As we near the end of 2019, we're rewinding and reflecting on the most impactful coding bootcamp news of the year. Follow along as we look at market trends, digest thought pieces, break down $750MM acquisitions and tons of fundraises, layoffs, and more. We’ll also look at our predictions for 2020 and our hopes for the future of coding bootcamps in the coming year!
We added 89 schools to our directory (the exact same as 2018)
You (our readers) applied for over 600 scholarships on Course Report and we gave away over $90,000 in exclusive Course Report Scholarships!
We matched over 16,000 readers with coding bootcamps via our matching tool
We published ~126 new articles on our blog, 14 podcasts (including this one), and 23 YouTube videos!
And finally, we kept the bootcamp industry on its toes this year by publishing two major industry reports: our Market Sizing Report which found continued growth both in in-person and online bootcamps as well as corporate training partnerships with bootcamps; and our Alumni Outcomes & Demographics Report, which we put live just a few days ago.
We can sum it up in a few words: ISAs, cybersecurity, fundraises, corporate backing, university bootcamps, and growth.
January started off with a huge fundraise! Online bootcamp Lambda School raised $30 million in January to expand its income sharing agreement (ISA), scale the school, build its hiring network, and expand internationally.
And that fundraise kicked off a year of news about ISAs – income share agreements – which got a lot of attention from universities, from coding bootcamps, and from regulators and legislators this year. We kept our Guide to ISAs and Deferred Tuition updated on our blog, which explains the inner workings of these types of agreements, eligibility requirements, and also lists all of the schools which offer ISAs and deferred tuition! We end the year with a lot of talk, but not much resolution on the regulatory situation around ISAs.
In February, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced a new five-year pilot training program called the Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Course or VET TEC. Around April, schools started to announce that they were accepting VET TEC and so we created a full Guide to VET TEC on the Course Report blog – today, there are a handful of preferred partners.
EdSurge’s Sydney Johnson profiled a partnership between Dominican University and Make School – this was an interesting read because the Dept of Ed under Betsy Devos was also proposing to remove restrictions on accredited colleges to contract out entire educational programs to non accredited education providers, which would obviously make university-bootcamp partnerships even easier.
New York-based bootcamp Fullstack Academy was acquired by Bridgepoint Education in a deal worth potentially ~$50M.
And then this Hired.com survey came out which reported that 57% of employers would consider hiring a bootcamp graduate for an open role, while just 7% said of employers said they would not. This was part of the evolving opinion of bootcamp grads in the larger job market this year. We saw more companies like Apple and Google lifting requirements for CS degrees, building apprenticeship programs to onboard bootcamp graduates, and recruiting directly from bootcamps.
2U, which is a huge education company that typically runs online masters degree programs for traditional universities, acquired Trilogy Education, which runs bootcamps at universities across the US and around the world. 2U paid $400 million in cash and issued $350 million in stock to buy Trilogy.
Education Dive reporter Hallie Busta interviewed Trilogy CEO Dan Sommer about that acquisition, and Dan said that the acquisition would accelerate Trilogy’s expansion on the ground and online. He also hinted at a new rubric that 2U would be releasing for reporting outcomes, which would focus on oversight and accountability, marketplace openness, access, affordability, quality, and outcomes. But we have yet to see that framework.
Make School also raised $15 million in series B funding in April in order to expand to New York City, and Galvanize named a new CEO, Harsh Patel, who founded MakerSquare which was acquired by Hack Reactor, which was then acquired by Galvanize.
Steve Lohr from the New York Times explored how effective intense technology programs are for helping people move into the middle class, focusing on nonprofit organizations like TechHire, Skillful, Per Scholas and Year Up. Steve covered a federally funded evaluation of Year Up, which tracked more than 1,600 Year Up students in 2013 and 2014 and 875 similar young people, who met the standards for admission but did not go through the program. The earnings of Year Up students were 53% more than the control group’s a year after graduation and remained far higher for the following year.
And Woz U, which was Steve Wozniak’s coding school, had its license revoked in Arizona in May. By November, they announced that it is closing after a long saga of student complaints and bad reviews.
Coding bootcamp loan provider, Skills Fund, was acquired by Goal Structured Solutions in June. Just a couple of months earlier in February, Climb Credit, which also offers financing for coding bootcamps, announced that they raised an additional $50 million in lending capital from Goldman Sachs and then another $10M in a Series A round in July.
One of the insights we found in our recent Bootcamp Alumni Outcomes & Demographics Report is that lending partners like these are on the rise – the average student paid $13,728 in tuition, and in 2019, 26% of bootcampers used an external lending company. 45% of those used SkillsFund and 24% used Climb Credit. They’re a big part of the industry.
Large companies and CEOs really advocated for coding bootcamps in June to train new developers and also to retrain their current employees.
For example, Upwork CEO Stephane Kasriel wrote in Fortune about why Upwork no longer requires employees to have a college degree, following in the footsteps of Apple and IBM, and says companies should consider graduates of programming schools like 42 School, Holberton School, and Lambda School.
And IBM CEO Ginni Rometty wrote about why she wants Congress to reform the Higher Education Act (HEA), and make federal student loans available for career-oriented education like part-time coding bootcamps or cybersecurity courses.
Finally in June, Harvard Business Review profiled Cyber NYC, a partnership between the New York City Economic Development Corporation, and education partners like CUNY and Fullstack Academy to train New Yorkers in cybersecurity.
Inside Higher Ed and Forbes both covered an ISA bill called the ISA Student Protection Act which was introduced by a bipartisan group of senators. Meanwhile, Lambda School launched their ISA in Africa.
HR Dive looked at initiatives to help boost diversity in tech, including a partnership between the Flatiron School and SeatGeek. In the same vein, Fullstack Academy and The Grace Hopper Program committed $90,000 to LGBTQ+ tech community. Metis offered four full-tuition scholarships to women studying in Chicago or Seattle, and huge NYC finance companies like Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo hosted 3-week fintech coding bootcamps in their NYC offices to help increase the representation of women and people of color in software engineering within banking.
Level, a data science bootcamp at Northeastern, closed in July.
In August, we published our 2019 Market Sizing Report which measures the growth of the bootcamp industry.
Flatiron School announced that they would acquire SecureSet cybersecurity bootcamp. That means that Flatiron now teaches Web Development, Data Science, UX Design, and Cybersecurity. In the same month, Flatiron’s parent company, WeWork, filed for its IPO, and we discovered from IPO filing documents that WeWork paid $28 million for Flatiron School.
Education Dive reported that Strategic Education which owns for-profit universities and bootcamps, like Hackbright Academy and DevMountain, reported growth in their short-term programs like coding bootcamps and software design programs.
Thinkful was acquired by Chegg for about $80 million in cash
Kenzie Academy raised $7.8 million in Series A funding to expand to students online and in the Midwest. Edly, which is an ISA marketplace, secured a seed round of funding from Mistral Venture partners.
The Director of Engineering at Pandora, Dave Edwards, wrote a guest post for VentureBeat about Pandora’s apprenticeship program, which partnered with Onramp to train coding bootcamp grads. Airbnb announced that they would partner with TechHire Oakland to launch a 6-month software engineering apprenticeship aimed at people without CS degrees – their job description specifically stated that people should not have a 4-year degree, and instead should have training from a coding bootcamp or online courses!
We really started seeing the rise in demand for cybersecurity skills all over the country. Technically Philly looks at the need for cybersecurity skills in Pennsylvania. On top of the Fullstack Academy Cyber NYC bootcamp and the Flatiron cybersecurity acquisition, Trilogy launched a cybersecurity bootcamp at the University of Pennsylvania and at Miami Dade College in Florida.
Imogen from the Course Report team wrote an article in The Muse about how to find a bootcamp that will actually help you land a job.
Galvanize raised another $13.44 million from 14 investors. Their CEO, Harsh Patel, said that Galvanize plans to open more locations for its coding school in early-to-mid-2020.
Momentum coding bootcamp in Durham, North Carolina, raised $2.75 million to strengthen its existing immersive courses – run by former Iron yard execs.
And online tech sales bootcamp Flockjay raised $2.98 million in new funding, with celebrity backers such as Will Smith and Serena Williams! On top of Cybersecurity, Sales bootcamps were another trend we saw in 2019
Goldie Blumynstyk from The Chronicle of Higher Education wrote about a partnership General Assembly formed with Noodle Partners to develop bootcamps with colleges – including the University of Virginia (giving Trilogy Education a run for their money).
And on the regulation front, Dice looked into Lambda School’s fine from the BPPE in California. California ordered Lambda School to cease all operations and pay a $75,000 fine for failing to register as a school. That doesn’t seem to have gone anywhere.
As WeWork really hit peak drama and was acquired by Softbank, they laid off around 80 Flatiron School staff members as part of a larger round of WeWork layoffs.
According to EdSurge, Cybrary landed a $15 Million Series B round to train students in cybersecurity.
Zip Code Wilmington launched a new data engineering program in Wilmington, Delaware. And Galvanize partnered with the City of New York to offer a data analyst training program.
We just released our Alumni Outcomes & Demographics Report, finding that:
The majority of graduates of coding bootcamps are finding full-time employment, and 83% of graduates surveyed say they've been employed in a job requiring the technical skills learned at bootcamp, with a median salary increase of 51% or $22,000. The average starting salary of a bootcamp grad is $66,964.
StudentFinance, a Madrid, Spain-based company that manages income-share agreements (ISAs) for education providers, has raised €1.15 million (approximately US $1.3 million). They call themselves the “Vemo of Europe.”
The New York Times also dove into ISAs, highlighting how coding bootcamps like Flatiron have been successfully using ISAs, but concern about possible new legislation of applying ISAs to 4-year college programs.
EdSurge reports that Springboard raised $11M to expand mentor-driven coding bootcamps
There was also an interesting piece in The Hill in December about how bootcamps are unlocking the untapped potential of the rural workforce in America. Check it out!
Nobody expected a ton of federal regulation under the current administration, but there was plenty of talk amongst legislators and regulators about ISAs and university-bootcamp partnerships. Elizabeth Warren issued a letter about her concerns for ISAs and depending on the 2020 election outcome, we may see more regulation in the coming year.
CIRR is still going strong – internally, bootcamps are still trying to regulate themselves – over 50 schools are members now.
Last year, we talked a lot about the Forever GI Bill; in 2020 we’ll start to see more veterans taking advantage of VET TEC and depending on how that pilot goes, we could see even more veterans in bootcamps.
We’ll continue seeing bootcamps offering ISAs – and regulation will catch up to this space.
As the demand for cybersecurity and data professionals rises, bootcamps will continue to react and launch new courses to meet market demands.
There is a lot of opportunity in university partnerships – we hope to see rigorous and transparent outcomes standards applied to these university bootcamps.
We’ll see CIRR grow in it’s importance and membership.
And if any of our predictions come true, you’ll hear about them in exactly one year when we’re back to wrap up 2020!
Liz is the cofounder of Course Report, the most complete resource for students researching coding bootcamps. Her research has been cited in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, and more. She loves breakfast tacos and spending time getting to know bootcamp alumni and founders all over the world. Check out Liz & Course Report on Twitter, Quora, and YouTube!
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