Bootcamps have become an increasingly popular alternative for starting or transitioning to a career in tech over the past 5 years or so. As a result, a common question I get when interacting with beginners is whether bootcamps are indeed worth it.
Unfortunately, after conducting some preliminary research myself, I found it challenging to find hard data that supports a conclusion either way. Most online sources (such as coursereport.com) seem very marketing-y and don't seem to analyze the more existential question of whether bootcamps are a good idea in the first place, compared to other options. And of course, there are plenty of anecdotes, but anecdotes are not data.
Analyzing this situation is complicated by several other factors:
- Bootcamps may be suitable for some, but not all: for example, professionals with an unrelated degree trying to transition to tech vs high school graduates trying to enter tech.
- The quality of individual bootcamps can vary wildly (but then again, I suspect, though cannot confirm, the quality of university CS degrees can also vary just as wildly).
- Bootcamps are incentivized to report skewed data. Even something as simple as "% of people who graduate with a job" can be complicated. (If the bootcamp hires you back as a TA, does that count? What if you get a job in a non-tech field? What if you get a job after a year of additional self-study?).
This brings me to my core question: What research has been conducted so far regarding how effective bootcamps are at helping their attendees obtain a full-time job in tech in a timely manner?
For this question, we can assume that the bootcamp attendees are people who either have completed a degree in an unrelated major and want to switch careers, or are people who are unable to attend a university for one reason or another.
An ideal answer would be links + summaries to reports that conduct a careful, measured, and data-driven analysis and seem to take into consideration factors like the ones I listed up above. I would prefer papers that have been accepted by a reputable, peer-reviewed academic journals or conferences if at all possible.
A nice bonus would be if the reports compared bootcamp success rates to other methods of switching careers (for example, getting a second degree or simply self-studying), but this isn't necessary.
For example, here is one paper that satisfies the above requirements. It'll apparently be presented at the upcoming ACM ICER conference later this month and draws some interesting conclusions -- the paper's main limitation is its relatively small datasize (it tracks only 26 students within a specific geographical location IIRC).