Should I drop out of college for a coding bootcamp?

I can relate very closely to what you are talking about. I (20M) am also currently pursuing an associate’s degree(with transfer to a 4-year) in Computer Science at a community college. This past summer, I got very frustrated for the exact same reasons you mentioned above and I joined a very well-rated Coding Bootcamp. I did not drop out of college. I continued my regular summer classes, along with the Bootcamp just to get a feel for it.
Here is what happened:
After a week or so of preparing, I got accepted and paid the Bootcamp a deposit. I immediately dropped out of the program and requested a refund after my very first day. The instructor did not seem well equipped to be teaching. He himself was a graduate of the Bootcamp program and was looking for a job as a programmer. He struggled to teach very very simple concepts such as camelCasing or iteration in loops (things like i++/i–). It honestly felt like a big waste of time.

Now, was I too fast to judge? 1000% yes. This was a very high rated Bootcamp and it guarantees you a job or else, you don’t have to pay the tuition fee (~$25k-$30k). So, I am sure if I had just stuck with the program, I would have eventually landed a job as a Software Engineer. But it made me question if attending the program was worth my time and money when I could be getting better education/training from free resources like this website (or even community colleges as they are practically free in states like CA).

If you ask me, you will develop a solid foundation if you take the college route. If you take the Bootcamp route, you will definitely become a Software Engineer but I am not sure if you will have a good base. Boot camps are extremely fast-paced and their whole strategy is to make you cram the hot industry skills so you can get hired ASAP. I have also heard that companies tend to look for a bachelor’s degree when it comes to recruiting people for higher-level / managerial roles, so a degree might be worth it in the long run. So, while a Bootcamp might land you a nice $75k-$100k position, in the long run, a college degree MIGHT help you climb the corporate ladder faster and get a much higher paying position. It’s weird because in the past companies highly valued education but nowadays experience seems to have precedence. Still, I believe a STEM degree will hold a lot of value and it’s definitely worth pursuing one, especially in fields like CS, Data Science, Cyber Security, etc.

I talked to a few engineers at MAANG who took the Bootcamp route. None of them had anything negative to say about the Bootcamp. But, most of them already had some sort of degree and later decided to switch fields. Since we have time on our hands, sticking to college, for now, might be a better option. I don’t know how much value an associate degree carries in the tech industry but I am sure if you have any degree to showcase, it will definitely give you a little boost in the long run. I personally stopped comparing myself to my friends from HS because it just made me terribly miserable lol. Instead, I decided to set small goals for myself and that has helped me. For now, I am just focusing on finishing some more certifications from FreeCodeCamp, transferring out of CC to a 4-year institute, and landing an internship next summer(hopefully).

Hope this helped! (my apologies for going on a rant lol)

ALSOOOOOOOO App Academy, which is arguably the best-rated Bootcamp has made its entire curriculum free! You can access their entire Software Engineering program for $0. Here’s the link:


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Hey @P1cklenos3 , I just want to tell you to run your own race at your own pace! I remember being told this little parable:

A 30-year-old tells a friend “I’m thinking about going back to school to be a doctor, because that’s what I really want to do, but by the time I graduate I’ll be 37.” Their wise friend says “Yes, but if you don’t go back to school, you won’t be a doctor and in seven years you’ll still be 37.”

It sounds like you feel impatient after graduating high school and you want to get out there, out from under your parents’ thumb, and experience life. I get the sense you feel a bit suffocated from living with your parents and want to get out of the house and live on your own.

If you have a good relationship with your parents, tell them how you are feeling. Let them know that you want to continue going to college but that you are feeling stifled and want more freedom. What do you want to change about your home life? For example, if you are being given a curfew, kindly request that (as an adult) you would like to come and go as you please.

For what it’s worth, I am in my 30s and graduated from college (not a Computer Science degree) and don’t regret going. I am glad that I have my college degree because it is a bit easier to be taken seriously in interviews because it shows you have the patience and maturity to finish a voluntary four-year stint of education. I also truly believe that what I learned in college, all of the social knowledge I gained interacting with people who were very different from myself and all of the general education coursework (Psychology, etc.) helped prepare me much better for adulthood. College is about more than getting a job, and I feel it has served me will in life to go to college (even though I didn’t get a CS degree, but work as a software engineer now). The only thing I wish I could change about college are the loans I took out, but even with that caveat I don’t regret it.

I hope you find peace with whatever decisions you do make! This seems like as much a decision about your personal life as it is your professional career. Maybe in addition to talking to us tech people on the internet about the professional bit, it could be useful to talk to a therapist about what you want out of life in general? It may help you feel more confident about the decisions you make, and understand more about why you are making them!

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At 19 you feel you are “an inferior loser” for being in school instead of getting married?

Sounds like you’re putting a lot of pressure on yourself or maybe this pressure is coming from others in your life?

I’m sorry you’re dealing with that. Sincerely.

My advice? Stay in school. Finish your degree. You have an extremely rare opportunity in your hands that you shouldn’t waste. If you can afford to move out of your parents at 21 or 22 with an entry level job in this industry, I’d say you’d be doing extremely well for yourself.

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Thank you for taking the time for answering my question, @DanJFletcher . I know it can seem stupid to have all that pressure and anxiety, but I have always had an inferiority complex since my childhood. I grew up being bullied and wanting to be accepted. I guess it must be the FOMO inside of me that is making me think like this.

I have been thinking about it (after posting this question in several forums) and I believe that it would be better to try to get the cs degree and take advantage of the resources that mostly cs students get (internships, clubs, etc.). Mainly because of my financial situation that is allowing me to go to community college free and my local instate university cheaply.

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Thanks for taking the time to answer my question, @aaradhyagithub. I found your experience quite interesting. I don’t know if I would have gotten the same experience as you because most of the bootcamps in my region aren’t highly rated or well-known. Not to mention, there aren’t that many ( only 3 in my region; One from Promineo Tech at my CC (irony), one from a not so known, local non-profit, and another at my in-state uni (provided by HackerU, which I have heard mostly bad things about.). I have given this a lot of thought after posting this on lots of forum sites and am currently leaning towards just toughing it out and getting my BSCS.

My plan is to get my AS and transfer to my in- state university.

This is one point that a bunch of people told me when I made this post on reddit. They told me that while the job placement numbers are enticing, a good chunk of them are given a job as an instructor at the same bootcamp as a way to inflate the statistics (just what I heard.)

Free via a promise scholarship? I heard that my state (NV) has a promise scholarship program. I wasn’t able to get it. At least I qualify for the full pell grant and the state specific grants that add up to 10k an academic year (My CC costs only 4k a year (supplies included), making it free for me.).

I will be checking out App Academy Open. Thanks again.

For the most part, I am a free adult and don’t have things like a curfew or anything like that, as long as I help around the house and do well in my studies. The only thing that is making me feel like a “little kid” is the fact that I can’t afford a car right now and there is no one capable of teaching me how to drive good enough to get my license (my mom can’t do it bc she is limited in where she can drive and my father has NO license). It is hard to be taken seriously by women while being without a car.

Your story was quite interesting to read about. Unfortunately, student loans can be quite soul crushing (especially private ones from the scum of the earth like Sallie Mae and other related companies. I hope to never take a penny from them.). With the 10k in grants I receive, I am going to community college for free and hope to go to my local in-state university for a cheap price. I estimated the price and it should be around 32k (sticker price) w/ 90% covered by my grants. After posting my question on forum sites like reddit, I am currently leaning on toughing it out at my CC and (hopefully) in-state uni for my BSCS, while taking advantage of things that are mainly provided to college students (internships, UG research, etc.) Thinking logically, it seems disrespectful of me to throw away the privilege of getting an (essentially) cheap degree, that many people would kill to have.

Thank you for telling me your story and your advice, @jared_porcenaluk!

Just a few things I wanted to say on this:

  • Used cars can be pretty cheap if you don’t mind compact cars from brands like Honda and Toyota. My first car was a Honda Accord. They’re one of the most common compact cars (with good safety and reliability) and tend to be the most affordable too.
  • You know that driving schools are a thing, right? Although most people do tend to learn how to drive from their parents, that’s not the only way to learn. And you’d arguably learn better from a school.
  • Let dating take care of itself later. If you’re on limited income / living at home, the best thing you can do right now is to study, learn, work hard, and save up money. If you happen to meet someone at this stage in your life that’s great, but don’t make it a focus that it wastes your time or money. Focus on your future success for yourself. And you’d arguably have better chances to date when you’re older (25-35).