For years I have been both for and against the rise of the “coding bootcamp” business. I’ve been for them because they aim to help people learn to code and try to keep costs low compared to a similar degree from a university. I’ve been against them because most just take my books, teach my material, then rip off students for $15k programs that don’t actually get anyone deployed. In one week I’ll be writing a post a day about these bootcamps and why they don’t work. I’ll expose a few of the bootcamps that are abusive, in the hopes that future students avoid them. This will be a tough week for many people, but I’ve reached a point where I feel this needs to be done.
I’ve been in a unique position to hear information from students because of my books and many of them email me or meet me to tell me stories about their schools, good and bad. I find that a lot of students are literally afraid to speak out against these schools for fear that their hard work will be for nothing because they will be associated with the school and not get hired. It’s sad that these students have to put up with abusive and exploitative treatment because their perceived alternative is to be unemployed.
This has kept me from commenting on these schools because I feel sorry for the students who would lose their livelihood because their chosen school happens to suck. But, the alternative is that I take the information I have on the schools and do nothing while they continue to rip people off and take advantage of them. Much of my criticism isn’t even that bad, but some of it is very very bad. One school is so full of abuse, sexual harassment, and exploitation that I have no idea how they’ve stayed in business this long. Another school is on the verge of collapse because of poor business practices and also has wild claims of its effectiveness. Many still continue to employ completely unqualified instructors and in some cases, instructors who can’t even code. Most make wild completely false claims of their effectiveness in order to attract students.
I’m going to do my best to separate the students from the schools. It’ll be difficult, but I want the students to know I will constantly hammer the message that if they can code it’s because they learned despite the school and that nobody can hold the school they attended against them.
However, that may not be enough, so before I begin my warpath I want to invite every bootcamp graduate or student who needs help finding work to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can’t promise I can do much, but if I have connections to jobs or anyway to help you get work then I will. I’ll take responsibility for possibly ruining your job prospects and do what I can to get you work. You can also email me with your experiences or comments about bootcamps and what you think they do right and wrong.
Stay tuned. It’s going to get ugly.