After the announcements in the past couple weeks by DevBootcamp and Iron Yard that they would be shutting their doors in the next few months, I caught up with Jake Schwartz, CEO and co-founder of General Assembly, one of the world’s leading bootcamps, to ask him what this means for bootcamps more generally and what’s in the cards for General Assembly.
Michael Horn: With the announced closure of a prominent early leader in the bootcamp space in DevBootcamp, as well as the closure of another bootcamp, Iron Yard, many are wondering about the viability of the bootcamp model. As one of my friends in the education space said, is the sub-degree model a viable one? Can it be profitable given the cost of acquisition of students compared to the lifetime value from something short of a degree?
Jake Schwartz: That’s a fair question, but it assumes a degree of similarity across the business models that isn’t there. The truth is that what people tend to refer to as a “bootcamp industry” really involves a massive amount of variability, both in terms of the visions and strategies of different providers. Some players in the space look more like test prep centers; financing models vary; some get the majority of their revenue from coworking spaces. Our model has always involved a broad range of disciplines and modalities way beyond in-person coding classes, and we’re seeing that mix continue to evolve and expand over time.