Thoughts on Software Programming Schools for Non-Developers

Yesterday TechCrunch had a good piece on Galvanize, a new startup village in Denver. Galvanize sounds like a great place with co-working space, event rooms, private offices, restaurant, and even gSchool — a six-month intensive program to teach software programming to non-developers. We have a serious shortage of software engineers in the United States. Atlanta alone has four open positions for every one developer actively looking. How feasible is a software programming school for non-developers?

Here are a few thoughts on software programming schools for non-developers:

  • Most of the top programmers I’ve worked with are the ones that have loved it from an early age and do it on their own time — how proficient will a post-college professional first picking up programming get in 3-6 months?
  • Accenture, and other technical consulting firms, put recent, non-technical college grads through intense six week programs to teach them programming and then promptly bill them out at $150/hr, so I’m confident it works on some level
  • High unemployment generically is a positive for schools like this working out since there are so many people that need to be retrained, with software programming being very desirable and lucrative
  • College degrees like finance, accounting, law and others are well suited for potential software developers due to the emphasis on logic and following rules
  • Night programs seem more desirable than full-time classes but if the person was motivated they’d already have learned on their own through the teach yourself books and sites, or they’d go to the local community college, both of which are cheaper than $20k for six months at gSchool
  • One angle could be programs to get existing software engineers working in large, non-entrepreneurial companies, exposed to startup life, and excited about working in that environment, without leaving their day job

Knowing a few people that have gone through the Accenture program that trains non-technical people to write code makes me believe that these software programming schools will work. Perhaps they need the prestige and guaranteed high salaries Accenture provides to make them successful. I hope to see more of them emerge and that they are successful.

What else? What are your thoughts on software programming schools for non-developers?

2 thoughts on “Thoughts on Software Programming Schools for Non-Developers

  1. I have a Business/Design/Finance background and I went to Code Academy (Now StarterLeague.com) in the Spring’12. It was 3 months and I loved it. I went on from there and studied on my own for another 3 months before getting a job offer as a developer.

    I’m currently of the opinion that it takes a minimum 1,000 hours coding and learning about coding to get to an apprentice/Jr. level, which pays in the $45 – 55k range.

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