Code Fellows is making changes to help people learn software development more efficiently.
Founded in 2013, the Seattle-based trade school has already helped nearly 500 students graduate from its 8-week coding bootcamp program, 97 percent of whom have gone on to earn an average salary of $71,000 per year.
But like any young organization, Code Fellows has learned a few lessons along the way — and now the company is adjusting its curriculum to provide more specific “outcomes” for students.
For the past two years, Code Fellows has only accepted 20 percent of applicants who wanted to enroll in the bootcamp. While this helped improve the quality of graduates, it meant that the trade school had to turn away 80 percent of people that were serious about making a career change into the world of technology.
That’s why Code Fellows just introduced a series of shorter courses designed to expose people to the basics of software development. It starts with “Code 101,” a new one-day $99 weekend program that helps people learn more about a potential career in tech.
“Attendees will learn basics of coding and careers in the tech market,” said Code Fellows CEO Dave Parker, a Seattle startup veteran who took over in June. “They will get the pre-requisites to the next class. We’ll be offering this course every month and taking it on the road to places like Joint Base Lewis McChord.”
“Students will still have the same amount of work and get to the same result,” Parker said. “However, with this option, the students don’t have to quit their day jobs.”
Parker called the restructuring “the first major shift in our evolution.”
“A lot of our programming was originally structured from a general perspective and didn’t connect students to the specific career outcomes that they wanted,” he said. “That’s why we made the changes.”
Parker, most recently the vice president of UP Global, added that other code school programs around the country deliver good results, but also have had curriculums focused on the technology instead of student outcomes.
“We want our students to understand the outcome and know how to get started in the process,” said Parker, who replaced former Amazon.com employee Kristin Smith. “I think you’ll see that mature over the next couple of years as the market consolidates a bit.”
Code Fellows was created two years ago by Founder’s Co-op General Partner and Seattle startup veteran Andy Sack, along with co-founders Brad Bouse and Will Little. There are several other similar trade schools, like General Assembly and Coding Dojo, that focus specifically on computer programming education and are helping to fill the gap for in-demand developers.
Course Report, a coding bootcamp reviews site, noted in June that the number of graduates from these trade schools in the U.S. and Canada will reach 16,056 in 2015, up more than 138 percent from last year. The number of schools also increased from 43 last year to 67 in 2015.
“Coding bootcamps don’t mean the end of computer science degrees by any means,” Course Report co-founder Liz Eggleston told GeekWire in June. “But it is interesting that at this rate, bootcamps may be graduating the same number of computer science grads, which will start to change the face of the developer job pool.”
Earlier this year, Code Fellows announced that it will give away $250,000 in scholarships to women, minorities and veterans. The organization also now has locations in Chicago and Portland.