2021 was another rollercoaster of a year, and we’re rounding up all of the most impactful coding bootcamp news we saw in 2021. Follow along as we call out the top trends of 2021 and break down this year’s biggest acquisitions and fundraises in the bootcamp space. Plus, we’re sharing our predictions for 2022, how accreditation and skills-based credentialing may affect bootcamps, and what we’re hoping to see in the bootcamp world this coming year!
2021: Course Report in Numbers
2021 in Coding Bootcamps – The TL;DR:
Workforce development funds helped make bootcamp tuition more accessible to those looking to make a career change into tech amidst the pandemic layoffs and “The Great Resignation” of 2021.
- Over the year, we saw several bootcamps announce rounds of incentive-aligned tuition financing capital where they partnered with ISA provider, Leif, in order to build ISA programs.
University-bootcamp partnerships continued to grow over the year – OPM Emeritus raised $650M (a record for the bootcamp industry)!
- Two bootcamps chose to get accredited this year.
- Through job guarantees, ISAs, and money-back guarantees, bootcamps were invested in showing students that their incentives are aligned and that the school can stake its success on the fact that alumni are getting jobs.
January: $118M in Fundraises + A Guide to Workforce Development
- 2021 started with $118M in fundraises! Ironhack secured $20M and Multiverse raised $44M. Tech sales bootcamps Flockjay raised $11M and Victory Lap raised $25M.
BrainStation acquired Miami-based coding bootcamp Wyncode, and Pluralsight acquired Next Tech.
- Since we were still very much in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, news focused on how to reskill a workforce. We created a guide to using workforce development grants to cover part or all of coding bootcamp tuition. By the end of 2021, we included over 40 of these opportunities in our post.
February: Coding Bootcamps Uplifting Their Communities
- Individual states started creating their own tech training programs, like Digital Upskill Sacramento, and coding bootcamps found ways to help their communities like Galvanize offering assistance to fellow Phoenix-based entrepreneurs in the form of online workshops and in-person workspaces.
- By the end of 2021, Galvanize reported that through its Opportunity Fund and its We Stand Together full-tuition scholarship, Galvanize awarded 30 scholarships to students who identify as Black or African-American!
LaunchCode opened a new campus in Philadelphia, and then offered Philadelphians free training in web development basics and job placement with local tech companies.
Codecademy announced a $40M fundraise, and Rithm School secured $25M to start an ISA program at their school via Leif.
Tech Elevator was acquired by Stride, which also owns Galvanize and Hack Reactor.
March: Helping Women Get Into Tech during a She-session
- Southern New Hampshire University acquired Kenzie Academy.
Eleven Fifty Academy was awarded $300K from Microsoft’s Be Nimble Foundation to help attract and support Black talent to get into tech.
- Bootcamps began offering scholarships aimed at helping women reskill into tech. Product School partnered with Wise to offer the Product Management Education Scholarship with the mission to give full-tuition bootcamp scholarships to 20 women and non-binary people, and Flatiron School’s Women Take Tech program offered scholarships for women applying to the bootcamp.
April: Reskilling Those Laid Off During the Pandemic
Holberton School raised $20M with the intention of using it to expand into Latin America.
- Coding bootcamp participated in reskilling initiatives for workers who lost their jobs in the pandemic. Fullstack Academy offered free cybersecurity training to New Yorkers who were impacted by the pandemic, and Tech Elevator enrolled 11 people from Charlotte for free thanks to CARES Act funding.
- As we predicted, we added several new university bootcamps. The majority of those new university-bootcamp partnerships in April came from Fullstack Academy.
May: ISA Regulation
iXperience raised $2.5M in Series A, and NGT Academy (formerly NexGenT) began preparing for an IPO.
- News organizations like Yahoo, Forbes, and InsideHigherEd covered a lawsuit brought by three Lambda School alumni accusing the school of false advertising and claiming that the ISA was predatory.
June: Criticism Directed at OPMs
July: 1 Major $800M Acquisition + Pell Grant Potential
CodeBoxx raised $2M in July. CodeX Academy and Pivot Technology School both raised $10M in financing from Leif to expand their ISA programs.
- 2U (which owns Trilogy Education) announced that they would acquire non-profit edX for $800M in cash.
- There was some talk about whether Pell Grants could be expanded to include short-term training programs, like coding bootcamps, and if that change could be applied to the new Build Back Better bill.
- We saw several private/public partnerships that validated the bootcamp model to reskill today’s workforce. Some of those partnerships included Pivot Technology School and Target’s Shipt partnering to offer 30 full scholarships, and DigitalCrafts and non-profit City of Refuge using a $5.4M grant from the Department of Labor to create Tech Transformation Academy in Atlanta.
August: Big Pivots + Skills-Based Credentials
- August saw $29M in fundraises, including the $25M Series A in growth equity fundraising for Product School.
Galvanize announced they were sunsetting their data science programs, and Flockjay pivoted from its tech sales bootcamp to target B2B Saas opportunities.
DigitalCrafts announced they were acquired by the American InterContinental University System. DigitalCrafts also made Inc 5000’s list of Fastest Growing Private Companies in America.
The Washington Post published a report indicating that a third of U.S workers under 40 were considering a career change.
- Living through another roller coaster year where higher ed was again reeling with how to teach during a pandemic, there was a new call for skills-based credentials. Open Skills Network, a coalition of over 500 employers, educational institutions, and technology providers, held its first Virtual Skills Summit on how to prepare and empower a stronger workforce here in the US.
September: Accredited Bootcamps + University-Bootcamp Outcomes
- The OPM, Emeritus announced a $650M fundraising round, which brought Emeritus’ company valuation to $3.2B.
NYC Data Science Academy received accreditation from the Accrediting Commission for Continuing Education & Training (ACCET).
Forbes contributor Steve Tengler focused on the ROI of a CS degree vs a coding bootcamp, and pointed out that it could take a CS grad 26 years to surpass a bootcamp grad’s head start making money in the tech field.
- A few university-bootcamp partnership companies like 2U and Wiley began publishing their student outcomes this fall in the hopes to win over some of their critics.
October: The Great Resignation
Entity Academy raised $100M through Leif.
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 4 million U.S. workers quit their jobs between June and October, and this movement was coined as The Great Resignation.
CIO Dive noted that 13% of job-seekers in Q2 2021 were considering pivoting into the IT field.
- Maria Flynn in an opinion piece for Work Shift pointed out that while millions of new jobs are awesome, we can’t forget to help people who became unemployed due to the pandemic reskill to actually build back better.
- PSA: October 1st is also the annual date that VET TEC opens up funding. Any veterans who want to attend a bootcamp with only 1 day of GI Bill credit should have that date on their calendar!
November: The Lambda School Rebrand + Women Returning to the Workforce
Lambda School officially became Bloom Institute of Technology (or BloomTech for short). With the new name also came a new financing approach that includes a 110% tuition refund.
- A Metlife study that was published in November shows that 63% of women who left the workforce during the pandemic plan on returning. As women return to the workforce, they have some new demands — the biggest of those being work-life balance, including increased leave and flexibility.
HR Dive reported on how 72% of tech workers today are thinking of leaving their jobs within the next year. This unhappiness with their jobs stems from not feeling like a company invests in their workforce by offering things like training opportunities.
Upright Education has acquired Burlington Code Academy.
Forbes highlighted several who left their jobs during the Great Resignation but changed careers successfully at coding bootcamps!
- The Department Of Labor is listening to the community at large to find out how to improve marginalized groups’ access to apprenticeships. If you’ll remember, earlier this year when Biden took office, the National Advisory Committee on Apprenticeships was relaunched and $87.5M was made available in grants to expand apprenticeships!
Our Predictions for 2021
Our 2022 Predictions:
ISA regulation and emphasis on the importance of reporting outcomes.
More bootcamps going after accreditation; we’re even hearing some talk of outcomes-driven accreditors which could naturally include bootcamps.
Cybersecurity was our fastest growing career track – We predict that more cybersecurity bootcamps and programs will rise to meet the demands of the job market.
- Online learning continues!
Listen to the podcast for 4 Predictions for 2022 from Schools: Gautam from Springboard, Maggi from Operation Code, Jason from BrainStation, and Dan from CIRR & Launch Academy weighed in – companies will be deploying significant budgets for education and bootcamps may be providing that education through enterprise relationships; temporary funding models for veterans like VET TEC and VRRAP will become permanent; flexibility will remain incredibly important, both in education and in work; and measuring outcomes will be crucial in 2022, from accreditation to CIRR reporting.
And if any of our predictions come true, you’ll hear about them in exactly one year when we’re back to wrap up 2022!