Dev Bootcamp, Jobs, and Apprenticeships

by Dave Hoover
November 26, 2013
As Dev Bootcamp Chicago's first year winds down, we're tracking our alumni's progress carefully. We've graduated 127 students out into the world during our first 7 months. I say "out into the world" because half of our graduates have launched their software development careers outside of Chicago. They choose places like SendGrid in Boulder, Pivotal Labs in Los Angeles, HD Made in NYC, and Code for America in SF.  For our cohorts who have been graduated for at least 3 months, 86% of our alumni are employed as software developers. At the 5 month mark, we have 100% employment, with overall median time-to-employment at 60 days.
Our Chicago team is happy with these numbers. They validate our our endeavor to help aspiring software developers reach that critical moment in one's life when you switch over from paying to learn, and finally become paid to learn. In 2013, we will help 145 students reach this point. Yet, as someone who has spent a significant amount of time thinking about mastery and apprenticeship, I want more than simply a career launch for our graduates. We try to instill in our students a respect for the craft of software development. Sometimes this scares people away. (We've had 1 person leave each of our 9 cohorts this year). On the other hand, I see signs of our focus on craftsmanship in our students' choices after graduation:
Nine of our alumni have been chosen for apprenticeship programs in Chicago this year!
I'm proud to see more software developer apprenticeship programs popping up in Chicago than anywhere else in the country. We are growing tons of world-class talent right here right now. 8th Light has been a pioneer in this area since 2006, with NCSA, BrightTag, and Spartz Media starting programs more recently. What I love most about this phenonmenon is that our students aren't just settling for these apprenticeships. Some of them are turning down higher offers in order to maximize their learning opportunity.
Dev Bootcamp provides a brief, incredibly intense boost from code-dabbler status up into world-class-beginner status. We will continue teaching our students that they must keep learning rapidly after graduation in order to create ever-more beautiful and meaningful things.

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