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All about data science bootcamps: Are they right for you?

ZDNet logo ZDNet 9/17/2021 Megan Whitenton
© ZDNet

Employers put a premium on qualified, experienced data scientists. These professionals can qualify for lucrative jobs and draw a high salary -- among the highest of all tech occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). 

A data science bootcamp sharpens high-value skills in big data, analysis, and programming. Intrigued? Read on for everything you need to know about career-focused data science bootcamp programs.

How is data science used?

Data science involves looking for patterns in data and digital information using math and statistics. Bootcamps help data scientists elevate their analysis, extraction, and processing skills. Data science jobs abound in tech, finance, healthcare, and government.

Bootcamps incorporate in-demand skills required by top employers, including expertise in multiple programming languages. The best data science bootcamps teach programming languages including Python, Java, and JavaScript. 

Data science bootcamps 

Data science bootcamps suit early or mid-career tech professionals looking to advance their rank or switch careers. Admission requirements vary depending on the scope and prestige of the program. Most bootcamps require a bachelor's or master's in STEM, though some require a doctoral degree.  

Data science bootcamps generally require candidates to have experience in at least one programming language and knowledge of basic statistics and data modeling. Some providers offer bootcamps focused on Python, one of the most widely used programming languages. 

How much do data science bootcamps cost? 

Tuition at data science bootcamps varies depending on factors such as reputation, curriculum, corporate affiliations, and instructors. Some bootcamps offer accelerated programs for under $7,000, while others charge up to $18,000 for a full-time, comprehensive experience led by top experts.

Many data science bootcamps honor military/veteran benefits. They may offer discounts for previous academic or professional experience. Free data science bootcamps exist, though these courses are often less comprehensive than paid options.

What kind of jobs can I get with data science knowledge?

Data science bootcamps can provide a path to many lucrative careers. Bootcamps emphasize skills like data analysis, visualization, predictive analytics, and programming -- all highly desirable in popular data science occupations. 

Job options for data science bootcamp graduates include:

  • Information security analyst

  • Computer programmer

  • Database administrator

  • Software developer

  • Web developer 

Entry-level jobs typically require at least a bachelor's degree.  

How much can I make after a data science bootcamp?

While careers and salaries vary for data science bootcamp graduates, many lucrative opportunities exist in the tech sector. Below are some of the most popular data science jobs and their median annual wages as of 2020, according to the BLS.

Become the tech pro you want to be

Explore certificates and bootcamps that will help develop your skills. Whether you are starting out or want to learn more, we’ll help you find a program right for you.

Is data science for me? 

Tech jobs might be highly sought and well-paid, but they don't suit everyone. Students should weigh the pros and cons of a data science career before committing their time and effort.

Few professionals possess the expertise needed for lucrative data science positions. This is good news for those that complete an advanced degree or bootcamp program, since the field is less saturated than more-competitive tech roles.

Many find data science skills hard to master. Even highly trained data scientists rarely become experts in computer science, math, and statistics. Professionals who rise to the occasion are rewarded handsomely. The BLS projects 15% job growth from 2019-29 and a median salary of nearly $127,000 for data scientists. 

Bootcamp providers

Thinkful

Data science bootcamp

Cost: $9,500; deferred and month-to-month payment plans available

Location: Online

Enrollment: Part-time 

Time to Completion: 6 months

Curriculum: Python, SQL, machine learning, special topics in data science

Flatiron School

Data science bootcamp

Cost: $16,900; loan and installment payment plans available

Location: Online; Austin, Chicago, Denver, Houston, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, or Washington, D.C.

Enrollment: Full- or part-time 

Time to Completion: 15, 20, 40, or 60 weeks

Curriculum: Python, Jupyter Notebooks, SQL, scientific computing and quantitative methods, basic-to-advanced machine learning, data science project 

Le Wagon

Data science course

Cost: $8,190 (6,900 €) for part-time online program; in-person costs vary

Location: Online; Asia, the Americas, Africa, Europe, France, or the Middle East

Enrollment: Full- or part-time 

Time to Completion: 9 or 24 weeks

Curriculum: Python, Jupyter Notebooks, SQL, Pandas, Numpy, advanced machine learning, final project

Springboard

Data science bootcamp

Cost: $13,140; upfront discount and deferred, month-to-month, and loan payment plans available

Location: Online

Enrollment: Part-time 

Time to Completion: 6 months

Curriculum:

Python, Matplotlib, Seaborn, machine learning, statistical inference, capstone project

General Assembly

Data science course

Cost: $15,950; upfront discount and deferred, loan, and installment payment plans available

Location: Online or in person

Enrollment: Full-time immersive, flex immersive, or part-time 

Time to Completion: 10, 12, or 24 weeks

Curriculum: Python, exploratory data analysis, classical statistical modeling, machine learning, data science fundamentals, professional capstone project

What is the difference between data science vs data engineering vs data analytics?

In short, data scientists analyze and interpret all "big" and complex data. Data engineers develop, construct, and test data systems. Data analysts focus on analyzing only numerical data. 

What are the most common data science programming languages?

Python, SQL, R, C++, and Java are among the most common languages required for top data science jobs, and are prioritized in most data science bootcamp programs.

Where can I learn data science for free?

Many open courseware platforms such as Coursera and EdX offer free data science courses. Additionally, some bootcamps facilitate free tuition through financial aid or bring-a-friend promotions; others delay tuition collection until graduates get hired. 

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