On Tuesday, The Starter League — a pioneer of the coding bootcamp education model that has since spread its roots nationwide — announced it will merge with New York-based Fullstack Academy, who will be heading to Chicago to set up shop out of 1871.
As part of the acquisition, Starter League co-founder and CEO Neal Sales-Griffin will join Fullstack, at least initially, to help the coding school transition to Chicago, while his co-cofounder Mike McGee will take time to “catch his breath,” Sales-Griffin said.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“We realized there were a lot of opportunities to partner up and work together,” said Sales-Griffin. “I was inspired by the work they’ve been doing with the Summer of Code along with the core programs that they’ve been building over the past couple years.”
Fullstack’s Summer of Code initiative is an immersive software engineering course designed for college students to help arm them with the technical skills they need to find a job post-graduation. Fullstack CTO and co-founder Nimit Maru said the program has seen success for two years running in New York, and the school’s launch in Chicago will also open up the program for area college students (in addition to other courses).
The Starter League is something of an institution in Chicago tech — having built the coding school model as we know it and having helped to popularize Ruby on Rails. Its alumni have gone on to found some of Chicago’s most exciting up-and-coming tech companies, including WeDeliver, BallotReady, Sokowatch and Know Your Company.
“It’s been magical,” Sales-Griffin said. “It’s been incredible to have been a part of and to help people get involved in Chicago tech and beyond.”
Fullstack, too, has seen its fair share of successes, with graduates moving on to major tech companies like Google, Dropbox, and Venmo.
According to the companies, the coding bootcamp model has exploded in popularity over the past five years. In 2015, about 16,000 students graduated from coding schools — marking a 138 percent increase since 2014 (when about 6,700 students graduated).
In addition, coding schools are projected to have made about $172 million in tuition revenue in 2015 alone. With more than 100 full-time coding schools in the space, consolidation comes as no surprise — especially as modern workers realize just how technology fully is impacting the workforce and their lives at large.
“We’re at this crux moment in society where everyone is aware that technology is infiltrating every industry and part of our lives,” Fullstack CEO and founder David Yang said. “To give people the power to participate in that new economy is both important to us personally but it will be important to the United States and the world economically as well.”
Applications for Fullstack's first full-time software engineering immersive in Chicago are now open, with on-premise classes beginning in June.
Image via Fullstack.