Chicago's aspiring developers just got one more bootcamp to choose from

by Andreas Rekdal
March 1, 2016

This morning, , a Seattle-based coding education company, announced it will be opening a new bootcamp in Chicago in time for the fall 2016 semester.

The company, which already operates bootcamps in Los Angeles, San Jose and Seattle, is also launching new campuses in Dallas, TX and Washington, DC. Coding Dojo’s goal is to educate 100,000 programmers over the next five years.

Although founded in 2012, Coding Dojo’s story goes back to 2010 when founder Michael Choi was having a hard time finding developers for Zurple — a real estate tech startup. With searches for qualified engineers taking as long as eight to 10 months, Choi started offering training programs for internal employees who wanted to become developers.

After two years of iteration, Choi arrived at a system that could train full-stack engineers in three different technology stacks.

“Until this day, Coding Dojo is still the only [bootcamp] that can teach people three full stacks, because the problem we’re trying to solve is very different from other bootcamps,” said Coding Dojo CEO Richard Wang. “Coding Dojo started because we had a legitimate engineering problem that we tried to solve.”

In 2013, watching the coding bootcamp movement spread across the country, Coding Dojo’s founders decided to pivot from its current business model and start training engineers full time. In the past year, the bootcamp has seen its revenue and application volume grow threefold and sevenfold, respectively.

Like many bootcamps, Coding Dojo emphasizes learning by doing — over 14 weeks, the typical student will spend 840 hours coding. According to internal statistics, 92 percent of the program’s graduates get a technology-related job within 90 days of graduation, at a starting salary of $85,000 a year. Graduates have gone on to work for companies like Expedia, Microsoft and JPMorgan Chase.

The bootcamp also emphasizes inclusivity.

“We don’t ever kick people out,” said Wang. “We believe that everyone can learn how to code.”

According to Wang, the company decided to expand to Chicago because the city is becoming more and more of an emerging tech hub. Seeing an uptick in Chicagoans applying for bootcamps at other campuses, Coding Dojo decided to meet the students where they were.

The location of its Chicago campus has not been determined, but Wang said proximity to the tech scene will be a priority, as will accessibility to public transit and the availability of parking.

Photo via Coding Dojo.

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