Building a New Mythology: The Coding Boot-camp Phenomenon
come to regard them as some sort of oppositional threat. Initial concerns over the boot-camp model have faded somewhat,
with the model gaining a reputation for quick success. Public
trust has grown and enrollments have escalated dramatically.
From a boot-camp perspective, the traditional degree route is
an outdated model and out-of-step with the pace of technological development. Perhaps both will need to adapt significantly
to meet the insatiable technological demands looming ahead.
Just as a computing degree is not for everyone, neither are boot
camps. Both pathways require dedication, determination, subject interest, and financial investment. Clearly more needs to
be done by education to help graduates into work. They may
have the technical ability, but often have no comprehension of
what they need to do to attain that vital first posting, or how to
go about it. If a boot-camp experience provides them with that,
then we as educators need to consider carefully how we can
provide a similar experience.
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The boot camp model may not be addressing the real and
international software developer shortage which sparked their
existence in the first place [ 30]. While the model is viable in
terms of producing a steady stream of developers, particularly
gap for developers in Java, C++, and .NET persists. It would be
expected that many of these positions could be filled from the
pool of university graduates, however, despite a general international increase in enrollments, there is little to suggest that
CS graduate numbers will witness any dramatic increases soon.
If Issie Lapowsky is proven correct and the boot-camp production rate (currently 18,000 a year) reaches saturation point
[ 21], will boot camps begin to fold? There are some indicators
that this may already be happening. Former boot camp graduate Ted Wang suggested that the market is already flooded and
that the sense of desperation formerly prevalent in recruiters
has now shifted onto boot camp graduates struggling to get
hired [ 43]. There also appears to be little inclination to adapt
the business model and shift the training emphasis away from
are most needed.
The boot-camp phenomenon has almost certainly helped, at
least temporarily, to plug a gap in developer recruitment. It is
certainly a model to which education does not appear to have
any direct response. As college and university graduates often
find it very difficult to get a foot-in-the-door, tagging a boot-camp experience onto the end of a degree program could potentially provide a much-needed route into the industry. Many
graduates are already taking such a path of their own accord.
CodeClan and similar boot-camp models aim to help graduates
find positions by preparing them for industry and, although
their training comes with a hefty price tag, they would argue that
it is small change next to the potential salary their graduates can
rapidly attain. The only viable educational equivalent is the work
placement scheme, and, where universities do provide such
opportunities to undergraduates, these are generally viewed as
successful in enhancing future employment opportunities.
While there is no significant conflict between the education
sector and coding boot camps, colleges and universities may
have experienced the loss of some students to boot camps and
From a boot-camp perspective, the
traditional degree route
is an outdated model and out-of-
step with the pace of technological
development. Perhaps both will
need to adapt significantly to
meet the insatiable technological
demands looming ahead.