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Are Coding Academies Good for Students and Employers?

Some say bootcamps are no substitute for a four-year degree.


Lately, it seems like a new coding academy opens nearly every day. But these startups that promise to teach newbies everything they need to know to get a development job in just weeks are starting to come under fire.

"Programming boot camps can't serve as a substitute for formal training or real-world experience," says Jon LeBlanc, head of developer evangelism at PayPal. "If you want to advance in your career, you need to have a complete understanding of languages and concepts that is developed far beyond the limits of a 12-week course."

Drew Sussberg, VP of sales and recruiting for staffing firm Workbridge Associates adds, "If you have good communications skills, are presentable, and can pass a technical interview, [coding academy graduates] are as likely to land a job as anyone with a four-year degree who interviews for it. But I do have clients who won't interview people coming out of one of these programs because they believe they don't have the skills required to do the job."

But the academies defend their records. "While I was at college I never learned the fundamentals of software engineering, never wrote code in the same room with an instructor, never learned the tactics and tools of debugging," explained Shawn Drost, co-founder of Hack Reactor. "There's an amazing amount of wasted time in the college system. We don't waste time here."

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