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By Sarah June Fischer November 4, 2015

The Results Behind the Rise in Code Schools

Code schools are a growing phenomenon across the U.S. More career switchers, hobbyist coders, and even seasoned devs with outdated skill sets are opting to spend $10k-$15k and two to four months in an intensive program rather than enroll in a Computer Science program or try to learn on their own.

The “learn to code” movement has moved online resources from being too few to almost too many, with trial and error being the best way to discover which online resources have current industry information and go beyond basic language syntax, yet are easy to follow by intermediate coders with no industry experience to build on.

The below graphic from Viking Code School1 shows exactly why learning to code is so hard:

Why learning to code is hard

The middle section is where online resources waver and real in-person help is required, either by a mentor or by attending a specialized training school.

So how is the code school industry doing overall in training much-needed developers for our increasingly tech-focused world?

Check out the top data from Course Report’s 2015 study surveying graduation rates, demographics, and more.2

1. Average Salary Increase

The average salary increase for code school grads was a whopping 38%, or $18,000! Plus, female graduates made an average of $10k more than male graduates. The average salary for grads jumped to over $67k, compared to the $49k average salary that students were making before attending a code school. (Code Fellows grads make an average of $71k in their first job after graduating.) Computer Science holds the top spot in Forbes’ 2015 list of college majors with the highest starting salaries at $66.7k3, but the cost of tuition alone for a four-year computer science program can be anywhere from $28k to $140k.4

2. Typical Student

The average code school student is 31 years old with almost eight years of previous work experience (although not in the tech field). Most students also have at least a bachelor’s degree.

3. Demographic Breakdown

Code schools are improving the gender imbalance in the tech scene, with women making up 36% of grads, compared to 18.2% of female graduates in undergraduate computer science programs.5 The demographic makeup of each program is similar, with a higher percentage of Asian (14%), American Indian (1%), and Hispanic (20%) minorities attending Code Schools, but more African American students (10.5%) attending Computer Science programs at universities and colleges. Approximately 60% of students in both programs are caucasian.

4. Highest Salaries and Most Popular Programs

Python graduates had the highest average salary after graduating from a code school. However, programs teaching Python make up only 9% of programs offered6, with Ruby being the most common language taught (35%) and JavaScript coming in second (21%).

5. Speed of Placement

An overwhelming 89% of code school graduates across the U.S. were hired within four months of graduating, with almost two thirds of graduates landing job offers within the first 60 days. This is due in part to code schools’ focus on hands-on, real-world learning (often missing in Computer Science programs7).

These placement stats and starting salaries (plus shorter time commitment, lower price point, and growing industry demand for software developers) explain why people are moving towards code schools to advance their careers instead of enrolling in computer science programs or attempting to learn advanced topics on their own.

Thinking about enrolling in a course or want to learn more about what you can expect during and after graduating from a code school? Get in touch »


  1. Why Learning to Code is So Damn Hard — Viking Code School, Feb. 4, 2015
  2. 2015 Course Report Alumni Outcomes & Demographics Study — Course Report, 2015
  3. The College Majors With The Highest Starting Salaries — Forbes, July 2, 2015
  4. How much does a computer science school cost? — U.S. College Search, N/A
  5. Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering — National Science Foundation, 2015
  6. Course Report 2015 Bootcamp Market Size Study - Course Report, 2015
  7. Can coding bootcamps replace a computer science degree? – CIO, Oct. 29, 2015