As demand grows for computer programers in the technology job sector, accelerated programs to teach coding is a booming industry. But these largely unregulated schools are shrouded in controversy, with many questioning if an intensive course prepares people as effectively as obtaining a traditional degree in computer science. Ben Gruber reports.
Welcome to boot camp. These students in South Florida hope that in just 10 weeks they'll know enough about computer coding to get a job. Schools like this are popping up all over the country. It's a boom industry -- but it's also controversial. Many students don't have university degrees, just passion and hopefully aptitude. 24-year-old Walter Latimer is a success story: two years ago he was an arts school drop-out who learned he was HIV positive. SOUNDBITE (English) WALTER LATIMER, FORMER WYNCODE STUDENT, SAYING: "It was definitely the 'All right, time to get your act together moment'" Walter signed up for an intensive coding course at Wyncode, graduated, and is now a product manager at an education company in Silicon Valley. He says technology moves so fast that universities can't keep up, but coding schools can. SOUNDBITE (English) WALTER LATIMER, FORMER WYNCODE STUDENT, SAYING: "There is a really great opportunity for people who maybe don't have that traditional schooling, or get into the top schools, but have it in them to really succeed because it really is more merit based at this point." Coding schools are largely unregulated and quality varies, but Wyncode is one of the few that have pledged to be transparent about student employment rates and staff qualifications. SOUNDBITE (English) JOHANNA MIKKOLA, CO-FOUNDER AND MANAGING DIRECTOR OF WYNCODE ACADEMY, SAYING: "We look for realtime feedback from all of our hiring partners and we ask those 100 partners what is the technology you need these individuals to know and learn." Some employers are still reluctant to hire from coding schools rather than universities - building credibility will be important if these students are to get the jobs they hope for.