Dev Bootcamp Adds San Diego Program as Coding Schools Multiply

Dev Bootcamp, a San Francisco-based training program for Web developers, has arrived in San Diego.

The three-year-old company is accepting applications for its first 19-week course in downtown San Diego, which begins November 9. The company describes itself as a pioneer of the software coding bootcamp model, intensive programs that teach students the fundamentals of Web development.

Kaplan, a leader in the college test prep industry, acquired Dev Bootcamp for an undisclosed amount last year. The company also provides its job-training classes in New York and Chicago, and says it has graduated more than 1,700 students.

Dev Bootcamp’s San Diego opening comes amid an explosion in vocational schools for software developers, and at least two-dozen have sprung up in the Bay Area in recent years.

This year, more than 16,000 Americans are expected to graduate from a private coding academy or boot camp—more than twice as many as the 6,740 who went through similar programs in 2014, according to the market research website Course Report.

The demand has been driven by a seemingly insatiable need for software developers to match the rapid growth of smartphones and mobile devices, mobile apps, cloud-based computing, and complex Web environments. By 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that nearly one million coding jobs will go unfulfilled.

Private trade schools that teach such skills are filling the gap. Dev Bootcamp says nearly 90 percent of their graduates start a paying job in a tech-related field within six months of graduating.

But the program is expensive.

In San Diego, Dev Bootcamp says the cost of its 19-week program will be $12,700. That’s less than the $13,950 the company charges for the same course in San Francisco and New York, but still about 15 percent more than the national average of $11,000, according to Course Report.

Dev Bootcamp lecture in San Francisco (Photo courtesy Dev Bootcamp)

Dev Bootcamp lecture in San Francisco (Photo courtesy Dev Bootcamp)

Students who attend private vocational schools like Dev Bootcamp do not qualify for federal student loans, and students who enroll in technical training schools can be an easy target for unscrupulous private lenders.

Dev Bootcamp says it works with alternative lenders like Affirm, Pave, and Upstart. Small scholarships, typically only a few hundred dollars, also are available for veterans, women, and certain minority groups.

One private lender founded earlier this year in Austin, TX—the Skills Fund—is working to differentiate itself by emphasizing its efforts to protect the interests of students who enroll in private code skills. On Wednesday, the Skills Fund announced that it has raised $11.5 million in seed capital, and designated Dev Bootcamp and five other code schools as vetted “launch partners” that met its quality assurance standards.

The Skills Fund has cast itself as an ethical finance company focused solely on coding schools. Before partnering with a … Next Page »

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Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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