The general perception is that they're learning institutions, but that couldn't be further from the truth. In reality, bootcamps are technical recruitment agencies.
Companies are realizing that smart, motivated people with no CS degree can still oftentimes excel in the majority of positions (primarily app development.) The problem is finding those people. Bootcamps have stepped in to bridge that gap - they essentially screen for people who learn quickly, teach them the bare essentials, and send them on their way.
This means bootcamps have a symbiotic relationship with the quality of students they're able to attract. The best bootcamps turn out the highest quality students, who then get the best jobs, which makes the bootcamp look better.
Dev Bootcamp was always in that awkward position where it was trying to be one of the "premiere" bootcamps, but never actually made it to tier 1 status. It's always lived in the shadow of Hack Reactor, Fullstack Academy, and to a lesser extent, App Academy. Having personally worked with Dev Bootcamp graduates, I've felt that on average, they were much weaker than the graduates from the other bootcamps I mentioned.
Since Hack Reactor in particular has been expanding its reach to additional locations, Dev Bootcamp was probably getting boxed out of the premium bootcamp space. The founders were unwilling to be relegated to tier 2 (or the demand was dropping too fast) so they had to pull out.
It's a shame, but I can't say I'm entirely surprised.
Bootcamps are this weird space where, because they're so short and so expensive, even the most legitimate are considered mediocre by most employers because you can only teach so much in three months.
So you can make it a year long, but then do you charge $40-80k up-front? No one has that kind of money.
The difference between the people who go to Harvard and those that don't has much more to do with money. Hire people with this assumption at your own peril.
Finding the right thing with the right people is where the socioeconomic status comes in, particularly having a well connected family.
On my graduation year, my university created a slogan, "It's not what you know, it's who you know." Having just spend 5 years getting a degree from said university, I thought that wasn't a very good slogan for such an institution. It was absolutely correct though.
In it he talks about how Steve Jobs and company were just immersed in a technological community from a young age. They had after-school tech clubs (that the kids actually wanted to go to) as early as elementary school, virtually every Dad on the street was an engineer... yeah, no shit they created Apple. Not discounting the skills of Jobs and Woz, but they had about the most fertile soil possible in which to grow a tech company and a network of contacts from childhood. Listening to that piece made me insanely jealous. Would have killed for that kind of community as a kid.
I was teaching English in China making about $800 per month. I wanted to build an application and had no experience and certainly no money. I went to school for Journalism and have zero family money or connections.
I bought Agile Web Development with Rails. I spent the next year or so trying to learn while working an ultra low pay job with almost a dial up connection.
I applied for an accelerator with my terrible app, got accepted, ultimately didn’t raise any money but I did end up with a junior engineer job. Which led to another, then another until finally here I am, I still work contract jobs but finally that terrible app is actually good and generating real money.
I own a house now. I get paid more in a month than I would make in 18 months teaching in China.
I didn’t go to a bootcamp, I didn’t go to Stanford and I have never raised investment money.
How I really got it? I worked very hard. Studied cheap books, reached out to experienced developers I tracked town through sheer force of will.
By most definitions, I am successful however that success might not have yet resulted in a million dollar pay day but life is pretty food.
Another story, the founder of the Gringos restaurant chain in Houston, literally started as a dishwasher and now he flies in a private jet and gives millions to charity. And before someone declares “white privilege” or some other nonsense – he’s brown.
Another kid I knew was a minimum wage bar-back at a nice Houston bar. 5 years later, he owned the place.
Look at Asian immigrants to the US, plenty of stories of first generation immigrants that speak not a word of English and arrived in the US with $500 and now they’re sending their kids to Harvard.
How many Algerian immigrant kids are in France’s elite schools? Probably close to zero.
There are tens of thousands of stories like that.
You rarely hear about rags to riches in Europe.
While the US doesn’t have a monopoly on success stories, the American dream os far from a myth. It is literally there for the taking. Look at the Apple story, Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet. How many self-made billionaires are there in Europe? How many self-made millionaires even?
Nothing is stopping a poor guy with a squeegee and a bottle of Windex from creating a window washing empire – if he’s willing to dream that big. Good luck doing that in most other countries – they’d crush him with taxes and regulations before he could even afford to buy his first truck or hire his first employee.
In Europe, starting or growing a business is only for the rich or privileged generally. In America, anyone can do it; but not everyone wants to put in the sweat and hours to actually execute.
For example, SAT coaching only increases scores by around 50 points. 
Oh, I sure do. The strongest positive correlations I've noticed with elite schooling are conscientiousness, acquiescence to authority and then wealth, in that order. Intelligence is a relatively distant 4th place, thought it still correlates positively, IMO.
PG actually wrote a whole essay on this topic: http://www.paulgraham.com/colleges.html
"...what we've found is that the variation between schools is so much smaller than the variation between individuals that it's negligible by comparison. We can learn more about someone in the first minute of talking to them than by knowing where they went to school."
We aren't talking about making a million dollar donation to get your son into school. That happens, sure, but it's an extreme example.
Here are things that richer people can do easily & poorer people struggle with.
* Not working or working part time for four or more years
* Moving across the country
* Living in places with high cost of living (think Stanford, Berkely, NYU)
* Getting tutoring for the SAT, taking the SAT multiple times
* Going to a high school where the teachers give a shit
* Having people in your life who went to college & can help
* Having extracurricular activities that show you'd contribute to campus life
* Already being comfortable with being interviewed at age 18
These are just what I could think of in a few minutes. Scholarships _do not_ level the playing field (though they certainly help).
I'm well aware of the different kinds of privilege which money affords students. I grew up lower middle class but went to boarding school and university with some incredibly privileged people.
Money helps, but it's still not the dominant factor. If it were, I never would have gotten the education I received. Insinuating that those who went to elite universities just had enough money to get in and go is insulting to those of us who worked very hard to get there.
I'm not going to engage further with you, since you seem more interested in "teaching" me than engaging in a discussion of equals.
I read your comments and perceived that you were misunderstanding, and that I could present it in a way that would clarify things. I'm sorry that you felt patronized, but there is no shame in ignorance. I think you should be more open to people telling you that they have something to teach you; maybe I was wrong, and maybe this isn't the case for everyone, but when I try to teach someone something it's because I respect them enough to think it's worth the effort.
You see all of our points, but you keep coming back to this idea of buying your way into school, which is not a point anyone is arguing. Why is that?
Edit: And yes, I do believe that, regardless of how difficult it was to get into school, people work very hard in school. I never said they didn't, though I can see how it would be easy to come away with that impression. What I am saying is that it doesn't show them to be harder working than someone who did not attend school.
I stand by views and the substance of what I've said, but I can see that the way I interacted with you was counterproductive to the conversation. I apologize.
In my experience, there is never a benefit to assuming ignorance. Your original comment would have been much better without mentioning a "teachable moment." If you avoid assuming ignorance, then there are two outcomes:
1. The other person can actually not know what you're talking about and ask clarifying questions.
2. They do know what you're talking about, and can confirm your statements and extend it.
If you assume ignorance, you automatically put anyone who already knows what you're saying on edge. (This is also part of why "mansplaining" is such a grating phenomenon.) It's a conversational strategy with no upside and many downsides.
Having made that point, I'll say that I agree with everything you've said of there being lots of advantages that wealthy students have for getting into elite universities. That doesn't mean companies are necessarily wrong to concentrate on elite universities. Even though I think there are much better signals out there, if I had to choose a random Ivy league student vs. a random state college students I'd still choose the former.
Best of luck, stranger.
Correction: you observed that I did not mention certain facts. From that observation, you have no way of knowing whether I am ignorant of said facts or simply don't agree with you on their importance ot the issue at hand.
For the GRE Verbal, you just have to memorize about a thousand words to basically get everything right except for the reading comprehension. that puts someone's score somewhere around ~158/170. I dont think memorizing 1k words is a very hard thing to do, though i am baffled that people dont do it.
For math, a person should memorize special right triangle ratios, prime numbers under 100, and some geometry rules. the rest is just practicing a finite set of question types.
Its all very coach-able
It's just like taking IQ tests over again, once you know what to expect, you can game the system a bit by memorizing patterns. Scores on any standardized testing should be taken with a grain of salt.
Hiring based on IQ tests is illegal, but hiring mostly from certain universities is not.
I can easily imagine that abject poverty would mess with SAT scores (or probably even prevent someone from taking the SAT), but for the majority of the country I would expect the SAT levels the playing field rather than hurting it. For example, I live in a rural town in Missouri. No one here is rich, but the majority of the town is not in poverty. I can't think of a better way than the SAT for a precocious child here to get into a top-tier school.
The value of the alumni and professional network of these lesser schools, as well as the brand name, is lower than the top tier schools, but the parents often did attend a more elite school, and their network offers inter-generational benefits.
It's interesting that state schools like Michigan accept a large number of less competitive in-state students, thereby providing the sort of springboard you mention, while also attracting a top tier of students that is on par with those attending Ivy League schools.
There's no reason that you couldn't be sued the same way if you're only hiring from a certain university and that leads to excluding people from a protected class.
But there's a big difference between something that existing legal precedent has ruled as strongly likely to be illegal for hiring (IQ testing), and a currently widespread hiring practice that may at some future date suffer the same fate (hiring from particular schools). The legal risk of the former is extremely high, while you would have to be extraordinarily unlucky to suffer damages from the latter. Even if the courts do so rule in the future, you'd have to win (lose?) the lottery and be the one or two companies that get taken to court in that test case.
Edit: Oh yea, don't believe me? Here's a link. Apparently I got it backwards though. :)
It would be legal if you can prove in court that IQ is reasonably related to the job.
I smell a business opportunity.
The side benefit of this model instead of a loan is that if, by chance, you don't get a job in software engineering, you never pay anything. It shifts the risk from the students to the school, which is IMO how it should be.
Also we're online, so you don't need to move anywhere (but still live instruction and world-class instructors).
> But then one has to be $$ enough to afford to not work for the time it takes to get educated or re-educated
You're right: Not everyone can afford to not work for six+ months. We don't have a perfect solution for everyone yet. But it's much easier for most Americans to find a way to stay alive for 6 months than it is for them to find $10,000 lying around. Basic subsistence, especially with a tiny bit of help from a safety net of some sort is generally close to within reach, and if it's not we don't have a way to help yet.
For example, we had a student last week that has been living with a friend, and we learned she was so poor she couldn't afford a computer to code with, and had been using an old Android tablet and a cloud editor. We shipped her one, but for many "enough to stay alive" is much, much easier to find than some amount of cash.
> If we actually had a skills gap that needed filling why aren't these employers who are faced with such a gaping skills gap hiring people and training them themselves?
Well, some do. Others have ridiculous recruiters' fees that are enough to pay for student tuitions. This is true not just of alternatives to higher ed, but of colleges. Why doesn't Google also become Stanford? Probably because that's a lot of work and what we have is close enough.
To be clear, with regard to SWE, I don't think there's that big of a skills gap. It's not like there's a desperate shortage for junior rails semi-devs out there. But employers definitely hire folks and they definitely pay big recruiting fees and there's definitely demand.
> Why are bootcamp graduates from tier 1 camps struggling to find actual work in their field for months?
Other than the requisite time to get your first job (which is generally 3-6 months regardless), I haven't seen that any from tier one bootcamps struggling to find work for months. Probably three months on average, but that's pretty normal. Maybe we have a different understanding of "tier 1."
> Why are these camps reporting inaccurate or highly embroidered outcomes to potential students?
Because crappy bootcamps want to lie and make money.
I mean look, there's ITT Tech, which is a complete rip-off for the vast majority of people, but that doesn't mean college in general is a bad thing for everyone. Somehow, though, that's how non-university programming academies get lumped together - one bad bootcamp? This entire idea must be horrible! As with everything, there are shades of grey.
I love this idea, thank you for starting this! I think this something there should be more of.
I just looked at your site, and noticed the 3% acceptance rate for the $0 upfront cost tier. Just curious how that's changed over time as your exposure has increased. I assume you are trying to maintain some instructor/student ratio, etc?
Are you willing to share what limits you from accepting more students at the $0 upfront tier? If so I'd love hear more, lmk.
We see hundreds of new applications per day and can only service a small fraction of them. Hopefully we can change that to some degree soon.
Effectively the government pays your undergraduate university fees. There is then an additional tax applied against your salary, after it reaches a certain threshold. This of course results in jokes that Arts graduates may as well be enjoying free tertiary education.
I think this is a much fairer system than being asked to pay upfront and perhaps taking out a student loan in order to pay fees. The Australian system allows any student with the ability and desire to attend University (it's not completely perfect, but it is much better).
Federal loans (90% of all loans) come with income based repayment plans that charge 10% of your disposable income and are cancelled after 20 years if you don't pay it off.
If there is a new exception, please let me know. My wife has some.
It's designed as a safety net for people who can't find a decent job after taking out student loans.
If you get a high paying job you're not going to qualify for the income based repayment plan because you only qualify for the newer income based repayment plans if it will lower your monthly payments below the standard repayment plan.
Yes, and also there's lots of non-typical deductions that can furthur reduce your effective income for these plans, and ways to reduce the forgiveness period to 10 years. Lots of lawmakers say that program is not sustainable, and Congress may try to change it soon...
If your not utilizing it and have student loan debt, I'd recommend looking into it sooner than later, as you may be grandfathered in if/when it's restructured. Most people who are elegible don't take advantage of it yet, and loan servicers do their best to steer students away from signing up for IDR.
My federal loans covered about 1/8 of my tuition.
The vast majority of college students only have Federal student loans.
>unless you're at a state school or community college
Private colleges enroll about 15-20% of students. If you don't want $100k in debt, go to a public school, or go to a top tier school like Harvard that has very generous financial aid.
If you can't get into a top tier school with excellent financial aid (or your parents make too much money to qualify), you have to decide whether $100k in debt is worth it.
It's not society's job to pay for private college.
Not sure why you think that it's so expensive. I went to school in Georgia (much lower cost of living area) and UCs are only about 15% more expensive than our flagship schools (Georgia Tech and UGA, and GSU).
So education is more expensive, student loans are more expensive, student loans can't be cancelled, and job prospects and real income are worse.
No you are completely incorrect. For public sector jobs the loan forgiveness happens after 10 years. Under the income based repayment plan anyone who makes payments for 20 years will have the remainder cancelled.
There is. You pay back 10% of your disposable income. Disposable income is income above 1.5x the Federal poverty level.
If you make less than that, you pay $0.
Everyone who has federal student loans (90% of all loan disbursements) qualifies for income based repayment plans if the plan will lower your payment.
*PLUS loans your parents took out don't qualify, but you won't need those if you're going to a 4 year state school.
>20 years for something that didn't work out is still a pretty awful deal
Didn't work out meaning can't make much money. For a family of 4 making $50k (about the median household income), you'd pay back around $100 a month.
If you are a felon, once you are released from jail, you can still qualify.
The only people who really can't qualify that I'm aware of are non residents, people who have been convicted of drug offenses that occurred while accepting federal financial aid, and people who already have degrees.
We'll also use a little bit of Spring, so JSF isn't far away, but I wouldn't go into looking for a school that teaches exactly one (relatively small) framework. Look for the fundamental principles and worry about frameworks later.
I thought most of what made Spring useful and popular was blown away by JSF 2.
The program is also quite different from regular education, we have no formal teachers, no lectures, students learn by working on projects and by collaborating with their classmates. Check us out https://www.holbertonschool.com/
It's indeed a "business opportunity" but I also believe that this the tuition model that post-secondary education should adopt if we consider that its main role is to train students to get a job after graduation. The success of schools should be proportional to students success.
The $50,000 lower limit is there for people looking for work in more rural communities. For example, yesterday we had a student that was formerly a forklift driver making $10/hr get a job offer in the middle of nowhere for $78k (and that was only two days after graduation). He lives in an area where he pays $500/month for rent.
If he only went from making $10/hr to making $50k, the lifetime economic value is still indisputable - easily over a million dollars during his lifetime. Him paying us back for a couple of years in exchange for making that possible at no money down and shouldering the risk if it didn't work out is a fairly reasonable ask IMO.
That said, it is tough to do the actual life of a 2017 Bourgeois Professional with the income of a manual laborer (debt slave), even for a few years, because the theater of this requires a lot of energy, perfect physical health, and a great wardrobe to start, not to mention the attitudes and social mores that take a lifetime to learn. No one speaks of this crushing emotional toll that adds up to very real financial expenditures that help one deal with these theatrical maneuvers over time. It comes at great financial and psychological cost. People wonder why there is so much burnout in this field... I'm not claiming you should take this on. Not at all. It's just that it is never talked about. Some of these these "bootcamps" are desperate... some of these are in the top tier in SF and NYC. It seems that these issues should be raised at some point and discussed in a place like this one is all I'm saying.
1) New York laws have changed very recently to make it much, much harder to screw over freelancers and contractors -- the places where you'd otherwise see these companies sourcing labor.
2) Even competent developers take jobs for low pay. I see it happen all the time. I've even done it.
3) You could just be seeing signal that AngelList has a lot of mindshare now and poorly funded NY startups are listing there. I've seen people I know with vanity businesses hiring part time devs on that site for $29k.
4) Salary caps are still climbing here.
And who can afford to have $15,000 taken off the top
of their salary between $51,000 and $100,000?
The original document is called an income share agreement (ISA). It's not a debt instrument or a loan, but is actually a legally binding "equity" stake in a student's future income under specific circumstances for a specific amount of time. Lambda, for example, takes a percentage of income for two years, only if they're working in a software-related field, and only if they're making above $50k/yr. We also cap the amount paid over the two years at $30k, regardless of how much a student is making. So, yes, if they don't get a good job, we never get paid. That only seems fair.
As for how it works practically:
In conjunction with the ISA, each student signs a 4506-T or 4506T-EZ (or any successor form) with the IRS, which effectively copies us on their taxes.
Students self-report their salary, and we adjust payments according to their reports, until year-end reconciliation, which happens around tax time. We get their taxes and double check that their self-reporting has been accurate, and adjust accordingly.
Should a student default, we have the same remedies that any other private lender would - we reserve the right to report to credit bureaus, we can sell the agreements to collections, etc.
-How do you track students once program completes?
We are working with http://vemo.com/, they are specialized in Income Share Agreements (ISA) and the goto in the industry if you want to do ISA. Purdue University is also using them. Vemo request access to students tax return so that we can see their income.
- How does the legal binding works?
Students are supposed to let us know about their employment situation so that we can adjust the payment. The deal is that they pay 17% of their income if they make $50k/year or more. At the end of the year tax time, we do a reconciliation where we compare the amount received against the student income, where the student or the school might owe money to the other part.
What is great about this model is that:
-Student only contributes back to the school if they are employed.
-Student contribution is proportional to their "financial success".
-Holberton can only thrive if its graduates thrive, no bs.
Schools like ITT Tech have shown, in my mind difinitively, that if you're willing to pay enough for student acquisition you can have absolutely terrible outcomes, still saddle up students with tens/hundreds of thousands of dollars in student debt, fail to get them jobs, and for some inexplicable reason they'll still keep coming.
HR's recent purchase of Makersquare has me a bit worried that they are outstripping the supply of smarter incoming students but I can't say for sure yet without interviewing a larger sample.
There was a point in time where completely unqualified students memorized and gamed the admissions process. Someone who did the remote interview copy and pasted the answers around the internet.
This led to a very large amount of students that were just not prepared for the program in any way, and it also coincided with the window in time that HR decided that they weren't going to remove any students for performance issues.
It was a fucking mess. I know people who mock interviewed students from those cohorts and they decided to completely disassociate with the school because of the experience.
I know people who technically interviewed them at their companies and they blacklisted Hack Reactor after too many of those rotten apples couldn't write a simple for loop. Some of these interviewers were Hack Reactor grads themselves.
I know someone who hired one of the people from those cohorts and had to fire them for performance after trying to give them half a year and excessive mentorship to improve.
It's a shame that shit like this has happened, because in my eyes it's irreparably tarnished the Hack Reactor name. I've given away my hoodie/tshirt to Goodwill because it just doesn't mean anything special to me anymore.
Some of the people who got kicked out just dropped back to the next cohort though, which is severely disappointing, because on top of paying the full tuition they are likely to fail again. I checked and there's no way those people can catch up based on their code, they're the kind of people Jeff Atwood talks about. https://blog.codinghorror.com/why-cant-programmers-program/
It was several years ago, and Makersquare was by a long shot at least on par with Hack Reactor with their entry requirement rigamarole. If you're referring to the "merge" that happened in last October, that was merely the final stage in the purchase. Their curriculums and staff had long before been merged, the only final step was the name itself, which was hung up on Texas law regarding some financial aid packages students were able to receive.
What does this mean?
They definitely were not "always" in that awkward position since DBC was the first of these bootcamps, and is where the entire term 'coding bootcamp' originated. Early DBC grads went on to start several of the other "top tier" bootcamps, including Hack Reactor.
Did DBC give me an education equivalent to a computer science degree? No.
Did they teach me everything I need to know about data structures and algorithms? No.
Did they help me get my first programming job? Sort of, but not really.
But I did learn an enormous amount of practical knowledge in a very short time (basically: "How to build and deploy a database-backed CRUD app with a reasonable UI while working as part of a small fast paced team" and "How to research stuff you don't know the answer to and figure out how to do it on your own").
They taught me what I needed to know to teach myself the rest of what I needed to know to get where I wanted to be. And for that, it was worth it for me.
But I do have mixed feelings about the bootcamps in general.
They can be really helpful for people in certain circumstances (in my case: career changer who needed to jumpstart the learning process and get some practical guidance), but they sell themselves as something else ("Learn to be a computer programmer in 6 months!").
Sorry to hear they are shutting down. I suppose it was Kaplan's decision and the space has become so crowded that there must be pricing pressure on the programs and a limit to how many graduates the job market can absorb. Will have to go look into this some more and see what I can find out.
>Did they teach me everything I need to know about data structures and algorithms? No.
>Did they help me get my first programming job? Sort of, but not really.
This perfectly describes my experience with LaunchCode in the midwest.
Never underestimate the benefit of being around motivated people.
Now, of course, being a "computer programmer" is way more complicated than that.
But I don't know a single person IRL who regretted doing a bootcamp (only know people who went to App Academy and DBC); they all still consider it a) a good investment and b) the reason they have their current jobs.
I don't really think DBC promised more than that. In fact, in my cohort they were all about "will code for food"; the idea being this was the first step and the next one was to find a place to continue learning.
If I hadn't been employed I probably would have done it. I was working full-time and then came home to do some more open source work. There was no money on the table for the problem ($200 ~ $400 would seem reasonable for a pre-interview project like this). I sent them an e-mail with 5 major tasks I was working on, all for open source projects or things I would open source. They could pick one, I'd finish it and I'd do a full presentation on it.
They said they had tried to do reviews based off Github pull requests in the past and that, no, I had to do the original problem they gave me. I didn't contact them back.
I really want to teach, but I was weary of these for-profit boot camp programs. They also talked about how they wanted teachers to push/promote the programs at events and such. I have another friend who went through a different boot-camp like program and told me she felt really rushed through it, but she didn't want to swear them off either.
It's cheaper to go to a state community college and get a 2-year programming degree in many places in the US. It will take longer, yes.
I know CS majors with masters degrees who've only written in C/Java and don't keep up with tech. I've know people without degrees at all who have learned BigO notation and learning algorithm development all on their own. You get out of any program what you put into it.
They seriously stop at "hey deploy a CRUD app?"
That's rough. There's no way students are getting jobs with that in this environment. Maybe when they first started that was enough, but now the market is flooded with not-quite-competent junior devs.
But companies rarely make the difference between a CS major (especially those with multiple internships or coops often spawning longer than the bootcamp on their own) and bootcamp graduates.
So they both start as SWE or Junior/Associate SWE. Often there's a drastic difference in ramp up and output, and people around them won't always know why (unless people stalk them on linkedin or ask).
That puts a ton of burden on teammates that may not be properly prepared to coach these people (they go through the same hiring process, same onboarding process, etc). Don't get me wrong, its a failing on the companies who hire people they are not prepared to handle, but they're often pressured to.
It's a really awkward situation.
> That puts a ton of burden on teammates that may not be properly prepared to coach these people
You hit the nail on the head. Bootcamp grads will typically require more coaching than 4-year CS grads. Companies that don't realize this are setting themselves and their new hire(s) up for a painful experience.
In my opinion, fresh bootcamp grads are ready to be apprentice developers. Unfortunately, that's not really a role / distinction that any 21st century companies even recognize, probably because that also means recognizing the additional costs involved : apprentices require mentoring, and mentoring costs money. It's simply greedy thinking on the part of a hiring company to believe they can get a 4-year CS grad on the cheap & easy by going the bootcamp route. It's bad management not to account for the latter's steeper learning curve & onboarding requirements.
Ultimately there's no such thing as a free lunch. Even talented people can't magically leapfrog the learning curve by cramming out webapps for 3 months. There will be gaps in their skillset - gaps that are best bridged with hands-on guidance from a senior developer. This applies to all junior devs, obviously, but doubly so for bootcamp grads.
Yup. Also, there are situations where that gap becomes problematic to fill. As a lot of bootcamp people get hired, you start getting in situations where everyone in the team is a bootcamp grad. Then they don't have someone with an actual CS background to compensate.
I only have an IT degree myself (which, while longer to get, for all practical purpose is just a longer bootcamp). That was fine: I learnt a lot on my own, and 15-20 years ago, everyone else on my team had a CS background. I got coached, i learnt, I went from there.
Fastforward today and people without CS backgrounds might not have someone who does anywhere near. You don't know what you don't know, and have no way to be guided in the right direction. That's bad news.
Of course, as their careers go beyond "junior", the bootcamps grads need to do major lifting to catch up in other areas beyond basic web dev. But early on, I've only really heard good things.
Though it does remind me of a company I worked for that hired a lot of bootcamp peeps, and it was hailed as a giant success by management. Meanwhile the rest of the team was grumbling about having to do 2x the work as they had to pick up the slack.
(Now, obviously, I do know some people who went through bootcamps that do amazing. I also know some 100% self taught engineers who are now Principal engineers or similar at Google or Microsoft. The above is just what I've seen to be the common case). Teaching React or how to build an API controller to someone we just hired is never the bottleneck. Interns pick that up just fine, no matter where they come from.
Take a bootcamp grad after 3.5 years of work vs a fresh CS grad and it's (often) a no-brainer, up until you start running into the need for theoretical knowledge a CS grad has. I've never once heard a bootcamp talk about scaling or architecture in any real way.
Most of the first 3 weeks of the class was focused on writing Ruby programs to do different sorts and searches, and to model and manipulate different objects (suduko boards, battleship boards, etc.).
I left with a good practical knowledge of working with arrays and hashes in Ruby and when I would prefer one structure over the other, but what I mostly learned was how to model data objects for a SQL database and set up a web app to manipulate those objects (and how to integrate w 3rd party APIs).
But if you asked me anything about a Linked List or a Trie or when it was better to use which one, I would not have given you a very satisfactory answer (still might not, about Tries at least...).
And, yeah, getting a job was tricky. Partly because I still had a lot to learn (still do), but also partly because there is a lot of knowledge that every computer science grad has learned backwards and forwards and then forgot about that most bootcamp grads have only barely been exposed to.
Everyone on the bootcamp had a list of things they'd have liked to cover as well but there simply isn't time for everything. When planning the bootcamp's curriculum you have a difficult balancing act between giving people a firm grounding and teaching them things that are going to be directly helpful for getting jobs (which is most people's priority, given that they're not earning).
Students on my bootcamp who had been able to put together a portfolio of decent (albeit simple) websites that met users' needs didn't have trouble getting jobs. No, they weren't engineering roles at large tech companies but they're the first step in a new career.
No, not every bootcamp was legit. No, making assumptions about all bootcamps based on a handful of bad apples is not an honest critique. No, your anecdote about a bad bootcamp grad does not hold more weight than someone else's anecdote about a bootcamp completely changing their life.
The fact is DBC, which spawned an entirely new industry, was an overwhelmingly positive force. DBC has always made inclusivity and community a priority. For the vast majority of students, DBC has been a much higher ROI investment than a 4 year college degree and changes the way people think about modern education systems. There are thousands of capable engineers (including myself) out there today thanks to DBC, which often operated with high stress and, apparently, minimal funds.
It's a shame each bootcamp topic has its share of otherwise reasonable people making unfounded claims. In a community that values programming, startups, inclusivity, and helping others, you'd think the negativity and baseless accusations would be a lot more infrequent. It's been 5 years since DBC began and yet commenter ignorance still requires graduates to come in and defend their bootcamps.
If you have no idea what you're talking about, it's fine, ask and I'd be happy to answer. But this community really ought to be celebrating what DBC has accomplished.
Source: I'm an early 2013 DBC grad who has worked in SF tech since graduating. I've also helped hundreds of bootcamp grads with their job search post-graduation (meaning I have my fair share of honest criticisms for DBC). The vast majority of people I've talked with are now employed at companies most people on HN would love to work for.
Out of all the bootcamps I expected to fold DBC was at the bottom of the list.
This sentences describes about 80% of the comments in HN. We computer nerds like to think we know about everything.
A lot of the negativity is insecurity.
Likewise, second bootcamp would be easier and learning new technology for someone from bootcamp is easier then for someone with neither bootcamp nor CS.
The best bootcamps invariably have a selective recruitment pipeline ensuring that they train students who have both natural aptitude as well as a baseline technical skillset. These aren't really "random" people at all : programming isn't particle physics, but it's not as easy as the sales pitch makes it sound.
Learner’s Guild https://www.fastcoexist.com/3068200/when-this-entrepreneurs-...
42 (completely free) https://www.42.us.org/
Holberton School https://www.holbertonschool.com/
Lambda Academy https://lambdaschool.com/computer-science
We're not a bootcamp, but we are 100% free until you get a job, and have live instructors from UC Berkeley, NASA, etc. We have a very rigorous curriculum that is closest to an uber-practical CS degree, but there's not really a close proxy to it anywhere.
We cover all the CS & programming fundamentals employers want you to understand, and get much closer to the metal, covering things like architecture/scaling, functional programming (hence the name), use compiled languages, etc.
We're also online, so you don't have to move anywhere, but we're live and on a strict schedule, so it's not something you can do asynchronously.
Has that been a benefit in terms of graduates getting easier access to remote positions? (The fact that they've demonstrated the ability to work remotely through your course)?
Do you work directly with potential employers, helping students get a foot in the door, or is that up to students themselves? If you do help out, do you "sell" the remote idea?
Finally, are you open to non-US students?
I don't know that it's really come up much; generally we don't recommend a remote position for your first job, as you'll need a lot of hands-on training. It makes more sense as you become more senior.
> Do you work directly with potential employers, helping students get a foot in the door, or is that up to students themselves? If you do help out, do you "sell" the remote idea?
Yes, we work directly with potential employers, but again "remote" isn't the emphasis.
> Finally, are you open to non-US students?
We are, but unfortunately the "free-up-front" option is only available based on our income share agreement, which is only available to those authorized to work in the US.
In a nutshell: we are training SWE using a project-based and peer-learning approach. No formal teachers, no lectures, students learn by practicing and collaborating with peers - pretty much like in the workplace.
We haven't graduated any cohort yet (our program is 2 years long, but students can start working after 9 months) but have already students who intern/work at NASA, LinkedIn, Tesla, Apple, Dropbox, Nvidia, Docker, CreditKarma...
Big difference between us and bootcamps: we are covering the fundamentals of CS + we are not focusing on teaching students specific tools but rather developing their critical thinking, problem-solving skills and guiding them on becoming self-learners. All good Software Engineers know that you must constantly learn to stay on top of your game, being about to retrain yourself is the most valuable skill that a professional should have to continue to grow career wise.
The school is 100% free as in no upfront cost and no later charge. The difficulty is to get in, one has to make it through a 26 day C heavy selection process and pass logic tests beforehand.
The school is really meritocratic in the sense that formal background is irrelevant and financial assistance makes it accessible for almost everybody.
I am not between the ages of 18 and 30. Can I come to
No. While we do not have anything against those who are over
30 years old, when opening a new location, we have decided to
concentrate our where they can be the most efficient and where we have a great deal of experience.
That being said, I'm extremely lucky to have enrolled during the narrow window I did. The entire bootcamp industry is suffering, not just DBC. They've now totally saturated the market with juniors and refused to adapt to that reality by extending and improving their product: they should be offering longer courses, covering more material, interspersing their offerings with internships, and providing intermediate-level bootcamps for engineers looking to graduate to the next level. Today's bootcamp graduates have to compensate for this themselves by continuing to teach themselves new content as they fight for jobs after graduation. This is difficult - don't get me wrong, it's still doable and still very much worth the effort - but it's hard, and this explains the current embarrassingly low rate of bootcamp graduates winning jobs as developers. If this describes you: keep your chin up, find a friend to practice interviewing with, and know that you're going to need to work through this material eventually: https://teachyourselfcs.com. And feel free to reach out to me.
I don't think anyone close to the bootcamp industry would see this as a surprise, and I think we'll see many more bootcamp closures/M&As in the near future. Hopefully the industry will evolve and adapt, not die - everyone deserves the opportunity, not just the lucky few who had it easy before the market got saturated.
I wrote a post about this here:
I'm super disappointed to hear this news. Although I could see it coming, because how often does this kind of thing NOT happen when a small company gets purchased by a larger corporation?
DBC was quite an institution. As I've stated before, it's not about what they can teach you – it was simply an invaluable resource to allow those with ambition to figure out aspects of app development on their own and with other people. If you're expecting a series of lectures, exams, and knowledge to be bestowed upon you at DBC, you're looking at it wrong and you will fail. To have a place to go where you can spend months hacking on things with other people while going through a learning process, right in the center of the action in technology, was so unique and valuable. I met so many cool people and had far greater experiences than my time in college. It changed my life tremendously. I have Shereef and everyone whom I shared my experience with to thank! I really could be living in a van down by the river right now if I didn't discover DBC.
The greatest thing I got out of DBC was not coding ability, which I mostly picked up on my own, but a mindset/philosophy about learning and problem-solving. I know that many of these things come naturally to people software engineering, especially those far more brilliant than I, but not everyone figures these things out. They summed it up as the "growth" mindset vs. the "fixed mindset", which seems fairly accurate to me.
I really hope someone can continue(or at least hold a candle to) DBC's legacy. A lot of bootcamps seem like junk, but I'm sure that's not all of them.
I think they should consider it, and I think that they could reach out to Free Code Camp to see if they can do something together. Hope to see this happening! What do you think?
From the European side - https://codeworks.me/
Just like the credentialed schools, there's a wide variety in quality and outcomes, but I think it's pretty clear they're doing better on ROI (and at least people aren't going into decades of debt for them en masse).
> "If the school failed to survive, does it affect the survival of its graduates? Is this going to have a psychological effect on how industry views bootcamp grads, and consequently affect the job prospects of bootcamp grads?"
If someone learns nothing after finishing their courses and has nothing positive on their resume for several years, they'd probably be in a tough spot. That's not really very different from the case for other types of schooling, though. If someone is learning and growing though, why would it? Only an extremely strange employer would ignore a candidate's performance in their last job and reject them based on schooling they did before it.
The income based repayment plans are also retroactively available to all Federal borrowers.
It's not actually as big of a problem as it sounds.
Just imagine the US real estate bubble a decade ago if housing loans worked in such a fashion! The perverse incentives alone are enough to cause severe harm.
$1.3 trillion in extra government debt isn't a large enough to really cause problems.
Man, it is funny that people get mad at Bootcamps like app academy for charging 20% of your income for a single year....
It ended up costing 1/4 of my 4 yr degree. I admit, that it's not a magic pill like their marketing will have you believe. That's my one gripe, with how they portray themselves. You have to be motivated and driven to succeed and realistically, not everyone can handle the complexity and speed at which they teach.
They really give you the bare minimum but it's an amazing little boost. It's up to you build yourself up from there.
If you don't get a decent job, you'll basically be paying almost nothing for 20 years. If you get a great job, you'll pay it off way before then.
Edit: I also didn't realize you're the DBC founder? I owe you so much and i owe my entire career (thus far) to DBC and the entire industry you started with some crazy idea of teaching people to code in a couple months. Thank you for everything you have done.
To think, this is the post that launched an industry!
I'm currently working through week six of Phase 0, and I'm so, so sad that DBC isn't going to last. I did tons of research about different bootcamps, but ultimately I chose DBC because I wanted to be a part of a program that has such a commitment to being a corrective force in the embarrassingly un-diverse tech world.
It really is incredible that the thing you created has empowered so many students to both maximize their ability to learn and gain more agency in such an inequitable society.
Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks. I'm glad I decided to dive into this while DBC was still around. (And now I should probably get back to work with attributes and modules...)
BTW I finished in 2013 as well (Pocket Gophers SF!).
It's a great business model for those top tier boot camps, but there's a limited number of students who can make it through, pay for it, and take time off to do it. It's just not that scaleable.
What does that mean? It seems like this should've been a profitable business - 3000 graduates @ $10k/piece = $30mm revenue.
We were up front about these things being part of our program because we want to focus on the human aspects of people as much as technical skills. That meant some people were better suited to join other places, but some people came specifically because of this part of it.
This would enrage me.
DBC grad here (Chicago 2013). Mandatory morning yoga is not an inherent part of a generic coding bootcamp experience. DBC chose to make yoga classes part of its unique culture, but I doubt all other bootcamps follow suit.
Personally, I wasn't "enraged" by the yoga and I even appreciated the emphasis on mental health, but I don't think yoga was the only way to achieve this and I would have appreciated the chance to opt out.
EDIT: Or I can be more mean: why is it the only bootcamp that required morning yoga, the one that is closing?
Kudos to them for making that kind of hard call rather than compromising on their values.
There also seem to be a number of other bootstrapped bootcamps running that are doing fine, so this is confusing.
Though the existence of what seems to be a number of other bootstrapped bootcamps working fine confuses me. Also, pretty sure dev bootcamp was bootstrapped - if they didn't put in outside capital, then either they were profitable from day one or they were running break even. I'd guess they were profitable.
Say 40 * $200,000 = $8mm/yr, plus rent. 450 students/yr ~= $6mm.
This back of the envelope would point to them being unprofitable.
See: https://www.quora.com/Why-did-Vicarious-raise-so-much-money-..., https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-mean-cost-per-year-for-a-s...
I've worked with many DBC grads and some nice people came through there. I interviewed many DBC grads and they were definitely all over the place in terms of ability and understanding, but some had everything it took to grow into solid software engineers.
I've worked with some of the instructors as well and they're great folks.
DBC literally changed his life. Post graduation he immediately got a job at a dev shop as a programmer, and now 5 years later is a great developer gainfully employed in Silicon Valley.
Not sure why you would shit on the grave of a program that has done a lot of good for its graduates.
I'm certain if we saw actual numbers it would not be a pretty picture.
For the truly motivated it is much better to go to recurse.com or join a learning Meetup. Get a day job to pay the bills and learn at your own pace. Programming is not going anywhere even with all the fancy AI startups. In fact if I was just starting out I'd just learn Python and R.
We have been looking for a very entry-level dev to be in a pretty entry level role that would be perfect for someone to get their feet wet in the industry.
Every single person we've interviewed from a "hacker school" has been from Hack Reactor. I'd say something like 40% of them would actually be able to be some sort of "developer" given that they keep up the practice. About 20% (at best) are what I would consider an actual "entry level dev intern"
It is possible to learn enough programming to within 10 weeks to get a job programming. Of course they won't be the best programmers at that point. But I've hired bootcamp grads and have had other friends go through, and they have been positive outcomes. Yes, that is anecdotal data, but it categorically proves false that "it's simply not possible to learn to program in bootcamp time frames."
Let me add a 2nd data point- as a 2013 DBC grad, I would still be in my previous career (completely unrelated to engineering) if I hadn't attended DBC. My instructors and classmates were instrumental in helping me get out of a job I hated and into one I love. It wasn't a perfect experience, but it was a life-changing one, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.
> For the truly motivated it is much better to go to recurse.com or join a learning Meetup.
Speaking of data, care to provide any which supports this opinion?
> most bootcamps are overpromising and underdelivering on their promises of gainful employment.
You generalize about an entire industry without providing evidence, and then you use that generalization to denigrate a specific company within that industry which may or may not buck a trend. A trend which you haven't even proven exists, btw. Nice.
I'd like to hear your thoughts.
No matter how motivated you are, you'll be casting around and learning aimlessly a bunch of random material about "programming" because you don't really know the nuances of the market as well.
So for 17,000 I was able to have all that sorted for me in 3 months flat, then kicked out into the industry a viable app developer. I went from a shit set of jobs straight into a bonafide, legitimate, and stable career trajectory. ~5 months total time investment. It simply would not have been possible to be so efficient by self-teaching, I wouldn't have known where to begin, what to study, that web dev had the lowest barrier to entry, etc. Literally the job placement stuff was completely useless and unused to me, I was a recruiter and so didn't use any of that stuff from my bootcamp, the thing that made it valuable to me was the curriculum.
Some people will succeed in development. Many won't. I received very little formal education, mostly self-taught, and I've been very successful. Put me in a bootcamp, I'd likely thrive there as well. I suspect your brother had a knack, and just needed a little direction.
Most criticism is focused at the false promise bootcamps provide. Many grads are barely qualified to be an intern, yet they were sold on promises of employability if they graduated. Even worse are the bootcamps that pad their employment numbers by hiring grads as teaching assistants.
Instead of hiring bootcamp grads - which push grads to aim for salaries north of 70k - it would make sense for companies to recruit self tought programmers with an aptitude towards tech. By self tought I am not referring to child prodigies, but anyone who can complete the equivalent of freeCodeCamp.org's front end certificate. Such programmers would be happy to get a starting salary of 30k, and have the opportunity to get their feet wet.
It all boils down to networking. Universities are a form of networking by signalling to society who are the best and the brightest. IMHO, bootcamps can be viewed in the same light. If companies and potential hires weren't lazy and instead got involved in plain old networking, there would be less of a need for Bootcamps/Universities. Maybe due to the lack of community, companies must resort to other means in order to filter applicants.
As a hiring manager I reviewed many bootcamp programs and interviewed grads. DBC was one of the best and produced consistently good junior candidates.
There are a lot of crappy ones but DBC wasn't one of them.
Many current bootcamps were duping students into promises of jobs, and making them pay large tuition fees up front. Very similar to what the scam universities are known to do - promise how the degree will help someone get a job, and then charge them large fees.
A friend of mine did DBC, and my sense was that many of their friends in the program struggled for a long time to get jobs.
Also, the founders I know stopped looking at some bootcamp grads, as they found them to be very low quality (this was noted to me back in 2014, may have changed).
2+ years on and all of us are still working in the industry.
It really does depend on the bootcamp. How valuable a bootcamp is depends on its style and the individual. Even though I had a positive (but probably unnecessary) experience, I'm not exempt from feeling like they're a bit scammy sometimes.
In my case, they give you a curriculum of the minimum that you need to get a job (really) and some serious pressure to get it done and get that job. Almost anyone who actually gets through it is going to be an asset to most companies that don't need an extremely diverse or exceptional skill set.
For roles I'm looking to hire, would I hire a fresh bootcamp grad? No. Would I hire one with two years experience? You bet your ass.
It's diamonds-in-the-rough from a recruiting standpoint, but you get to vet a lot of people very quickly (it was exhausting) and if there's one thing you can be sure of, it's that their motivated (good bootcamps are not cheap, and they're hard work).
How things worked out for the rest of the graduates I don't know... Both people I hired had some experience before bootcamp
But that's not a reasonable position across the board. Of course universities offer more than mere information, and I would say that bootcamps(at least DBC) focus mostly on those other things and far less on the information. By that I mean learning to code at home online isn't going to give you the same experience as spending days or weeks hacking on your first mobile app with a bunch of other people, non stop, while chowing on beer and pizza. Yes, there's tremendous value in that, especially if you need to learn to work on a team and self-organize. In theory, you can emulate that environment on your own, but there's a reason people pay for that kind of experience. A person of novice experience can't or won't come up with a substitute for that. It's an introduction to a world, of sorts. At least it was for me.
With all of the free learning materials online you can literally get a university education from top schools for free.