Omaha Code School

Building Talent in the Prairie Dec 5, 2013 — By Sumeet Jain

There is a revolution in education happening. Across the nation, trade schools are producing new software developers really, really fast. Fledgling students pay the $12-18k tuition and begin the programs as complete novices. When they graduate three months later, they are hirable as entry-level developers. Nationwide, their annual salaries average around $90,000.

Over the past 18 months, these “developer bootcamps” have proliferated to every major city in the country - and several beyond. According to BootCamper — an online directory of such schools — there are over a dozen developer bootcamps in San Francisco and New York. Boston and Chicago have a handful each. And recently, offerings have shown up in smaller cities like Denver, Seattle, and even Kansas City.

It’s hard to believe anyone can go from totally unskilled in a field to earning six-figures in just three months. Skeptics and opponents of this model question the integrity of the education being provided as well as the socioeconomic ramifications of rewarding people who can pay $12k+ for a shortcut to elite jobs. Some go so far as to suggest the model is a scam.

But the placement rates and average salaries of schools like Dev Bootcamp (93%, $83k) and Hack Reactor (100%, $110k) suggest this education model is here to stay. And most graduates cite attending the bootcamps as one of the best decisions they ever made:

I was an English Literature major with a French Lit minor... And then I learned about the Flatiron School, and my life changed... I spent 3 months learning. I ended up with more than one job offer at the end of my interview process. [I learned] how to learn the things I don't know. I was given a foundation for moving forward. Victoria Friedman

Hackbright Academy was one of the most difficult and best things I have ever done. I slaved through pair programming, learning a new vocabulary, and building my first application... Within a week of graduating, I was offered a job. Michelle Glauser

Still, even I was skeptical when I accepted a position to teach a Web Development Immersive course at General Assembly in San Francisco this summer. But almost all of my 15 graduates are now working jobs which felt hopelessly out of reach months ago.

Since returning home to Omaha after the course, I’ve been working with Rahul Gupta to create a similar course offering here. We’ve met with leaders in the community to discuss the Prairie’s needs, prepared a relevant and flexible curriculum, and formulated a pedagogical model that integrates real project work with structured lessons. We are founding Omaha Code School, with the following goals in mind:

  1. Create a pool of developers who are trained in the tools and methodologies which are desired by startups.
  2. Build a sustainable network of mentors that can continue to serve the community for many years to come.
  3. Establish a channel through which aspiring entrepreneurs can learn the skills they need to launch their Web startup.

We believe Omaha Code School will be a valuable piece of a larger movement towards building talent and encouraging entrepreneurship in the Silicon Prairie. It will take cooperation and a coordinated effort to fully realize the stored potential here. For Omaha Code School, the next step is rallying support from all corners of the community so our students get access to the best resources from a variety of disciplines.

Class begins February 24, 2014. Application is open now.

Let’s get to work.