We regret to inform
Coding bootcamps these days are a hot commodity, especially among those looking for an alternate pipeline into the world of software development and an above average salary. It’s the golden ticket out of working in call centers and waiting tables; it’s a game changer.
According to the latest Course Report, coding schools are expected to grow by more than 50%, however, earlier this week two well-known national coding bootcamps closed within days of each other.
Is this a premonition of what’s to come or are these simply isolated incidents?
We shall never see their like again
On July 12th Dev Boot Camp, one of the original pioneers of the bootcamp industry, announced the closure of all campuses on Facebook.
Their remaining cohorts will finish out the rest of their term and graduate in December. After which, DBC will close their doors forever.
Yesterday, The Iron Yard issued a similar statement, though not quite as telling.
Both schools ranked within the top 30 code schools in the world so you really can’t help but wonder, what’s going on?
Thinkful’s CEO and co-founder Darrell Silver expressed his sentiments surrounding Dev Bootcamp’s announcement: “[they] failed because it was acquired too early…. [i]f Kaplan had made the acquisition five or ten years later DBC would have had the chances to work this stuff out on its own dime and oversight.”
Dev Bootcamp lamented since opening in 2012 they have been striving to find a viable business model that would enable them to further their vision of high-quality, immersive coding training that is broadly accessible to a diverse population.
On top of the critical day-to-day costs of running their many campuses, they couldn’t make ends meet.
Ultimately, they were not able to find a sustainable model that would not compromise on any of those fronts.
Sources tell us that many schools operate at a loss with hopes of a future turnaround.
Luke Filipos, Founder and CEO of Austin Coding Academy expressed his take on the recent closures to AG:
“The whole coding bootcamp movement started, I think, because people were unsatisfied with the current college model — pay a bunch of money to go to a full time school and maybe get a job that can pay off the school debt.”
The Austin Coding Academy has a more flexible model than most bootcamps, offering three leveled 10-week courses spread out over a period of nine months (rather than being crammed into a 5-6 week period) and held in the evenings so students don’t have to quit their jobs to attend.
For Filipos, the full-time immersive model of most code bootcamps is simply not sustainable.
In regards to their own operating methods: “all of these things contribute to more accessible classes, lower tuition, more well-rounded graduates, and ultimately a healthier business.”
With the rise in popularity to take the coding crash courses (ranging anywhere from $2,000 – $21,000), more and more bootcamps are popping up around the nation; Austin, for example, has at least sixteen.
Well, Austin had sixteen.
The market is becoming oversaturated with the different coding schools available and eventual consolidation is to be expected.
Dev Bootcamp and The Iron Yard won’t be the only two camps to close shop this year. Many believe the only long-term winners will be smaller independents operating in only one or two cities and some of the well-funded national chains with deep pockets that are backed by major universities.
It’s a saturated industry, not only in the number of coding schools but the number of graduates searching for the junior web developer jobs as well. And none of this accounts for the instructor jobs created then destroyed by these closings.
What do these closures say to anyone interested in attending the bootcamps? Are web dev jobs just another flavor of the month? Does this make for questionable post-secondary education?
Only time will tell.