I love to teach. I love to code. It took me decades to realize how satisfying it would be to teach coding. For someone considered smart, I can be slow to make connections sometimes.
So here I am, a Software Engineer, former Professor and NASA Research Fellow, Entrepreneur, combining my skills and passions to launch a code school in South Florida’s burgeoning tech market – a market, which I have witnessed first-hand, is ravenously hungry for software engineers!
For those not in the know, Florida has the #1-ranked startup ecosystem and because of our welcoming climate and business-friendly tax laws, even established tech companies and remote professionals are taking root here. And the pandemic and a brutal northern winter have accelerated this trend.
If you ask an entrepreneur in Florida to list their top struggles, the larger companies will all complain that there isn’t enough tech talent, while SMBs will add that access to funding can be an issue. It’s a bit ironic (don’t you think?) that Florida is home to some of the wealthiest people in the world, yet 75% of Venture Capital is invested in California, New York, and Massachusetts.
So, as my code school continues to grow, meet new milestones, graduate passionate and talented engineers, prove our value in the local economy and market, we continue to meet with potential investors that push us to scale fast by moving online. “Just look at…” and then they name 3 or 4 coding bootcamps that took an investment and are now moving the bulk of their curriculum online.
What they don’t care to listen to is that the online market is saturated. Anyone can learn from Treehouse, Udemy, or YouTube. So why would someone choose to come to Boca Code or one of their local code schools instead?
The answer is that learning to become a software engineer isn’t easy. And while online learning has come far – I’ve taught some wildly-successful online courses – the outcomes for students who learn in-person are better.
Statistics (from CourseReport, among others) highlight that students that attend code schools in-person, especially full-time programs, have far better outcomes in terms of learning, job-placement, and lifetime salary, than those that learn online or learn part-time.
This isn’t to say that you can’t teach yourself to code – our top 3 instructors at Boca Code each took a different path – one is self-taught, one has a CS degree, and the other attended a bootcamp – and together, we can offer better perspective than a staff from a single career path could. (Despite my PhD, I am the self-taught software engineer, FYI.)
Despite our different backgrounds, we all agree that a full-time in-person program at a local bootcamp, one that understands the hard and soft skills needed in the local tech community, will generally offer you the fastest and best route to becoming a successful software engineer.
And I’ve spoken to several employees to online coding bootcamps that agree (but for obvious reasons must remain anonymous)!