Code Schools 101

Summary

The United States tech economy is larger than ever, employing more than 11 million Americans and accounting for $1.6 trillion or roughly 10% of US GDP[i] and $5 trillion globally[ii]. Today there are more job openings in tech than job seekers, which has led to low levels of tech unemployment, relatively high tech wages and persistent tech wage inflation[iii].

In order to fulfill this demand for skilled labor a new sector of adult training programs referred to as code schools, skills academies, or “bootcamps” launched in 2012. Today more than 100 such schools are in operation. These programs teach valuable IT skills such as web development, data science, mobile app development and cyber security to adults seeking to “upskill” into sustainable, well-paying tech careers. Programs range from four months to two years in duration with average tuition around $20,000 and a keen focus on workforce preparedness.

Code schools are expected to enroll 36,000 students in 2019, up 49% Y/Y, and 9 out of 10 students surveyed by Course Report would recommend their school to a friend[iv]. However, most of these schools are not federally accredited and thus students are ineligible for federal student loans. As a result, coding academies have been early adopters of ISAs which students often prefer to private student loans.

Background

Computing jobs are the #1 source of new wages in the United States: These jobs are in every industry and every state, and they’re projected to grow at twice the rate of all other jobs.

According to code.org more than 550,000 open computing positions exist in the US, though American colleges graduated just 60,000 computer science majors into the workforce in 2018. At this rate, it would take American colleges eight years to meet current demand. Sourcing, hiring and retaining tech talent is a significant bottleneck not only for tech companies, but banks, retailers and all forms of corporate entities using technology.

The Value of a Computer Science Education

Lifetime earnings
High School graduate $0.58 million
College graduate $1.19 million
Computer science major $1.67 million

Source: Brookings

Employers’ needs for these skills is likely to intensify; the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 13% increase in jobs in “Computer and Mathematical” occupations between 2014 and 2024 (vs. 6% increase in all US jobs)[v]. Nearly half (42%) of employers had little confidence in traditional colleges and universities to train students with the skills needed for jobs in their industry[vi].

Code schools teach commercially valuable skills such as web development, data science, cyber security and mobile app development. Most also offer job placement services including resume and interview preparation, career days, demo days, networking and internships.

According to SwitchUp, coding bootcamp alumni on average saw a $19,485 (45.6%) salary increase in their first job after completing a program compared to the job they had pre-bootcamp. In addition, 43.7% of respondents reported a substantial salary increase of $10,000 or more after finishing a bootcamp.[vii]

After attending a bootcamp, 47.0% of respondents worked in the computer science and computer engineering industry, compared to 17.0% that worked in this field before starting a bootcamp.

Impact

Bootcamps are increasing educational access and professional opportunities for demographic groups under-represented in tech.

In contrast to the tech industry and the overall economy, gender seems to have a negligible effect on professional outcome for bootcamp graduates. Those graduates identifying as female experience similar average salary growth and employment rates after finishing a bootcamp as those identifying as male. According to SwitchUp, female graduates were employed at a slightly higher rate after finishing a bootcamp compared to their male counterparts (82.7% vs. 80.6%, respectively).

Coding Schools often demonstrate their commitment to students’ outcomes is by offering ISA programs. Well-designed code school ISA programs ensure that educators’ interests are aligned with students’ in the pursuit of sustainable, well-paying job opportunities.

Student Satisfaction

  • On average, graduates rated the education of their selected program 4.4 out of 5.
  • 5% of respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with their selected program.
  • Graduates rated their post-bootcamp job outcome 4 out of 5 on average.
  • Graduates rated their post-bootcamp salary an average of 3.8 out of 5.
  • 93% of coding bootcamp alumni would recommend their program to a friend.Source: Course Report[viii]

edly endeavors to facilitate ISA programs to ensure accessible and flexible financing for coding school and bootcamp participants at schools with consistently positive outcomes, value-based tuition prices and career support services.

[i] Computing Technology Industry Association, Bureau of Labor Statistics

[ii] IDC “Global ICT Spending”

[iii] Hired “State of Salaries 2019”

[iv] Course Report “2019 Coding Bootcamp Market Size Study”

[v] Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017

[vi] Hart Research Associates, 2015

[vii] SwitchUp “2018 Coding Bootcamp Industry and Outcomes Report”

[viii] Course Report “2018 Coding Bootcamp Alumni Outcomes & Demographics Report”