This year hasn’t been the kindest to coding schools. Over the summer, two of them — Dev Bootcamp and The Iron Yard — closed.
But WeWork is still bullish on their potential, apparently. This week, the coworking giant announced its acquisition of the Flatiron School. The Flatiron School, for now, only has one location, in lower Manhattan, but as its web page detailing the acquisition indicates, that will eventually change. Adam Enbar, the cofounder of the Flatiron School, told Technical.ly that future schools will be located within WeWork locations.
WeWork has several locations in Brooklyn. Could the borough, then, become the site of a bootcamp boomlet? The company hasn’t yet announced where future locations will open. But there are indications that the learn-to-code movement is gaining a foothold in Brooklyn. General Assembly has previously announced plans to open a Brooklyn campus. Per Scholas, the nonprofit that provides free tech and IT training to people from underserved communities, opened a location in the Pfizer Building last year.
According to Enbar, WeWork and the Flatiron School’s missions feed into each other. Just as myriad innovations have changed the way people work, so have they changed how people learn. Both companies aim to equip their customers to navigate today’s radically altered world, whether in the realm of work or school.
“How the world is changing has impacted working and learning in very similar ways,” he said. “We think education fundamentally is about one thing: enabling people to pursue a better life.”
— WeWork (@WeWork) October 23, 2017
But skepticism has mounted — in the press, at the very least — as to whether coding bootcamps can maintain the quality of their offerings as they scale to more locations. In the face of such doubt, why is now the time to expand?
There’s a simple answer, Enbar said. Just look at Flatiron’s outcomes report. (We did, earlier this year.) Indeed, the vast majority of students included in the report got jobs within six months of finishing the program, though nearly half of them were not for full-time roles. And even the New York Times cited the Flatiron School as a success story in its report on coding bootcamp closures.
“We’re seeing more demand than ever for our programs,” Enbar said. “There will always be demand for a great education, one that leads to a great career.”
At the same time, he added, some of the Flatiron School’s future programs may not be squarely focused on getting students into programming jobs. The school, for instance, will develop a new line of courses geared toward WeWork members who want to brush up on or enhance their tech skills but aren’t looking to shift careers.
“We like to say we’re outcome-oriented education,” he said. “We’ve defined ‘outcome’ as a job, but that might not be the only type of outcome.”