Why Another Bootcamp? September 06, 2016
Hi! Welcome to the Rithm blog. We're a team of passionate educators and developers who have decided to open a web development school in San Francisco.
To the casual observer, this may seem like a strange choice. After all, there are already plenty of options for the aspiring web developer. Do some quick research and you'll find all kinds of programs: 12-week programs, 24-week programs, 36-week programs, and more; full-time programs and part-time programs; online programs and in-person programs. The list goes on, and is particularly long in the Bay Area. So why throw our collective hats in the ring?
Well, from a strictly practical standpoint, we believe there's still room in this space. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, growth in software development jobs is poised to grow by 17% between 2014 and 2024, much faster than average. There's still a demand for qualified developers, even in a tech hub like San Francisco.
But that's not the only reason. It's not even the most important one. We believe there are a few things that set us apart from the other schools out there. So let's get into it!
1. Our classes are in person, small, and with a low student-teacher ratio.
We believe that the most effective learning happens when you're working in a community of people who share the same goals. Community fosters accountability and helps ensure that everyone is making steady progress. Plus, it's just more fun.
In order to accelerate our students' learning even further, we also keep our classes small by design. By keeping both a small class size and a low student-teacher ratio, we can ensure that all students have a tremendous amount of access to our instructional staff. Think about it this way: if students spend most of the day pair-programming, then a 4:1 student-teacher ratio translates to a 2:1 pair-teacher ratio. This means that each pair can work closely with an instructor for 3-4 hours a day on whatever project they're working on. What's more, all of that attention is coming from experienced instructors who have all worked as developers. This sort of individualized, high-quality attention is pretty unique, and provides our students with a tremendous amount of value. This ties into another differentiator...
2. We're not trying to massively scale.
We believe that high-quality educational experiences simply don't scale well. Problems with scaling education aren't always technology problems: oftentimes, they are fundamentally human capital problems. Great educational experiences not only require great materials, but also great teachers and colleagues who can challenge and inspire one another. We firmly believe in the importance of the human side of education, and for that reason we will always maintain small classes, low student-teacher ratios, and deliver the highest educational experience possible.
We don't want to produce as many developers as possible. We want to produce the best developers possible.
3. Our curriculum is informed by years of experience.
We aren't just developers who have decided to give teaching a shot; we have years of experience teaching students and writing curriculum, along with industry experience to boot. We've seen what works and what doesn't, we know how quickly industry trends change, and we're able to quickly iterate on the curriculum so that we can always be aligned to what our hiring partners are looking for. And because we're so small, we can do this without sacrificing the quality of the educational experience.
4. We've got skin in the game when it comes to student success.
Although it may seem like coding schools have been around forever (in the Bay Area especially), ours is still a relatively young industry. As such, it can still seem like a risky financial proposition for potential students. While certainly less expensive than a college degree, deciding to attend a coding school is a major life decision. And in addition to the cost of the program, there's also the opportunity cost of not working while in the program to consider.
Because of this, we don't pro-rate our refunds if this isn't the right fit. Minus a student's $3,000 deposit, we offer a full refund within the first six weeks of the program if it isn't working out. We call this our Separate Ways Clause, and we developed it to show that we're serious about putting student success first.
We'll be sharing more about ourselves in the coming weeks. But hopefully this brief intro gives you a good understanding of where we're coming from and what we're all about. We're excited to continue sharing our vision with you in the coming months, and can't wait for you to meet our future developers!
Written by Matt