This past week, two prominent coding bootcamps, The Iron Yard and Dev Bootcamp, announced that they would be closing their doors. This news has many asking questions about the current health of the bootcamp industry, as well as what this means for the future of the bootcamp model. We’re extremely optimistic about the future of bootcamp tech education for a few reasons.
Let’s separate the business model and the bootcamp model
Both of the previously mentioned companies cited an inability to find a profitable business model as the main reason for their shutdown. Recent changes in ownership may have shifted business focus. Their closing was a business decision and not a result of the education they provided. While they may have struggled to find a working business model, they still positively affected the lives of many students. Across industries, many companies have difficulty finding profitable business models. Within growing markets this is especially true as companies position themselves differently. This naturally gives rise to an ebb and flow that can lay claim to even the pioneers of that industry.
Education is a difficult thing to scale. It’s not just a product, and it’s not just a service. It’s complex. It requires great students, great teachers, and great curriculum. Many coding schools have come and gone in the last six years, proving that it’s not easy.
Finding people that are just as passionate about your mission as you are is also one of the most difficult parts of building a successful business. Nowhere is this more important than in a business like a coding school. The process of finding the right people and growing responsibly is not easy. It’s slow. It takes time to build a presence in a new city. It takes time to build the alumni base with the kind of outcomes that help tell your story.
And even though it’s early for the bootcamp industry, there are still a lot of great things happening. Course Report recently released its annual report that found the coding school market has grown 10.5x since 2013. In the report, they also estimate that almost 23,000 students will go through bootcamps in 2017.The industry is healthy and the outlook is bright but it is only in its adolescence. The growth will continue as more and more consumers and employers see the value of the bootcamp education model.
More Employers are catching on
We continue to have more and more employers approach us to learn about our students than ever before. Technology is moving faster than ever, and bootcamps are uniquely positioned to provide candidates who have been trained in the most recent technologies because the bootcamp didn’t have to deal with long curriculum approvals. This quick-to-adapt and accelerated approach is the very difference maker between a bootcamp and any other professional tech education.
The modern-day employer is starting to see the value in diversity in both experience and background that many bootcamp grads bring. Bootcamp students are very diverse, they’ve got a wide variety of life experiences, and they’re hungry. The industry is craving for that honed talent and diversity of thought, and the talent gap still exists. Many corporations are actively seeking out bootcamps and their grads for these reasons.
Demand outside Silicon Valley continues to grow
It used to be that if you wanted to work in technology, Silicon Valley was the only place to go. While there’s still a high centralization of tech jobs in “high tech areas,” more and more companies that have not traditionally been considered to be high tech are hiring developers and other technical positions, not to mention the growing trend of remote workforces.
Arguably, this increase in demand outside of Silicon Valley will only accelerate, and traditional educational institutions can’t keep up with the demand. Bootcamps provide another convenient and accessible alternative.
The Industry is Growing Up
The recent announcements are representative of a transition phase for the bootcamp industry. This entire industry is only a handful of years old. We’re still in the emerging market phase. Everyone is experimenting with growth strategies, business models, and instructional models. Some will be successful through different phases, some will not.
The bottomline is that demand for technical skills remains high. There is no doubt that bootcamps continue to improve and make a huge impact. We expect growth to continue, and outcomes to improve, and are extremely optimistic about the future of the industry.