As Coding Boot Camps Close, the Field Faces a Reality Check

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One of the casualties, Dev Bootcamp, was a pioneer. It started in San Francisco in 2012 and grew to six schools with more than 3,000 graduates. Only three years ago, Kaplan, the biggest supplier of test-preparation courses, bought Dev Bootcamp and pledged bold expansion.

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A class at Dev Bootcamp in San Francisco. Though Dev Bootcamp grew quickly to include several campuses, it is closing at the end of the year.

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Jim Wilson/The New York Times

It is now closing at the end of the year.

Also closing is The Iron Yard, a boot camp that was founded in Greenville, S.C., in 2013 and swiftly spread to 15 campuses, from Las Vegas to Washington, D.C. Its main financial backer is the Apollo Education Group.

Since 2013, the number of boot camp schools in the United States has tripled to more than 90, and the number of graduates will reach nearly 23,000 in 2017, a tenfold jump from 2013, according to Course Report, which tracks the industry.

Tarlin Ray, who became president of Dev Bootcamp in April, said in an email that the school offered “a high-quality program” that helped thousands of people join the high-tech economy. “But we were simply unable to find a sustainable business model,” he wrote.

Iron Yard echoed that theme. In an email, Lelia King, a spokeswoman, said that while students benefited, the company was “ultimately unable to sustain our current business model.”

Boot camp courses, aimed at adults, vary in length and cost. Some can take 26 weeks or more, and tuition can reach $26,000. The average course length is just over 14 weeks, and the average cost is $11,400, according to Course Report.

The successful schools, analysts say, will increasingly be ones that expand their programs to suit the changing needs of employers. Some have already added courses like data science, artificial intelligence, digital marketing and project management. Other steps include tailoring courses for corporations, which need to update the skills of their workers, or develop online courses.

Ryan Craig, a managing director at University Ventures, which invests in education start-ups, including Galvanize, a large boot camp, predicted that the overall market would still grow. But students, he said, would become more concentrated in the schools with the best reputations and job placement rates.

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