You say boot camp, I say bootcamp.
Welcome! I'm Gordon MacRae and this is my bootcamps newsletter. If someone forwarded you this email, you can subscribe by clicking on this handy little button:
In my previous life, I worked as a sports journalist. One time, I was at a press conference with the legendary former Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger.
At the time, rumors circulated Arsenal were about to sell their star striker, Robin van Persie.
A journalist asked Mr. Wenger if the rumors were true, were Arsenal going to sell?
"Robin is currently contracted to Arsenal," Mr. Wenger replied with an arched eyebrow. "I haven't heard these rumors."
The following week, Arsenal sold Robin van Persie to Manchester United.
Earnings calls have a lot of similarities to sports press conferences. On the surface, no one wants to commit anything on record they’ll regret later on. All the interesting stuff happens around the event.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve listened to earnings calls from Stride, 2U, and Chegg.
I’m not an analyst. There are better newsletters that go more in-depth on what these earnings calls mean.
But I have picked out the news these companies shared on their bootcamp businesses. As well as a roundup of all the latest bootcamp news.
2U remains bullish about the state of the bootcamp market going into 2023. While the company's degree business has declined, bootcamp growth was up 18% in 2022. And forecast to become profitable in 2023.
We can see this reflected in the year-over-year growth of their alternative credential vertical (which includes bootcamps), which was $157 million in 2019 and is on track to deliver almost $400 million in 2022.
And buying edX does seem to be decreasing their acquisition costs.
2U reported over 3,000 organic leads were received for their newly launched AI master program with the University of Austin. The most significant number they've received for any program. 2U reported 34% of leads are coming through their edX platform since the acquisition earlier in 2022.
Chegg didn’t talk about Thinkful or their bootcamp business outside of a pilot partnership with Nexford they are running in Africa. And even then, there was no further detail.
As Ronan Keating sang, sometimes you say it best when you say nothing at all. Come for the bootcamp news, stay for the tenuous, late-90s references.
I mentioned this last week but Stride reported a 42% revenue increase among their "career learning" companies in 2022. Stride's "career learning" companies include Tech Elevator and Galvanize/Hack Reactor.
Stride is positive they are seeing a turnaround for the bootcamp sector. And they are banking on a recession being a good time for adult education as people retrain or reskill.
Stride’s bullishness is reflected in the growth from their career learning vertical since 2020.
In the last quarter of 2022, the sector (including MedCerts) bought in $30m for the company. And over $172m in 2022.
Bootcamp news from around the world
→ General Assembly is entering the apprenticeship market in the US, further blurring the lines with providers like Multiverse, OpenClassroom, and others.
I wrote about the different bootcamp models last year and noted how these providers are all starting to look similar. I’ll probably revisit this in a future newsletter.
GA had a first-mover advantage in the bootcamp space in 2012 but is playing catchup on apprenticeships. Their country-wide scale and existing enterprise relationships will be a significant advantage.
The announcement feels significant if only because they’re the first bootcamp to start running apprenticeships.
WorkShift also has a longer Q&A with GA CEO Lisa Lewin.
GA is referring to its apprenticeships as “stayships,” which sounds like an Airbnb competitor rather than an education program.
But who am I to judge? I called this newsletter "The View,” so I’m evidently not great with names.
→ ThinkYoung Coding School is set to expand its Africa programming. In addition to Kenya, ThinkYoung, and Boeing will run coding schools in Rwanda and Ethiopia in spring 2023. Throughout the year, more than 150 African teenagers – 60% of which are girls – will benefit from free-of-charge lessons in computer programming through the ThinkYoung Coding School bootcamps in Africa.
→ Bootcamps in the UK are keeping a close watch on the rollout of the Lifelong Loan Entitlement (LLE). The loan allows people in the UK to access short periods of study throughout their working life. It’s not set to launch until 2025 but Wonkhe’s David Kernohan runs down its content and asks what there is still to do to make LLE a reality.
→ SMU (Southern Methodist University) and edX announced a new partnership to expand SMU's current data science offerings on edX.org. In Spring 2023, SMU plans to launch two new Professional Certificate programs in data science. Additionally, SMU has extended its contract with 2U to support its Online Master of Science in Data Science (MSDS) through 2027.
→ Transcend have a $1k scholarship available for founders building Challenger Universities to go through their next cohort. More details here
→ Layoffs in tech mean some career-changers are looking at climate jobs instead. Bootcamp-like providers have emerged to serve this group. These include MCJ Collective (an acronym for My Climate Journey), which invests in climate startups, produces a podcast, and has a 3,000-person Slack channel. The space includes Climate Draft, Climatebase, Leafr, Terra.do and Work on Climate.
→ Manchester bootcamp Northcoders have acquired Tech Returners for £1.5m. Tech Returners is a bootcamp focused on reskilling adults re-entering the workforce and allows Northcoders to expand the personas they cater to. Northcoders is also targeting expansion to London this year. Not sure what that means for the company’s name, but I guess that’s their issue to solve, not mine.
→ Certifications and bootcamps churn out junior level engineers, when companies are looking for mid- and senior-level engineers. Kate Holderhoff looks at why nobody is hiring junior developers.
→ What do tech layoffs mean for STEM? Some interesting data points include that computer science enrollment has been up 34% since 2017. And some MBA programs are dropping GMAT requirements, potentially to tempt laid-off workers away from bootcamps and towards university.
Until next time.