Report: bootcamp-trained devs make less than the average Canadian developer (but the gap should close)

Code on Computer

Is Canada’s tech sector greasing the wheels for those without a post-secondary degree? For developers, the old markers of success seem to be falling behind the demand for skills across a variety of Canadian industries. With the recent explosion of intensive code training programs in Canada, and with more on the horizon, a recent survey measured how these bootcamps can affect a tech developers’ career.

The findings, which were released from Toronto-based Course Compare, drew from 500 developers’ salaries and educational experience, and are some of the first to measure career outcomes for those utilizing coding bootcamps in Canada. The survey indicated that nine percent of working developers in Canada have participated in a coding bootcamp, and are tapping into these bootcamps to penetrate Canada’s tech sector.

Course Compare founder and CEO Robert Furtado said there is a clear demand for short-term, integrated and flexible coaching programs that provide continuous skill development. He said mid-career professionals looking to elevate their skills or pivot in their own vocations are the main drivers behind this new demand.

“For this segment of the market, coding bootcamps aren’t replacing four-year degree programs, they’re complementing them,” Furtado said.


According to the survey, the average annual salary of a coding bootcamp graduate sits at $74,482. Coding bootcamp graduates in the survey reported an average of four years’ work experience, while developers with no bootcamp experience averaged at six years’ work experience.

“For this segment of the market, coding bootcamps aren’t replacing four-year degree programs, they’re complementing them.”

As part of its survey, Course Compare analyzed the salaries and educational backgrounds of developers to establish which directions in education lead to higher earning potential. The nine percent of developers who reported they had at least part-time training at a coding bootcamp earned, on average, $74,482 per year. Although this figure falls behind the national average for all developers by about $3,400, it exceeds the national average for all workers by over $24,000. Self-trained developers who did not engage in education after high school will earn $60,124 on average in 2019, exceeding the national average for all workers by $10,000.

The survey’s findings also indicated that bootcamp graduates are more likely to secure roles as front-end developers than developers with other educational backgrounds (55 percent versus 31 percent).

Speaking with Jeremy Shaki, CEO of Toronto-based coding bootcamp Lighthouse Labs (disclosure: BetaKit operates within Lighthouse Labs’ Toronto Devhub co-working space), he noted the report indicates the changing nature of industry expectations for developers in the few short years that bootcamps have existed.

“I’m looking first and foremost at the very comparable salaries between bootcamp grads and Comp Sci Bachelor Degrees,” Shaki said. “Considering the infancy of programs like Lighthouse Labs, I expect to see even closer comparables in the near future.”

Shaki noted that Lighthouse Labs also released its own career trajectory showing an average salary of $85,247 for roughly 3.5 years in the industry (read Lighthouse Labs’ full report here) and that he expects the average bootcamp salary to rise as graduates generate comparable work experience to the national average.

Shifting Attitudes on Education

Eighty-six percent of workers surveyed by Course Compare reported that they do not believe a post-secondary degree is necessary to thrive as a developer. Nonetheless, nearly half reported having completed a bachelor’s degree, 21 percent had a college diploma, and 14 percent held a master’s degree before joining a coding bootcamp. Seventeen percent surveyed said their highest level of education prior to taking a bootcamp was a high school diploma.

“We’re only beginning to understand the labour market effects of new, accelerated forms of education like coding bootcamps,” said Furtado. “Canada’s first coding bootcamps opened their doors in 2012, but they’ve already helped a significant number of Canadians transition into and succeed in the tech sector.”

Read the full report from Course Compare here.

Image via Pixabay.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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