This week, the Wall Street Journal published an article, “A New Kind of Jobs Program for Middle America,” discussing how code schools are quickly teaching the software development skills employers across the U.S. desperately need.
The article suggests that change is “coming for the ecosystem of employers, educational institutions and job-seekers who confront the increasingly software-driven nature of work,” and that “for code schools to have a meaningful impact on the overall labor market, they will have to continue their rapid pace of expansion.” While change is certainly coming for the American workforce – and indeed may already be here – it’s not just the number of code schools that will need to expand to make an impact on the market.
In most cases, in-person code boot camps immerse individual students who have little to no background in computer science in the programming language of their choice. The goal of these in-person immersive courses, like those offered at The Iron Yard, is to prepare graduates to join a company in entry-level software development positions. And that is a worthy goal; there is absolutely a need to provide training to individuals who want to change careers and join the booming tech industry.
But in order to equip enough people with coding skills to meet employer demand, individuals pursuing their own coding education are only half of the equation. For code schools to have the meaningful labor market impact the Wall Street Journal article describes, they also need to take training programs directly to employers and their current employees. Through a holistic approach that includes onboarding new developers, reskilling current employees to become developers and upskilling valuable senior-level talent with new technologies, companies across the U.S. have the opportunity to solve their own talent needs.
The proof is really in the pudding here. The best evidence of the need for a corporate training model is that enterprise companies, government agencies and small businesses across the U.S. are already requesting and paying for their employees to go through our 12-week immersive course or asking us to customize a course specific to their needs. The time and effort we have put into refining our curriculum to meet the needs of employers has truly put us in the shoes of businesses that need to hire tech talent fast. So much so that they’re now hiring us to train their employees directly.
Sixty five percent of CIOs believe a lack of talent will prevent their organization from keeping up with the pace of change. Combine that concern with data that shows it can cost a company more than $20,000 and eight weeks to recruit and hire a single developer, and companies of all sizes can find themselves in a tough situation if they can’t retain their current employees.
So why not kill two birds with one stone? Retain employees by training employees with the exact tech skills your company needs.
Corporate training programs are a critical piece of the puzzle to prepare the workforce with 21st century skills. They help new employees be efficient and effective on day one; arm non-technical employees with valuable institutional knowledge; enable employees to learn the technical skills they need for new positions; and allow experienced developers to learn new, modern skills.
For example, we worked with a large federal government agency to train more than 70 employees across three cohorts with modern Full-Stack development skills. For a Fortune 100 company, we helped members of their IT team reskill and onboard as Front-End Engineers through our traditional 12-week program. We’ve even worked with some of the fastest-growing private companies to help employees reskill and learn Back-End Engineering.
With the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting that by 2020 there will be 1.4 million computer-science-related jobs available, yet only 60,000 computer science majors graduating each year, the need to train more tech talent is huge. For code schools to make a real impact on that figure, we must approach tech education from both an individual and employer perspective.