Enter the Charlatans: Job-Ready Claims From Coding Classes That Warrant Deep Skepticism

Let’s start with our bona fides: Bloc was the first online coding “bootcamp”, founded in 2011 while the first Dev Bootcamp cohort was in-session. Grads from that first 8-week DBC cohort went on to found many other in-person coding bootcamps, while Bloc remained focused exclusively on delivering comparable job-ready outcomes online, with a mentor.

So we know (intimately!) how much mentorship and earnest hard work is required for students to become “job-ready” as a junior web developer. Our original courses in Rails and Frontend web dev require at least 480 hours of study and 36 mentor meetings of 30–60 minutes each, and we found that even *those* programs left some graduates short of their goal as a junior web developer.

So we doubled the length, and the resulting Full Stack Web Developer program is the most demanding coding bootcamp in the market. Done full-time, it’s 24 weeks in length, with nearly 1000 hours of mentor-led study and robust career services to prep for the technical recruiting process.

Suffice it to say, the last 4 years and thousands of students give our team at Bloc a large measure of subject matter expertise about job-readiness derived from online coding programs.

So when I see outlandish job-readiness claims from other companies, I feel compelled to comment. For example:

  • A company called Firehose says job-ready requires just 375 hours (15 wks x 25 hrs/wk)
  • Video content provider Treehouse says job-ready requires just 260 hours (52 wks x 5 hrs/wk)
  • Former MOOC Udacity says job-ready requires just 60–120 hours (6–12 mo x 10 hrs/wk)

Each of these challenge our definition of “job-ready”, and are accompanied by an ongoing monthly subscription. This is a disingenuous version of reality constructed for prospective students: a claim that they can achieve their goal with a low cost, low intensity option. And that’s just what they want to hear (because acquiring professional-caliber web dev skills *is* hard).

That’s not the way we roll at Bloc. When the market broadly told us (our students are worldwide) that bootcamp grads needed more robust training, we responded with straight-talk with our students and the most rigorous programs in the industry (which now include our new Software Engineering program, designed to replace a CS degree with a tuition reimbursement guarantee).

Quality and authenticity will act as the wedge that divides the emerging technical training industry: legitimate outcomes on one end of the spectrum, and specious claims on the other. Ask a professional software developer which end of the spectrum *they* believe is more credible.

As they say, those chickens will come home to roost.