It’s not easy to find a high-paying job. Hoping to kickstart that dream career, many people spend tens of thousands of dollars and anywhere from four to 10 years of their lives enrolled in colleges and universities. But perhaps there’s a better way.
An innovative new trade school in San Francisco believes it can give students a life-changing education in just two months. Dev Bootcamp promises to take coding novices and teach them the heralded programming language Ruby on Rails in nine action-packed weeks.
Calling it a “bootcamp” is no misnomer. Founder Shereef Bishay says he only accepts students he thinks can endure the ultra-intense training period.
“The number-one thing we’re looking for is someone who’s a little bit crazy; they’re really willing to work 100-hour weeks, nine weeks in a row and willing to give it 100%,” Bishay tells Mashable.
Not only is it Dev Bootcamp a test of mental endurance, but tuition will run you $12,000. If you’re skeptical about shelling out that kind of cash just to be worked ragged, consider the following: More than 90% of graduates of the first two classes — 60 students total — landed a full-time job paying more than $80,000 per year on average.
Bishay initially founded the school as a favor to a friend who could not land a satisfying career. He encouraged his friend to learn how to code, but the friend could not find an appropriate venue.
“I knew how much demand there was for Ruby on Rails developers,” Bishay says.
Eventually, Bishay agreed to be his friend’s teacher. Because of the collaborative nature of programming, Bishay says he thought it would be a good idea to find other students who wanted to participate. He posted about the class on Hacker News and received nearly 300 replies. He selected 20 students for the program, which started in February.
Bishay initially asked companies to pay for the program because of their need for talented Rails programmers. The companies would not pay but did agree to interview program graduates for job openings. Subsequently, all 20 students in the initial class landed a job shortly after the program ended.
“That’s when I knew I had a business,” Bishay says.
He rented a larger work space, recruited a few more instructors and began the second Dev Bootcamp class in May. Again, a high percentage of graduates landed high-paying positions. In fact, such a large percentage of graduates get hired, graduation day for “Boots” has become known as “Hiring Day.”
As an extra perk, those who get hired earn a $3,000 refund on their tuition.
At the most recent Hiring Day on Dec. 7, about 40 companies showed up to meet the graduating class of 54 students. In a cross between a career fair and a speed dating session, each student talked to each company for exactly five minutes.
Daniel Gamboa, 24, is a member of the most recent graduating class. He has been in contact with four companies strictly as a result of Hiring Day, and has already scheduled two interviews.
Initially choosing the more traditional educational route, Gamboa graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in mechanical engineering.
“Coming out of college, I was slightly disappointed with the quality of education I got from university learning; it’s very inefficient,” Gamboa tells Mashable.
It was a much different story for Gamboa at Dev Bootcamp. Even with very little prior knowledge, after just five days he was able to build a game resembling Battle Ship. For his final project, Gamboa and four others created an app that connects protégés and mentors for for focused advising sessions.
“The fact that we were able to build that just after 10 weeks — something that looks professional, that feels professional, that performs professionally — is a testament to the quality of the education at Dev Bootcamp.”
Bishay plans to expand Dev Bootcamp. In addition to continuing to grow the San Francisco cohort, they plan to open a Chicago office in the spring.
At this point they are accepting less than 20% of applicants, and the applicant pool is growing faster than the school’s ability to accommodate students. Bishay says he not only looks for people who are willing to work long hours, but also those who strike a balance between confidence and humility, not to mention people with an innate love of technology.
If you fit that description, you may have a life-changing education in your future.
Article and photo courtesy of mashable.com