After the Coding Bootcamp Shake-up: What’s Next?

By Joel A. Kline, Ph.D.

One year ago the coding bootcamp model began to implode from the weight of too many companies offering the same product. In August of 2017, The New York Times featured an article about high-profile bootcamp academy closings. Several notable companies closed their coding bootcamps including those offered by Apollo Education Group and Kaplan. Some industry analysts still see the value in bootcamps, but predict that changes need to occur to build a sustainable industry. The article states,

You can imagine this becoming a big industry, but not for 90 companies,” said Michael Horn, a principal consultant at Entangled Solutions, an education research and consulting firm.

From the Allegro Learning Solutions perspective, it takes the effective integration of content, delivery, and structure to create a bootcamp. Our business model integrates critical partners that  deliver each of these components to produce a successful bootcamp. Certainly, the pace of change in technology means that bootcamps need to remain current. Coding and development are valuable skills but not everyone wants to code. The popularity of cryptocurrency has generated interest in business applications for blockchain while the daily threat of hackers has made cybersecurity specialists a valuable career. Allegro and our content partners continue to expand the types of content that are available in a bootcamp format. The NY Times article goes on to state,

The successful schools, analysts say, will increasingly be ones that expand their programs to suit the changing needs of employers. Some have already added courses like data science, artificial intelligence, digital marketing and project management.

In addition to content, another important component is delivery. We think that teaching highly complex content is nearly impossible to do in an asynchronous, online environment. Millions of students entered online, coding MOOC classes but the result was not a lot of coders. Eventually, students reach learning barriers or topics that require expert explanation, relation to current knowledge, or productive exercises. Delivery models and partners that feature some F2F learning as well as hands-on laboratories are the most effective to overcome the challenges of complex topics. The NY Times articles states,

Several boot camps are deploying “blended” models with both in-person and online teaching. Entirely online courses, in theory, could deliver rapid, profitable growth. But that is a different model from the immersive, face-to-face learning that has been the hallmark of the boot camp experience.

Finally, it’s important to integrate a structure which brings credentialing and assessment to the bootcamp. Our higher education partners know how to provide these services; in some cases our partners have been in higher education for hundreds of years. For example, the assessment piece is critical for student success. How do you know if your bootcamp is effective if you don’t measure anything? We’re not saying that structure was the problem with the bootcamps that closed. But we focus on learning objectives rather than number of students we recruit as our measure of progress. The NY Times article addressed the quality in this VC assessment,

Ryan Craig, a managing director at University Ventures, which invests in education start-ups, including Galvanize, a large boot camp, predicted that the overall market would still grow. But students, he said, would become more concentrated in the schools with the best reputations and job placement rates.

The goal through the integration of content, delivery, and structure, is to provide career opportunities for an upskilled workforce. The Allegro business model works to share these important components across partners to ensure that your bootcamp experience will be a successful one.

 

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