It’s no secret that a high-quality education is crucial for making a better life. There is no quicker way to more opportunities and a higher income bracket than being able to perform complex tasks that contribute to the functioning of businesses or institutions. Such tasks can include data science, software engineering, or web development.
There are lots of reasons to be excited by the rise of bootcamps devoted to teaching people just such skills. They represent some badly needed disruption in the education space, they help attendees transition into more productive careers, and they are training an excellent workforce to fill the kinds of jobs that are required for a thriving 21st-century economy.
For the purposes of this article there are two in particular that I would like to highlight. First, from a personal perspective, bootcamps offer attendees the chance to work alongside a diverse array of talented people, learning from them in innumerable ways. You can’t spend three months in one of the most challenging educational environments out there and not absorb valuable lessons from the perspectives and experiences of people different from yourself, not if you’re paying even a little bit of attention.
Second, even when they’re not deliberately discriminatory, traditional educational channels can be hard to access for members of disadvantaged communities. Besides the cost, colleges require an enormous investment of time and energy and are notorious for leaving graduates ill-equipped to handle the realities of the actual job market. This is much less the case with bootcamp programs.
Are There Bootcamp Scholarships for Minorities?
While bootcamps aren’t nearly as expensive as colleges, they’re hardly cheap. Are we not still justified in thinking that bootcamps might be out of reach for poor but talented minority students? What are bootcamps doing to address this?
There are a few things worth saying here. Broadly, there’s a pretty big difference between taking on debt to get a degree like art history and doing so to learn an in-demand skill. While art history is a valuable and illuminating field, it’s not exactly known for its staggering potential to make you lots of money. Whatever debt you acquire pursuing it, therefore, is likely to be with you for some time. This is not so if you instead focusing on machine learning.
What’s more, in the case of Income Share Agreements (ISAs) the entire funding model is different. To attend a bootcamp using ISAs you might not need to go into debt at all because your financial obligation to the program is tied to how much you make when you get a job.
This is all magnificent, but you might still be wondering what kinds of coding bootcamp scholarships are available to minority students. The answer is ‘yes, it really just depends on the program that you’re looking at’. The DigitalCrafts bootcamps in Atlanta and Houston offers special scholarships to minorities and veterans. So does the San Francisco-based Rithm School, which focuses on web development.
If you’re a minority student heck with the program you’re considering, they might have scholarships available for you.
To What Extent Do Bootcamps Promote Ethnic Diversity?
Here again there are a few ways to answer this question. We might start by considering whether there are bootcamp programs targeted specifically at minorities, and it turns out there are. Telegraph Track, now a part of Hack Reactor, is built specifically for members of underrepresented demographics. We Can Code IT is another bootcamp whose mission is to train minorities and women for jobs in technology.
Even bootcamps which aren’t focused on any group in this way are still aware of the issue of diversity. The Galvanize program I attended consistently has classes with sizeable groups of women and minority students. I can’t say whether or not Galvanize is doing anything special to ensure this outcome, but somehow or another they’re winding up with pretty diverse cohorts.
Regardless of who you are or where you come from, bootcamps are a great way to create a better life for yourself.
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