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Tech job market remains wide open to programming newcomers

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To improve their career prospects, college graduates from all kinds of backgrounds are completing courses in specialized programming schools. Results have been positive, with course graduates getting swiftly placed into jobs that pay above $100,000 despite the often late career change.

The booming tech sector needs plenty of programmers, which is why the Obama Administration’s TechHire initiative is pointing students to schools like Flatiron School, Hack Reactor, and Galvanize. This year, 16,000 students will graduate from programming trade schools, up almost 10,000 from last year, according to Course Report. Regardless of the surge, students complete a three to six-month program and consistently get a job immediately after graduation.

Galvanize, for example, offers 11 to 24-week courses in full-stack engineering and data science. Most of its students are college grads in their 20s or 30s who are looking to improve their finances and career opportunities. A course can cost up to $24,000, but that’s worth Galvanize’s 98 percent job placement rate which often sends graduates into companies like IBM and American Express.

Financial help is also available; Galvanize offers zero-interest loans, payment plans, and need-based scholarships. But they’re also pickier than some 4-year universities, with a 20 percent acceptance rate and a preference for college graduates.

Interestingly, women are more prevalent in programming trade schools than four-year computer science programs. In college, only 18 percent of computer science graduates are women, but among specialized programming schools the number increases to 35 percent.

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