News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

NOCHE

Akron Children's Hospital

The Holden Arboretum


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Science and Technology


In Akron, a coding bootcamp draws students looking for a career re-start
Camps fill gaps left by over-burdened university programs
Story by BILL RICE


 
Students Daniel Sass and Lauren George work on their coding skills at the Software Craftsmanship Guild In Akron.
Courtesy of Bill Rice
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:
In Ohio and around the country, openings for software programmers are growing at a far faster rate than most occupations, and the Labor Department says that is likely to continue for years to come. A profound shortage already exists for workers with the necessary computer skills to fill them and tech entrepreneurs see an opportunity in this. StateImpact Ohio's Bill Rice has more.
LISTEN: RICE ON CODING

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (4:34)


As technology touches more and more aspects of life, and all manner of companies race to design new apps, mobile platforms, anti-hacking systems and the like, one outcome is certain: more tech jobs.

Openings for software developers are growing at a far faster rate than most occupations, and the Labor Department says that is likely to continue for years to come. Tech entrepreneurs see an opportunity in this.

What if you did not need to spend four years in college studying computer science to get a job as a software developer?  What if you could learn what you need to know to write code in just three months? That’s the idea behind so-called “coding boot camps” that are springing up around the country.

A career reboot
At the Software Craftsmanship Guild In Akron, a half-dozen students are busy learning to build a web application. The classroom is bare bones - just tables, chairs and computers. Rebecca Pollard is working out a new algorithm with her project partner.

“This is something I’d wanted to do for some time,” Pollard explains. “So I researched my options and landed here at the Software Craftsmanship guild.”  

Pollard, who is 47, came here from Buffalo to take this 12-week course in computer coding. She is a former high school teacher who decided itSoftware Craftsmanship Guild CEO Eric Wise talks to student at the Software Craftsmanship Guild. was time for a career change.  

It has been a grueling 12 weeks, she says: class every day from 9 to 4, then another 5 or 6 hours of project work each night. With just a week to go before completing the course and earning her certificate, she says it was well worth the $10,000 tuition plus room and board. She has already got a job lined up.  

“I have a job at Foundation Software in Strongsville, Ohio, and I am really looking forward to working with them, Pollard says. "It’s a great company.”

Software Craftsmanship Guild has been up and running for about a year. It is a private company, and similar boot camps have been opening around the country at a rapid clip.  

“The coding boot camp space is sort of exploding right now. They started off in San Francisco…” explains Eric Wise, founder and CEO of “the Guild,” as he often refers to it.

“A lot of these east coast, Silicon Valley, west coast kind of things, they’re teaching a language called Ruby, which is a pretty hot language for startups,” Wise says. “We went the other way. We teach C-Sharp and Java, which are more established traditional enterprise languages.”

And they are the ones most used across the business community.

“If you go out and do your research on the number of jobs available, the Fortune 500 companies and stuff are all running Java.”

Wise says the idea to launch his own boot camp came to him when he was a software development manager at the Hartville Group insurance company in Canton.

Software development professionals were in short supply, and college graduates were not coming out of school with the skills he needed. In a fit of frustration, he decided to train a couple of people himself to write code. He picked them out of the company’s call center. And it worked even though they did not have formal training in computer technology.  

Most of the students in Wise’s course are in their twenties and have college degrees, just not in high demand fields.

Lauren George earned her degree in history at the University of Virginia.

“I knew I didn’t want to go into teaching or research,” she says. “And if you have a history degree, there’s really nothing out there for you.”

Daniel Sass came out of the University of Akron with a degree in economics, philosophy and political science. It made for a very interesting four years of study, he says. But he just could not market it.

“So I wound up being directionless and not knowing what to do next,” Sass says.

Universities struggle with software demand
With all of the jobs in software development, why aren’t universities turning out more graduates ready to take them? We put that question to Rajiv Ramnath who teaches computer science at Ohio State.

Students learn to code in languages that should prepare them for entry-level software jobs.“We really have a capacity issue” Ramnath explains. “Our classes are full and have been for the last, oh, twelve years. Our enrollments have constantly been increasing. Our faculty sizes haven’t been growing. Just from that perspective, we are unable to turn out enough.”

Jodi Tims, chair of the Computer Science Department at Baldwin Wallace College, points to another explanation: For many students, learning software languages and coding is a lot harder than they thought.

“We’ll see a student come in the door and say oh, they want to be a software developer," Tims says. "They’ll take the first couple of classes and it’ll start to get really difficult problem-solving wise, and they’ll say ‘You know what? I think I’m going to go over here and do this other aspect of computing instead.’”

There is a lot of weeding out in code boot camps too. The admissions process is usually very selective, and then there are those that drop out mid-stream.

But some people who had never previously planned a career in technology are discovering they have the aptitude and the mettle for it, at least enough to learn the basics for an entry-level job as a software coder.  

A note of caution, though, for those considering making a similar move. Some boot camps have longer and better track records than others, and, as with just about any career advancing endeavor, there are no guarantees. 

(Click image for larger view.)

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook



Stories with Recent Comments

Summit County takes the Akron arena out of the sales tax equation
David should be commended for his efforts to "wake up" the politicians of Summit County and the City of Akron. However, I still don't trust any of them and I a...

Brunswick will turn tornado sirens back on after bad weather
Put the sirens back after the storms, in the mean time just sit and wait for another tornado . That's Brunswick for you lived here 44 years and it has always be...

Oberlin council may rescind its gun ban, but is considering alternatives to keep it in effect
Seems that the only scared, paranoid people are the anti-gun people, really.

Massive pipeline planned to pump Ohio shale products to Texas
This needs stopped. Ohioans pay the price, putting up with pollution, leaks, explosions, and the top one percent profit from exporting fracked product to China.

National Weather Service confirms three tornado touchdowns yesterday
I was driving back from a party and was caught in the middle of a large thunderstorm. The hail and lightning were a whole light closer than usual, is something ...

Another Indians season opens with Chief Wahoo under scrutiny
The picture you have for Robert rocha is not him. He has long hair. No idea who that guy is in that picture

Portman predicts McDonald's confirmation, but says it won't be easy
I sent the following note to Senator Blumenthal after reading commentary from yesterday's hearing: Senator, You certainly have the right to ask Mr. McDonald que...

Seven minutes changed everything, but what changed Ashford Thompson?
He shot the guy four times in the head. I have never been that drunk or mad, and I have been through it. Shoot a guy once is bad, maybe a mistake, shoot a guy f...

First cricket farm in the U.S. opens in Youngstown
I am interested in cricket flour to replace soy flour in a low carbohydrate diet. As soon as you have cricket flour available for the average person, please le...

Copyright © 2014 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University