The image of the hacker is changing in the world. This character is no longer an individual with a hoodie and extraordinary logical-mathematical abilities, but who completely lacks social skills. Now a hacker could be a 45-year-old Algerian mother with four children or a 30-year-old plumber who decided to give her life a new direction. More and more people say that anyone can program, at least anyone with enough determination to overcome the learning curve.

Many of the aspiring programmers get stuck in the learning curve. Didactic resources for programming abound on the Internet, but for the novice, these can represent nothing more than a table to hold while navigating in a sea of information that seems to make no sense. With effort, a few will be able to understand HTML, the web’s standard markup language. However, this is not enough to become a web developer, let alone the type of developer that companies require. And more and more companies need well-trained software developers, a trend that will continue as technology advances quickly.

The urgency of finding qualified personnel has forced companies to look for alternatives to train talent while helping enthusiasts cross the learning curve.

Latin America fails in the training of talent.

Currently, Latin America has had difficulty in developing the talent that companies require to survive in the fourth industrial revolution. The gap that exists is more related to the quality of educational programs than to spending on the continent. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) said that the region allocates 5% of its Gross Domestic Product in education, a proportion similar to that of the more developed countries. Despite this, the results are not the same.

The IDB observes the failures since primary education. Latin America spent $ 80 billion on this level of education, but in most countries of the region, there are no rigorous assessments that allow knowing with certainty whether the educational plans are working. And the evaluations that exist do not yield encouraging results: at the elementary level, only 30% of children demonstrate that they have the minimum mathematical skills required for their age. This figure is below the performance shown by nations with similar levels of development, where this percentage reaches 66%.

The IDB has proposed some measures for the region to resolve this gap. However, the proposals would increase education spending by 20% to 60%. These are :

  • Reducing the number of students per teacher from 25 to 20 would improve annual performance by 15%.
  • Increasing class time from four to seven would improve it by 10%
  • Offering incentives to teachers to improve their pedagogical practices could be one of the most economical solutions.

The IDB has made it clear that the region urgently needs to look for alternatives so that its population has the skills that the contemporary world demands. And as an advertising campaign stated: there is talent, you need to support it.

Bootcamps: a fast, and cheap solution to train talents

In the study The disruption of talent: The advent of programming bootcamps and the future of digital skills carried out by the IDB, this Think Tank highlighted the potential of bootcamps to train the digital talent that companies look for in areas with high demand such as programming, web design, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and data science.

Bootcamps are digital training programs that emerged to solve the human capital deficit that currently exists in the area of Information Technology. According to the IDB study, the most important technology companies are willing to work with graduates of these courses that allow a diverse audience to develop the programming skills that companies need.

The bootcamps appeared ten years ago, and since then, they have increased in number and income. In 2018, there were already more than 300 suppliers with revenues exceeding $ 240 million. Most providers are in the United States, but they are currently present worldwide. The organizers of these courses can identify the needs of companies and focus their programs on them, according to trends. They usually offer specialized skills training in a short time and at an affordable price. Admission processes are becoming more rigorous and evaluate both the technical and soft skills of the candidates.

The public sector has also contributed to the development of bootcamps, according to the IDB. The agency mentioned that governments should consider these initiatives as an alternative to the training of talent in the digital area that will benefit most sectors, not just the IT sector.

And this Bootcamp, is it really worth it?

In the United States, employers have received bootcamps very well. According to a survey, 70% of companies that have hired graduates of these programs are satisfied with their performance, while 99% of employees said they would do it again. However, the level of the programs varies.

In recent years, different agencies have emerged to evaluate the quality of bootcamps, being the Switch Up Ranking one of the most popular. Since 2014, this agency has conducted more than 14 thousand reviews of 376 schools. Of the top 50, only two bootcamps are in Latin America: Le Wagon and Ironhack.

Le Wagon is an international intensive bootcamp aimed primarily at entrepreneurs. The program consists of 450 hours spread over nine weeks, where participants prepare their own app. In Latin America, bootcamp offers courses in the cities of Buenos Aires, Mexico, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Belo Horizonte.

Ironhack is a global school that offers part-time and full-time courses in different areas of web development, such as Full-Stack Development, UX / UI, and Data Science. In Latin America, this school is present in Bogotá, Mexico, and Sao Paulo.

The list of Switch Up Ranking shows other bootcamp initiatives in the region. In Buenos Aires, Platform 5 and Digital House offer full-time courses. In Colombia, Holberton School is present in Medellín and Bogotá, while Bogotá Bootcamp provides programs in English and Spanish for developers. One of the pioneers in the region is World Tech Makers, with presence in Guadalajara, Mexico, Bogotá, Medellín, Sao Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro.

The Mexican capital stands out as the Latin American city with the most bootcamps listed in the Switch Up Ranking, with local initiatives such as Muktek, HackSchool or Bedu Tech, the latter also with a presence in Guadalajara.

In April, the IDB recognized two training programs in Latin America: Dev.f and HolaCode.

Founded in 2014, Dev.f is the first Mexican bootcamp. 80% of the people who have participated in their program have found a job, while the remaining 10% created their own business.

HolaCode is a socially committed bootcamp, founded in 2017. This program is aimed at migrants from Central America and Venezuela who have been deported. HolaCode’s students pay for the course after getting a job.

$ sudo bootcamp upgrade wage

The promise of a better salary is one of the keys to the recent success of bootcamps. According to a survey conducted by Switch Up to 1,500 graduates of bootcamps, the average received a salary increase of 46%, while 71% found a full-time job.

In addition to the salary improvement, these courses offer other benefits that make them a more attractive option than a university or technical career, such as:

  • Flexibility, with online, part-time, or evening classes.
  • Mentoring, with experts helping students face-to-face
  • Low cost compared to higher education.
  • Practical experience in tools used in the technology industry.

The best bootcamps even offer job placement that guarantees to find work in high-income vacancies.

For many, these types of guarantees are the only thing they need to be encouraged to give their career a spin.

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