A data science bootcamp is an intensive and immersive program designed to prepare you for a job in the field of data science. Many programs take only a few months, and you'll set yourself up for some of the most in-demand jobs in the US.
Data science bootcamps are short, intense, immersive courses that teach advanced data science skills to individuals pursuing a career in data science . To choose a data science bootcamp, set your career goals, determine what skills you’ll need to build, and look for a reputable bootcamp that meets those needs in addition to your schedule and budget.
Before choosing which bootcamp is best for your needs, outline your goals. Ask yourself a few questions. Where do you want to be in five years? Are you seeking an entry-level position or an upper-level position? Are you already employed and want a promotion, or are you starting your career? Try to align the intensity and reputation of the bootcamp with your career goals.
What skills do your career goals require? Data science bootcamps offer different skills based on the institution offering the camp. You might find it easier to narrow your search when you know your career goals. Data science is a broad field that includes artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, machine learning, and more.
Some popular careers in data science include:
Machine learning engineer
Find out the specific requirements you’ll need to be eligible for the job you want. Many data science jobs require a skill set specific to that particular job. A few technical and workplace skills you may find in the field of data science include:
Big data frameworks
Look up job descriptions of openings in your area to get a good idea of what skills you’ll need to grow before applying.
You’ll find the most success with data science bootcamps if you already have some core foundational data science knowledge. Bootcamp instructors move fast, and you’ll likely be completing projects that require some background knowledge. Classes are usually limited to mastering high-level key skills and building your career toolbox.
There won’t be much time for reviewing basic concepts, so assess your skills to know what type of bootcamp would be the best fit for you based on your skills. If you need to focus more on the basics, look for a data science bootcamp for beginners.
Most data science bootcamp programs last three to six months. The cost will vary by location and institution. When researching programs, consider what class structure works best for your schedule, what skills you need to learn based on your career goals, and the integrity of the institution or organization offering the bootcamp. Don’t forget to check for any prerequisites before applying for a program .
You can find data science bootcamps offering online, in-person, and hybrid-style programs. There are pros and cons to each.
In-person classes: Expect more structure at an in-person class. You’ll also be working in a more hands-on environment with an instructor in the room with you to help you as you need it. In-person classes could also be a networking opportunity and chance to build people skills like teamwork and collaboration. However, if you want to enroll in a bootcamp that isn’t local or have a busy schedule, this option may not be flexible enough for you.
Online courses: The online course structure is incredibly convenient while remaining comprehensive. Depending on the course style, you may still have an instructor on call when you need help, and you’ll be able to work through the materials at your own pace in many cases. Online courses may not provide as many opportunities for networking and teambuilding practice.
Hybrid courses: These courses offer the pros of both online and in-person courses. With a hybrid style data science bootcamp, you can experience the immersion of in-person learning with the convenience of online learning. This is an excellent option if you live near an institution but have a busy schedule or want the flexibility of online learning in addition to in-person classes.
Some bootcamps are specialized in a specific field of data science or focus on a particular set of skills. However, you can expect to generally see a few of these topics in the course work:
Databases (MySQL, MongoDB, etc.)
Don’t expect to be taking notes all day in these bootcamps. Most are project-based, hands-on programs that offer you valuable skills to take into the workforce. Review the course content thoroughly to be sure it aligns with your career goals.
Data science boot camps cost around $8,940 to $16,000, depending on the school or organization .
While you can’t use FAFSA to apply for financial aid, as is the case when earning your degree, there are some financial aid opportunities. These include deferred tuition, income share agreements, or school financing. Some employers may also offer a form of tuition reimbursement if you’re already employed but looking to move into a role of seniority.
Make sure that you choose a bootcamp from a reputable institution or university. According to Course Report, characteristics of a quality program include :
Alumni and student reviews
Well established (program offered for 3+ years)
Published CIRR (Council on Integrity in Results Reporting) outcomes within the past year
Variety of financing options
Vetted lending partnerships
Other factors like level of career support and selectivity of the application process
Those requirements might sound like a lot to consider. There are free online resources that rank data science bootcamps. Combine those resources with your research to track down the top programs relevant to your interests.
It’s also worth mentioning that employers or individuals already working in the industry may have recommendations for reputable bootcamps that they could share with you.
Here are a few top-rated data science bootcamps in the US, according to Course Report :
GeorgiaTech Boot Camps
NYC Data Science Academy
Many of these schools offer online or remote learning options, so check one of these top-rated programs even if you aren’t local to the school.
In most cases, you can get the same job in data science with either a data science bootcamp or degree. Many people who enroll in a bootcamp hold an undergraduate degree in an unrelated field and want to get formally certified in data science so that they can pursue a career in that field.
|Data science bootcamp||Data science degree|
|Cost||Data science boot camps cost around $8,940 to $16,000||Average in-state tuition for a bachelor’s in data science is $53,100|
|Duration||Anywhere from a few weeks to a few months||At least four years|
|Time commitment||Part-time or full-time||Part-time or full-time|
|Skills learned||Skills for practical and applied applications, highly specific set of skills||Theories, algorithms, basics of computer science in addition to advanced concepts like machine learning, and programming (depending on if degree is a master’s or bachelor’s)|
|Structure||Online, in-person, or hybrid||In-person is traditional (some universities may offer hybrid or online courses)|
|Certification type||Certificate||Bachelor’s degree or master’s degree|
There are many benefits to data science bootcamps, but it’s important to assess if this learning style is right for your overall career goals. Consider these common benefits and drawbacks to data science bootcamps:
Many employers see individuals who earn bootcamp certifications as highly qualified, hard-working candidates. About 40 percent of developers believe bootcamp-trained candidates are just as qualified as peers who went to college, according to HackerRank’s 2020 Developer Skills Report. Another 33 percent say those who have completed bootcamps are more qualified than college graduates .
Bootcamps are typically much less expensive than earning a degree, but be aware that it’s rare to find financial aid opportunities to help you cover the cost of a bootcamp program. You may find success with school financing options or staggered payment plans.
If you want to get into the field of data science fast, bootcamps can be your fastrack in the door. Though the entire program length runs for just a few months, expect to be immersed in all things data science during that time. This can be a problem if you already hold a full-time job.
When you enroll in a data science bootcamp, you’ll learn alongside like-minded individuals who are likely just as career-focused as you. You may also find career services and job assistance built into these programs.
When you find a program that’s right for you and matches up with your career goals, it’s time to apply! Depending on the program, the enrollment process may include a call with a program representative, application, and assessment prior to acceptance.
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1. UC Berkley Extension. "Are Data Science Boot Camps Worth It? A Simple Breakdown, https://bootcamp.berkeley.edu/blog/are-data-science-boot-camps-worth-it/". Accessed February 16, 2022.
2. Computer Science. "Best Data Science Bootcamps, https://www.computerscience.org/bootcamps/rankings/data-science/". Accessed December 21, 2021.
3. U.S. News & World Report. "How to Learn Data Science: A U.S. News Guide, https://www.usnews.com/education/learn-data-science-guide". Accessed December 21, 2021.
4. Course Report. "Our Ultimate Guide to the Best Data Science Bootcamps, https://www.coursereport.com/blog/best-data-science-bootcamps-the-complete-guide". Accessed December 21, 2021.
5. Get Educated, "The 12 Most Affordable Data Science Bachelor Degree Online Options, https://www.geteducated.com/online-college-ratings-and-rankings/data-science-bachelor-degree-online/". Accessed December 21, 2022.
6. HackerRank. "2020 HackerRank Developer Skills Report, https://info.hackerrank.com/rs/487-WAY-049/images/HackerRank-2020-Developer-Skills-Report.pdf". Accessed December 21, 2021.
This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.