Coding and science boot camps teach in-demand technical skills that are being used by industries desperate for trained employees. A surveyof 2014-16 boot camp graduates found that 80% were satisfied with the training and 63% reported receiving a salary increase of more than $22,000 within six months of completing the course.
While boot camps continue to be popular, last September the founder of online coding camp Devschool disappeared with $100,000 in student tuition. Students who lost money don’t expect to ever see it again, even though they complained to state and federal authorities, forcing the site to shut down.
“For boot camp founders, there is almost no barrier to entry when starting up,” Salvador Rodriguez wrote in an article detailing the fraud for Inc. magazine. “To lure in customers, all that is needed is someone who can teach how to code and is bold enough to promise students a job.”
There are things students can look for to protect themselves when choosing to participate in an accelerated learning program, according to Jim Deters, CEO and co-founder of Galvanize, which has nine campuses around the country offering programming, coding, and data-science courses. The most important is to check with state agencies to see if the boot camp opens its process to review. It should raise a red flag if the provider isn’t working with the state officials.
“Boot camps have a lot of success stories already, but it’s still such early days,” Darrell Silver, co-founder and CEO of online coding camp Thinkful, said in the Inc. article. “For-profit education has left a lot of scars, and it’ll take years for boot camps to remedy that reputation. Bad actors slow us down, so it’s in all of our interests to call them out quickly and fix the situation for students.”