The title of this blog is a little tongue-in-cheek and was inspired by a recent article about a venture-fueled bootcamp that is set to expand (explode?) after receiving tens of millions of dollars in investor funding. We couldn’t help but consider the disparity (both in terms of money but also business model) between us and them, it got us thinking – what would our headline look like?
With the incredible and growing demand for technology professionals, coding schools are popping up all around us (especially in Colorado) to fill the void. Many people are tempted to label it a trend, but trends are things that come and go in a more ephemeral fashion. This is more of an evolution in education, a transformation that had to happen to meet the demands of the modern world and the thousands of jobs in tech sitting empty because there are not enough people to fill them. Think about it – chances are you use more technology today than you did a few years ago and you’ll be integrating even more into your life over the coming years.
So, coding schools are not a trend. Instead they’re a solution to new educational and market needs in the digital age – a model which is growing and changing faster than bureaucratic, traditional education institutions can hope to keep up with. But not all coding schools are created equal. Intentions vary greatly. Some of us, like CodeCraft, are grown organically with great care and human sensibilities while others require growing very quickly in order to generate adequate returns for their investors which makes it hard to maintain quality. In the case of CodeCraft, our founders have been teaching digital skills to empower our community for nearly 13 years with their first company, Boulder Digital Arts.
While there’s certainly a space for us all, students who choose CodeCraft School value our commitment to great educational experiences and our focus on each individual student, their needs and their career goals. While our much larger competitors have a great deal of money from investors that they are beholden to, we are beholden only to our students. They are our investors. The tuition paid by our students is our only income source. Let’s be honest, while we’d love to have the financial resources of some of our competitors, there’s a significant upside to our situation. It forces us to be nimble and responsive to our customers, and makes us accountable to them. It’s simple – if we don’t do a good job, we go out of business, which is sort of quaint and antiquated concept in this sea of big fish with insanely deep pockets.
“While our much larger competitors have a great deal of money from investors that they are beholden to, we are beholden only to our students. They are our investors.”
In keeping with a more high-touch, human scale approach, our class sizes are smaller and more intimate. This allows our cohorts to collaborate and develop relationships among each other and get a lot of one-on-one time with the teachers. It’s a bootcamp within an incubator that prepares students to achieve their goals and identify new ones along the way. Also, unlike many of our competitors, we do not hire our recent graduates to teach what takes years and countless hours of real-world experience to effectively impart coding and UX design skills.
Another part of our smaller scale model is knowing who we accept into our programs. We’re not a turnstile operation, which makes us unique and stand out in a “coding mill” landscape. Part of the way we stay true to this is to rigorously interview prospective students, so that when they get accepted, they are a right fit for us as much as we are a right fit for them. Compatibility matters when committing to 10 intense weeks of learning the skills that are changing individual lives, launching new careers, and driving an entire future economy. We care what happens to our students. They are our investors, quite literally, and we care about the return on their investment.
In addition, CodeCraft’s career services team helps students transition to the job market by offering resume-writing assistance, interview coaching and employer networking. CodeCraft also offers its students and graduates (up to 3 months post-graduation) free classes and workshops in digital skills at their sister company Boulder Digital Arts (BDA), as well as a 25% discount on certification programs. It is valuable in that it can round out a student’s skills and make them stand out to employers. No other coding school offers this benefit.
CodeCraft’s philosophy is to grow in a sustainable way without compromising the students’ experience, while remaining agile and responsive to the marketplace needs. Our bootcamp students are investors – investors in their own futures, investors in the growing tech economy and investors in schools like ours whose mission is to help them launch the careers that will ultimately help them manifest the return on that investment.