Science & Technology



Tech education that pays, or you don't

Jonathan Takiff, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Science & Technology News

On the other hand, Erin Mahon didn't connect with a job (at digital-marketing agency Brolik) for more than a year after first matriculating in the program. "Honestly, I didn't feel all that satisfied about my abilities after the course sessions. So I shared that with the school administrators, and they were wonderful, said I could retake the whole course, plus separate, specialized evening classes, for no additional charges."

Creative coding is largely a mind-set and self-confidence game, said former NYCDA instructor Jonathan Wexler, now a senior software engineer for Bloomberg Law. "The school puts a lot of emphasis on team building, feedback, and collaboration, the community aspects of development, which are often missing when you take coding courses online at a Cousera, Udacity or Team Treehouse."

The ISA program functions as a great equalizer for potential attendees, said Snepar: An applicant's past achievements, native talent, and potential (judged in pre-entry screenings) rule objectively; credit history is not a factor at all. ISA also functions as a serious marketing differentiator for NYCDA.

Launch Academy set up shop in February, and Trilogy Education Services now runs a 24-week Coding Boot Camp under the auspices of Penn Arts and Sciences. Likewise on the scene are Coded by U and branches of, American Graphics Institute and Horizons Academy.

Industry consolidation is being felt. Dev Bootcamp (backed by test-prep company Kaplan Inc.) and the Iron Yard (backed by the University of Phoenix's parent) are shutting down this year. New York's Flatiron School was recently bought by WeWorks.

Deploying an ISA-style solution for responsible education funding has earned attention at Purdue University and MissionU, a San Francisco-based one-year feeder program for tech industries that takes 15 percent of a grad's salary for three years as long as she makes more than $50,000 annually.


Earlier this year, Indiana Rep. Todd Young and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio proposed (for naught) the "Investing in Student Success Act of 2017" that would have designated an ISA as a "qualified education loan," with payments tax-deductible, like student-loan payments. The latter are now on the chopping block in the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act" passed last week by the House.

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