Last Friday, Course Report was invited by the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy to participate in an all-day brainstorming session with coding bootcamp industry leaders. The goals for this meeting were two-fold: widening the pool of potential bootcamp students to be more inclusive of diverse socioeconomic, racial, and gender demographics and discussing how to boost confidence in bootcamps and encourage more employers to hire from non-traditional educational backgrounds. We were joined by Brian Forde (Senior Advisor to the U.S. Chief Technology Officer), Ryan Burke (Policy Advisor to the National Economic Council), Byron Auguste (Deputy Director of the National Economic Council), and Megan Smith, the Chief Technology Officer. Of the United States. Of America.

To be clear, being invited to the White House to brainstorm about the space that Course Report has focused on exclusively for the past year is very cool. The fact that the US government considers bootcamps to be a viable alleviation to unemployment is encouraging and says a lot about hacker schools and alternative education. But perhaps even cooler was the opportunity to meet with the players in this space face-to-face and find ways to work together and with the government to ensure that bootcamp quality remains high and that job placement is on the rise. Since Course Report is based in New York, we try to put names with faces when we can, but this isn’t always possible. Being able to meet with several key players at one time was invaluable; standouts included:

  • Zach Sims of Codecademy, who arguably popularized the learn-to-code movement.
  • Liliana Aide Monge, co-founder of Sabio.la, a bootcamp in Los Angeles with a distinct motivation to build a diverse workforce.
  • Juha & Johanna Mikkola, founders of Wyncode in Miami, which was recently accredited by the Florida Department of Education.
  • Industry rockstars like Adam Enbar of Flatiron School & Dave Hoover of Dev Bootcamp- a talk about innovation in bootcamps wouldn't be possible without them and they bring such incredible experience to the table. 
  • LaunchCode’s Brendan and Alex of St. Louis, who match bootcamp graduates with apprenticeships (so cool)!
  • Lending platforms like LendLayer and Quotanda, which financially empower more people from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds to participate in bootcamps.
  • Huge employers like VMware who have the power to really change the game in terms of hiring based on skills instead of degrees.

 

We split into groups and got to work- talk of apprenticeship, funding, and diversity floated around as ideas crystallized into action items. Some of the questions I left thinking about are:

  • How can Course Report help to provide guidelines for reporting job placement outcomes? This will undoubtedly be a difficult project, but bootcamps have to work together to define these standards.
  • What other areas should bootcamps be reporting on to determine quality? How do we ensure that quality remains high and the best bootcamps are rewarded?
  • What role can Course Report play in widening the pool of applicants for bootcamps? We want to ensure that people from all socioeconomic, gender, and racial backgrounds have access to a high-quality coding bootcamp- is there a way we can partner with lending platforms to help widen that pool?
  • We’ve worked on research about the coding bootcamp industry before and we’re actively working on the next report. Check out our Market Sizing Study and Student Outcomes Report and stay tuned- the White House brainstorm gave us so many ideas about what data is important to bootcamps and employers!

 

The White House brought together a significant, action-driven group of individuals and companies to talk about this growing space. Being able to collaborate with these folks was eye-opening and important, and Course Report can’t wait to strengthen these relationships as the bootcamp industry continues to flourish.

 

About The Author

Liz pic

Liz is the cofounder of Course Report, the most complete resource for students considering a coding bootcamp. 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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