The coding bootcamp market has exploded in recent years, leading some industry leaders to wonder if we will soon see the “coding school bubble…burst.” How are IT training companies differentiating themselves to buyers and learners? Galvanize and The Iron Yard provide some insights.
Galvanize recently announced a $45 million Series B investment led by ABS Capital Partners, a late-stage growth company investor. In an email, CEO Jim Deters said that by partnering with ABS, “Galvanize will continue to build the leading web development and data science technical education and to provide the needed tech talent to industry partners and their continuous skill needs.”
Deters added, “There are signs the tech market is constricting as Level B rounds of funding become harder to come by….However, as with any other competitive marketplace, the fly-by-night coding schools that just want to cash in on a trend will go out of business.” To distinguish itself from those schools, Galvanize is working “to build quality industry aligned curriculums…to provide more students access to Galvanize’s modern web development and data science programs and to place them in meaningful jobs and directly address [employers’] needs to re-skill existing employees.”
Jim Deters, Lawrence Mandes and Chris Onan founded Galvanize in 2012 as more than just a bootcamp or a training program; their goal was to create an entire learning community with students, startups and established companies (such as Allstate and IBM) all participating. Now, the company has nine campuses in Denver, Boulder, Ft. Collins, San Francisco, Austin and Phoenix, with a new campus planned to open in New York City in early 2017.
Individuals can take part-time or full-time courses in web development, data science and data engineering (Galvanize even offers a master of science in data science through the University of New Haven). Individual members join Galvanize for access to their campuses, which include community workspaces, technology, workshops and events for entrepreneurs.
For corporations, Galvanize provides training programs in data science and web development topics as well as a recruitment platform that matches employers with Galvanize graduates. Galvanize told the Denver Post that there has been an increase in companies coming to them for help retraining their employees, and Deters said in an email to TrainingIndustry.com that “everything we do is geared to [partners’] bottom line.” For example, in advance of Galvanize’s Phoenix campus launch, the company worked with the city of Phoenix and Allstate “to help build local expertise in modern agile software development and help meet the growing demand for technical workers.” Those new skills help “teams get to an end product much faster.”
Like Galvanize, The Iron Yard provides services to both individuals and businesses. Its 21 campuses across the United States offer web development programs to individuals, and its corporate training programs include recruiting, onboarding, reskilling and upskilling services. These four corporate training programs can be customized to meet employers’ needs. Mike Rudinsky, director of corporate training, said they help new IT employees be “efficient and effective on day one”; teach non-technical employees with valuable institutional knowledge the crucial technical skills they need for new positions; and enable experienced developers to develop new, modern skills.
Rudinsky said that The Iron Yard differentiates itself by focusing on depth over breadth, “hiring exceptional instructors,” and using local advisory boards made up of area employers and tech leaders. These boards, which now represent 280 companies, serve to ensure alignment between industry needs and Iron Yard offerings.
At The Iron Yard, they aren’t concerned about a “bubble” bursting. On the contrary, Rudinsky said, the demand for skilled developers is increasing, and universities don’t produce enough talent to meet that demand. Furthermore, the market has changed; originally, The Iron Yard was created “to feed larger startups” with talent, but its programs have evolved to meet enterprise needs as well.
This adaptability may be key to surviving in an increasingly competitive IT training market. Both Galvanize and The Iron Yard offer a combination of programs aimed at individuals and organizations. In fact, The Iron Yard has used its direct-to-consumer training as a foundation to build its corporate training programs, according to Rudinsky. He added that they “deliberately waited a few years to enter the corporate training market,” and they believe “there will be huge growth there.” With customers that (so far) include startups as well as bigger names like Blackbaud and the Social Security Administration, it seems that he may be right.