By Christina Tynan-Wood, ITworld | IT Management
June 10, 2014, 6:03 AM —
Savannah Kunovsky was working toward a computer science degree when she learned of Hack Reactor, a coding boot camp in San Francisco. She applied, got in, and ended up walking away from the four-year degree program.
At first, she intended to go back to school after sharpening her coding skills. But – a year later – she doesn’t think college will happen any time soon. “It was life changing,” she says of the immersive twelve-week program. It saved her the cost of two more years of college and landed her a well-paying job she loves. “You can earn the cost of college in one year after this program,” she says. But that’s not the only reason she did it. “College was an awesome experience. I grew socially. I figured out how to work hard and find balance in my life. But here? I am constantly stimulated and get to meet people from all backgrounds. College seems stagnant by comparison.” (Disclosure: She works as a software engineer at Hack Reactor.)
Savannah is part of a growing number of computer science students being lured away — sometimes right from high school — from a traditional four-year degree path directly into an IT job. Instead of investing four years and as much as $100K in a college degree, they learn to code at a boot camp or by taking online classes and go directly into lucrative and interesting work. No one’s path is exactly like anyone else’s but an ecosystem has sprung up – especially in the high-tech corridor of the San Francisco Bay Area – where there is so much demand for programmers that it is the actual skills – not a diploma that indicates they have those skills – that gets you in the door.