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California Cracks Down On Coding Bootcamps

The world of hack schools is often unregulated, with many different teaching styles, curricula, and hiring practices across the board.

California is cracking down on its bustling hack school industry. The Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education issued citation letters in January to seven coding schools in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The affected schools include Dev Bootcamp, General Assembly, Hackbright Academy, Hack Reactor, Coding Dojo, App Academy, and Zipfian Academy. Those who do not comply with the bureau could face a $50,000 fine, as reported by VentureBeat.

Such coding bootcamps have popped up in many metropolitan areas across the U.S., frequently charging more than $10,000 for a two- to three-month program designed to help aspiring developers fast-track a career in technology. Often touting high job placement rates and salaries, many of these schools have partnerships in place with hiring companies. Acting like recruiting firms, they charge partner companies upwards of 20% of a candidate's first-year salary if he or she ends up placing there.

A Fast Company feature on hack schools last month found that the field is largely unregulated, with many different teaching styles, curricula, and hiring practices across the board. It is not uncommon, for example, for coding bootcamps to hire alums to lead the classroom.

Update: We had previously reported, based on an Associated Press story, that the aforementioned schools were ordered to stop enrolling new students and refund former students. But several schools have told Fast Company that is not the case and that they are actively working with the BPPE to become compliant with state regulations. We will update with more details when they are available.

[Image: Flickr user Marcie Casas]

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  • The truth is a bit more nuanced than that. Venture beat reported the proper list of coding bootcamps which received cease and desist letters.

    "Hackbright Academy, Hack Reactor, App Academy, Zipfian Academy"

    Dev Bootcamp DID NOT receive a cease and desist, but did receive a letter asking for us to turn in our compliance paperwork, since we had already been working with them on this process.

    This may seem like a trivial detail, but when we tell our students "we didn't receive a cease and desist" and outlets start claiming that we did, it makes for some confusion.

    More importantly, when you look at the quotes from the BPPE spokesperson they clearly admit the language of the letters was harsh, but they are not looking to shut the schools down, just for them to submit their compliance.