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How are coding bootcamps evolving?



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Coding bootcamps began in 2011 to address a problem: a shortage of technical talent. Soon after, many began to tackle a second: the lack of diversity among the technical workforce.

With a few notable exceptions, the coding bootcamp was largely an in-person, cohort-based model, subjecting career changers to a 12-week or a few-month program informed by direct industry feedback. Many were offering flexible hours and experimenting with pricing models, including the rise of revenue sharing agreements. They mainly produced entry-level apprentices, many of whom were hired by large companies.

The pandemic has turned the model upside down for many. All bootcamps focused on online learning, and junior recruits had far fewer hands-on mentoring opportunities.

“Being in person is a lot more fun,” said Desa Burton, the executive director of Wilmington Postal Code. Founded in Delaware’s largest city in 2015, it is one of the oldest location-specific coding programs in the country.

The postal code is used for a specific case study. This summer, more than one in three job seekers in Wilmington looked for remote work. Among small towns, it was the third highest rate in the country. LinkedIn nicknamed Wilmington “a remote working haven”.

Wilmington may be a special case. Northern Delaware has a large financial services industry, with a particular focus on the credit card industry and many accompanying security software and jobs. During this time, the finance industry has been most interested in returning employees to the office. JPMorgan Chase, which operates a 3,000-person technology center in Wilmington, is leading the way; its CEO Jamie Dimon said he was “done” with virtual meetings. CapitalOne, which has an office in the city center, has postponed its opening until November, and some Barclaycard the staff remained attached to the office.

One of the reasons Delaware could become such a sudden national leader in remote working could be that mid-career and senior professionals at these large companies and others have found they enjoy working from home.

A steady increase in postcode Wilmington alumni have taken up remote positions. This influenced what the bootcamp teaches.

“They know they can be free agents, so they see what else is available for them,” Burton said. Delaware Boosters have long heralded its geographic strengths: Wilmington offers both walking opportunities in town and luxurious suburbs, direct train access to DC, Philadelphia and New York, and a short drive to rural farmland. persistent and popular seaside towns. “It’s a big ‘living economy’,” said Burton.

Among the nine cohorts that graduated in the past 18 months, a steady increase in alumni have taken up remote positions. “We haven’t really seen that interest before,” said Burton. This influenced what the bootcamp teaches.

A third of U.S. coding bootcamp graduates in 2019 were trained in CSS, the ubiquitous design language, and a quarter learned JavaScript, the popular object-oriented language. In contrast, Zip Code is known for its strong focus on Java, which less than 2% of bootcamp graduates across the country have learned. (Developers like to say that Java and Javascript are as related to each other like ham and hamsters.) But Java is widely used in financial services, of which Delaware has a lot. In 2020, Zip Code launched a 12-week data engineering course to train professionals capable of supporting data scientists, one of the fastest growing needs in the country.

However, Burton is careful not to overstep the organization’s remote focus. Distributed Work remains a minority of its graduates, and Zip Code Wilmington was built to support area employers.

“We are always there to support the regional economy,” she said. This mandate has expanded over the past six years, from Wilmington, Delaware, to the Delaware region. “We’re also seeing that there are some really fantastic talent across the country.”

During the pandemic, the Wilmington zip code attracted students to move to Delaware from states ranging from Texas to Florida to Georgia and land local jobs.

Burton says during the pandemic, his school attracted students to move to Delaware from states ranging from Texas to Florida to Georgia and land local jobs. This is the economic growth that the ZIP code was meant to have by its founders and supporters – a collective of Delaware insiders.

Zip Code has graduated nearly 500 alumni since its inception in 2015, Burton said. Like the larger coding bootcamp industry, it is a large and growing, albeit still partial, contributor to a major labor shortage. About 33,000 people graduated from 100 US coding bootcamps in 2019, including a dozen online-only versions. Compare that with the 65,000 computer science graduates that US universities earn each year. This is significant growth in eight years of existence. Collectively, these efforts still lag behind the torrential 22% growth in software developer roles that the U.S. economy will demand between 2019 and 2029, according to the. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. It’s five or six times faster than other types of roles.

An inordinate number of coding bootcamp graduates nationwide are taking jobs in the New York City subway and San Francisco Bay Area, possibly as many as 30,000, according to Career karma. That is compared to 3,200 in Washington DC, 2,500 in Chicago and less than 1,000 in Philadelphia – which has hosted five new bootcamps in the past two years alone.

Coding bootcamps therefore respond to a shortage of technical skills. But not fast enough. Many graduate with extremely junior skills – although some are hoping for a mid-career retraining as a sort of balm. Bootcamp graduates can become experienced artists, when they will have to decide whether they want to become managers or remain individual contributors. For now, however, wages continue to swell for the best.

What about the diversification of technical staff? Coding bootcamps frequently tout their contributions there, with flexible schedules and pricing models.

Should local coding bootcamps prioritize attracting people to connect and work anywhere, or prioritize staffing their local businesses, no matter where people live?

When Burton walked into the Zip Code Wilmington offices in 2018, she was taken by photos of alumni on the wall. One third of their graduates were people of color. Several cohorts were made up of half of women. Today, four of their five technical instructors are black men.

“You go into the zip code and you’re like, ‘Oh, what’s the deal with diversity in technology? Burton said. Then you scan the rest of the industry and get it. Much of it remains a cultural divide, says Burton. She worked on a partnership with Y women to introduce highly motivated women from at-risk backgrounds into coding classes: “A lot of women say, ‘I don’t even see myself there, what does a programmer even do?’ “

By adding technology to the public perception, it makes it less different. I asked Burton: Should the local coding bootcamp prioritize attracting people to settle there and work anywhere, or prioritize staffing its local businesses no matter where they are? people live? His response, of course, was diplomatic: both.

“This gives us the opportunity to be hybrid in the future and add a remote component,” said Burton. Other coding bootcamps seem to follow the same logic. Only 7,000 of coding bootcamp graduates in 2019 completed their courses entirely online, or less than a quarter. That has certainly changed over the past year, and it could continue.

“Small Town USA can now take advantage of technology,” said Burton, encouraging their residents to take courses online and work remotely. “They may require the infrastructure to allow it.”

Burton, however, believes you should open a second location for your business in Delaware, or otherwise hire in Delaware to attract desirable talent from a lesser-known market.

“If the online training is done right, people can come out with the skills they need, just like in person,” Burton said. “This part will not change regarding the coding of bootcamps. “

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