The success of IT training camps

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The success of IT training camps

Lately, civilian vocational training centers are at the center of attention. The 12-to-24-week courses train computer programmers and data analysts. Rosy opportunities await those who complete the program. Thanks to rapid digitalization, companies are seeking IT professionals with knowledge in software and data management.

Ninety-eight percent of graduates find a job, and the starting salary is $80,000 to $100,000. The program is a life-changing opportunity for many students, and they don’t envy Ivy League graduates.

The program is not cheap, about 13 million won ($11,000) for a three-month course. However, the guaranteed employment and prospect for high salaries attract even college graduates who already have jobs. They are mostly new to the IT field, but they are making a drastic change. There are 12 IT camps in San Francisco, nine in New York and eight in Seattle. These camps produced 6,700 graduates last year. This year, over 16,000 people will graduate.

How could these new, small institutes offer employment opportunities and high compensation? Last year, I interviewed Flatiron School in New York, one of the tech training institutes. The secret was the customized and streamlined education. Co-founders Adam and Abbey first explored the corporate situation before starting the school. They visited companies and asked them what they wanted the school to teach the students. Based on the answers, curriculums were prepared. Abbey said that the method was competitive, as colleges and universities focus on theory and don’t teach what the market demands.

American companies responded with pragmatism. They didn’t screen applicants based on degrees or experiences and didn’t underestimate those who completed a three-month program. Their only standard was whether the applicants had the necessary IT skills needed at the company.

How about the educational authorities? Adam said that the support of New York City was amazing. The founders did not have the necessary licenses to set up a vocational school. But New York City didn’t interfere with the project and supported them to acquire the licenses.

I asked Adam about recent changes in the past year. One of the major changes was cooperation with the White House. In March, President Obama started the Tech Hire Initiative. As the civilian programs fill in the blanks in the IT employment market, the federal government offered help.

The success of IT training camps is based on precise understanding of supply and demand in the employment market. The workforce that industries need should be trained, whether at universities or vocational schools. The outdated educational system needs to be reinvented, and unnecessary regulations should be lifted. Urging young people to lower expectations is not good employment policy.

The author is New York correspondent of the JoongAng Ilbo.

JoongAng Ilbo, Aug. 18, Page 34


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