The former Icebreakers nightclub | Photo courtesy PVA
The former Icebreakers nightclub now site of Code Louisville/Software Guild | Photo courtesy PVA

Coding bootcamps really started making waves a couple years ago, the result of traditional universities not meeting the need for entry-level developers in the workplace, according to The Learning House CEO and president Todd Zipper.

The Learning House, the online education company located in Fourth Street Live, is constantly in a state of product development. “We’re always looking at what programs are needed in the market and getting ahead of those trends.” When it became clear The Learning House needed a coding bootcamp, it was more advantageous for them to acquire the Software Guild than start from scratch.

Shorter bootcamps graduate coders with aptitude but not skills, said Zipper. The Software Guild’s 12-week, full-time program graduates coders who are employable as junior programmers. The program has a 95 percent placement rate in 90 days, and if you’re not placed immediately, you’re eligible to keep taking classes for free.

The Software Guild and The Learning House first partnered when they brought the program to St. Paul, Minn., as an outgrowth of Concordia University. The program offered a certificate, financial aid and credit toward a bachelor’s degree in computer science. Concordia has been a great partner, said Zipper; they started the program in January 2015 and are on their third cohort.

The Learning House acquired The Software Guild in April. Zipper indicated the Mayor’s Office urged the company to announce a Louisville location for the Guild in advance of President Obama’s visit, which they did. They also have a location in Akron, Ohio.

The local bootcamp launched on Sept. 14 with 10 students, seven from Louisville and three out-of-towners — one from as far as Germany. At the Akron location, the ratio is 50/50.

The goal of the Guild is to graduate around 200 students a year. They also are launching an online version of the curriculum with a residency component that will be held here in Louisville. Likely this will start in January or February.

The program, which costs $10,000, has low student-to-teacher ratios. Currently the teachers are Austyn Hill and Jason Gerstorff. The Louisville office, which is collocated with the Code Louisville program, teaches .NET and java. Graduates of the Code Louisville program get a $250 discount.

The next cohort begins on Feb. 15, 2016. The bootcamp is located at the old nightclub at the corner of Floyd and West Market streets.

The Learning House has seen explosive growth. When I interviewed for a position there in 2012, there were around 60 employees. Now there are around 350 employees, including 60 employees in an office in Harrisburg, Pa.



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