Interview with Anthony Quigley @
What is a coding bootcamp?
Coding bootcamps are designed to help people get a job in software programming. They are usually extremely immersive, intensive and very practical. Coding bootcamps normally take about 500 hours of tuition – this can be taken full time (normally over 12 weeks or 3 months) or part time (typically taking between 6 and 9 months to complete). Many people now elect to take their Coding Bootcamp, therefore allowing them to dictate their own speed of learning.
The goal of these camps is to train you with the skills that employers are demanding without wasting any time.
— CodeInstitute (@CodersInstitute) July 13, 2015
Where did coding bootcamps start?
As with many ideas, this one started in Silicon Valley, California. In early 2012, there was (and still is) an acute skills shortage in the software development sector – companies needed skilled coders. But they were simply not available, colleges could not keep up with demand. Coding Bootcamps were designed to remove all of the “fat” included in a college degree and train people with the skills to get them job-ready in a very short time period.
The early providers offered a standard 12 week full-time course that taught enough to become a junior or associate web developer. Over the intervening period, employer demands have evolved, and coding bootcamps have developed in line with these changes, offering fuller and deeper solutions. There are now over 50 of such providers across the globe, providing a range of training options to budding coders.
What makes you different from your competitors?
I’d say there are three things that differentiate us from our peers:
- Firstly, we have spent the last 12 months deep-diving into the market, investigating and analysing the various current offerings in the Coding Bootcamp sector. Based on this research we believe that the product we have created is the best available in Full Stack coding education. The syllabus is based on the very latest industry expertise and demands while our teaching methods are to with the highest pedagogical standards.
- The second big thing for us is the Industry Advisory Council (IAC) that we have created. We wanted to do more than just train people to code – we wanted to produce coders with the skills that industry needs. The IAC gives us insight into exactly what skills employers are looking for, and allows us to shape our syllabus and projects accordingly. With the help of the Industry Advisory Council, students are immersed in the latest and most in-demand skills. Global organisations such as Paypal, Mastercard, Morgan McKinley and Ogilvy are already contributing to the IAC.
- Finally, we have a massively experienced team in creating and delivering successful education programmes. Code Institute’s Programme Director is Brian O’Grady who has taught hundreds of students how to code. My own background with the Digital Marketing Institute (now the world’s largest provider of digital marketing education training in over 60 countries worldwide) means we have created the syllabus with the end in mind (certification). The team building this company have 35 years experience in education.
— CodeInstitute (@CodersInstitute) July 10, 2015
Why have coding bootcamps become so popular?
It’s an interesting market to be in, because you have two markets to cater to – first you have the students who are looking to find their first job in development, then you have employers looking to find developers. There is a massive shortage in ICT skills in Ireland and Europe, so we have traction on both sides of the business – both from employers looking to work with our students and from students looking to upskill themselves.
What we are focused on is fixing this skills gap – give people a new career while at the same time fixing some of the employer problems at the same time.
How can a coding bootcamp graduate compete with a Computer Science graduate?
If you think of the typical Computer Science course in University, it’s taught the same way english, maths and history is taught. Students are taught, over a period of 4 years, a range of topics which may or may not be related to the skills that an employer is looking for. While this type of education can add tremendous value to a person’s life experience, sometimes the learning does not fit with employer needs.
What we do in the Coding Bootcamp is to distill the outcomes and focus the teaching on the essential job-requirement skills. We do not include ancillary topics that so often appear to “bloat” a typical university degree.
We do is compress all the information into as short a time period as possible.
I should say that, although the full time course is 12 weeks long, we have a pre-requisite that our students take a “pre bootcamp” course. While this can entail 60+ hours of study before attending, it means that each and every students has reached a certain standard of coding – what this means in real terms is that everybody starts with the same base level, allowing students to immediately begin to build applications.
— CodeInstitute (@CodersInstitute) July 9, 2015
But if you wanted to work in coding, is university a safer bet than a bootcamp?
There are no safe bets these days!
From speaking to software programmers and employers on our Industry Advisory Council, we know that the only things more important than certifications is your portfolio. In fact many hiring companies have a “code first” policy – what this means is that they look at the education background after they look at the coding work that the applicant has completed. Employers know that you can actually do the job as opposed to having a great certificate!
A portfolio is a live, interactive collection of work that instantly shows that you can do the work, and that you can do it to this exact standard. We have designed the bootcamp within strict pedagogical framework so that it can be taken by people across the globe with the assurance that they will have the same accreditation whether they take the programme in the classroom or online – this is designed to assist both career changers to get a job and also employers to ensure that they employ people with the appropriate skills.
What motivated you to start a bootcamp?
In my career as an entrepreneur I’ve always built businesses that leave a positive footprint. In education I can provide students a chance to improve themselves and their knowledge, so I’ve been drawn to education in my career, first with the Digital Marketing Institute and now with Code Institute.
There’s also a huge commercial opportunity in terms of the size of the market. There will be a million unfilled ICT jobs in Europe by 2020, for example. Even with all the Computer Science graduates produced in Europe, demand will far outstrip supply.
What plans/dreams do you have for your bootcamp over the next 5 years?
We want for Code Institute to be recognised as a provider of the very best education in our chosen sector – namely coding. This will be achieved by ensuring that our graduates get employed and these same employers keep coming back to us to find their next recruit.
If we achieve that and our students go on to get their dream jobs, that looks like success to me!
Advice for students looking to join a bootcamp?
Look around, do your research and make sure it’s the right move for you. Not everyone can do a full time coding bootcamp but that’s why we offer a part time and mentored online option.
Interestingly enough, we’ve found that there is a lot of demand for the part time bootcamp. I think it’s a sign of the recovering economy – just a couple of years ago we were finding the full time classes were filling up much faster than the part time.
Now that more people are back to work, part time education options have become increasingly popular. It’s funny how those big economic changes can have an effect on a business, but you have to adapt to the marketplace and adjust your offering as necessary.
Any advice for people who want to get involved with Code Institute?
If you are interested in hiring from Code Institute, get in touch, [email protected].