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The code school model has proven effective for adult learning in tech.
Over the last five years, code schools have proven to corporations that hire their grads that immersive, bootcamp-style instruction is highly effective at training adult learners in technology skills.
Today, these individuals serve as front-end web, mobile and back-end software developers. Some have progressed to senior positions in IT, including leadership and management roles.
Enterprise learning & development is tapping the code school model.
As code schools have demonstrated success in creating junior to mid-level IT professionals rapidly and effectively in the latest technologies and business-specific contexts, companies are asking for more. Hack Reactor has created and launched a suite of services that go beyond the 12-week developer training offered at our campuses. We’ve added on-boarding, re-skilling and up-skilling programs, each designed around project-based curriculums geared for the precise needs of our clients and taught by industry experts.
What is driving this trend in corporate training?
Every company is becoming a tech company. To foster software as an emerging core competency, companies are using more programming languages, frameworks, databases, servers and platforms than ever before. Each company is configuring its own “technology stack” to best solve the problems facing their customers. To be successful, these companies must have high levels of digital savviness built into their organizational capabilities.
The professional must keep up.
This technology customization, company by company, means there is a huge premium on continuing education in technology learning for the professional. Most companies offer online courses through subscription services like Pluralsight, Udemy or Safari Books Online. These web-based resources allow the learner to pick up what they need when they need it through on-demand self-paced training. But in many cases, this approach does not fully meet the needs of the business, because often the skills practiced in the self-paced modality are too generalized or context neutral.
The bootcamp modality allows for practice similar to real life.
In What Makes A Great Training Organization, Ken Taylor and Doug Harward quote an employee development instructor manager at a Fortune 500 company: “If we don’t get learning successfully into the environment, then nothing else we do matters.” At Hack Reactor, our experience with IT training for Fortune 500 companies has taught us that nothing gets the learning into on-the-job situations better than the bootcamp approach.
Our enterprise clients partner with us to develop tailored curriculums with practice projects that mimic what is actually performed by IT teams in their organization. Through these bootcamps, companies are investing, up front, in a modality that yields higher quality workforce performance capabilities than other delivery methods.
A client example
One recent client came with a request to train 50 employees from various IT teams on a new software version control process. The client learning manager noticed there were countless online learning courses that covered the skills involved, and many of these were free. But none were specific to his company’s application architecture.
He chose to tap into the code school model and partnered with us on a customized upskilling program. During a four-day bootcamp, two groups of 25 experienced IT professionals soaked in the new concepts during morning lectures and practiced those concepts in the afternoon using real examples from their organization. In addition to our seasoned instructors on hand, team managers were also on site to add context and answer questions as they came up.
By taking the time up front to train as an organization on a new corporate process, our client got their teams up to speed all at once and mitigated the risk of added time and expense other approaches might have required.
This new trend for bootcamp-style corporate training in IT might seem counterintuitive. Why take developers and other IT professionals out of production for learning? Why not ask individual learners to use spare time to view the overabundance of bite-sized, on-demand content available (often free)? Our clients have told us: specific corporate tech practices matter most, and for this, the bootcamp environment is most effective: real practice using the actual technologies and projects of the business.
Investing in bootcamp learning up front, whether it’s three days or three months, enhances IT organizational capability in a way that few other short-term, concrete measures can do.