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.

Meaden & Moore

Hennes Paynter Communications


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

Pluto: Another off-season, another Browns quarterback conundrum
The Browns do need a draftable QB for the future. Johnny Manziel needs to go and that leaves Brian Hoyer and Connor Shaw. Free agency doesn't really have any so...

Exploradio: Improving the lives of paralyzed people
God bless you doctor. I hope to be alive the day that humans, like me, can use the results of your search...

Nature and nourishment down by the river at the Metroparks' Merwin's Wharf
I love QUICKBITES! I look forward to it every week. One question: is it possible to include a link to the restaurant or store that you profile? Thanks!

Canton's proposed Timken-McKinley school merger is drawing spirited debate
From a sports opinion Varsity would have a lot more talent to choose from So Im sure varsity sports would improve.Also Timkens name would be much more published...

Canton school board will decide whether to merge high schools
I really hope we can save those jobs, usually we try to cut budgets but the demand is still the same. Then we look bad a year or two after the descion is made. ...

FirstEnergy wants PUCO guarantees on nuclear and coal prices
Would just comment that the plant has admitted the following (as reporting in the Akron Beacon Journal): "The utility has said it may have difficulty keeping t...

Mozzarella's easy when you have a way with curd
Hello, Where can I get such a heater that you have? Does it hold temperature that you set? What brand and model is it? Thank you in advance!! :)

Pluto: A healthy LeBron James is the key for the rocky Cavs
It's time to back our Cleveland professional teams through thick and thin. I've seen management, players and coaches come and go and it hasn't changed a thing. ...

Legal marijuana group offers new details about ballot issue
Americans feel as if they should have the right to decide on their own if and when it is or is not a responsible time to have a drink or smoke a joint. The fac...

The PUCO is assessing what happened in Akron's AT&T outage
not the first time for that steam pipe break... happened in the late 70's when the office was being converted to electronic switch ESS.. was a big mess then but...

Copyright © 2015 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