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San Antonio's Codeup now one of few accredited coding boot camps in the country, claims first in Texas

A group of students sitting at two rows of white desks looking at a powerpoint on the whiteboard at one of Codeup's classes.
Ryan Loyd
/
Texas Public Radio
A group of students learning at Codeup.

Codeup, the coding boot camp founded in San Antonio in 2014, whose billboards proliferate throughout the city, became the first of its kind in Texas on Friday to achieve accreditation.

The company now finds itself among only a handful of coding boot camps in the United States with an official accreditation, which sets certain education and training standards and places the company under the oversight of the U.S. Department of Education.

Jason Straughan, Codeup’s CEO and a co-founder, said his team began actively moving toward accreditation in 2020. He welcomed the heightened scrutiny.

“We see this as, again, just another layer of legitimacy, definitely for our graduates and for our students — to help those employer partners understand that they’re dealing with a legitimate school,” he said.

Codeup offers 15-20 week programs to equip its students with the skills necessary to get jobs in cloud computing, data science, and full-stack web development. The company markets itself to individuals transitioning between careers, like military veterans.

The company is accredited by the Middle States Association Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools (MSA-CESS), which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Straughan said there have been a lot of new coding boot camps popping up around the state and country, and that many of them aren’t always what they claim to be.

“For-profit education has a bad reputation for a good reason,” he said. “There’s a lot of people that have spun up boot camp-like schools over the past couple of years, and a lot of them are really substandard in quality.”

Straughan thinks accreditation will set Codeup apart.

“What we wanted out of accreditation was a differentiator to prove to the industry that are doing something quality, that we care about the process and how we do it, and that we wanted to achieve a level of excellence that nobody else in our industry in Texas has achieved,” he said.

Straughan also explained why he thinks most other coding boot camps haven’t achieved accreditation.

“I think that most holding boot camps wouldn't want to pursue accreditation,” Straughan said. “It's an extra layer of difficulty and oversight, and we're already a highly regulated industry. … So why would a lot of our competitors want to invite more oversight and regulation, especially when you think, a lot of people in this industry refuse to publish their outcomes reports?”

Codeup has classrooms in San Antonio and Dallas, including classroom space in “the Castle,” a renovated mall in east Bexar County where the company leases from Rackspace, a cloud computing company.

Rackspace recently announced it will sell the property and move to a north San Antonio location in mid-2023.

Straughan said Codeup is looking for a new space for the classrooms, but the search was still in its early stages.

Texas Public Radio is supported by contributors to the Technology and Entrepreneurship News Fund including The 80/20 Foundation, Digital Defense, Rackspace, The Elmendorf Family Fund, UTSA Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship, SecureLogix, USAA and Giles Design Bureau.

Josh Peck is the Technology & Entrepreneurship Reporter for Texas Public Radio.