It’s back to (coding) school time!


The start of a new school year can be so exciting for any family, and, these days, that excitement isn’t reserved just for kids. Many parents are heading back to school themselves, discovering coding academies and boot camps as a way to shift their careers into high-tech fields.

Is coding school for you? I read an article in the New York Times earlier this year about a waiter with a college degree in math who became a data scientist after three months in coding school. His salary leapt from $20,000 to $100,000 per year! The coursework at these schools – schools that didn’t even exist five years ago — offer an on-ramp to careers in technology. As the Times piece points out, in a time when over 7,000 software engineer jobs are open at any given time, these schools and the people attending them are filling an important void in the landscape.

For women, the picture coming out of these coding schools is yet brighter: as the Times piece cites, only 18% of computer science college grads were women in 2013, but 35% of these specialized coding schools are female. Google has offered free coding classes to women and minorities in the past.. It is a great time for women to be entering technical fields, with resources like Google’s and like these schools available to those who decide to career-shift a while after college. Bloomberg Business profiled an Ivy League graduate, Katy Feng, who, finding that she couldn’t secure a job after college graduation, dove into coding school right away through a Boston-based boot camp. According to the Bloomberg piece, 70% of students flocking to coding schools already have college degrees, pouring nearly $60 million per year into the coding school business. The schools are lucrative, and so are the careers they offer their graduates, who finish these sessions with portfolios that are concrete examples of their work — something attractive to future employers like me.

If you’re interested in coding either out of curiosity or as a career move, I found a list on Quora of such places. The Bay Area has many, and there are even more online. Coding schools are a great way to gain experience to enter this booming knowledge economy. Lifelong learning is an important thing, and it’s not just for grades K-12 or college anymore.

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About Kira Makagon

Kira Makagon is a successful serial entrepreneur and tech industry leader. A graduate of UC Berkeley with both an undergraduate degree in computer science and an MBA, she enjoys sharing her lessons learned from being a veteran “only woman in the room.”

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