New data shows which bootcamps have higher tech employment rates than The Ivy Leagues

Last Updated: September 28, 2021
Taylor Nichols Written by: Taylor Nichols
Nicole Hopler Research and Analysis by: Nicole Hopler

Key Insights:
  • Bootcamps offer similar, and in some cases higher, in-field employment rates compared to computer science degrees from well-known and respected universities
  • Alumni from bootcamps are less likely to pursue further education soon after their programs
  • Coding bootcamps secured the top three spots for tech employment rates over UC Berkeley, the University of Southern California, Brown, and Princeton

Tech is a highly sought-after and competitive industry. For people looking to break into the industry, the benefits of coding bootcamps are obvious. Most take a few months to complete and cost less than $20,000 — a fraction of the price of a computer science degree. Many people use them as a way to change careers with the end goal of getting a job in the field soon after graduating.

But how viable are coding bootcamps in the workforce against bachelor's degrees? One of the best ways to measure this is by looking at alumni data on how many graduates found jobs in their field with their new credential. We wanted to compare how in-field employment rates stack up for bootcamp alumni vs. computer science departments at well-known universities to get a sense of how graduates fare.


All of our employment data comes from Burning Glass Technologies, an analytics company that provides up-to-date workforce data. Burning Glass maps degree programs to relevant occupations to identify alumni working within their field of study. They get this information from their database of resumes, job postings, and current social media profiles on LinkedIn and other sites.

We used Burning Glass to collect alumni employment rates in a relevant field of study within one year of graduation and the percentage of alumni pursuing further education. We also calculated the total number of graduates with in-field employment or those pursuing further education.

We looked at the top 21 bootcamps with an in-field employment rate above 50% and compared that employment data to 35 top computer science programs. This report includes comparisons between coding bootcamps and universities with similar employment rates. To see a full list of the schools and bootcamps we compared, click here.

For coding bootcamps, we assessed alumni from the graduating classes of 2018 through 2020 and included all programs of study. We only included U.S.-based coding bootcamps with at least 100 reviews and at least a four-star rating on SwitchUp, and employment data for at least 25 graduates. For universities, we looked at alumni from the same years at the bachelor's level, and included degrees in computer and information sciences, computer engineering, mathematics and computer science, and computational science. This report reflects data from August and September 2021.

Where Do Bootcamp Grads and Computer Science Majors End Up One Year After Graduation?

After finishing a computer science program, whether in college or through a bootcamp, graduates typically do one of three things. For most people, the end goal is a job in their field — software developer was the most popular job for graduates of these bootcamp and university programs. Some pursue further education, whether that is a coding bootcamp, a bachelor's or master's program, or a doctorate. If students can't find a job in their field, they'll either stay in their current job or take a job in another field.

To gain a better understanding of where students go after finishing their education, we compared two data points — in-field employment rates and the number of students pursuing further education — for both coding bootcamp alumni and computer science graduates.

Graph comparing average % of graduates with in-field employment rate and pursuing further education of bootcamps and computer science degrees.
Data from Burning Glass Technologies

Of the top 21 coding bootcamps for in-field employment and 35 computer science programs we looked at, bootcamp graduates often found tech jobs at similar if not higher rates when compared to college graduates.

While bootcamp graduates and computer science majors find tech jobs at similar rates, computer science majors are more likely to pursue further education. This finding is unsurprising given that computer science graduates finish with the bachelor's degree necessary to pursue graduate school. One of the main draws of coding bootcamps is that you don't need a degree to enroll, however, students graduate with a certificate rather than a bachelor's degree.

It's important to note that many bootcamp students do have college degrees when they enroll, whether in computer science or an unrelated field. Bootcamp employment data likely reflects students with varying levels of education and work experience in a wide range of industries.

The Very Best (80% In-Field Employment or Higher)

The majority of the best programs for tech employment are coding bootcamps — four bootcamps had employment rates of at least 80% in a related field within a year.

These coding bootcamps have higher in-field employment rates than many well-known computer science departments, including Stanford University (61%), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (56%), and the California Institute of Technology (64%).

Of the universities we looked at, only two had in-field employment rates of 80% or higher. However, more alumni from these colleges went on to pursue further education.

School In-Field Employment Rate Pursuing Further Education Total In-Field or Further Education
92% 0% 92%
87% 4% 91%
85% 2% 87%
University of Pennsylvania 84% 7% 91%
Johns Hopkins University 82% 8% 90%
80% 1% 81%
Data from Burning Glass Technologies

The No. 1 bootcamp for tech employment is Codesmith — 92% of graduates were hired in the field within a year. Codesmith offers fully online programs as well as in-person courses in Los Angeles and New York City, but has a relatively small sample size compared to other programs in this study. Three in four graduates became software developers, while 20% went into web development.

The most popular industry for Codesmith graduates is finance and insurance. While alumni from larger bootcamps often get jobs in the same companies, Codesmith graduates are spread across a range of different employers, including AAA, American Express, and Capital One.

Devmountain, Tech Elevator, and the University of Pennsylvania

These two bootcamps have higher in-field employment rates than the University of Pennsylvania's computer science department. Devmountain ranks second with 87% of recent graduates working in tech or a related field, and Tech Elevator ranks third at 85%.

Alumni in this group are heavily focused in software development, with over half working as software engineers or developers. Other popular jobs include web developer, data engineer, and software quality assurance tester.

Finance and insurance was the largest industry for both bootcamps, drawing one in three Devmountain graduates and 68% of Tech Elevator students. Top employers for Devmountain include finance companies American Express, SoFi, and MX Technologies. Tech Elevator graduates work for JP Morgan, PNC Financial Services, and Progressive Insurance. Tech Elevator graduates also went into professional, scientific, and technical services, finding positions with Accenture and CGI Group.

Information was the top industry for UPenn, drawing 43% of alumni, most of whom work for one of the Big Five companies. Facebook, Amazon, Google, Apple, and Microsoft together hired 40% of the 2018 through 2020 graduating classes. Alumni were concentrated in software development positions, with business analysts, product managers, and interns or trainees also topping the list of most popular jobs.

Hack Reactor and Johns Hopkins University

Hack Reactor has a slightly lower in-field employment rate than computer science programs at Johns Hopkins University. Four in five, or 80%, of Hack Reactor graduates found jobs in their field within one year, compared to 82% of Johns Hopkins alumni.

More than half of alumni from each program became software developers, while 11% of Hack Reactor graduates went into web development. Top jobs for Johns Hopkins alumni include business analysts, web developers, engineering managers, and interns and trainees.

Information was the top industry for both programs, followed by professional, scientific, and technical services for Hack Reactor (20%) and retail trade for Johns Hopkins (23%).

Hack Reactor has good odds for Big Five employment, with nearly a quarter of graduates working for one of the major tech firms. Bootcamp alumni also found jobs at IBM, Accenture, JP Morgan, and American Express.

Top employers for Johns Hopkins alumni include Amazon, Facebook, Bloomberg, Google, and Microsoft.

Top Performers (70-79% In-Field Employment)

School In-Field Employment Rate Pursuing Further Education Total In-Field or Further Education
Rice University 79% 7% 86%
79% 2% 81%
75% 6% 81%
Northwestern University 74% 7% 81%
73% 0% 73%
University of Southern California 72% 13% 85%
Brown University 70% 9% 79%
Data from Burning Glass Technologies
Fullstack Academy and Rice University

These two programs have comparable employment outcomes — each has an in-field employment rate of 79%, and graduates of both programs largely work for companies in the information, finance, and professional and technical service industries.

Rice University had stronger employment rates in Big Five companies. About one in three graduates work for one of the major tech firms, compared to 10% of Fullstack Academy alumni. Bloomberg also hired a significant share of Fullstack graduates at 15%.

Nearly 70% of Rice graduates work as software developers. Top occupations for Fullstack graduates include software developers, web developers, and software QA engineers.

Galvanize and Northwestern University

Three quarters of graduates from Galvanize and Northwestern University found jobs in the field within a year. Galvanize is the only program on this list where software engineering isn't the top occupation. Nearly 40% of graduates went into data analytics, with data scientist, data mining analyst, and data engineer topping the list of most popular jobs. Top occupations for Northwestern graduates include software developer, business analyst, product manager, intern, and data scientist.

While the most popular jobs for these two schools have limited crossover, their popular industries are nearly identical. Between 22-30% of graduates work in information, and 17% from each school found jobs in professional, scientific, and technical services. Retail trade is the third-most popular industry for each school, with Amazon employing the largest share of graduates. Deloitte is also a top employer for both schools.

Galvanize has a higher rate of students pursuing further education than other bootcamps in our study, including certificate, bachelor's, and master's programs in computer science, engineering, and interdisciplinary studies.

Most of Northwestern's largest employers are Big Five companies. Three in 10 Northwestern alumni work for Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, or Apple.

DigitalCrafts, the University of Southern California, and Brown University

Atlanta-based bootcamp DigitalCrafts has a 73% in-field employment rate, close to that of the University of Southern California for related majors. The Georgia bootcamp's in-field employment rate beat the Brown University computer science department by 3%.

Both USC and Brown have strong representation in Big Five companies. Amazon is the largest employer for USC, hiring 14% of computer science alumni. Microsoft hired 18% of Brown alumni. Software developer is the top occupation for both colleges. Other common occupations include business analysts, product managers, and interns.

DigitalCrafts has a relatively small alumni sample size, and graduates tend to work for local companies headquartered in Georgia and Texas, where most alumni live, rather than major firms. After software developer, computer support specialist is the most popular occupation for graduates. The top industry for these bootcamp alumni is professional and technical services (25%), followed by retail trade and finance.

Although USC only has an in-field employment rate of 72%, it also has the highest rate of alumni pursuing graduate programs or other education, making their total rate of students working in tech or enrolled in an education program up to 85%.

Also Strong (60%-69% In-Field Employment)

School In-Field Employment Rate Pursuing Further Education Total In-Field or Further Education
68% 1% 69%
University of California, Berkeley 67% 9% 76%
67% 4% 71%
New York University 64% 9% 73%
64% 6% 70%
University of Chicago 62% 7% 69%
62% 2% 64%
62% 7% 69%
62% 0% 62%
Data from Burning Glass Technologies
App Academy, Flatiron School, and the University of California, Berkeley

In-field employment rates for bootcamps App Academy and Flatiron School are comparable to the University of California, Berkeley, with 67-68% of graduates finding jobs in their field within one year.

While Berkeley students are heavily concentrated in the San Francisco area, App Academy and Flatiron alumni are more widely dispersed across the country. App Academy and Berkeley computer science graduates largely work in the information industry. Google is the top employer for both programs, hiring 20% of Berkeley graduates and 10% of App Academy graduates. Amazon is also one of the largest employers for all three programs, hiring 5-6% of graduates from each bootcamp and 15% of Berkeley alumni.

Berkeley is a top university for major tech employment, with about half of computer science alumni working for a Big Five company. Flatiron's largest employers include Infosys, data company Datadog, and Flatiron itself, while 8% of alumni do freelance work.

New York University and General Assembly

Both New York University and General Assembly had in-field employment rates of 64%, although the make-up of their employment outcomes are very different.

The top occupation for NYU graduates is software engineering at 43%. More than half of alumni went into the finance, insurance, or information industries — unsurprising given that most alumni live in New York City and surrounding areas. Top employers include Amazon, Microsoft, JP Morgan, Facebook, and Google.

General Assembly has the largest sample size out of all the bootcamps and universities we looked at, with close to 4,500 alumni included in the data. Professional, scientific, and technical services is the top industry for General Assembly alumni at 22%, followed closely by information at 20%. Some of the largest employers for General Assembly graduates include Booz Allen Hamilton, Amazon, Accenture, and Bloomberg. Just over 10% of graduates work for a Big Five company.

General Assembly alumni who pursued further education tended to choose business and interdisciplinary studies programs, whereas most other alumni in this study chose computer science or engineering.

The University of Chicago, The Tech Academy, Code Fellows, and Tech Talent South

The Tech Academy, Code Fellows, and Tech Talent South each had 62% of graduates employed in the field within one year. These employment results are in line with the University of Chicago for computer science majors. All programs had fairly small sample sizes compared to some of the larger universities in this study.

University of Chicago alumni became software developers (42%), data scientists or engineers (7%) researchers or research associates (5%), or interns (3%). Information was by far the most popular industry, attracting 43% of graduates. Amazon, Google, and Facebook were top employers, followed by financial company BlackRock Inc.

Microsoft is the largest employer for Tech Academy alumni, hiring 5% of graduates. As with other smaller bootcamps, students tended to work for local companies rather than major tech firms. Aside from software developer, other top occupations include computer support specialist, sales representative, and customer service representative.

Seattle-based Code Fellows, a top bootcamp for Big Five employment, landed 23% of graduates at Amazon and 7% at Microsoft. Graduates are highly concentrated in the Seattle area, with Amazon and Nordstrom as the largest employers for the bootcamp's top industry, retail trade.

Tech Talent South is a bootcamp with locations throughout the South, Southwest, and a few on the East Coast. Due to this program's small sample size, it's difficult to draw many insights. Graduates throughout the Southern states were evenly dispersed across many employers, including Amazon, GameStop, Accenture, and Steward Healthcare. Finance and insurance is the top industry for this bootcamp, drawing one-third of alumni.

Cost vs. Payoff: How Do Coding Bootcamps and Computer Science Degrees Stack up?

Our research shows many coding bootcamps have in-field employment rates that compete with — or beat out — computer science departments at reputable universities across the country.

For students deciding between a coding bootcamp and a four-year degree, the major difference here is cost. If students are looking for a program that will help them launch their career in tech rather than go onto graduate school, coding bootcamps might be a better option: tuition rates for bootcamps are about 10% of the cost of a computer science degree, on average.

One significant benefit of bootcamps over four-year programs is the level of career support. Many colleges include career counseling as part of their student services, but it may not be tailored to the unique requirements for tech interviews and job hunting.

Many bootcamps offer one-on-one support and have staff with industry experience who are dedicated to helping students find jobs in the field. Smaller bootcamps may be connected to industry contacts in their local area and often have fewer students seeking career placement services.

Our findings highlight the fact that coding bootcamps can offer highly competitive tech employment prospects compared to computer science degrees at major universities. For those who intend to pursue a master's or doctorate, enrolling in a bachelor's program at a university is a better match for their academic goals. However, those looking to enter the workforce more quickly or who are enrolling for career training purposes may have a better chance of landing a tech job after their program with top coding bootcamps.

When affordability is factored in, it's clear that coding bootcamps are a viable alternative to a computer science degree, and for many students, they may be the better choice.

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