At first glance, the idea of a technology training camp sounds pretty nice. It takes you a few months to learn programming or web development or user experience design or whatever, and voila, welcome to your “future-proof” career. Some training camps only charge you once you get this brilliant new six-digit tech job, which they say you will definitely do. They have all sorts of data and figures on placement rates and success stories of graduates who came to Google, Apple or Facebook. You may not look at the fine print too well, though.
Training camps are intensive, immersive programs that aim to give students the skills they need to get a job in a technology field such as software design or data analysis in a short period of time. If much of this promise sounds a little too good to be true, it’s partly because it is. “Learning to program” is not as easy as you think, nor is it a safe path to a lucrative career. Training camps work for some people, but not for everyone, and the caliber of different schools can be a real mileage situation that can vary. Some students end up with thousands of dollars of debt struggling to pay, or get stuck in income-sharing agreements that reduce their paychecks for months and years, paychecks for jobs that are a long way from being ‘ls promised.
“The biggest problem with training camps is that there are only so many of them, they’ve run out of everything and there’s no real quality control, so you don’t know what you’re getting into,” he said. dir Erin Mindell Cannon. the director of training and human development for Paradigm Strategy Inc., who spent more than a decade at Google. “It’s very difficult for someone to sue.”
He had always assumed that technology training camps were making a lot of money; as a journalist, I’m familiar with Twitter’s “learn to code” responses that come every time layoffs arrive. But the reality is much more complicated. The training camps sell a 21st century version of the American dream, one that you can grab with your bootstraps and a tech-savvy Silicon Valley lifestyle in no time.
It’s easy to see why the prospect is appealing. Despite recent problems in the technology sector, it is still an attractive scenario. The traditional paths to technological jobs through higher education are not perfect, especially with the rising student debt. It’s also easy to see why a career in technology is harder to achieve than training camps will make you think. Programming is difficult and time consuming to learn; the best thing you can do in a few months is overcrowding. These mostly for-profit schools often target marginalized people who really can’t afford to fail, and then fail.
“Not everyone wants to be a programmer, not everyone can be a programmer,” said Zed Shaw, a software developer and author of several coding books. But “there is money to sell the dream,” he said. And so do the training camps.
This thriving tech career is harder to come by than advertised
There is no need to look for examples of training camps that misbehave. In 2017, the New York Attorney General reached an agreement with a school that operated without the necessary licenses and made misleading employment and salary claims. Last year, alumni of another coding academy sued, alleging that they were channeled into predatory revenue sharing agreements (ISAs). Earlier this month, the Washington Attorney General sued for a technology sales program, alleging that students were “tricked” into paying thousands of dollars for an alleged “guarantee of getting a job offer of more than 60,000.” dollars (from a technology company of your choice) “. The general manager of this training camp, Precontrat, has filed hundreds of lawsuits against alumni demanding that they repay the student loans in arrears taken out by those secured jobs that they did not get.
The problems with the Lambda School coding training camp, which has since been renamed BloomTech, have been well documented. (Someone I spoke to for this story jokingly called her “Scambda”). He has been accused of inflating his performance metrics and hooking students with deficient ISAs. A former student, Krystyna Ewing, attended Lambda’s UX design program in 2019. Ewing, a veteran who describes himself as an “all-rounder,” hoped they would have more remote opportunities in the program, but dropped out halfway after finding the lack of content (the school suspended the program in 2020). They later did another training camp that got them a job, but they did still on the hook for the Lambda ISA. “I still have to pay them if I find a job,” they said, though Lambda didn’t help them get it.
If you sign up for a training camp, try to research in advance. Schools can increase the number of jobs by hiring a lot of their graduates as teaching assistants, or qualify many questionable jobs as “technology,” among other tactics. It’s a good idea to try to talk to alumni, look for reviews and ratings online, and see if the training camps are associated with companies you’d like to work in (and find out what those partnerships involve).
There are about 100 coding training camps in the United States, which graduate about 25,000 each year and cost an average of about $ 14,000, according to Course Report, which helps pair students with programs. There is a lot of variety in the space, and not all training camps are created equal, nor are they all shady in their tactics. Most training camps are not accredited.
They may work for some people. I spoke with a graduate who did a training camp at the same pace so that she could advance within the progressive organization she works for. I spoke with another graduate who successfully went from technology consulting to software engineering. They both had some advantages: their work helped pay for their training camp; he graduated in computer science.
Chloe Condon, a senior development engineer and former actress who went through a Hackbright training camp in 2016 and is now a mentor, had someone in her life to help her navigate the industry. She says getting a job after the boot camp is a grueling process. That’s why he emphasizes that “it really depends on the individual” to choose a program and achieve success.
But how difficult it can be to get a job after graduation is something that schools are not always open to. Carolyn, whose last name has been hidden to protect her privacy, sought work for a year and a half after attending a 17-week training camp for women and non-binary people. Eventually, her tuition was forgiven, except for the $ 3,000 she paid in advance, but she had great financial success in being out of work for a year. “Given the length of the program, however short it was, it was impossible to even scratch the surface of everything companies expected for the roles they were trying to fill,” he said. It is worth noting that some training camps end up closing because the business model can be difficult to figure out.
The training camp ploy works because many other things don’t
The appeal of a technology training camp is quite understandable. Higher education in the United States is expensive and messy. According to the College Board, a four-year institution’s degree can be between $ 11,000 and $ 38,000 a year. The job market is hard to navigate. Workers are getting some decent power and increases right now, but then there’s inflation. If a recession strikes, none of this will last. Training camps are positioned as a way to hack a manipulated system. It’s a romantic idea.
Ben Kaufman, director of research and research at the Student Borrower Protection Center, says the training camps more broadly reflect the country’s refusal to recognize education as a public good. Instead, it is seen as something that people would have to pay, often enough, to access it. And when you combine it with a landscape of many dead ends, well, here you are.
“We’re not willing to deal with the difficult issues of how to educate and pay for the education of a workforce, and in the absence of that, regardless of whether people really should learn to program, you’ve had people “Well done, well – funded, and well – funded to fill the void and sell people the dream of being a great person in Silicon Valley,” Kaufman said. “We’ve been putting it on a pedestal for so long.”
It’s a tricky situation – tech companies can be elitist and not great at attracting people from different backgrounds. There are no clear answers on how to improve the situation: several people I spoke to for this story suggested that people without computer skills might have to try to learn programming on their own, which is also difficult it is very expensive). ), or see what’s available at a local community university.
Training camps are “overly promising and unfulfilling,” said Ben Sandofsky, an app developer and co-founder of the Halide photography app. He says that technology needs more diversity and people from different backgrounds, is that the bootstraps approach of the training field may not be the best way. Career transitions can be difficult and rare. “It’s usually a way of fooling people with things that are beyond their means,” Sandofsky said.
The people who need to be more careful when deciding whether or not to participate in a training camp are the people who are already disadvantaged, who are the people they often target. “If you can’t afford to lose that money, it’s not worth the risk,” Mindell Cannon said.
What do you do when the road to one of the most attractive fields in the economy is long, winding and full of landmines? Of course, people will look for shortcuts, no matter how imperfect.
We live in a world that constantly tries to deceive and deceive us, where we are always surrounded by big and small scams. It may seem impossible to navigate. Every two weeks, join Emily Stewart to see all the little ways in which our economic systems control and manipulate the average person. Welcome to The Great Strait.
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