Coding schools — programs that teach short courses aimed at professionals in programming and developing online and mobile applications — are growing more popular because of their stripped-down approach to teaching high-demand skills that appeal to employers.
That interest is also translating to merger and acquisition activity, and interest from private equity investors. Bootcamps.in lists 49 programming boot camps and coding schools in the U.S., most of which are only a few years old. Of course, the big profits that coding schools, or hack schools, can generate for entrepreneurs and investors have led to some questionable operators joining the movement. And some students end up failing to get anything for their tuition investment. Critics say some of the bootcamp programs promise high-salary jobs that fail to materialize for their graduates.
Regardless, given the popularity of these programs and the competition they present to traditional continuing education, here are nine of the most popular coding schools higher ed should be aware of.
Based in San Francisco, Hack Reactor charges $17,780 in tuition for its 12-week coding program, which requires applicants to take an online coding challenge. In 2014, Hack Reactor graduated 475 students. The company bought the MakerSquare coding school on Jan. 21.
Like its peers, this Farmington, UT, online technology skills training company is aimed at professionals. It now has nearly 4,000 courses, with the Code School acquisition—its sixth in 18 months. Last year, Pluralsight raised $135 million from investors and bought Smarterer, a platform for creating and taking skills tests, for $75 million. And the company is looking for more acquisitions. Pluralsight charges individuals subscription fees, as low as $29 per month, or a company can pay an annual fee for unlimited access to courses for its employees.
Since launching in New York in 2011, General Assembly has opened campuses worldwide in locations like Atlanta; Austin, TX; Boston; Chicago; Hong Kong; London; Los Angeles; Melbourne; Sydney; and the District of Columbia. The company offers classes, workshops, full-time immersive programs, and online programs, claims 70,000 students, and says 90% of its job-seeking full-time students find new jobs within three months of graduating.
Thinkful, which provides online programming and developer courses, was founded in 2012. The company raised $4.25 million from investors in January to expand its offerings. Thinkful charges $1,000 to $2,000 for a three-month program, and touts an educational approach that capitalizes on connecting students online with professional programmers. The company has about 3,000 students and claims a 70% completion rate.
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