The Explosion of Coding BootcampsPosted by Austin Archibald on Oct 22, 2015 | Tags: bootcamp, coding, programming, web | 5 comments
Although we are likely in the midst of another tech bubble which some experts believe is worse than the 2000 dot-com bubble, a new, innovative model of education has arisen during this latest tech boom. As the costs to build software businesses have plummeted even further, there has been an explosion in the formation of early stage companies. Consequently, the demand for computer programmers outpaced supply. The markets responded with an explosion of a new model of technical education in the form of “developer bootcamps.”
“Bootcamps are full-time, intensive programs that take novices and transform them into employable software developers with $70,000+ salaries and the hottest tech skills.” – Thinkful.com
In early 2012, there were less than five programming bootcamps. This number has exploded to nearly 70 bootcamps in 2015. Here is a timelapsed heatmap of coding bootcamps since 2012:
Course Report, a think tank specializing in coding bootcamps, discovered that bootcamp graduates grew from 2,178 in 2013 to 6,740 in 2014 and will grow to 16,056 in 2015. Thus, by the end of 2015, there will be a running total of over 25,000 bootcamp graduates.
Amazingly, these numbers include only in-person, brick-and-mortar bootcamps. A similar phenomenon has exploded online, where technology is used to replicate the experience through a hands-on apprenticeship model. In an intense project-based curriculum, students build complex web applications with the help of a personal mentor. The most successful online Bootcamp, Bloc, has raised over $8M, achieved 400% YoY revenue growth, and graduated over 1,000 students.
There are all kinds of people joining these bootcamps: individuals looking to change their careers, entrepreneurs wanting to build and launch their own product, executives wishing to understand their own firm’s underlying technology, high school graduates looking to leapfrog expensive hi-ed programs, and even recent college graduates with computer science degrees looking to learn practical, job-ready skills.
This phenomenon has many implications for the online economy. Naturally, this is creating tesn of thousands of junior developers who will need to find ways to differentiate themselves from one another. Senior developers will still be in high demand until many of these new developers gain more skills and experience. We will see a rise in more specialized bootcamps. All of this will result in the creation of more software products and more start-ups. The rate of change in technological advancements of software will likely increase. In the long run, society will be the beneficiary as more innovative software leads to economic productivity. Software will continue to eat the world.
Naturally, markets are known to overcorrect their imbalances. There are already reports (many from graduates themselves posting on sites like reddit) of bootcamp graduates struggling to find junior developer jobs. Not everyone can, should, or will be a computer programmer. The market is always chasing that dynamic, optimal number. After all, markets are made up of humans who will make faulty prognostications. However, a few years ago, the signal was loud and clear: we need more developers. The markets responded quite quickly and forcefully.
By: Austin Archibald