Another: CodeBoxx coding bootcamp is launching in Philly this year


CodeBoxx, a coding bootcamp present in Canada and the Tampa Bay area of ​​Florida, plans to expand to Philadelphia later this year. It is the most recent of several technical skills training organizations to announce plans to open a local outpost in recent months.

Native of Quebec, CEO of CodeBoxx Nicolas genest has spent his entire life in technology after his godfather gave him his first computer in 1985. During a decorated career in which he worked in companies like Microsoft and Pfizerhe learned that people are the greatest asset in determining career success.

“You only succeed with high performing, culture-driven technology teams,” he said. Technically. “It doesn’t matter which stack you choose or which cloud you’re hosted in. What matters is whether the people who operate these batteries are dedicated to the business. “

While cruising through Silicon Valley, Genest was put off by the elitism of his tech culture, which led him to create CodeBoxx. He believes greater things are achievable with drivers, baristas and other Uber professionals with a great work ethic in search of new skills than the Ivy League graduates he has encountered frequently in Silicon Valley.

CodeBoxx is expanding to Philadelphia, Genest said, because it believes its tech market is about to boom – what he calls its “Pittsburgh moment” (although it should be noted that recent technological prowess of the city of Western Pennsylvania have been acquired over decades, and the Greater Philly area has a slightly higher share jobs in the computer and information systems industry than Pittsburgh). He watched the constant exodus of tech professionals outside of Silicon Valley and sees Philadelphia as one of the next big tech hot spots.

The program teaches skills such as HTML, JavaScript, Python, Go, Ruby, C #, and .NET. With a 16-week course designed to bring people from all walks of life to tech jobs, Genest sees the potential to retrain Philadelphia residents who are currently in less resilient jobs.

Nicolas Genest. (Courtesy photo)

“I want to turn them into coders,” he said. “These are people left behind. We believe that a career in technology should be based on potential and never on privilege. “

CodeBoxx will require a security deposit of $ 2,000 from participants, and they will only be considered graduates if they are able to land a job after the bootcamp. It is only after participants land their first job that they will have to repay 20% of their freshman salary in what Genest called deferred tuition fees. Participants without a computer to complete their training can borrow them from the bootcamp.

CodeBoxx is supported by the OneDen Coalition, a group of CEOs aiming to create a million careers over 10 years for black Americans. With its help, Genest aims to launch CodeBoxx by the end of 2021 with a cohort of 35 to 40 participants. Genest’s current plan is to guide three cohorts per year, creating 100 bootcamp graduates in the Philadelphia area. And there will be a “hyperlocal” focus on connecting graduates to tech companies in Philly, as opposed to big tech companies based elsewhere, he said.

CodeBoxx will also bring its CodeBoxx companies program, which will connect startups with tech professionals who can help them execute their business plans.

At the beginning of the month, the organization was looking for physical space in the Navy Yard.


In less than two years, Philadelphia’s ever-growing tech community has seen the entry of five bootcamps: General assembly, Launch code, Resilient encoders, Technical elevator and now CodeBoxx. This is in addition to a few already active here. This begs the question: what makes a successful bootcamp?

Not all tech training programs are created equal, and it can be difficult to tell which ones are doing a good job. There is the Advice on the integrity of results reporting which publishes data on graduate employment outcomes and sites based on assessments like Course report which allow future students to read direct comments to judge the quality of a school. But they don’t tell the full story of each participant’s experience, or subsequent success.

Software engineer, organizer of technological meetings and bootcamp graduate Domitrius clark believes that bootcamps must have adequate support for their graduates and a good understanding of the technological labor market. When he was at a bootcamp in 2016, he recalls that there were a handful of bootcamps on the local scene, including Launch the Academy and New York Code + Academy of Design (NYCDA), in which he participated.

Today, none of these exist any more.

“My bootcamp taught me Ruby on Rails,” said the 2019 outspoken RealLIST engineers laureate and current dexperienced developer engineer at Cloudy. “It was and is an outdated job market that just doesn’t exist [here]. This usually works for senior developers, and you’re not really looking to hire new engineers with expertise in this area.

Without regulations or best practices, bootcamps often became opportunities for companies to see how much money they could make from their attendees, Clark said. The measures of bootcamp success can be a bit dubious. When reviewing programs that were closed, he found that many of them reported successful employment for their graduates, but with a caveat: these numbers sometimes included self-employment or teaching assistants (e ) s hired for their own courses.

“There’s always merit in hiring teaching assistants, but at the same time, it doesn’t give them the real job marketing credibility you need,” Clark said. “Philly is still about to trust bootcamps because they don’t have [historically] well done.”

Clark remembers the frustration he felt when he learned that the bootcamp he attended had outcomes designed for New York, where he was based, and not Philadelphia. NYCDA taught him and his peers JavaScript and ReactJS for just two weeks, only to find that medium and large businesses were constantly looking for JavaScript developers.

Clark considers Wilmington Postal Code, which builds its program to reflect the needs of employers, and Resilient Coders, which offers free classes and living allowances to its participants, as examples of good bootcamps. Lately, he’s also more optimistic about the promises bootcamps make to their attendees in Philadelphia, and says the city is now more accepting of bootcamp graduates in the five years since he himself completed a training program. But he still believes that an intentional effort to create diversity and inclusion is still lacking in many bootcamps and businesses in general.

“A bootcamp that speaks to me is one that works in the community,” he said. “Tech Philly loves being the White Knight and having a bunch of White people on their team who spread diversity. But it just doesn’t exist.


Did you attend or work for a coding bootcamp in Philadelphia? Do you have any ideas on what makes a successful program? Send an email to [email protected]

Michael Butler is a 2020-2021 corps member of Report for America, an initiative of the Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism. -30-


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