A clear and bold header

Momentum Blog

Why We Need Code Schools in This Digital Age More Than Ever

Dec 5, 2019 10:51:30 AM / by Jessica Mitsch

HIRED Summit - Jessica Mitsch - Momentum Blog-1

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

I started writing this post as I traveled home from Austin, Texas after attending the HIR[ED] Summit, the first industry conference for code schools. The conference was an incredible two days filled with thoughtful discussions about the young code school industry - delivery models, regulatory environments, and the impressive student outcomes (ie - jobs!) that the still budding code school industry provides our students. 

Clinton Dreisbach (fellow Momentum co-founder) and I have been working to build the code school industry since the idea of code schools first came to the East Coast. It was a surreal moment to get an invitation to the first ever industry-wide conference. Enough code school programs exist to warrant the need for an industry conference! I thought I’d take a moment to share with you the background on how code schools came to be.

Code schools are a response to the
Digital Revolution’s demands

Code Schools (aka: coding bootcamps) are first and foremost a reaction to job market demands created by the Digital Revolution. In the United States, the tech industry really took off with the Internet and software companies during the dot-com era of the 1990s. The growth has only accelerated year-over-year with the need for software growing in every industry, not just designated tech companies. As a result of this booming growth, the need for skilled technology workers has only continued to increase  at a global level. The World Economic Forum cites that over 55% of current workers will need reskilling in technology by the year 2020. This gap in skills created the white space for the code school industry to be born. 

Prior to helping launch the first code school in Durham, NC, I was in the weeds, understanding the pains of hiring talented technology workers. My first professional job in technology was on the People Team (Human Resources) for Red Hat, a fast-growing publicly traded software company recently acquired by IBM. My first-hand experience working alongside Talent Acquisition professionals in the tech industry opened my eyes to the talent gap that exists in today's digital economy. I learned how companies approached hiring, the hiring processes and candidate evaluations. This knowledge has helped informs our programs at Momentum. My take-away from the experience was simple - the technology industry will need to invest in training and talent development to create the workforce they need for today and the future. 

Code schools have risen as that 21st century solution to the skills-gap issue. Code schools are an answer for those people who are already in or are newly entering the workforce to gain the relevant skills to meet the employer demand created by the Digital Age. Code schools provide relevant, skills-based training with accelerated curriculums that allow people to take only a few months to gain the tools and knowledge to jump in to an  unfilled technology job.

What's happening in higher ed?

Any revolution and change in our global economy creates friction between the ways of the past and the ways of the future. Right now our education system has  one foot in the future and the other in the past. Problems with higher education are surfacing and we, as a collective, have decisions to make about the future. The digital economy has proven that a college degree is not always necessary to secure a job in tech. 

On one hand - a college degree is the current proven ticket to the middle class; although, that fact could be changing. On the flip side of the coin - the leading pioneers of the Digital Revolution, do not have a college degrees. Silicon Valley decided several years ago that a college degree is not an indicator of success in the technology industry. Many industry leaders including companies like Apple, Google, and Netflix made sweeping announcements that they no longer going to require applicants to have a college degree. 

Additionally, we have reached a bubble with the cost of higher education. College tuition has inflated while entry-level salaries are barely rising. As a personal example, I was born in the late 1980s and since the time I was born, college tuition prices have inflated 161% while entry-level professional salaries have grown merely 0-15%. 

With pay not rising for students graduating with college degrees, college debt increasing, and the tech industry moving away from the requirements for a college degree, there is a clear  opportunity for other educational and training models to enter the field. Code schools have been able to step into this space and provide an opportunity for those people looking for alternatives or ways to supplement their degree and career experience. 


Why does Momentum exist? 

At a high-level, two forces left a need of which code schools became the solution. The first, the digital-skills need of the economy and the second, a need for alternative models in higher education. Necessity is the mother of invention and the need for alternative forms of education to meet the needs of the modern economy and digital age created the landscape for code schools.

In the Raleigh-Durham metro area of North Carolina, where Momentum calls home, the talent need exists just as much as it does on a global scale. According to WRAL TechWire, there were over 30,000 open technology jobs in North Carolina as of October of this year (2019). We are here to help people gain the skills to earn those jobs and long-term careers in this ever-growing field. To learn more about code schools and how to find one that's right for you, contact us today to schedule an information session.

Contact Momentum


Topics: Industry Insider

Jessica Mitsch

Written by Jessica Mitsch