In the old days students had to go to college and maybe grad school to get a good job. These days there are some shortcuts–the best one may be one of the new code schools helping graduates land great jobs.

For two years, The Flatiron School has prepared students for careers in web and iOS development.  The 12 week program costs $12,000. Fifty eight students graduated this month–45% were women. Of the 291 students from earlier classes, 98% completed the program. Of the job seeking graduates (a few started companies or had jobs), about two thirds had jobs in 60 days, 99% found jobs in 120 days. The average salary was $74,000.

A college dropout and retail sales clerk became a software engineer at an ecommerce site. Another college dropout and warehouse worker got a job as an software engineer at a marketing analytics firm. A mom and part time baker became a development engineer at WSJ. Other graduates went to work at ESPN, Makerbot, and FOX News.

Sharnie Ivery, a recent Flatiron graduate said:

I wrote my 1st line at 16 years old. Programming was a hobby. I got a job with a wholesaler doing warehouse automation, there I realized that programming was more than a hobby. So I left the company and went to college for computer science. While in college I was accepted to Flatiron so I bailed on college mainly because I would get the experience that I was missing in college which was coding in college on a daily basis.

If I went the route of a 4 year college I wouldn’t have graduated with the experience that I have now. There is an exponential value in going to coding school versus going to college. When I interview with large companies, I don’t think I would have a given interviewers straightforward answers If I went to 4 year because the technology moves at such a fast pace, coding school taught me to be adaptive and to solve problems in multiple ways.

In February CRV, Matrix, and Box Group invested in Flatiron.  In October the company launched a coding program for high school students.

General Assembly provides tech, design, and management classes online and onsite in 13 cities. They offer 11 week intensive courses in project management, biz dev, user experience, and web development.  When I visited their DC campus, CEO Jake Schwartz said graduates of the intensive programs were routinely landing great jobs–or launching startups and creating jobs.

Larry Buchanan is one of the great stories featured on the GA homepage. He graduated with a journalism degree from Indiana with an interest in but no experience in coding. A year later Larry found the GA “Stop Talking, Start Making” videos, watches all of them; he loaded his car, moved to NYC and enrolled in GA’s Web Development Immersive course.  Larry lands a gig with The New Yorker and creates interactives that go viral–and teaches classes for GA.

Bloc is the world’s largest online bootcamp with programs in web development, mobile development, and design.  Students learn at their own pace–at 40 hours a week it’s 12 weeks, at 10 hours a week it takes 36 weeks.

With a project-based curriculum, students create real apps like replicas of Spotify, Reddit, and Wikipedia. Weekly mentor meetings clarify concepts, debug issues, and pair-program. Mentors act as guides, career advisors, and during pair programming, they code together with students.

Bloc has 12 week immersive courses in UX design, full stack and fronted web development, iOS and Android development.

See an inspiring page of Bloc alumni–career switchers and advancers including a yoga instructor that becomes a UX designer or the salesman that lands a Ruby on Rails job.

Code schools are an affordable option helping Millennials (#GenDIY) land a great first job or Baby Boomers retooling for a new career.

For more on coding see:

Bloc and General Assembly are portfolio companies of Learn Capital where Tom is a partner


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Tom Vander Ark is author of Difference Making at the Heart of Learning, The Power of Place, Better Together, Smart Parents, Smart Cities and Getting Smart. He is co-founder of Getting Smart and Learn Capital and serves on the boards of Education Board Partners, 4.0 Schools, Digital Learning Institute, Latinx Education Collaborative, Mastery Transcript Consortium and eduInnovation. Follow Tom on Twitter, @tvanderark.



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