When it comes to technology, there’s no shortage of new ideas to explore, but there is a shortage of tech workers to do that exploring. It doesn’t matter if you’re launching a new tech startup or just trying to keep an existing software business alive, the biggest problem facing the tech industry today is the general scarcity of software developers.
This scarcity of skilled developers is partly due to the steady decline in computer science majors since the late 80’s, but even among developers with actual computer science degrees, employers are having a hard time finding employees with the right kind of experience. It does little good if tech companies can find developers with degrees if those developers still know nothing about the latest in-demand technologies that they hoped to leverage.
To combat this shortage of skilled developers, an alternative form of education known as a code bootcamp has been stepping up to feed this demand for talent. As a faster and cheaper alternative to a college degree, these bootcamps range in cost anywhere from $6000 to $18000 and typically run around three to six months in length. They offer immersive learning experiences, which are focused on teaching certain high-demand skills and are aimed at helping students build up a portfolio of work to demonstrate those skills to prospective employers.
Many tech companies in San Francisco, Seattle, and New York have been using code bootcamps for years to help fill their ranks and with great success. Soon, North Texas will be able to do the same. Through a partnership with Frisco based North Texas Enterprise Center (NTEC) a new code bootcamp called The Guild of Software Architects will begin helping students that have little or no tech experience, become junior-level mobile developers capable of working on software teams that design mobile apps for the either iOS or Android devices.
Of course, while code bootcamps do enable tech companies to find new talent fast, they are not without their detractors. Even with the numerous success stories that are being reported by review websites such as coursereport.com and switchup.org, there are those that hold fast to the more traditional approach that requires a science degree first and the career in software development second.
…the biggest problem facing the tech industry today is the general scarcity of software developers
Bootcamp detractors typically argue that placing an emphasis on skills and ignoring the more theoretical side of computer science creates employees that lack a true understanding of how computers work. This argument is why the Guild of Software Architects likes to stress the word “Guild” in their title. Guild apprenticeship courses are definitely focused on building up a skill set, but unlike other bootcamp programs, the Guild offers a private Guild network that will help its students by allowing them to continue building up their knowledge through assistance from other Guild members and on-line resources aimed at teaching the more theoretical aspects of software design and architecture.
While many agree that a coding bootcamp does not replace a formal education, it is certainly an efficient way to gain valuable hands-on experience and test real-world scenarios, which in-turn help develop the confidence and knowledge students need for their future careers. Having a code bootcamp experience serves to complement a traditional university degree and helps boost a prospective employee’s portfolio.
Code Bootcamps are still relatively new, but are increasing in popularity and their early success is well-documented. The number of coding boot camp graduates will reach 16,056 this year, up more than 138% from last year, according to the Course Report, a comprehensive database for information, reviews and resources about Code Boot Camps across the country. The Course Report says 75% of code boot camp graduates find full-time employment requiring the skills they learned at boot camp, with an average salary increase of 44%.
There are few supplemental classes that launch graduates into the workforce as quickly as a code bootcamp. Maybe we’ve found the “code” to success in tech.