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Kyle Petersen
Kyle Petersen

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My Coding Bootcamp VS College Curriculum

Hey there! My name is Kyle and I've completed around 80 out of 120 computer science credits at the Metropolitan State University of Denver and I have also graduated from Flatiron School's in-person software engineering program. I'm here to compare and contrast the differences in coding philosophy between the two mediums of education and talk about my personal experiences in both.


At the Metropolitan State University of Denver, you are expected to take 120 credits at the minimum to receive a bachelor of science in computer science. Of the 120 credits, only 54 are your computer science classes. The rest are reserved for your general science classes as well as a required mathematics minor (30 credits), your gen eds (30 credits), and a small number of ancillary courses (6 credits).

Within the computer science major, you are required to learning a wide variety of information about programming going all the way down to the binary level. Through your first few years in the program, you should expect to learn quite a bit of Java with a pretty heavy emphasis on programming convention. They will also begin to start you off with algorithms and data structures. You will also take computer organization and architecture classes where you will learn things such as binary, boolean logic, and assembly language. The last few years of your degree will put a strong emphasis on algorithms as well as in-depth knowledge of operating systems, principals of programming languages, and the development lifecycle in general.

Many colleges will end up going over a very wide variety of subjects making their graduates a swiss army knife of knowledge in any computer science field they choose to go in. Although some including myself found some frustration in taking the huge amount of general educations and science core classes as well as some of the lack of focus within the program itself.


In contrast, Flatirons was hyper-focused on gaining in-depth knowledge of a very particular set of subjects. If you had chosen the software engineering path as I had, you would be learning about web development and a little bit of mobile dev related subjects. They put a large emphasis on Ruby and Ruby on Rails for backend development as well as React.js and Javascript for the front-end. Meaning, you should be able to build professional web applications on your own by the end of the program. Although these topics you will be required, you are encouraged to learn additional subjects and you are in no means locked into only learning the technologies they require in your choice of path. For example, I ended up gaining a huge about of knowledge about Vue.js and Django in my time at Flatirons as well as what was required of me.

Although the curriculum is much smaller, they go into a much greater degree of depth and you are normally spending almost eight hours a day on one very particular subject for weeks at a time to gain mastery. This means the learning and experience come much faster and sometimes more rewarding than at a college where some subjects are stretched out to multiple semesters through smaller classes.


In terms of the curriculum, I am more of a fan of the boot camp system to learn to code. The reason being If you find exactly what type of field you would like to go into, having the means to only go into that single subject feels extremely challenging and rewarding compared to going through a large list of subjects. But if you don't know what kind of path you would like to take but just know you would like to get into the tech field, a college degree gets you a wide variety of knowledge on a large list of subjects and also gives you a lot more flexibility in your career choice in the end.

Top comments (2)

kateh profile image
Kate (she/her)

Interesting to hear from someone who has experienced both! Thanks for sharing your experience!

matthewpchapdelaine profile image
Matthew Chapdelaine

University was never much of a good fit for me. I prefer learning independently.