A new survey from CourseReport shows coding camps do well with post-graduate employment, and not so well with diversity.
A new study from CourseReport shows an optimistic view on employment for coding camps alumni. The results, compiled from coding camp graduates from 48 schools across the United States and Canada, said that 75% of respondents are currently employed, and 44% saw a salary increase of roughly $25,000 dollars.
"I think these numbers are sort of an affirmation of the overall industry's trajectory," said CourseReport's Adam Lovallo. Whether that trend holds is a separate story. "The reality of these programs is if they get people into jobs, they will grow further than they are today. If they don't, they won't exist," he said.
DevBootcamp's Dave Hoover had similar thoughts: "The $25,000 average salary increase explains the incredible proliferation of these programs across the country," he said.
One potential outcome of any type of validation of the bootcamp model, is the adoption of that model in other areas like design, marketing, or product management Lovallo said.
Louise Au Yeung graduated from Launch Academy in Boston in October 2013. She had no prior coding experience, but is now employed as a developer. She said looking back, she wishes she'd been able to test out other disciplines using the bootcamp model because it's easier to see the practical application of skills.
"I would have known a lot better what I would have wanted to do eight hours a day, five days a week, 40 plus hours a week, every week of my life — it would have been much more valuable," she said.
Though, she also said it remains to be seen how bootcamps will shift and graduates will cope as technology changes.
The report also delved into the demographics of the students attending coding camps. In terms of gender diversity, about 38% of coding camps students are female. In contrast, NPR reported last year that about 20% of all programmers are women.
"It's still not s 50/50 ratio, but walk around a tech company, and they don't have that same representation of women amongst any engineering department," Lovallo said.
Since the lack diversity is a "known issue," as Lovallo put it, in tech, he said that bootcamps could be a recruiting option for companies wanting to increase their efforts toward a more diverse staff.
"I think that's great for everybody involved. It's maybe not truly altruistic, but nonetheless has positive impact," he said.
In terms of ethnic and racial diversity, Lovallo said the findings were disappointing- 63% of students are white, 18% Asian American, 17% Other, and 1% Black. Lovallo said there's definitely room for improvement there.
Certain bootcamps are making efforts to bridge the gap. Flatiron School in New York City offers grants for females and minorities. Launch Academy knocks $500 off their $12,500 tuition for veterans, females, and minorities. They also partnered with the Boston chapter of Girl Develop It on a five-week introduction to Ruby. Additional scholarships go to students associated with groups like Girl Develop It or RailsBridge.
Au Yeung said she never encountered an unwelcoming vibe, but on a broader level, but there's still a ways to go in terms of making sure girls know that programming is a viable career path.
"We had a pretty high number of women in my group. They're definitely still underrepresented. But when looking at CourseReport, I think you can see that females are represented more than the traditional workplace environment [in tech]. I think that indicates it's shifting but we're not quite there yet."
Launch Academy's Evan Charles said encouraging diversity in the cohorts at Launch Academy benefits the students, "For us, we think it's the right thing to do, but more importantly, we actually find that diversity helps collaboration during the program, and the more collaboration we can have, the better, because that's directly correlated to learning outcomes."