The Tech Academy Reveals: What is a Code School?

16 Sep, 2015 – You may or may not have heard of “code schools” or “coding boot camps”. What are they?

Coding: (verb) The act of writing or revising a computer program. From Latin codex, meaning “book”.

Coding is also referred to as “software development” or “programming”.

Boot camp: (noun) An intensive training program, as for improving one’s physical fitness or skills in a particular subject area. “Boot” comes from Middle English bot, meaning “help”. “Camp” comes from Latin campus, meaning “level ground” (specifically from the Roman usage of a level ground utilized for games, athletic practice, and military drills).

A coding boot camp, also commonly called a “developer boot camp” or “programming boot camp”, is an intensive training program in software development. There are many developer boot camps in the world. Usually they have these characteristics:

• The programs take about 2-6 months full-time.

• The technical skills taught are aimed at getting immediate employment as a junior-level software developer.

• The training environment is “immersive”, meaning that students immerse themselves in the subject – often putting other life concerns on hold as they work through the training.

Developer boot camps are a relatively new element of the technology education landscape – the first boot camps began in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2012. The educational roots of coding boot camps go back quite far, from traditional apprentice programs to the career schools that sprung up in the early 20th century.

The rise of dev boot camps was driven by the shortage of technical talent faced by the technology industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that by the year 2020, there will be over 1 million unfilled computing jobs.

In response to this shortage, the technology industry has had to look for non-traditional ways to create the technical talent it needs. Rather than a replacement for the traditional college path to a career in software development, coding boot camps are just one more way to arrive at a very desirable place – employed in a well-paying, challenging field with good job security.

Whereas colleges are good options for those who can afford it and are able to study for 2-4 years, boot camps can be a resource for students that want to learn coding who have less available funds and time. Both are excellent options.

There are a wide variety of dev boot camps in the country. For those interested in taking this path to break into the technology field, it can be daunting – often the prospective student is unfamiliar with the very terms describing the contents of a boot camp’s training program. It can also be difficult to make a decision about what specific set of skills one should seek in order to have the best shot at landing a good job. Finally, some boot camps will only work with students who already have some programming experience or education.

In our opinion, here are some things worth looking into if you’re thinking of attending a coding boot camp:

Does the program cover the fundamentals of Computer Science?

The technology field changes rapidly. Without a solid understanding of the basics of how computers work, it can be difficult to keep up with a changing technology landscape.

Will you learn a variety of different computer programming languages and systems?

If you have a deep but narrow skill set in only one or two technologies, you may find it challenging to find a job outside of those technologies – and when that language falls out of favor, you may have an uphill battle in gaining skills in the new, more popular technologies.

Is the program self-paced?

We all learn at different rates. If you have to move in lock-step with other students, you may find yourself frustrated or left behind. An ideal training program will let you speed ahead when you are doing well, but will quickly handle any confusions or barriers when you get stuck.

Does the program cover soft skills?

Soft skills are those non-technical abilities that make a potential employee quite desirable. These are things like good manners, effective communication, leadership skills, the ability to cooperate in a team dynamic, and more. Even in a market with a talent shortage, these things matter.

Will you work on real-world coding projects, and not just textbook exercises?

There is much you can learn from a well-run classroom – but at some point, you’ve got to dive in on a live project. There’s no substitute for proving to yourself that you can produce a valuable, working product that’s meant to be used in the real world.

Most importantly, will the program help you get employed?

At the end of the day, all that will really matter is that you are able to utilize the tools you learned as a developer. Attending a boot camp and then living in your parent’s basement, unemployed, would be a failure.

We hope this clears up what a code school is and helps you in your search for a job in the technical field.

Written by Jack Stanley and Erik Gross, Founders of The Tech Academy. The Tech Academy is a code school that runs a 15 week Software Developer Boot Camp that can be taken online from anywhere, or in-person at their Portland campus.

To find out more about The Tech Academy,  visit their website:

Learn coding. Get hired. It’s that simple.

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Company Name: The Tech Academy
Country: United States