In February 2020, Career Karma published a report on the state of the coding bootcamp market, which revealed a few interesting key findings. These helped shed some light on the current state of coding bootcamps—covering everything from the industry’s profitability to graduates’ employability.
The extensive report is based on data from 105 bootcamps and 133,392 of their graduates. It should be noted that the report, however, excludes university bootcamp graduate statistics. For a more in-depth explanation of the methodology, check out the full report.
Some of the highlights are explained below.
In 2019, a total of 33,959 students attended one of the 105 coding bootcamps studied in this market analysis, representing a 4.38% growth since 2018. In 2020, the figure is expected to grow to an estimated 35,446 students. Meanwhile, tuition revenue in 2019 was approximately $460,733,000, which saw a 4.81% increase from $439,581,000 in the previous year.
One of the reasons for this growth is the increased flexibility. As global society changes to embrace the fourth industrial revolution, so do the process of hiring, especially in the tech industry. A college degree is not a mandatory requirement anymore. This gives more opportunities to those from underserved groups who otherwise wouldn’t be able to have a well-paid profession.
Another reason is that bootcamps are focused on providing better outcomes for the students. The main objective is to help them get a job in tech, which prompted bootcamps to structure their entire course to make this possible. Some bootcamps also offer innovative career support programs and employer partnerships to ease the process for their graduates.
The final factor that contributed to the growth is the affordability of a bootcamp education, in comparison to a standard four-year university degree. According to the report, “For four-year degrees, the average annual cost of going to college—including tuition, room, and board—was $26,593”. Meanwhile, the average tuition for attending an in-person bootcamp was $13,293 in 2019, and the average tuition for an online bootcamp was $14,623.
Income share agreements (ISAs)
The income share agreements (ISA) is a financing model that allows students to receive a fixed amount of money from an organization and pay it back when the student is successful at finding a job. Having ISAs as an option is another factor that influenced the growth of the bootcamp market.
In 2019, 27 US bootcamps offered ISAs to their students. The average terms were a 38-month long commitment, $42,476 minimum income threshold, 13.8% income-share percentage, and a $32,754 payment cap.
Students feel more reassured to make time and financial investments when they know they will only start big payments after securing a job in the tech industry. Some schools don’t even demand payment if the student fails to land a job. This means the schools will put real efforts into connecting them to the labor market upon course completion.
Last year, the top five metropolitan areas in terms of the number of bootcamp grads employed were: New York City (46 bootcamps), San Francisco (33 bootcamps), Los Angeles (21 bootcamps), Seattle (18 bootcamps), and Washington, D.C. (16 bootcamps).
The top five courses offered on bootcamps were web development, software engineering, Data Science, user experience (UX) design, and digital marketing. The top technical skills that were taught included React.js, Git, Node.js, jQuery, and Ruby on Rails. Bootcamps also offer soft skills in the likes of leadership, management, public speaking, research, strategy, and teamwork.
When entering a bootcamp program, the main objective of the student is to find a well-paid job and they may worry that top employers won’t take them seriously. While professionals with bachelor’s degrees are still preferred in the tech industry, the high demand can’t be fulfilled by universities alone.
The report cited an Indeed study that found that most employers demonstrated a positive perception toward coding bootcamp grads. It said, “72% of employers think bootcamp graduates are just as prepared and likely to be high performers as candidates with computer science degrees”.
In fact, it is revealed that the top five companies that have employed the most bootcamp grads as of 2019 were Google (588), Microsoft (361), Amazon (330), Facebook (250), and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (238).
However, it should also be noted that coding bootcamp grads still constitute to be a small portion of these companies’ workforce. To illustrate it better, Google, for instance, has a huge workforce of over 184,000 employees.
The top three acquisitions in the bootcamp sector in 2019 were 2U’s acquisition of Trilogy Education Services ($750 million), Chegg’s acquisition of Thinkful ($80 million+), and Bridgepoint Education’s acquisition of Fullstack Academy ($17.5 million + 2.5 million shares).
The acquisitions in this sector are helping to consolidate the bootcamp industry. Many companies that aren’t directly in the business are acquiring bootcamps to expand their services in the education industry. The consolidation is also to accommodate some bootcamps’ needs for short-term revenue growth, at the cost of building a sustainable business model that would succeed in the long run.
The report concluded that bootcamps have gained traction in recent years as a response to the growing need for talented technology workers in the labor market. It gathered that there is still a lot of room for the expansion of the bootcamp market by using approaches such as increasing online course offerings. Lastly, the bootcamp model is seen as an effective pathway to a career in tech, which could suggest the same level of success if bootcamps branch out to include other disciplines.