Episode 4: Can Coding Bootcamps Help Solve Tech’s Diversity Problem?

Hello, listeners! Welcome back to the Tech Forward podcast. This week, I’m sharing my conversation with Dr. Herman Pryor, Jr., Career Services Manager at Coding Dojo.

Having personally attended Coding Dojo over the summer, I was struck by the diversity within my cohort. Of the 12 students, 6 were women, and 7 (including myself) were students of color. Was this unique to the DC campus, I wondered, or is that level of diversity present on all the Coding Dojo campuses across the country? What is it about the bootcamp model in general — and Coding Dojo in particular — that succeeds in attracting and retaining a diverse student population?

At Coding Dojo, Herman explains, you have diversity at the team and employee level, as well as the student level. In that way, the success of Coding Dojo has been a word-of-mouth phenomenon. When students from diverse cohorts share their bootcamp experience within their communities, it means a wide range of people hear about the supportive environment of Coding Dojo organically.

Coding bootcamps have been popping up all over the country to fill the gap in the increasing demand in tech talent. Over the past few years, however, many have closed their doors, or shut down individual locations. Coding Dojo, on the other hand, has continued to expand — they recently launched a new location in Tulsa, OK. Why has Coding Dojo been able to remain strong and successful as other, similar businesses falter?

According to Herman, “the model is simple. We aim to provide an environment where students become self empowered. We provide a platform for adult learners to see themselves where they want to be in their lives, professionally, from admissions until graduation — and even after. [The Coding Dojo model] supports and empowers the students’ ability and will to be something and someone they thought they probably never could be.”

Herman and I covered a lot more ground in our conversation, including possible barriers to entry, and hurdles that minority students might face along the way. If you’ve been considering a coding bootcamp, Coding Dojo has campuses all over the country, and also offers online and international options. Thanks so much to Herman for sharing his insights, and thank you to all of you out there listening.