The ‘90s: birth decade of Tamagotchis, Game Boy, The Spice Girls’ debut album, and…Python. Although the first three have been relegated to attic nostalgia status, Python’s popularity and number of applications have absolutely skyrocketed over the past thirty years. According to the TIOBE Community Programming Index–an indicator of programming language popularity–Python is currently the most popular language in the world. Stack Overflow’s 2022 Developer Survey ranks Python as one of the top coding languages for new coders as well as professional developers, and HackerRank’s 2023 Developer Skills Report categorizes it as the second-most-used programming language as well as one of the fastest-growing. Consequently, Python bootcamps and courses have become more and more prevalent, offered by career training programs, universities, and private education companies alike. However, if you’re not sure whether a Python bootcamp could be the right choice for you–or you’re just not sure where to begin–read on.

What is Python, and what is it used for?

Named after Monty Python’s Flying Circus, a British sketch comedy show from the 1980s, Python is a programming language created by Gavin van Rossum, who served as Python’s Benevolent Dictator For Life (yes, actual title) until 2004. Van Rossum developed the language’s defining characteristics: its ease of use (its syntax is purposely similar to the English language, making it great for beginners), its open-source designation (resources and code can be shared within a vast online community–for free), and its versatility (Python can be used for myriad projects and downloaded on multiple operating systems). As a result, there are over 137,000 Python libraries, meaning that users can pull chunks of already-written code from existing programs.

Accordingly, Python has become ubiquitous–just like The Spice Girls’ “Wannabe” on every 90s radio station worth its salt. From social media apps like Pinterest and Instagram to streaming services like Netflix and Spotify to tech giants like Google and Amazon, it is extremely probable you engage with at least one Python-fueled application daily. A general-purpose programming language, Python is frequently utilized in machine learning, IT, software engineering, game development, AI, data science, academic research, the financial tech sector…the list goes on. Given its reputation for versatility, this coding language likely has future uses yet to be discovered, making Python bootcamps and courses a wise choice for high school and college students looking to dip their toes into the world of programming or up-level their skills.

How long does it take to learn Python?

You can master the basics in a few weeks to a few months depending on your dedication to learning and comfort level with technology. While you could learn on your own by utilizing open-source resources and video tutorials, Python coding bootcamps provide structure, expert support, and networking advantages.

Best Python Bootcamps – What jobs require Python?

In addition to traditional roles in software engineering and development, Python is a valued skill in a variety of sectors. Subsequently, as you’ll see below, some Python bootcamps are highly specialized while others focus on universal fundamentals. Network engineers, machine learning engineers, mechanical engineers, data scientists and analysts, financial analysts, and academic researchers are just a few of the career paths you might pursue with Python on your resume.

Are Python bootcamps worth it?

Bootcamps are an intensive way to learn the fundamentals of a given skill. While not exhaustive, Python bootcamps will give you the skills needed to pursue a multitude of programming projects, build your toolbox for a variety of majors and careers, and boost your resume for competitive internships and college applications (CS programs, in particular, are currently saturated with scores of outstanding candidates).

Furthermore, given that Python is heralded as one of the easiest-to-learn programming languages, it now is included in introductory computer science courses at many of the best colleges for computer science, including Carnegie Mellon, MIT, Caltech, Harvard, and Duke. However, it’s unlikely that you’ll receive Python experience in high school–even within the most rigorous curriculum–as AP Computer Science focuses exclusively on Java. As such, if you are awarded course credit for scoring highly on the AP Computer Science exam, but your college’s intro class is Python-focused, you likely won’t want to skip it if you’re not yet familiar with the language. Entering college with a Python bootcamp under your belt could give you the opportunity to leap directly into higher-level classes; at the very least, it will provide you with foundational understanding and added comfort within notoriously rigorous computer science coursework.

In addition, since most software developers, engineers, and data analysts are familiar with multiple programming languages, learning Python can give you a leg-up when it’s time to learn more complex languages down the line.

Since Python has an incredible number of resources and applications, you’ll want to decide whether you want to focus exclusively on Python fundamentals, or whether you want to learn Python fundamentals and how to apply them to a particular specialization. Below, we’ve rounded up the best Python bootcamp options for high schoolers.

On-Campus Python Bootcamps

Best for students who…

  • are looking for a fast-paced, supportive environment.
  • are willing/able to dedicate 1-3 full-time weeks to learning.

Columbia Pre-College Programs

What you’ll learn: Python fundamentals

Cost: $12,449 (3-week residential), $6,300 (3-week commuter), $2,825 (1-week commuter)

Columbia offers three-week and one-week pre-college programs.  During the three-week intensive–Computer Programming for Beginners: Coding in Python–students will master Python fundamentals, learn how to utilize Python’s endless number of libraries, and start applying their skills to actual problems. The one-week course, Introduction to Programming with Python, teaches students Python basics as well as reasoning and problem-solving skills.

[email protected]

What you’ll learn: Python fundamentals

Cost: $300 (in-person), $175 (remote)

[email protected], the USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s high school camp program, runs both in-person and virtual Python bootcamps year-round. At this time they offer four levels of Python courses for 7-12th graders that provide a comprehensive set of skills for a variety of future applications.

iD Tech

What you’ll learn: Python fundamentals, machine learning, artificial intelligence

Cost: $1,099 (one-week session), $4,549 (2-week session)

With weeklong programs that take place on college campuses across the country, including elites like MIT, Columbia, and Princeton, this highly respected tech camp offers a variety of specialized Python bootcamps. Beginner Python-centric options include camps like Python Coding 101, Intro to Python Coding for Machine Learning and Machine Learning Academy: Coding Deep Neural Networks. Furthermore, intermediate/advanced camps include Advanced Laboratory for Emerging Technologies (which invites students to tackle real-world problems using their skills) and Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

Indiana University Bloomington Luddy School of Informatics Pre-College Program

What you’ll learn: Python fundamentals, special topic overview

Cost: $750

During this week-long residential course, students will learn how Python can be used to “control a multiplicity of systems”. Topics covered include cryptocurrency, cybersecurity, and microbiome gene sequencing. Since students will be grouped according to skill level, new and seasoned Python users alike will gain value from participating.

Tufts Coding Academy

What you’ll learn: Python fundamentals, special topic overview

Cost: $5,500 (residential), $4,000 (commuter)

Geared toward brand-new coders, Tufts’ Coding 101 program gives students a bird’s eye view of what is possible with Python. In addition to learning the language, students will learn more about growing career fields like AI, robotics, and cybersecurity. They’ll also engage in “TechTreks” to Boston-area tech royalty like Google, Fidelity, and HubSpot. Finally, you’ll present a final coding project to instructors and fellow students. They also offer a “Coding 102” option for those with more advanced skills.

UCLA Coding Academy

What you’ll learn: Python fundamentals

Cost: $6,399-10,599 (residential), $3,599-5,999 (commuter)

UCLA’s summer academies are intensive academic experiences where students attend class twice a day, 4-5 times a week for two weeks. During the Coding Academy, students will learn the basics of programming using Python. Above all, instructors expect that students will leave the course with foundational knowledge of the language.

UCLA Computer Science Summer Institute

What you’ll learn: Python fundamentals

Cost: TBD

A three-week mash-up of coding bootcamp and campus experience, UCLA’S CS Summer Institute is geared toward students with no prior programming experience who wish to pursue a computer science-related field in college. Students will learn computer science fundamentals as well as Python.

UMass Amherst Programming for Aspiring Scientists: Python and Physics

What you’ll learn: Python fundamentals, physics

Cost: $3,454 (residential), $2,050 (commuter)

Over the course of two weeks, students will become proficient in Python and use their new skills to tackle different physics-related problems, from soccer ball trajectories to epidemics. Students need not have programming experience, and UMass specifically encourages new coders to attend. The camp is offered in-person as well as online.

Online Python Bootcamps

Best for students who…

  • are looking for a supportive, synchronous virtual environment.
  • have a few hours per day or per week to dedicate to learning.

Code Connects

What you’ll learn: Python fundamentals, special topics

Cost: $395 (one week), $695 (two weeks)

The Coding School is all about introducing high school students to specialty tech fields that they would not normally have access to. Python-centric courses include several within their Code Connects summer program: AI & Big Data, which introduces students to Python and machine learning, and Emerging Tech, which teaches Python fundamentals as well as how they can be applied to fields like healthcare, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence. Camps typically run for either 1-2 weeks for several hours per day.

Code Galaxy

What you’ll learn: Python fundamentals

Cost: $399

Code Galaxy’s Python Basics bootcamp is a literal whirlwind–over the course of just two days and eight hours, you’ll learn Python fundamentals via a project-based curriculum. Perfect for students who want to take off on their own projects after mastering fundamental skills.

Inspirit AI

What you’ll learn: Python fundamentals, artificial intelligence

Cost: $1,100

Taught by MIT and Stanford graduate students, AI Scholars Live Online teaches Python fundamentals in an AI framework. In addition to completing a mentor-led group project, students will also complete mini-projects using Python. Concurrently, they’ll learn more about AI concepts and careers. In total, the course runs for 10 sessions and 25 hours.

Nextgen Python Data Science and Machine Learning Program

What you’ll learn: Python fundamentals, data science, machine learning

Cost: $1,199

Three weeks and 45 hours. That’s what students will need to invest into Nextgen’s Python Data Science and Machine Learning virtual camp. In the first half of the course, they’ll get comfortable with Python fundamentals. In the second half, they will apply their knowledge to data science. No prior programming experience is required.

Syracuse University Pre-College Summer Programs

What you’ll learn: Python fundamentals, biology

Cost: $1,985

Via a series of synchronous classes over the course of three weeks, students can participate in either Biology Meets Programming or Coding: Learn to Code. In the former, students will gain a basic understanding of Python. Additionally, they will learn how it can be applied to biology. This includes “molecules, cells, tissues, organs, whole body to the public health arena.” In the latter course, students will gain more in-depth Python skills. They’ll then practice finding creative solutions to real problems.

UPenn Python Coding: Machine Learning and Data Science

What you’ll learn: Python fundamentals, machine learning, data science

Cost: $2,500

Offered through iD Tech, Penn’s High School Program course can be taken over the course of ten weeks during the school year or as a 2-week summer intensive. Students will start by learning the basics of Python, which they’ll then use to explore machine learning and data sets. The program culminates with the creation of a portfolio.

Self-Paced Python Bootcamps

Best for students who…

  • are looking for a self-paced, asynchronous environment.
  • have a few hours per day or per week to dedicate to learning.

Codecademy

What you’ll learn: Python fundamentals + special topics

Cost: Plans range from $0 to $49.99/month, with varying levels of access to courses

“Learn Python 3″ is a 14-lesson, 25-hour course. It requires the completion of 12 different Python projects. Then, students can sign up for additional “skill paths.” These include topics such as “Apply Natural Language Processing with Python” and “Build a Machine Learning Model with Python.”  Lastly, all courses are completely self-paced.

Girls Who Code Self-Paced Program

What you’ll learn: Python fundamentals, cybersecurity, data science

Cost: Free

Over the course of six weeks, students can choose from three different tracks, two of which are Python-focused: Cybersecurity with Python and Data Science with Python. Further, classes are completed at the student’s own pace, and now include intermediate content for those who already possess programming skills. In addition, students have access to live Zoom events.

Juni Learning

What you’ll learn: Python fundamentals

Cost: $29/month

Juni offers a wide variety of on-demand coding classes, including Python Level 1: Graphic Superstar and Python Level 2: Problem Solver. The Python Level 1 class contains about twenty hours of course material. In addition, students can move through as slowly or quickly as they like. It also includes weekly virtual office hours with a Juni instructor.

University of Michigan Joy of Coding

What you’ll learn: Python fundamentals

Cost: $125

Taught by University of Michigan Engineering faculty, the Joy of Coding aims to make programming fun. Students will learn Python and apply their knowledge to different types of projects. The course is six weeks long, asynchronous, and self-paced. Students are expected to complete approximately 4-6 hours of work per week that includes an integrated lecture, reading, and coding module.

Best Python Bootcamps – Final Thoughts

Not sure you want to invest in a full-on Python bootcamp? Give it a shot for free through edX or Coursera in popular courses offered by Harvard and the University of Michigan. You’ll get a taste of how much support you might need, the types of projects that are possible, and your optimal learning environment (i.e., in-person, online, or self-paced). Is a long-term academic experience more your speed? Try checking out courses at your local community college.

In conclusion, no matter what you choose, you can’t go wrong with Python. Its popularity is only projected to grow, meaning that it will continue to be a skill highly valued by colleges and employers alike in the years to come.