Texas Cracks Down on Coding Bootcamps
Coding bootcamps, or accelerated computer programming schools, are increasing in number across the nation. They are popular alternatives to brick-and-mortar institutions, especially among millennial students who want to enter computer engineering and related fields of work. However, the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) argues that these schools are poorly regulated and have skirted state oversight for years.
According to reporting from the Dallas Business Journal (DBJ), the commission “has been getting tough on code schools.” TWC has sent letters to at least 10 coding bootcamps in Austin since summer. The letters informed coding bootcamps like Coding Dojo, DevMountain and Austin Coding Academy that they had been operating outside Texas business laws for some years, according to DBJ.
Furthermore, the letters offered guidance for coding bootcamps to legally operate within Texas. First, they need to obtain a Certificate of Approval to comply with Texas Education Code Section 132.051, or receive an exemption from these regulations from TWC. Bootcamps were asked to apply for a Certificate of Approval within 60 days of receiving the letter, otherwise they would incur fees ranging from $1,100 to $3,300, depending on school size. TWC also warned that unlicensed schools are liable to refund tuition costs for any students who file complaints with the agency.
Although coding bootcamps are by no means inexpensive — typically costing $15,000 to $20,000 — the promise of landing a job after completing just 8-12 weeks of classes makes the programs an attractive option for professionals looking to change careers. And, according to a recent survey of more than 1,000 bootcamp graduates, 73 percent are working full-time in jobs that utilize the skills acquired in the bootcamps. This may be why the coding school community in Texas is continuously growing, with approximately 12 bootcamps (37 courses) in Austin and 10 bootcamps (28 courses) in Dallas, according to Course Report.A PDF version of the TWC letters can be viewed here.
Update: Coding Dojo has informed Campus Technology that it received approval from the Texas Workforce Commission on Dec. 22, 2016.