Coding Academies: The Tip of the Iceberg?
There are some new “academies” in the higher education neighborhood that appear interesting, valuable in the marketplace, and a long time in coming.
There is a new report out, Coding Nation, by the Kapor Center for Social Impact. The report, and accompanying database, lists a variety of “coding academies” and other resources that teach people about computer science and coding. The over 300 listed resources represent a variety of formats including (from the website):
- “Bootcamps: Intensives that prepare participants for at least entry-level developer positions.
- Certifications: Trainings that result in a certification/credential, badge, or belt to identify skill development progress.
- Corporation-focused: Courses that provide training to corporations or on behalf of a specific corporation.
- Hackathons: Event in which individuals collaborate in a short and intense time period (typically 24 to 72 hours) to build a mobile or web application.”
They also represent a variety of ways to pay for the instruction – from a flat fee to a percentage of salary from the job you take after the program. For this type of program fee structure, if you don’t get a job, you don’t pay. An organization that offers a payment plan like this must be highly confident of the value of their product, since an implied guarantee of this sort can only be offered if the product performs to the advertised standards (in this case, that the student gets a high-paying job). This sounds like a compelling – and hard to copy – strategy.
A Huffington Post article from earlier this year discusses one student’s success with an $11,000, nine-week program that led to a lucrative career change. It’s a worthwhile read to get a sense for why students are interested in this type of program and how they work.
Why are these programs proliferating? According to the Huffington Post article, “The new schools say they are teaching students the real-world skills that employers want but colleges have failed to provide.” In addition to coding, I can imagine a host of other types of skills that could be taught in such academies, including accounting, entrepreneurship, finance, writing, public speaking, and other useful business-related skills. Business schools should take notice.
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