The 2019 Guide to How Free Online Bootcamps Work
By: Ashley Artrip
Free online bootcamps can be an invaluable resource for job training, skills building, and networking. Additionally, because they’re conducted remotely they provide flexibility and access for people who don’t live in densely populated urban areas, such as San Francisco or New York City.
Many recent graduates and non-traditional applicants end up considering free online bootcamps as a fastrack to landing a salaried job at a tech company or a startup. In fact, these days even companies as established as Goldman Sachs and Amex have partnered with training bootcamps for access to vetted and trained job candidates. Different bootcamps focus on different job areas, so that companies have access to top talent in every area of business: some bootcamps offer training for aspiring salespeople, while others focus on aspiring marketers or engineers. If you’re looking for a proven path to breaking into the tech or startup industry, applying to tuition-free online bootcamps can be one of the most sure-fire ways of accelerating your career.
Why Companies And Candidates Alike Started Turning To Bootcamps
In the late 2000’s two phenomena occurred that prompted the launch of the first ever coding bootcamp. The first, was the app explosion and Silicon Valley startup boom. The second, was a talent shortage due to a lack of computer science programs and early coding education. These two elements: increased demand from Silicon Valley and a dearth of talent pipeline programs led to the rise of the bootcamp.
Code Academy was the first company to solve this issue. It launched in 2011 and offered free online coding courses. Soon after, a slew of coding bootcamps popped up, some online and some in-person, with different levels of rigor and various tuition models. Because coding is a technical skill — where knowing how to do something matters more than where you learned to do it — companies eagerly hired coding bootcamp graduates. Startups and legacy corporations alike began to compete for the talent that these programs produced: today, companies including LinkedIn, Google, and The New York Times have all hired bootcamp-trained candidates.
Bootcamp Mania: How an Oversaturated Coding Bootcamp Market Shifted the Need to Human-Centric Roles
There are now over 95 in-person bootcamp providers and 13 online bootcamp providers. Due to this wealth of training opportunity for technical bootcamps, the talent shortage has been largely remedied for coding and engineering positions but has led companies to identify other skills gaps in human-centered roles like sales and customer success.
This has created a new need in the industry: top talent for customer-facing roles. For instance, in the sales industry there are currently over 17,526 Business Development jobs in California alone! This demand has created heightened competition for top talent, particularly since until a few years ago, there were no training programs for people-driven roles. Because of this high demand and shortage of talent, companies are now placing a premium on customer-centric roles: the average starting bonus for an entry-level BDR job is $20,000, while experienced Business Development Managers make $148,000 in base salary.
Enter: programs such as SV Academy that partner with companies to give them access to fully trained sales talent. Today, training programs for sales, coding, and marketing are well-respected by many of the biggest companies in the U.S. The bootcamp model has diversified and changed in scope, but still has the same essential mission: to equip people of all backgrounds with the 21st-century skills that are necessary for a high-growth career.
The Three Most Common Online Bootcamp Business Models
In 2017, tuition for training bootcamps ranged from free to $21,000 for a single course, with an average tuition of $11,874. This massive variation in cost is due to the fact that online bootcamps typically follow one of three models:
- Employer Sponsored (Free for students)
In an employer-sponsored model, hiring companies will pay the bootcamp for access to the talent that it produces. This allows the bootcamp to offer training and education tuition-free for students, which also enables the bootcamp to access more diverse talent. Employer-sponsored tuitions are generally considered to be the holy grail of training program models — however, they are quite rare and typically have very low admissions rates.
Employer-sponsored bootcamps can be online or in-person. SV Academy is an example of an employer-sponsored model that offers a 12-week free online fellowship for sales training. Others, require students to come in-person.
- Income Share (Tuition-free but students pay a portion of their salary)
Many of the most well-known coding academies such as App Academy, follow an income share model. In this model, students pay no tuition until they begin receiving income from their first job. Then, they give a percentage or a flat rate back to the training academy. Most bootcamps that follow this model only start the income share after the graduate has earned above a certain base salary.
- Tuition-based (Students pay per course or per program)
This model is fairly self explanatory. As in a traditional higher education model, students pay for courses or for a full program upfront. If you opt for this model, make sure that the program has impressive employment outcomes, and that the program gives you access to mentors and potential employers.
The Next Step To Choosing A Route For Meeting Your Career Goals
Now you know how free online bootcamps are able to provide excellent education with a guaranteed job at no cost to you. The next step is picking a program that aligns with your career goals and current needs. Whether you’re interested in pursuing an engineering position and choose to apply to App Academy, or decide to pursue a career in sales and apply to SV Academy, you’ll end up with a battery of new skills that are directly applicable to the workplace.
Elaina Ransford contributed to this article