The Top 6 Coding Bootcamps in Chicago

March 3rd, 2020

Originally published this past June at the request of One Month, here's a short piece on the state of coding bootcamps in my hometown. I've decided to bring it here as the first of what I hope will be many blog posts on this newly-minted, and ever-changing personal site.

*Originally posted on June 18th, 2019


Chicago is the tech-hub of the Midwest, and so it’s only fitting that some of the best coding courses and bootcamps can be found here! The city is teeming with software development jobs, and over the years we’ve noticed an increasing pool of applicants hungry to upskill and learn how to program apps using HTML, JavaScript, SQL, Ruby, and Python. 

If you've ever considered enrolling in a coding bootcamp, you'll have immediately noticed two things: there are a lot of them to choose from, and, oh, by the way, they can be quite expensive. Making such a significant financial commitment can be daunting, and the sheer number of considerations to be made about finding the ideal class size, curriculum, teaching style, intensity, and time commitment can be equally frustrating.

But luckily for you, here at One Month we've done a little digging and put together a list of Chicago coding bootcamps that we feel are worth your time and money.

1. Actualize


215 W Ohio St, Chicago, IL 60654

Using a teaching approach that its creators have dubbed live training, Actualize's 12-week course will see students given coding exercises immediately after learning a new concept, as a review of sorts to ensure that they've truly absorbed what they've just been taught. Class sizes are also kept small (between 7-15 students) to ensure that one-on-one help from your instructor is readily available. Even the newly-added online program keeps with this hands-on approach, opting for live video conference classroom sessions. 

Offering separate day and night schedules for those who may need to balance coursework with the rigors of a full-time job, fitting Actualize's extensive Rails, JS (and VueJS), HTML, CSS, SQL, and Git curriculum into your schedule should be a breeze. And with a cost of $13,900, it's among the more affordable bootcamps on offer in the city.

2. Fullstack Academy


405 W Superior St Floor 3, Chicago, IL 60654

As one of the first bootcamp programs to launch in the city, Fullstack Academy (formerly The Starter League) remains a great option for those looking to transition into a career in tech. Located in River North's Gallery District, Fullstack Academy has both full and part-time fullstack JavaScript offerings, a Summer of Code program for college students, fellowship opportunities for qualified candidates, and even cybersecurity bootcamps. The program costs $15,910 and offers a deferred-tuition option for women called The Grace Hopper Track.

3. General Assembly


444 N Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

If you've done any research at all on coding bootcamps, chances are you've already heard of General Assembly. Located just a few blocks from the Chicago River, General Assembly provides a bevy of full-time courses in areas like Software Engineering, Data Science, UX Design, and an even more expansive list of part-time courses in everything from Python and React, to Data Analytics and general JavaScript development.

The shorter, more focused part-time courses all sit around $3,950, while the full-time, immersive options come in at $13,950.

4. Flatiron School


515 North State Street 14th FL Chicago, IL 60654

Boasting one of the highest job placement rates of any coding bootcamp in the country, Flatiron School is so confident that it can teach you precisely what you need to land your first developer role that it offers a money-back guarantee if you're unable to find a job within 6 months of graduation.

The 15-week, $15,000 course starts with some programming fundamentals before moving into languages like Ruby, JavaScript, and frameworks like React, Rails, and Sinatra. Students' knowledge is then tested through a number of portfolio projects that you'll build as you complete each section.

Though the tuition costs are on the higher end of the spectrum, scholarship options are available to certain underrepresented groups, and there's even an option to defer your tuition payments until after you've secured a job making at least $40,000 per year.

5. Coding Dojo


213 W Institute Pl #610, Chicago, IL 60610

With a learning curriculum that's quite rare among coding bootcamps, Coding Dojo offers three full stacks to it's students. After a preliminary course to learn the fundamentals of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, students then choose three of either Python, Rails, MEAN, Java, and .NET stacks to learn over the 14-week course. Students can also take the course online in the same amount of time, or enroll in the part-time bootcamp and finish in 16 weeks. The traditional, on-site bootcamp costs $12,995, with the price jumping to $14,995 should you wish to take the course online.

6. ChiPy Mentorship Program


200 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601

Perhaps the most interesting of the entries on this list, the Chicago Python User Group (ChiPy) offers a 13-week program focused solely on the Python programming language. During the course you'll meet for weekly one-on-one sessions with a mentor to learn Python basics, web development, and apply your knowledge to a personal project of your own creation. 

In addition to attending the required five program-wide events (all located in and around the Loop) you're encouraged to attend monthly ChiPy meetings, and will write and publish blog posts tracking your progress through the course.

The program has both a Fall and Spring cycle that both begin with an orientation event, and end with you presenting what you've learned to an audience of ChiPy group members. 

Now if you're wondering why I haven't mentioned the cost for this program yet, that's because there isn't one. ChiPy's mentorship program is 100% free, and while not as all-encompassing as many of the other bootcamps on this list, this no-cost, passionately-supported and community-driven program, run by one of the most active programming groups in the country, could be a great introduction to software development, and would certainly be a great way to network with other coders around the city.

Final Thoughts

It should be noted that while coding bootcamps are an incredibly popular avenue to take to learn to code these days, they certainly aren't the only one. Taking advantage of the myriad free coding options available to you could prove just as helpful, and can, at the very least, help you determine what stack, language, or direction you're most interested in before making such a large time and financial commitment.