A Comprehensive Comparison Among Data Science Bootcamps vs Degree vs Online Courses
Bootcamps, college degree programs, and online courses all have similar purposes. Helping you acquire skills or helping you learn specific subjects. Now, these different options of educating yourself are different in terms of the duration of the programs or how intensely they cover topics.
Data Science Bootcamps are a great option for acquiring a set of skills or for becoming job-ready in the 21st century. Meanwhile, online courses are great for learning a specific topic quickly in a few weeks. Undergraduate data science courses take time to complete and holistically cover a variety of subjects and topics. However, these degree programs do not necessarily prepare students for their future job roles specifically.
Let us assume that a job requires an individual to use a specific technology or tool for analytics, and one’s degree program only covers older tools that have completely different user interfaces or are less advanced than the current technologies available. This is where a data science bootcamp or an online course comes in handy. We are able to choose the kind of skills we need and directly cut to the chase.
Online courses are not as extensive as bootcamps and do not require as much dedication. Even though online courses are great for working professionals, bootcamps are the best for freshers or individuals looking for job roles such as data scientist, business analyst, data analyst or web developer. Let us learn more about these different types of programs and their various pros and cons.
The Differences between Data Science Bootcamps, Degrees and Online Courses
The first difference that anyone can notice is the duration that these programs require to complete. The way the lessons are expatiated or taught is also incredibly different for these three types of programs. Here are some crucial differences:
The learning methods for these three programs are vastly different. Data Science Bootcamps are taught interactively and enrollees are taught in a systemized manner that allows them to pick up job-ready skills as fast as possible. Bootcamps operate in a manner similar to how companies train their new recruits for specific roles but the programs also include foundational topics that will help individuals grasp concepts better.
Most data science bootcamps also offer live classes and students are able to communicate with the instructors. Bootcamps also consist of various projects, workshops, and career guidance sessions. These camps of programmes also are able to evaluate students better, thus, being able to provide enough support if students are falling behind. Bootcamps generally come with certifications that serve as proof of your accomplishments.
As for online courses, these programmes are mostly designed to be self-paced and the progress of students is generally not monitored. Online courses do not have live classes and very rarely have real instructor-led tutorials. However, there are some online courses that do have well-designed lectures that feature real instructors.
A lot of online courses do not have any evaluation system and only a few courses take tests that students must clear in order to progress. A few online courses do come with certifications but a lot of them are used for just quickly learning a topic.
College programs comprise live classes and are interactive like bootcamps. Degree programs approach learning in a less-specific manner such as bootcamps and instead cover a lot of different subjects in a progressive manner. College degrees require students to study every subject that is associated with a field and pass the necessary examinations related to each subject in order to graduate.
For instance, rather than instructors who are specialists or experts in different aspects of the same field, the classes in college programs are conducted by respected professors belonging to different fields.
Expenses and Fees
When it comes to fees, college programs are definitely the most expensive of them all. Degree programs charge a hefty fee and if your campus is in a different city, there are also various living expenses that you must incur. Colleges also charge various extracurricular and facility fees.
Bootcamps are comparably cheaper than degree programs and do not have any additional costs. Similarly, online courses also cost less as compared to degree programs and do not have any additional fees. College degrees can cost lakh and lakh rupees (or thousands of dollars for foreign colleges). Meanwhile, even the best bootcamps do not cost more than INR 2,00,000 or INR 3,00,000.
The curriculum prepared by bootcamps is targeted towards gaining skills that one can use for their jobs. Bootcamps isolate topics and cover specialized training. This is especially helpful for technical skills just like web development or analytics. Meanwhile, college programs focus more on the foundations of multiple domains, subjects, and topics.
Learning about other applications is great but sometimes they are not at all necessary for the job you wish to do. Thus, college degree programs generally have generic syllabuses. Degrees allow students to strengthen their foundations on various subjects while bootcamps make them qualified for specific tasks.
Degree programs are also more focused on theories and the subject matter while bootcamps are highly focused on the applications of a specific set of concepts, techniques, or tools.
Now, online courses generally have varied curriculums and there is generally no fixed curriculum. However, most online courses try to keep topics as short as possible and do not extensively delve into concepts, theories, or applications. Unlike the curriculum in bootcamps and degree programs that force you to study the necessary topics in a systematic manner, many online courses require you to self-study and research on your own.
Bootcamps last for a few weeks to a few months while solid online courses can also be covered within a similar amount of time. However, online courses are self-paced a lot of times which does not motivate learners to finish the program in time. Bootcamps follow a schedule and help students learn all the required skills in a matter of months.
Degree programs can take a lot of time to complete, especially if it is a degree in the fields of IT or engineering. Degrees also require one to attend classes for five to six days a week and take classes that last up to 7 hours. This is especially hectic for working professionals even if it is a postgraduate program and lasts around 2 years.
Bootcamps are quite flexible and are mostly conducted depending on when it would be feasible for the majority of the students. Bootcamps also do not require one to be present in classes for 5 or 6 days a week, allowing students to go about their daily lives with ease.
Meanwhile, college degrees are generally not flexible unless they are distance postgraduate programs. Online courses are mostly flexible and are self-paced. However, some reputed online courses must also be completed within a span of time.
Pros and Cons of Data Science Bootcamps vs Degree Programmes vs Online Courses
All these different formats of education and upskilling come with their own pros and cons. However, for most people looking for jobs and upskilling, bootcamps always come out on top. This is because a degree program is for foundational education and making you qualify for various professions. Bootcamps on the other hand are designed to upskill students and get them placed in a particular job role.
Let us take an example where a company wants a data scientist who knows advanced analytics and can model data from a particular period to gain insights on the different results of two different marketing campaigns. Now, freshers who studied computer science are qualified for a role but it is not necessary that they know Data Science and Data Analytics.
Bootcamps teach students various tools, libraries, and technologies in more depth that are related to specific fields such as the above. For example, technologies such as Keras, Pandas (for Python), Python, Scikit-learn (for Python), Apache Spark, statsmodel, and Power BI are essential for Data Science but degrees do not cover these extensively enough to apply them in jobs effectively.
Another thing we must keep in mind is that students who generally join bootcamps are already graduates or in their final years of college. However, one might attend a degree program from a different field and might want to get into Data Science. During these kinds of situations, it is impossible for one to again study for a computer science degree. Bootcamps are hands down the best option in these situations as these programs do not take as much time but allow you to be equally or more qualified in terms of skills.
Reputed bootcamps also provide great placement support where online courses only help in learning skills or gaining information topics. Colleges do have placement drives and companies do visit colleges for on-campus placements. However, only a percentage of the students end up getting placed and very rarely in the jobs they want. Bootcamps help students get placed in the jobs they want by referring bootcamp graduates to top MNCs and also by inviting companies to be placement partners.
Bootcamps also provide additional mentorship and guidance for securing jobs. College placement cells do provide guidance for getting good jobs but it is not a personalized process. Similarly, good online courses do have career counseling and there are no placement guarantees. Let us check some more individual pros and cons of these 3 programs.
Pros and Cons of a Data Science Bootcamp
- Well-designed for specialized jobs such as web developer, data scientist, etc.
- Fast-paced and allows one to make efficient use of their time
- Doubt solving
- Live classes and guidance from experts
- Placement support and some bootcamps provide a 100% placement guarantee
- Evaluations, reviewing, and monitoring
- Advanced and modern curriculum
- Faster compared to degree programs
- Real-world projects and adaptive syllabus
- Helps in gaining soft skills as well
- Make one qualified for specific job roles
- Takes more time as compared to standard online courses
- Bootcamps are fast-paced and this might be scary for some
- More extensive and thus requires students to focus on classes and learn with dedication
Pros and Cons of Degree Programmes
- Covers multiple foundational subjects important for many domains
- Live offline classes which are useful for solving doubts in real-time
- Makes one qualified for jobs in the future
- Much more extensive than online courses
- Examinations, projects, and seminars
- Opens up doors to master’s or doctorate programs
- Takes a long time to complete, starting from 3 years to even more than 5 years (postgraduate programs are shorter)
- Not personalized and adaptive to modern technology and solutions
- Curriculums feature older technology and projects
- Not suitable for specific job roles as a single domain is not focused upon and multiple subjects are taught with equal importance
- Not flexible and tough for professionals to continue
- Might need relocation (if your college is in a different city or country)
- Transport costs and traffic takes up additional time (unless distance programs)
- Generally no guaranteed placements
Pros and Cons of Online Courses
- Short courses can be finished incredibly fast in a matter of days
- Online courses are available for a variety of subjects, topics, and skills
- These programs are more accessible
- Cheaper alternative as compared to degree programs
- There is no accountability and monitoring
- Not as extensive as boot camps or degree programs
- Students lose motivation to finish these courses sometimes
- No real-time doubt solving
- Generally no guidance or placement assistance
- No live classes or virtual classrooms
Bootcamps specialize in specific fields such as Data Science, Biocomputation, Artificial Intelligence, Web Development, and other technical domains. Degrees are more generic in nature but cover foundational topics, which are also essential. Thus, a combination of a bootcamp after graduation is one of the best ways to approach your professional life. Online courses are great as well for upskilling or learning new topics, however, bootcamps open up much more prospects and help you grow in your career extensively.
Bootcamps are also industry-driven and feature the most modern technologies and learning methodologies.