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I was a college student majoring in computer engineering, but dropped out because of several issues (social situation, interest, etc). I always wanted to study computer science, but didn't do it because i thought that my parents won't let me (because they were so proud when i got to one of the most prestigious college in my country). When I dropped out, I got some talk with my parents and they gave me permission to do whatever I want.

At that time I talk to them and I said that I will go to coding bootcamp, but after some research I found that coding bootcamp won't make you a real software engineer and it's pretty hard to find a job compared to computer science graduates.

What are the differences between coding bootcamp and a computer science degree? Especially in terms of the advantages and disadvantages of each.

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    $\begingroup$ That said, I seriously doubt you are "too old" for anything at 21. Coding boot camps and 4-year degrees in computer science are fundamentally different, but there may be value in either depending on your long-term (or even short term) career goals. $\endgroup$ – cag51 Oct 23 '19 at 2:08
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    $\begingroup$ [I] didn't [study computer science] because i thought that my parents won't let me The decision is yours, not your parents, but you seem to have established that now, they gave me permission to do whatever I want, at least, in principle. I don't understand your rationale -- they were so proud when i got to one of the most prestigious college in my country -- why is computer science not prestigious? $\endgroup$ – user2768 Oct 23 '19 at 5:01
  • $\begingroup$ I found that coding bootcamp won't make you a real software engineer and it's pretty hard to find a job compared to computer science graduates I'm not sure what real software engineer means. Nonetheless, coding bootcamp will presumable prepare you to code, whereas computer science will presumable prepare you to understand the underlying science (you'll no doubt pick up some coding skills along the way). That will have an impact on what you do next. I'd speculate that a computer science graduate has more options, because they know more, even if their coding is weaker. $\endgroup$ – user2768 Oct 23 '19 at 5:06
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    $\begingroup$ @cag51 I agree What do you think I should do? is off-topic, but it seems trivial to bring the question back on-topic, e.g., what are the differences between coding bootcamp and a computer science degree? Especially in terms of the advantages and disadvantages of each. I've edited and voted to reopen $\endgroup$ – user2768 Oct 23 '19 at 5:10
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    $\begingroup$ I've migrated this question here as suggested by a few CSE users. $\endgroup$ – Massimo Ortolano Oct 23 '19 at 11:40
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First, be aware that Computer Programming and Computer Science are not the same thing. The term Computer Engineering might, in practice, be the same as Computer Science, but it can also be much different (software vs hardware focus).

Coding bootcamps and other, similar, programs, such as online courses almost certainly lack both the depth and breadth of education and skill building that you should expect from a reputable Computer Science program.

On the other hand, businesses need computer programmers, but the jobs they offer are not very exciting and are at a pretty low level, lacking an obvious path to a long term career. "Coders" work at the direction of others and have little say in what they build or much in the design process.

Still, computer science graduates often work initially as "coders" but, with more knowledge, can be given more responsibility.

Think of programming as nothing more than a tool that helps you explore deep ideas (database, ai, machine learning, ...), but it is those ideas, not programming that is the important thing. You may need to be adept in using the tool, but it remains just a tool. It is fun, but it isn't the essence of a computer science degree.

Programming can get you a job, but it won't assure a career. Of course, once you are in a company, there may be opportunities for you to learn the rest of it, but a degree provides a (hopefully) well thought out curriculum that meets both the modern needs of employers and the intellectual rigor that lets you build a career either in industry or academia.

To get a sense of it, look at the curriculum of any reputable university. Both the required courses and the electives. That will give you a sense of the breadth required.

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Years ago I worked for a software company. I was not a coder for the company. I worked with clients doing interface modification and design. While I was there all but one of the 20 or so coders were laid off. The coding was shipped off to Vietnam. The CS people who actually designed the software were the money makers.

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The length: a full degree in CS (or engineering) takes at least 4 years to complete. The duration of most bootcamps is usually measured in months. Obviously they can not be equivalent and this brings suspicion to anyone that states differently. IMHO, the small duration of the courses brings three concerns:

  1. as @Buffy said, the knowledge and depth is constrained mainly by the small duration of the bootcamp;
  2. in my experience, rushing through content does not result in longing knowledge. Without time for exploration, students might be able to only reproduce the situations they have experienced during the bootcamp.
  3. students have little time to grow into adulthood. While this works fine for people that are transitioning from other careers, students fresh out of high-school may leave the bootcamp still very immature and probably not ready for employment.

The reputation: universities have earned a reputation of graduating students that, over the course of their careers, become good professionals. A reputable university often produces, in average, excellent professionals (in part because they only enroll excellent students, but this is another conversation). Also, universities are usually enduring institutions. Many have existed for a long time and will continue to do so. Coding bootcamps are usually young and have not earned yet the confidence that they are able to consistently graduate students that become good professionals.

Thus, besides @buffy 's considerations about the possible careers for CS majors, other factors also play significant role in why coding bootcamps are not being recognized by the market as positively as universities. You can still do a coding bootcamp and turn out to have a successful career, just keep in mind that your career path might look very different from someone whot went through the traditional university training.

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