The Un-College That’s Training $100,000 App Developers / Coding Bootcamp

Anya Kamenetz for NPR writes:  Our Ideas series is exploring how innovation happens in education.  As one of the biggest, most successful tech companies, Google can hire pretty much anyone it wants.

Accordingly, the company tends to favor Ph.D.s from Stanford and MIT. But, it has just partnered with a for-profit company called General Assembly to offer a series of short, non-credit courses for people who want to learn how to build applications for Android, Google’s mobile platform. Short, as in just 12 weeks from novice to employable.

This is just one of a slew of big announcements this fall coming out of a peculiar, fast-growing corner of the higher education world: the coder bootcamp. This is really an entire new industry within higher ed that’s grown up in about five years.

Jake Schwartz, CEO of General Assembly, sees his company as providing a new alternative for the skills gap.


Bootcamps are designed to teach cutting-edge technical skills like being a web developer or a mobile-app developer. Charging between $10,000 and $20,000 for tuition, with no previous experience required, in the course of just three to six months they promise to make participants highly employable in a lucrative and fast-growing industry.

As the industry grows, there are still a lot of unanswered questions, notably about ensuring quality and honesty in reporting of statistics like job placement. (A recent survey by an organization called Course Report says 66 percent of bootcamp graduates are employed in a related field and that they experienced a 38 percent salary bump on average.)

Still, the sector has attracted attention not just from major employers like Google, but from startup private education lenders, the big for-profit education companies and, not surprisingly, from regulators within the Department of Education as well.

For more thoughts on the future of tech-skills education and skills training more generally, I called up Jake Schwartz, CEO of General Assembly — one of the emerging leaders in this new sector.

Schwartz didn’t expect to go into the education business, much less start “a global educational institution.” In 2011, he and cofounders Adam Pritzker, Matthew Brimer and Brad Hargreaves opened a co-working space in Manhattan, where startup companies could rent desk space and share resources and networking opportunities.

To help pay the rent, they started holding workshops at night on topics like web design. Today they have 14 campuses in seven countries.  SNIP, the article continues @ NPR, click here to continue reading….

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