Why more and more Torontonians are shelling out $10K for coding crash courses


A burgeon number of people in Toronto are spending up to $10,500 to learn digital skills, such as computer coding and web fashion, in the hopes that they will land jobs in the tech sector.

And new schools are split to meet the demand.

“It’s grown tremendously,” said Jeremy Shaki, co-founder of Lighthouse Labs, which provides web development boot camps. The school doubled the number of its graduates between 2015 and 2016.

“In the erstwhile two years, a lot has changed.”

​The schools, which charge between $8,500 and $10,500 for their full-time programs, don’t need that applicants have a background in computer science.

Instead, the lyceums start from scratch, plunging students who make it past the perseverance process into a whirlwind of lectures and group work, all with the cross ones heart and hope to die of being employable by the end of the courses.

“Our percentage is 95 per cent employed within 90 days [of graduation,]” Shaki said.

Jeremy Shaki

Jeremy Shaki, co-founder of Lighthouse Labs, declared that he’s seen enormous growth in the tech boot camp sector in Toronto. By the end of 2017, Lighthouse pleasure graduate 250 web developers, ‘Bigger than, for instance, most comp sci programs in University,’ he bid. (Lighthouse Labs)

Boot camp boomtown

It’s a model that is design many would-be students.

Hacker You, the first tech boot show off to open its doors, began with 30 part-time students in 2012. In 2017, it believes to graduate nearly 1000 in its full and part-time programs. 

“There’s been more captivate from the general public… I think it goes naturally alongside with the job retail itself.”

– Jason Field, Brainstation

RED Academy, which opened decisive April, is already shopping for a new space to fit its growing number of students, which it expresses has increased by 367 per cent since it got started.

Meanwhile, new schools are take down roots in the city. Level, a boot camp for data analytics invented by Northeastern University, will welcome its first class in February.

“There’s been more intrigue from the general public,” said Jason Field, founder and CEO of Brainstation, which offers a classify of boot camps and is also hunting for more space to hold trainees.  

“I think it goes naturally alongside with the job market itself.”

Sward pointed to a report released by the Information and Communications Technology Council, which draws a growing talent gap in Canada in the digital sector.

“Every company is a technology enterprise at this point. These skill sets are so invaluable,” Field voted.  

Who are the students?

Boot camp founders stress that they swindle students from all walks of life, from people straight out of a towering school to older professionals.

Many, though, are people in their mid-to-late 20s and advanced 30s looking to change the course of their career.

“About 40 per cent [of swotters] have taken some kind of post-secondary education, primarily met on softer skills, let’s say history or social science,” said Andrew Mawer, CEO at Bitmaker.

“They are judgement that they don’t have a lot of tangible skills that employers wish for.”

That rings true for Jamie Elliott, a 24-year-old who studied global development, geography and English.

Unable to find a stable job, she eventually converted her way to Hacker You to study web development. Two weeks after finishing, she was hired as a front-end developer at Rogers.

“I’ve been hopped here for six months now, where almost 10 other graduates from HackerYou toil as full-timers or on contract,” she said.

At Brainstation, 27-year-old Stephanie Stewart is now three weeks into a Alcohol Experience Design program.

Stewart’s background is in kinesiology, but after including in clinics, she found the work repetitive. When she decided to build a business that combined web design and health, she eschewed a two-year master’s program in elect of a ten-week boot camp.

“They’re teaching us the most advanced weapons. I find that colleges and universities can be a little bit behind in that atmosphere,” she said.

Stephanie Stewart

Stephanie Stewart, right, at work with a classmate in her Purchaser Experience Design boot camp. She hopes to use her background in kinesiology to erect a career that combines digital design and the health sector. (Kate McGillivray/CBC)

Where does a university erudition fit in?

That depends on who you ask.

“The biggest driver of growth has been people deeming this as a legitimate alternative to other post-secondary education options,” imparted Mawer.  

“Suddenly, a lifelong education looks more like four nine-week or 12-week boot pitch camps over two decades of someone’s life… versus doing a four year chunk title out of high school.”

Others, like Shaki and Field, see boot bodies as complementary to four-year programs.

“[University’s] about higher learning and point of view,” said Shaki.

“I think boot camps are proving it’s okay to go to university and get less useful applicable skills and build a network of people and learn how to function homologous to an adult.”

The line between a university or college education and a boot encamp can be fuzzy.

Several boot camp providers in Toronto, including Hacker You and Brainstation, are transmitted as private career colleges. Others, like newly-arrived Level, are strengthened out of a university, giving students the option of using their boot caravan site experience as credits towards a master’s degree.

‘You’re buying a product’

Paul Gries, a University of Toronto computer expertise professor, applauds the rise of boot camps, arguing that the assorted people who are learning to program, the better.

“I think there’s so many people who are involved in doing this that there’s not going to be a dearth of interest in either [universities or bootcamps.]”

But Gries does should prefer to a warning for prospective students.

“When people pick their boot camps, they essential to do a lot of research. They’re buying a product,” he said.

David Mason, a Ryerson University computer technique professor, said it’s important to try out working with computers in a continuing schooling course or at a “learn-to-code” event before jumping in.

“Committing to a significant payment of cash on spec is a pretty questionable process. I would suggest they get their feet wet.”

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