‘Coding Bootcamps’ Give English Majors a Shot in Silicon Valley

Dev Bootcamp/Flickr
Dev Bootcamp/Flickr

(Ferenstein Wire) — Silicon Valley is racing ahead with its own alternative to college, and new research suggests that graduates are out-earning some of their diploma-wielding peers.

Silicon Valley’s “coding bootcamps” are a cottage industry of fast-track private vocational schools for graduates looking to enter the competitive tech industry as software engineers, data scientists, and other in-demand jobs. Many coding bootcamp graduates who hold college degrees in areas notorious for slim earning potential (like English majors) and are now fully employed in the tech industry making a lot more money.

English majors can earn $33K more after bootcamp graduation. (By comparison, engineering majors earn $3K more.) Many bootcamp students have no prior coding experience at all before attending the intensive programs, which average 10 weeks long and cost about $9,000 (though they can last much longer and cost twice as much).

For a few years, there wasn’t much data on whether these schools could reliably place graduates at top-tier tech companies or in high-paying jobs in the field. But for the second year in a row, an industry study from the bootcamp review site Course Report finds that bootcamp graduates have snagged a much higher salary ($18K on average) and have better prospects for full-time employment (from 53% to 63%).

However, the Course Reports study should be taken with caution: these students are a motivated, self-selected group of people who want to change careers and have put themselves through additional schooling primarily for entering a competitive field with high-earning potential. So, these aren’t your average students.

The report is, however, a nice sign that even though colleges have been slow to adopt programs that actually get most of their students a job in their field of study, Silicon Valley has created its own solution.

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