December 13, 2016
Do Coding Schools Work?
By Jay Wengrow, CEO of Actualize
In this post, I'd like to address a general but fundamental question: Do coding schools work? It’s a very legitimate question. After all, coding schools promise to provide their students with skills that will lead to an exciting career and significant jump in salary after just several months of training - and without any degree or certification. That’s quite a tall order.
Obviously, each coding school touts and features particular graduates who successfully made a significant life change after attending their school. Now, it can’t be that all these schools are lying, so we know that it’s certainly possible for some people to achieve their dreams through coding schools. But is this the case for most people? Or is this some sort of Gold Rush - where a few people get lucky in the beginning by getting shiny new jobs but the same result doesn’t really pan out for the majority of people? And more importantly - what about you? Can you launch a new career by attending a coding school?
Coding school surveyor Course Report found in its most recent Alumni Outcomes & Demographics study that 73% of graduates surveyed report being employed in a full-time job requiring the skills learned at their coding school. Among those, the average salary increase was 64%, or $26,021. It’s worthwhile to note that these grads landed entry level positions in software engineering - and still saw such a significant increase. After a few more years of experience, these same individuals will be earning much, much more.
Okay - but what about the 27% that did not (yet) land a full-time job? How do you know which side of the statistical divide you’re going to land on? Isn’t joining a coding school a risky move?
And this is where I’ll let you in on a little secret: Your ability to land a job as a software dev is in your hands. And not just that - but if you persist and persevere - and never give up - it’s virtually impossible to not land a job. Let me explain.
Let’s play a little betting game: Take a pair of dice, and I’ll give you one chance to roll two sixes. How much money would you put down that you’ll nail it? Probably not a lot, considering that you have a less-than-3% chance in doing so.
But what if I changed one rule - and said that you get to roll the dice as many times as you want until you land two sixes? How much money would you put down that you’ll succeed? If I were you, I’d bet all my net worth and then borrow some more to add to the bet! While each spin is unlikely to turn up the desired result, it’s impossible to not eventually land two sixes.
And so it is with learning to code and landing a developer job. It’s true - just because you have some coding skills doesn’t guarantee that every software company will want to hire you. And each technical interview you take, and each hiring manager you meet, and each networking event you will attend - each of those events will unlikely be the interaction that will lead to your success.
However, you get to roll the dice as many times as you want. There’s no limit to how much you can learn after you graduated from your coding school. There’s no limit to how many interviews you can take. There’s no limit to how many hiring managers you can reach out to. And as long as you don’t ever, ever give up, it’s impossible to not eventually land the two sixes.
Being a student at a coding school isn’t easy. It takes ambition, drive, tenacity, and even a little rebellion - rebellion against the naysayers - and even your own thoughts - that coding isn’t something you can do for a career. But if you have those things, and infinite perseverance, you will achieve the job of your dreams and a successful life.
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