I've applied to about 40 entry level jobs, 5 interviews and 0 job offers. What do I do? Some feedback that I got was that my CS background doesn't seem that strong. I don't want to take another 4 years to go through college when I can be learning quicker with real world practice on the job. Should I work for free to get more experience or do a quick coding bootcamp? Some of the bootcamp graduates are at impressive companies but I'm not sure what their background was before.
A coding bootcamp may be a good idea as a way to flesh out your CS chops, but remember that you also have other opportunities available for real world practice. Always work on one or two side projects of your own - fully fleshed out apps, finished products, clean code, etc... - and post your work on GitHub. Try doing some freelance work for local businesses or even on Elance or Freelancer.com to gain more experience working for clients. Build websites, learn new frameworks, add experience to your resume, and always strive to be a better developer tomorrow than you are today. A coding bootcamp will definitely enable that for you, especially if you go to a top one, but you have options to succeed without one as long as you are willing to put in the effort.
And keep applying. The job hunt is tough, it takes, time, and you'll hear no more often than you hear yes. That's no reason to give up. Look for companies that would be willing to let you grow into your role, and a crucial part of showing that you're capable of that is doing what I've listed above.
The one thing I'd add is "BE FOCUSED". Pick one particular stack of technology, and master that. Don't take a whole bunch of random stuff... it won't get you hired.
Great point Dal, thanks for adding that!