Codeup graduated the first class from its new data science program in June.
For six years the accelerated school taught web development and coding. It added a suite of courses on data science and expanded to a new floor to accommodate it. The curriculum additions and size jump — more than doubling — were the biggest in the company’s history and had a number of question marks.
“Nobody else in San Antonio is graduating data scientists yet, so we really had to go charter new waters,” said Jason Straughan, CEO of Codeup.
The University of Texas at San Antonio proposed a School of Data Science as part of its multi-million dollar downtown expansion but hasn’t begun offering courses. University of California, Berkeley, Ohio State, Harvard, Texas A&M and dozens of other universities added the track in the past five years. It reflects the growing demand in a new concentration that used to be the sole purview of statisticians, mathematicians and actuaries.
Both IBM and the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics have predicted more than 25 percent increases through 2020, powered by the inundation of society with massive data sets collected by our phones, their apps, websites and a variety of sensors.
“I have a job I will be starting at the beginning of August,” said Michael Moran, 30, who graduated from Codeup in June.
Further highlighting the demand, within a week 23 percent of Codeup’s first class accepted a job offer from companies like Data Propria, Booz Allen Hamilton and Quickpath. That number grew to nearly 40 percent after two weeks.
Moran, like many Codeup grads, is changing career paths. He went to law school and has practiced civil rights law but didn’t enjoy it. He had considered something more math-oriented now and found Codeup’s 20-week course.
“I thought this was great. I can get in, get out and get a job, Moran said.”
Coding bootcamps have often been criticized over the years for leaving students unprepared for the workforce. Moran acknowledges he won’t know everything when he walks in the door but said it was more about the quick-changing environment of a new field. He said he had the fundamentals down.
“[It’s] not a one and done kind of education,” said Codeup’s Straughan. “Our objective is to build a foundation that industry can have immediate value from having those graduates.”
Codeup bills itself as a career-accelerator rather than a bootcamp and is twice as long as many of the low-cost iterations. Straughan readily acknowledged that Codeup is the most expensive in the country but said the value was there because they build a curriculum that makes graduates marketable and offers a money-back guarantee.
The risk of adding this new track may be paying off for the school, and Straughan said he could see them adding another floor to the campus inside downtown San Antonio’s Vogue building.