New Training Models for the Digital Workforce: Coding Bootcamps

From The Theme

What if we could better understand the benefits and implications of vocational education programs for the high skilled labor force, such as coding bootcamps?

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We set out to explore the processes, outcomes and benefits of a new model for training the digital workforce – coding bootcamps. Our project included interviews with program graduates that explored participants’ reasons for wanting to learn coding, their challenges going through accelerated technical training, how they make sense of their career change, and their experiences job searching as a new type of occupational entrant – “the bootcamp grad”.

We conducted 60 interviews with graduates of two prominent bootcamps in the SF Bay Area. A key insight from this research is that coding bootcamps represent a shift in labor development, normalizing vocational education for a high skilled segment of the workforce – college graduates with professional experience.

We found that participants in bootcamps chose to attend in order to enhance their human capital and employability across jobs and industries. For most bootcamp grads, the job search process involved applying to hundreds of jobs. A new model of apprenticeship programs, developed by companies in collaboration with leading bootcamps, has proven effective in easing new hires into their roles. Over 50% of of our interviewees found programming-related jobs within 6 months of graduation.

Melissa ValentineMelissa Valentine is an Assistant Professor in Management Science and Engineering, and a faculty affiliate of the Center for Work, Technology, and Organization. She conducts multi-method studies of groups and teams in organizations, with a focus on temporary teams. Her studies use longitudinal or multi-case comparisons to identify enabling conditions of fast-paces coordination in temporary teams.

Stephen BarleyStephen Barley is the Richard W. Weiland Professor Emeritus of Management Science and Engineering. Dr. Barley serves on the editorial boards of the Academy of Management Journal, the Academy of Management Annals, Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Information and Organization, Engineering Studies and the Journal of Organizational Ethnography. Dr. Barley was a member of the Board of Senior Scholars of the National Center for the Educational Quality of the Workforce and co-chaired National Research Council and the National Academy of Science’s committee on the changing occupational structure in the United States.

Ece KaynakEce Kaynak is a Ph.D. student in Management Science & Engineering at Stanford University. Ms. Kaynak is interested in the future of work, occupations, and post-bureaucratic modes of organizing. Her dissertation is an ethnography of coding bootcamps in the San Francisco Bay Area. She holds a MSc in Management, Organization, & Governance from the London School of Economics and Political Science; and a BA in Sociology from Bogazici University in Istanbul.