Expensive Coding Boot Camps are Limiting the Tech Talent Pool

Coding boot camp has been growing in popularity since their inception in the early 2010s. Course Report, an organization that conducts annual market research on bootcamps, reports that nearly 25,000 coding bootcamp candidates entered the labor market in 2020 – an increase of 39% from the previous year.

With the rise in popularity, however, has come an increase in price. The course report also reports that the average coding boot camp costs more than $ 14,000. As costs increase, new opportunities have emerged for students to defer payments, e.g. Income agreement agreements or ISAs where students do not pay tuition until they get a job.

Rising costs mean greater risk

However, many repayment models have risks. For example, a recent lawsuit against a coding boot camp is based on allegations of false advertising around job placement rates that directly affected students’ ISAs. And throughout history, there have been many predator training programs that have sold lies to generate more revenue. Such cases resulted in rulings and rules to protect students. However, it is still true that technology education programs in the United States from for-profit companies face a complex balance between wanting to help students gain access to better careers but need to generate profits and returns for investors.

The conclusion is that the tech industry needs to look for new models for teaching coding skills that reduce students’ risk and financial burden.

Workforce initiatives and skills pathways need to be more accessible to all Americans. While traditional college or college career paths are an excellent option for some, there is a large and growing pool of people in the United States for whom it is not possible to earn a four-year education. The cost and risk of taking out student loans is a huge barrier and many students cannot commit the necessary time while working other jobs or caring for families.

It’s time to create realistic opportunities

Workers today are interested in rediscovering new opportunities, and companies need more skilled technicians.

But the time and money it takes to get an education or go through a profit-boot camp is often not an option for many.

For similar reasons, the same people who cannot walk the traditional higher education paths are still left on the sidelines of bootcamps.

It’s time to make options more accessible and realistic for everyone. Exploring the following strategies can help the tech industry reduce risk and the financial burden of acquiring new skills:

Create and support accessible, accelerated skills pathways.

Coding bootcamps creates a large pool of talent. Still, in order to expand the pool of technology companies and create more accessible opportunities for job seekers, the tech industry needs to support other skills pathways, such as free and faster digital job training courses that open doors for individuals who often close other opportunities.

Some opportunities are not only free or affordable, but they also offer opportunities to learn skills part-time.

Because this format breaks down barriers presented by traditional educational pathways and for-profit bootcamps, it is more accessible to those looking for career change. It can produce a more diverse talent pool for tech companies.

Plus getting more career changers for tech means bringing a wide and diverse set of transferable soft skills into the industry.

2. Formalize apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships are great models for opening the door to more people. They allow beginners to get the specific skills they need to fill roles in a business while on the job and earning a salary. In this way, it minimizes risks for both employees and companies.

As employees learn exactly the skills they need while on the job, they can be sure that they are not risking time, money and effort to learn potentially irrelevant skills or skills that may become irrelevant in the near future. .

Companies benefit because they can shape apprentices to the skills they need. Instead of hoping that graduates’ past experience and education will serve them well in filling open roles, companies ensure that graduates can do exactly what they need to fulfill current or future job responsibilities.

3. Training of existing workers.

Even people who are already employed in a company may be interested in training opportunities to learn new skills or sharpen their existing skills. Companies looking to fill technical roles can benefit from first looking into their companies to see if anyone wants to learn new skills and embark on a more technical career path.

When companies provide current employees with retraining opportunities, they retain the talent they already have, provide employees with opportunities to develop their careers, and contribute to a talent pool that will be able to fill future competency gaps.


Pursuing a career in technology has long been a major financial obligation for students – whether they follow traditional university courses or pay for coding bootcamps.

Meanwhile, the tech industry has been struggling for years to fill its skills gap and find suitable workers. Closing the gap will require the tech industry to support more accessible, economically viable opportunities for all.

Image credit: pepi stojanovski; unsplash; thank you!

Jeff Mazur

CEO of LaunchCode

Jeff Mazur is the CEO of LaunchCode, a nonprofit that aims to fill the gap in technological talent by matching companies with educated individuals.

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