December 12, 2016
The Voice for Coding Schools
By Jay Wengrow, CEO of Actualize
A lot has been written about coding schools in recent years, as over one hundred such programs have sprung up since 2012 throughout the US and abroad. The media in particular has been fascinated by this phenomenon, and rightfully so. The notion that it’s possible to attend a vocational school - and not receive a degree or any certification - and gain skills that can lead to a career that is in extremely high demand and can earn a salary that competes with those of doctors and lawyers, should turn many heads indeed.
As I run such a school, I’ve naturally stayed abreast of all the reports, stories, and opinions about this industry that are found in the media and on the web. I’ve seen the entire range of thought on coding schools, from anecdotes of success stories to warnings that the entire industry will soon implode. Obviously, I have a lot of thoughts on the topic myself, but I’ve generally avoided expressing my opinions in a very public forum, since my words will be taken as biased and self-serving. And indeed, I am biased.
However, it struck me that this is a silly reason to avoid discussing coding schools publicly. I realized that I don’t have strong opinions because I happened to randomly open a coding school - but that the whole reason I opened a coding school is because I have strong opinions. I have strong opinions about their potential for success and their ability to make a dramatic impact on people’s lives. I’ve seen firsthand how our graduates’ lives have been changed in a very serious and permanent way. I believe strongly in people’s ability to rise to the challenge and transform themselves into someone they didn’t know they could be. I have unbridled optimism about the future of the industry and those who get involved in it.
I have come to the conclusion that coding schools need a voice. I am not here to defend every school and every practice within every school, and I have indeed witnessed some low and even criminal actions that some of these schools have taken. However, there is no reason for public opinion to be swayed solely by outsiders and the media without the actual schools taking a stand and stating their opinion. It’s simultaneously true that coding schools have done so much good and that they have so much more room to improve - and we as such schools should be active participants in that discussion.
And so - I begin to write. Whenever a significant story breaks about coding schools, I will likely have what to say, and you can tune into this blog to join the critical conversation as we propel the coding school industry forward.
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