One of the original coding bootcamps, Dev Bootcamp, announced today that it would be closing down later this year and not starting any new cohorts after this month.
It is worthwhile to reflect on the incredible number of lives that DevBootcamp has touched throughout the last five years. Shereef Bishay, Dave Hoover and Jesse Farmer were early pioneers and believers of rapid tech career acceleration, and I’m confident there are many alumni of DevBootcamp who would say they owe their current success to the hard work of their DBC instructors and cohort mates. Several founders of other bootcamps like Hack Reactor, App Academy and HackBright started out as students at Dev Bootcamp and were inspired by their time as students.
While the shutdown of a major company in an industry can be concerning, industry watchers should be careful to separate what’s happening amongst coding bootcamps versus what happened specifically at DevBootcamp. DevBootcamp was acquired by Kaplan in 2014, and a few months ago — when Kaplan sold “Kaplan University” to Purdue University — there was some expectation that they were consolidating the remaining efforts around their core offerings (which DBC was not part of). It reminds me of when IBM, an early leader in the PC industry, decided to punt on operating systems — it wasn’t core to their business at that time, and it did not reflect the health of the companies that grew from it (including Microsoft and Apple).
At Fullstack, we are committed to and excited for coding bootcamps as an educational offering in the future. As I wrote back in September of 2016 about the coding bootcamp hype cycle, as coding bootcamps enter “the Plateau of Productivity” we should expect to see consolidation as schools close or merge. For coding bootcamps that continue to focus on the Five Cs — Career Outcomes, Curriculum, Coaching, Community and Commitment — the road ahead looks healthy and wide open. Our goal in co-founding the Council on Integrity in Results Reporting (cirr.org) was to help students identify schools that stay true to that mission. These schools dedicated to outcome-driven education continue to offer an amazing return on investment to students and fulfill the insatiable need for software development skills.