December 9, 2015
Bluntly speaking, the coding skills gap is exploding. As it currently stands, there are around 120,000 new computer science jobs created in the US each year, with just 49,000 annual university students graduating with Computer Science degrees.
Furthermore, even the most elite, expensive universities aren’t graduating CS degree holders with the right skill sets necessary to meet the real world demands of this space. So, in order to help with the coding skills gap, coding boot camps are cropping up throughout the US.
A lot of them are built as 12-week, labor-intensive courses and they cost a fraction of the time and money it takes to get an actual CS degree. Also, because coding boot camps focus on applied learning instead of lectures and tests, boot camp graduates come out the end more hirable and end up earning higher salaries.
For example, students who learn Python can earn an average salary of $80,000 while students who learn C# are more likely to be employed as developers post-graduation. There’s a specific boot camp, Coder Foundry, which teaches C#: there aren’t many options at all in the US that teach it right now.
Based in North Carolina, Coder Foundry was started in 2013 by software industry veterans Lawrence Reaves and Bobby Davis. The two saw a demand for qualified developers with real world skills on the East Coast.
Like many other counterparts, Coder Foundry is a 12-week boot camp based on workplace simulation. Students learn by writing the same type of programs that potential employers use every day. Coder Foundry also provides interview prep and job placement services so graduates have even more of a competitive edge against traditional CS degree holders.
“The writers of the report were surprised that North Carolina boot camp graduates are among the highest paid in the nation. But we’re not surprised,” says Reaves. “Our own internal research shows that cities like Charlotte have the most severe coding skills gap. Employers in our state are desperate to hire qualified candidates. And they’re tapping coding boot camps to find new talent.”
We were able to nail them down for a follow up Q&A to dig in deeper about the ideas behind Coder Foundry:
Do you think universities are lacking in teaching students the appropriate skills? What does your program offer than other programs do not?
Andrew Jensen: As a university professor I saw Computer Science students graduate with outstanding grades but no portfolio to show employers. They would apply for jobs but couldn’t prove their skills because they didn’t have any legitimate work (i.e. applications) to demonstrate their ability to potential employers. And why don’t they have a portfolio? It’s because they don’t spend enough time in college writing code.
The amount of time a college student spends actually programming is very limited. About 90% of most Computer Science programs are devoted to the study of theory, as opposed to the practical application of that theory. That’s where Coder Foundry is different. We run our school like a workplace simulation, so 90% of the time a student spends in class is for writing code, just like at a full-time job. Our students graduate with a portfolio full of applications so hiring managers can easily see that they’re the right pick for a position.
What are some examples of the different jobs in coding that your students are prepared for?
Lawrence Reaves: Depending on their prior background as a developer we’ve seen our students get hired for entry-level and senior programming positions. We help newcomers get their foot in the door, and we help veteran developers update their skills.
Are you planning to open schools outside of North Carolina?
Reaves: We plan to open two more schools. We’ll choose the locations depending on a city’s employment demand for more .NET and C# developers.
Do you get students coming from across the nation or internationally?
Reaves: About half of our students are local to North Carolina. The other half have traveled from as far as California and Massachusetts to study with us.
Image Credit: Pixabay
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