After training some 3,000 students in software coding since opening its doors in 2012, Dev Bootcamp is shutting down by the end of 2017 after failing to find a viable business model to sustain its operations.
The company, which started in San Francisco and grew to offer training in five other U.S. cities, announced its closure in a July 12 post on its Facebook page. The school's final class began on July 17 and will graduate on December 2017, the company said.
"We are fully committed to providing our final [class] with the same comprehensive, high-quality teaching and career support they expected when signing up for Dev Bootcamp (DBC)," the post states. "Winding down DBC campus operations has been a heartbreaking decision."
Tarlin Ray, the president of Dev Bootcamp, told ITPro via email that the financial problems for the company have plagued it since it was started with no external investment support in 2012. That situation didn't completely reverse itself even after it was bought in 2014 by educational test prep company, Kaplan Inc.
"Dev Bootcamp was never a profitable company," wrote Ray. "Kaplan made a huge investment in us by acquiring an unprofitable business," which allowed the school "to focus on teaching our students for as long as we did and experiment with different delivery models as well as products. Kaplan's investment bought us time."
Ultimately, though, that wasn't enough to keep the business moving forward, he wrote.
"What we couldn't reconcile with a viable model were our dual priorities of quality AND access," wrote Ray. The school didn't want to be staffed by part-time instructors so its costs were higher, and it didn't want to restrict access to students who needed financial help so it continued to find ways "to support broader groups of diverse people who otherwise might not have the opportunity to find a meaningful tech career."
The school could have saved money by scaling back the number of self-funded and community partner scholarships it offered, raised tuition and shut down some of its class locations, but all those options would have "compromised on our values for the sake of revenue," wrote Ray.
DBC's program, which cost about $13,000 per student, included a combination of a nine-week part-time online course, followed by nine weeks of full-time onsite training at one of its six campuses in San Francisco, New York City, Chicago, Seattle, San Diego and Austin, Texas. About 285 students are presently enrolled in last nine-week online program. DBC has about 175 staff members, including full-time instructors and career developers.
"It is important to note that Dev Bootcamp is not winding down because of the quality of our program, in fact the opposite, we decided not to diminish the quality of our program in favor of a sustainable business model," Ray told ITPro. "Our alumni community and employer partners understand that and remain proud of the education our current students and graduates received."
In a statement emailed to students, the school said it will end its campus operations on Dec. 8. Students will continue to be able to receive career support services for at least six months after their graduation, according to the school.