, self-paced version consists of about 40 hours of online videos and coding challenges. The one-month bootcamp prep offers live online learning Monday-Thursday evenings. They also provide an accelerated one-week live online format.

Students without coding experience can take their self-paced Intro to Coding course that teaches HTML, CSS, and JavaScript fundamentals. This free introduction consists of 15 hours of videos and practical challenges.

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Hack Reactor

  • Location: Remote
  • Programs Starting At: Free
  • Admission Guarantee: Hack Reactor does not guarantee admission.
  • Curriculum: JavaScript Basics
  • Learning Format: Online
  • Time Commitment: Full Time, Part Time, Self-Paced

Hack Reactor prepares students to pass the technical admissions assessment for their intensive software engineer bootcamps. The free, self-paced basic prep program offers the same material as their premium prep program, including a high number of JavaScript exercises.

Students may access the premium prep program on a part-time or full-time basis. In addition, the online dedicated session hours enable students to connect with peers and staff while studying, though students usually perform coding asynchronously.

The premium prep option also includes one-on-one coaching, the ability to connect to teaching assistants during class hours, and community collaboration. While the premium prep program costs $250, those that gain admission to a Hack Reactor bootcamp receive a $250 discount from their bootcamp tuition.

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Get the Qualities You Want in a Bootcamp

We use icons to make browsing bootcamps easy for you. Use this breakdown to quickly identify program qualities you are looking for.

Accepts GI Bill®

Accepts the GI Bill® as funding for tuition.

Also Available In Person

This online bootcamp also offers in-person options.

Career Services

Offers career services to help you land your dream job after graduation.

CIRR Member

This bootcamp is a current member of the Council on Integrity in Results Reporting. Learn more at

Evening & Weekend Options

Bootcamps are offered during convenient evening and weekend hours.

Job Guarantee

Employment is guaranteed as soon as you finish your bootcamp.

Money-Back Guarantee

Tuition is refunded if you don't land a job within a given time frame after graduation. Visit the bootcamp website for terms and conditions.

Start for Free

No deposit is required to get started. Begin your bootcamp for $0.


Bootcamp Ranking Guidelines

At BestColleges, we believe the best bootcamp is the one that fits your schedule, your learning needs, and your career aspirations. That's why we often present our recommendations in alphabetical order -- because the real best bootcamp is the bootcamp that's best for you.

Our Methodology

The Bootcamp Team at BestColleges has collected data for over 150 bootcamps to help you find the best bootcamp.

At BestColleges, we believe the best bootcamp is the one that fits your schedule, your learning needs, and your career aspirations. That's why we often present our recommendations in alphabetical order -- because the real best bootcamp is the bootcamp that's best for you.

At this time, our recommendation round-ups feature only immersive bootcamps designed to prepare students for job placement upon graduation.

To be included on our lists, bootcamps must meet the following criteria:

  • Must offer at least one bootcamp in the United States.
  • Must offer at least one bootcamp that is a minimum of 4 weeks long.
  • Must require at least 15 hours of work per week if the bootcamp is part time.
  • Must encourage at least 10 hours of work per week if the bootcamp is self-paced.

Pricing disclosure: The prices listed were collected from product websites in 2022. However, given the dynamic, fast-paced nature of the tech space, prices are subject to change throughout the year. To get the most up-to-date information about pricing, contact providers directly.

Methodology for Recommending Cheap Bootcamps:

  • The bootcamp must meet all of the general criteria listed above.
  • The bootcamp must cost less than $8,000 if it is offered full time, and less than $5,000 if it is offered part time. These numbers were chosen based on data collected by BestColleges in 2020 that determined the average cost of a coding bootcamp is $13,580.

Are Coding Bootcamps Worth It?

Coding bootcamps can offer a fast track to a career in a high-demand industry. Some of the jobs graduates pursue include web developer, software developer, UX/UI designer, and data analyst. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 22% job growth for software developers from 2020-2030, amounting to an average of 189,200 job openings each year.

Coding bootcamps offer the technical skills required to enter the workforce without much of the theory found in four-year computer science programs. They also come at a lower price than a bachelor's degree, on average.

According to the College Board, the average annual tuition rate for a bachelor's degree in 2020 ranged from about $8,760-$37,500. On the other hand, according to data collected by BestColleges in 2020, the median tuition for a coding bootcamp was $13,500.

Of course, coding bootcamps are not for everyone. Some students appreciate the comprehensive understanding that a bachelor's in computer science offers. Others find it hard to keep pace with the amount of information delivered in a condensed bootcamp. A bootcamp also offers less versatility and focuses on just one area of computer science.

Unlike colleges and universities, coding bootcamps are not typically accredited and do not qualify for federal financial aid. Researching more about the bootcamp experience is the most important way to determine if a coding bootcamp is right for you.

Frequently Asked Questions About Coding Bootcamp Prep Programs

Do prep programs fully prepare you for a coding bootcamp?

A prep program helps prepare students for the best coding bootcamps by teaching them the fundamentals of programming languages like JavaScript. Some prep programs require some previous experience, while others are designed for complete beginners. Those that require some experience may offer a few additional beginning courses to help get interested students up to speed.

In addition to teaching the basics of coding, many prep programs prepare you for the bootcamp admissions process by incorporating mock interviews and covering the information found in technical assessments. A prep program can also give you an idea of what to expect in a coding bootcamp, ensuring you follow the correct trajectory for your career goals.

Are coding bootcamps for beginners?

While some coding bootcamps are designed for beginners, many require some basic knowledge of programming languages. Many bootcamps offer prep programs that teach the basics of coding and other common tech skills to help learners prepare for their more intensive programs.

These prep programs may also help you gain admission to competitive bootcamps. Some offer mock interviews and tips on acing the technical assessment.

How can I be successful in a coding bootcamp?

Coding bootcamps require grit and determination. To get the most from these programs, consider reminding yourself of the outcome and what you hope to gain professionally. Many bootcamps offer career services, helping graduates job applications, internship placement, and networking.

Enrolling in a prep program can also help you succeed at a coding bootcamp. These programs allow you to develop the coding fundamentals required for success. Once in a bootcamp, don't forget to take care of yourself by maintaining healthy eating and exercise habits while completing bootcamp projects and building your portfolio.

Feature Image: Maskot / DigitalVision / Getty Images is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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