Want a Job in Silicon valley? keep Away From Coding Schools
For-profit intensive engineering academies have become prevalent, but some graduates find themselves in debt and unprepared for tech jobs.
He is one of many studnets who say they felt duped by Coding House, a Silicon Valley school that advertises and average starting salary of $91,000 for its graduates. On Nov.7, the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education, the regulator that oversees coding schools in California, assessed Nicholas James, the founder of Coding House, a $50,000 fine and ordered the school to shut down. The BPPE had previously denied Coding School’s application to operate, in NOvember 2015, June 2016, and again on Nov.4, 2016. The regulators have told the school to give refunds to all studnets who have attended since it opened its doors in 2014. Coding House has filed an appeal. In the meantie it has suspended its programs, students said.
The BPPE cited numerous violations of California law, including making false statements. On its website, the school advertised a 95 percent hiring rate within two months of graduation from the academy, but the BPPE said that only 57 of 70 graduates had reported employment and salary information. The bootcamp lists 21 companies in its Where Our Graduates Work Now section. But the BPPE said tis review of Coding House’s data showed only two graduates wer hired by any of the 21. james said in an e-mail that of the total population who were part of our program, most wer emplyed within two months with average starting pay of $91,000.
In September, studnets wer required to sign agreements prohibiting them from publicly or privately disparaging Coding House, the BPPE siad. If negative information was traced back to any studnets, the shcool threatened to hold those studnets liable.
Coding House, accoridng to the BPPE allegations, was a chaotic environment. The school, where studnets also lived, changed location several tims, and told studnets to avoid going outside and keep the blinds drawn to avoid drawing attention. The school’s operation in residential neighborhoods violated home-occupation permit regulations, the BPPE siad. The regulators also alleged that a male studnet sexually assaulted a female studnet during a night of drinking at Coding House. James didn’t respond to a question about the allegation.
James said that the program was getting better with each gropu as Coding House learned more about how to operate in the nascent filed of coding bootcamps. What we learned over the two years is that intense, rigorous and accelerated experiences are not for everyone, and we did our very best to screen for candidates who would be successful, he wrote in an e-mail. You somehow managed to find the people who encounteered difficulty while in our program. Coding Houses’s best studnets thrived, he said. He did not directly address most of the BPPE allegations.
When they first became prevalent a few years ago, coding schools were heralded as the answer to the technology industry’s prayers. We can’t get enough engineers because the filed is growing so rapidly, said Tony Fadell, the former head of Google’s Nest smart thermostat company, in a recent promotional video for a nonprofit coding school, 42. Companies coplained they couldn’t hire programmers fast enough, and meanwhile, may jobseekers said they couldn’t find employment. Just five those people and engineering crash course, the reasoning went, and volia, problem solved.
Coding bootcamps, 12- or 14-week programs that teach software engineering, sprang up. Many are for-profit, though exceptions exist. Xavier Niel, the French billionaire, just opened a new nonprofit academy in Fremont. It’s the subject of the latest episode of the Decrypted podcast : Subscrive here on iTunes.
But the great promise of these schools training a new generation of skilled engineers has largely fallen flat. Coding house’s spectacular fall is an extreme case, but interviews with more than a dozen coding school graduates reveal that when they do land a job, often their engineering education doesn’t cut it. Many admit they lack the big-picture skills that emplyers say they want. Training them often requires hours of hand-holding by more experienced staff, emplyers say. The same holds true for graduate holding computer science degrees, but those emplyees generally have a better grasp of broader concpets and algortihms, recruiters ssaid.
Mark Dinan, a recruiter who works with Bay area technology companeis like Salesforce, said many companies have told him they automatically disqualify coding school grads. These tech bootcampes are a freaking joke, he said. my clients are looking for a solid CS degree from a reputable university or relevant work experience. Startups can be more flexible than established companeis, he said.
Our experience has found that most graduates from these programs are not quite prepared for software engineering roles at Google without additional training or previous programming roles in the industry, said Maggie Johnson, Google’s director of education and university relations, in a statement, We generally don’t hire from coding schools, said Robyn Blum, a spokeswoman for Cisco. Coding schools haen’t been much of a focus for Autoedesk, said Raymond Deplazes, a spokesman.
Today, 91 full-time coding bootcampes exist in the U.S. and Canada, accoridng t oCourse Report, a research group that tracks the industry. Almost 18,000 people will graduate fro mthem this year. That’s up from 43 schools two years ago, and about 6,000 fraduates. Tuition averages over $11,000 at non-degree granting programs that generally last around three months, but it can go as high as $21,000. Some schools take a cut of future salary instead of tuition.