Success Stories for Tech Bootcamps in Chicago, Illinois

Jan 15, 2024

19 Min Read

1. How did Chicago become a hub for tech bootcamps in the Midwest?

Chicago became a hub for tech bootcamps in the Midwest due to several factors. Here are some reasons:

1. Growing Tech Industry: The City of Chicago has been experiencing a significant growth in its tech industry, with companies like Google and Salesforce expanding their presence in the city. This has created a demand for skilled tech workers, leading to the rise of bootcamps as a way to provide quick and intensive training to meet this demand.

2. Location and Accessibility: Chicago’s central location in the Midwest makes it easily accessible for people from neighboring states to attend bootcamps. Its well-connected transportation system also makes it convenient for individuals to travel to and from the city for training.

3. Collaboration with Universities and Companies: Many universities in and around Chicago, including Northwestern University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and DePaul University have partnered with coding bootcamp organizations to offer joint programs or support initiatives that promote tech education.

4. Supportive Government Initiatives: The state of Illinois has actively encouraged the growth of tech bootcamps by providing funding and resources through various initiatives like the Illinois Innovation Network and the 1871 tech hub.

5. Diverse Population: Chicago is known for its diverse population, which includes a large number of immigrants. This diversity brings together people from varying backgrounds who are interested in learning new skills like coding, creating an ideal environment for bootcamps.

Overall, these factors have contributed to making Chicago a prime location for tech bootcamps in the Midwest, attracting students from all over the country looking for high-quality training programs and job opportunities.

2. What factors have contributed to the success of these bootcamps in Chicago?

1. Evolving demand for tech skills: With the increasing digitization of industries, there is a high demand for skilled professionals in the fields of web development, data science, and user experience design. This demand has led to a rise in bootcamps offering training in these areas.

2. Close ties with industry partners: Many of these bootcamps have strong partnerships with local companies and startups, providing students with access to real-world projects and networking opportunities.

3. Hands-on learning approach: Bootcamps offer a project-based curriculum that focuses on practical skills rather than theoretical concepts. This hands-on approach is appealing to many students as it allows them to quickly acquire relevant skills for their chosen field.

4. Flexible course structures: Most bootcamps offer part-time or self-paced options to cater to the needs of working professionals or individuals with other commitments. This allows students to continue working while gaining new skills.

5. Experienced instructors: Many bootcamps hire experienced industry professionals as instructors, providing students with valuable insight and practical knowledge about current trends and practices.

6. Career services support: Bootcamps often offer career services support such as resume building, mock interviews, and job placement assistance to help students secure job opportunities after completing their program.

7. Affordable alternative to traditional education: Bootcamps typically have shorter programs compared to traditional degree programs, making them a more affordable option for individuals who want to upskill or change career paths without investing years and thousands of dollars into a formal education.

8. Thriving tech ecosystem in Chicago: Chicago has a thriving tech ecosystem with numerous startups and established companies located in the city. This provides ample job opportunities for bootcamp graduates within the local market.

9. Government support: Several Chicago-based bootcamps have received government support through grants and scholarships, making it more accessible for people from diverse backgrounds to attend these programs.

10. Strong alumni networks: Many successful bootcamp alumni stay connected with their schools, providing ongoing support and mentorship for current students. This helps build a strong community and support system for aspiring tech professionals in Chicago.

3. How have the job prospects and employment rates for graduates of tech bootcamps in Chicago compared to traditional college graduates?

There is limited data specifically comparing job prospects and employment rates for graduates of tech bootcamps in Chicago to traditional college graduates. However, according to a survey by Course Report, 80% of bootcamp graduates in the US were employed in a full-time job requiring the skills learned at the bootcamp, with an average salary increase of 49%. This is compared to an overall unemployment rate of 3.9% for college graduates in Illinois as reported by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Additionally, many bootcamps offer job placement support and connections to employers within their network, which may give their graduates an advantage in finding employment.

It is also worth noting that traditional college graduates often have a wider range of career options available to them as they have completed a more comprehensive education and have credentials that are recognized by a broader range of industries. However, bootcamp graduates may have more specialized and in-demand skills that cater specifically to tech roles.

Overall, while there are no definitive comparisons between job prospects and employment rates for these two groups in Chicago, it seems that both traditional college graduates and tech bootcamp graduates have good prospects for finding employment. The choice between the two paths may depend on individual preferences, goals, and financial considerations.

4. Can a program share some success stories of individuals who have graduated from tech bootcamps in Chicago and went on to successful careers in the tech industry?

– Vanesa Garcia, a graduate of Fullstack Academy in Chicago, went on to become a software engineer at Google after completing the program. She credits the hands-on learning experience and career resources provided by the bootcamp for helping her land her dream job.

– Max Johnson attended General Assembly’s web development program in Chicago and now works as a UX designer at design agency, IDEO. He says that the practical skills he learned at the bootcamp gave him an edge in industry interviews and helped him break into the highly competitive tech field.

– Tiffany Chung graduated from Code Platoon’s coding bootcamp for veterans and now works as a software developer at Groupon. She credits the rigorous curriculum and supportive community at the bootcamp for preparing her to transition from military service to a successful career in tech.

– After attending Dev Bootcamp’s immersive coding program in Chicago, Mark Jones landed a job as a front-end web developer at local startup, Sprout Social. He says his portfolio projects from the bootcamp were crucial in demonstrating his skills and helped him stand out during job interviews.

– Jennifer Kim completed Tech Elevator’s coding bootcamp in Chicago and is now working as a software engineer at Allstate Insurance. She believes that without enrolling in the intensive program, she would not have had the necessary skills or connections to secure such a prestigious position.

5. What sets the tech bootcamps in Chicago apart from other cities?

1. Strong presence of top technology companies: Chicago is home to many established and growing tech companies, including Google, Groupon, Motorola Solutions, and Grubhub. This provides a strong ecosystem for bootcamp graduates to land jobs after their training.

2. Diverse industry verticals: In addition to the booming tech industry, Chicago has a diverse range of industries such as finance, healthcare, transportation, and manufacturing. This means that bootcamp graduates have access to a wide range of job opportunities across various sectors.

3. Lower cost of living: Compared to other major tech hubs like San Francisco or New York City, Chicago has a lower cost of living. This makes it an attractive location for both students looking to attend bootcamps and employers looking for affordable talent.

4. Focus on practical skills: Many Chicago-based bootcamps place a strong emphasis on hands-on learning and project-based work. This prepares students with in-demand skills that are immediately applicable in the job market.

5. Supportive community: The tech community in Chicago is known for its inclusivity and supportiveness towards newcomers. There are various meetups, networking events, and mentorship programs available for bootcamp graduates to connect with other professionals in the field and learn from their experience.

6. How do these bootcamps cater to diverse backgrounds and skill levels of their students?

These bootcamps cater to diverse backgrounds and skill levels of their students by offering various programs and courses that cater to different skill levels and backgrounds. Some bootcamps offer beginner-level programs for those with little or no experience in the tech industry, while others offer more advanced courses for those with some background in a specific field. Additionally, many bootcamps offer flexible learning options such as part-time or online courses to accommodate busy schedules and diverse backgrounds.

Bootcamps also often have a diverse teaching staff that can relate to students from different backgrounds and experiences. This allows them to better understand the needs of their students and provide tailored instruction and support.

Moreover, most bootcamps have a strong emphasis on diversity and inclusion in their curriculum and culture. This includes providing resources for underrepresented groups, creating safe spaces for discussion, and promoting diversity in hiring practices.

Some bootcamps also offer scholarship opportunities and partnerships with organizations to make their programs more accessible to students from diverse backgrounds.

Overall, these measures help create a welcoming and inclusive environment for students from all backgrounds, allowing them to learn at their own pace and level while feeling supported throughout their educational journey.

7. Have any of the top companies in Chicago hired graduates from local tech bootcamps?

Yes, top companies in Chicago have hired graduates from local tech bootcamps. Some examples include:

1. Google: Google has hired graduates from bootcamps such as Fullstack Academy and Software Guild.

2. Accenture: Accenture has hired graduates from coding bootcamps like Flatiron School and General Assembly.

3. Groupon: Groupon has hired graduates from coding bootcamps such as Dev Bootcamp and Coding Dojo.

4. IBM: IBM has hired graduates from local tech bootcamps such as Coding Temple and Actualize.

5. Capital One: Capital One has hired graduates from coding bootcamps like Hack Reactor and Metis.

6. Boeing: Boeing has hired graduates from coding bootcamps such as The Tech Academy and LaunchCode.

7. Allstate: Allstate has hired graduates from local tech bootcamps such as Galvanize and Grace Hopper Program at Fullstack Academy.

8. How have partnerships with local companies and organizations impacted the success of these bootcamps?

Partnerships with local companies and organizations have a significant impact on the success of bootcamps in several ways:

1. Providing Industry-Relevant Curriculum: Local companies and organizations are actively involved in providing feedback on what skills are in demand in the job market. This allows bootcamps to design their curriculum accordingly, ensuring that students are learning relevant skills that are in high demand by employers.

2. Guest Lectures and Mentorship Opportunities: Bootcamps often invite professionals from partner companies and organizations to give guest lectures and share real-world insights with students. This not only adds value to the curriculum but also gives students an opportunity to network with potential employers.

3. Job Placement Support: Partnerships with local companies and organizations can provide bootcamp students with internship opportunities, networking events, and job placement support after graduation. This increases the chances of students getting hired by reputable companies in their preferred field.

4. Access to Resources and Tools: Collaborating with local companies and organizations may provide bootcamp students access to tools, resources, and technologies that are not available within the bootcamp’s own infrastructure. This allows for a more comprehensive learning experience, enabling students to work on projects using updated tools and technologies.

5. Enhanced Credibility: Partnering with established companies or organizations adds credibility to the bootcamp program as it reflects industry recognition for the quality of education being provided. This can attract more prospective students who are seeking a reputable program that will help them secure employment upon completion.

6. Ongoing Feedback Loop: Establishing partnerships with local companies and organizations creates an ongoing feedback loop between the industry and the bootcamp. This enables the program to continuously improve its curriculum based on changing industry trends and demands.

In conclusion, partnerships with local companies and organizations play a vital role in enhancing the success of bootcamps through providing relevant curriculum, practical learning opportunities, job placement support, improved resources, enhanced credibility, and ongoing feedback.

9. Are there any specific industries or sectors that have seen a rise in demand for graduates from tech bootcamps in Chicago?

Overall, there has been an increasing demand for graduates from tech bootcamps in Chicago across a variety of industries and sectors. However, some industries that have specifically seen a rise in demand include:

1. Finance and insurance: With the growing trend of financial technology (fintech) and digital disruption in the finance industry, companies are seeking tech-savvy professionals who can help them stay ahead of the curve.

2. Healthcare: Healthcare organizations are increasingly relying on technology to improve patient care, reduce costs, and increase efficiency. Graduates from tech bootcamps with specialized skills in health informatics, data analytics, and web development are highly sought after in this industry.

3. E-commerce: The e-commerce sector has witnessed exponential growth over the past few years, leading to a high demand for tech talent with skills in web development and online marketing.

4. Retail: Similar to e-commerce, retail companies are also embracing technology to enhance customer experience, optimize inventory management, and analyze consumer behavior. This has created a need for graduates with coding skills as well as knowledge of data analytics and machine learning.

5. Education: As schools and universities transition towards virtual learning environments, there is a growing demand for professionals with coding skills to develop educational software, online courses, and educational games.

6. Manufacturing: Tech bootcamp graduates with skills in robotics programming or automation are highly sought after in the manufacturing sector as companies aim to increase productivity through advanced technology.

7. Startups: Chicago is known for its thriving startup scene, with many young companies looking for cost-effective ways to bring their ideas to life. As such, startups often turn towards bootcamp graduates who possess both technical skills and an entrepreneurial mindset.

10. Do these bootcamps offer specialized programs or focus on particular skills for their students?

It varies among bootcamps, but many offer specialized programs or focus on particular skills for their students. Some popular areas of focus include data science, web development, cybersecurity, digital marketing, user experience design, and product management. Some bootcamps also offer programs specifically tailored to certain industries or job roles. It’s important to research the curriculum and outcomes of each bootcamp to see if it aligns with your career goals and interests.

11. In what ways do these bootcamps support their students during and after completing the program?

There are various ways in which bootcamps support their students during and after completing the program. These may include:

1. Mentorship: Many bootcamps provide students with one-on-one mentorship from experienced professionals in the field to guide them through the program and help with job search.

2. Career Services: Bootcamps often have dedicated career services teams that provide resume reviews, interview preparation, and networking opportunities to help students land a job after graduation.

3. Alumni network: Bootcamps may have a strong alumni network that allows graduates to connect and support each other in their careers.

4. Job placement assistance: Some bootcamps guarantee job placement or offer refund policies if a student is unable to find a job within a certain timeframe after graduation.

5. Industry partnerships: Many bootcamps partner with companies and organizations in relevant industries, which can provide students with access to job openings and potential employers.

6. Ongoing education and resources: Some bootcamps offer on-going upskilling opportunities as well as access to resources such as coding libraries, forums, webinars, events, etc. to support post-graduation learning.

7. Supportive learning environment: Bootcamps often create a supportive learning environment where students can collaborate with each other, learn from their peers, and receive personalized attention from instructors.

8. Continued access to course materials: Graduates may be provided with continued access to the course materials for reference or further practice even after completing the program.

9.Workshops and webinars: Bootcamp providers frequently organize workshops and webinars on specialized topics to help graduates stay up-to-date on industry trends and developments.

10. Alumni discounts for additional courses: Many bootcamp providers offer alumni discounts if graduates want to take additional courses or certifications offered by the same provider.

11. Community support: Bootcamp providers often foster community among their students through online group discussions or meetups that allow graduates to stay connected and support each other after graduation.

12. Are there any notable alumni from tech bootcamps in Chicago who have made significant contributions to the industry?

Yes, there have been several notable alumni from tech bootcamps in Chicago who have made significant contributions to the industry. Some examples include:

1. Ellie Day: Day is a graduate of Code Platoon, a coding bootcamp for military veterans in Chicago. She went on to co-found a blockchain-based platform called and has also spoken at various tech conferences on topics related to blockchain technology.

2. Devin Valencia: Valencia graduated from Fullstack Academy’s Chicago program and is now working as a software engineer at Airbnb. He has also contributed to the development of mobile apps for companies like T-Mobile and Anheuser-Busch.

3. Brad Flora: Flora is a graduate of Starter League (now known as Designation), one of the earliest coding bootcamps in Chicago. He went on to found the popular media company, NowThis News, which he eventually sold for $70 million.

4. Michael Dorsey: Dorsey completed a web development course at Dev Bootcamp in Chicago and later founded Health 2047, a healthcare startup backed by the AMA. He was also named one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Healthcare in 2018.

5. Emily Sappington: Sappington graduated from General Assembly’s web development bootcamp in Chicago and went on to become an AI expert at IBM Watson Health.

6. Neel Patel: Patel completed a data science bootcamp at Metis and became a senior data scientist at AbbVie, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.

7. Taavi Rehemägi: Rehemägi attended Startup Institute’s digital marketing course in Chicago and has since co-founded Talkable, an e-commerce referral marketing platform used by companies such as Lyft and Dollar Shave Club.

8. Casey Rosengren: Rosengren completed Designation’s UX/UI design course in Chicago and now works as a senior UX designer at Google.

9. Annie Johnson: Johnson graduated from Designation’s UX/UI design course and is now a product designer at Amazon, working specifically on their Alexa team.

10. Matt Brems: Brems completed a data science bootcamp at Metis and now works as a data scientist for the Chicago Bulls, using his skills to analyze player performance and provide insights for the team.

11. Amanda Evans: Evans attended Fullstack Academy in Chicago and is now a software engineer at Twitter, working on their web infrastructure team.

12. Rishika Iyer: Iyer completed a coding bootcamp at Flatiron School in Chicago and has since become the CTO of Women Who Code, a global non-profit organization that promotes women in tech through mentorship and career support.

13. Has the city government played a role in supporting and promoting these bootcamps?

Yes, the city government has played a role in supporting and promoting these bootcamps. The city government may have provided funding or grants to these bootcamps, as well as helped them with marketing and advertising efforts. They may also work to connect these bootcamps with local businesses and companies for job opportunities for graduates. Additionally, the city government may collaborate with the bootcamps to offer affordable housing options or transportation assistance for participants.

14. How has the reputation and perception of tech bootcamps changed over time in Chicago?

The reputation and perception of tech bootcamps in Chicago has changed significantly over time. In the past, bootcamps were seen as a novel and unproven approach to learning technology skills, with many questioning their effectiveness and legitimacy. However, as the tech industry has continued to grow in Chicago and demand for skilled workers has increased, bootcamps have become more widely accepted and respected.

One major factor contributing to this shift is the success stories of bootcamp graduates. As more and more individuals have found jobs and built successful careers after attending bootcamps, they have helped to dispel any doubts about the value of these programs.

Additionally, universities and traditional education institutions in Chicago are starting to offer their own bootcamp programs or partner with existing ones. This association with established educational institutions has helped to lend credibility and legitimacy to the concept of bootcamps.

Overall, there has been a growing recognition of the practical nature of these programs and their ability to quickly equip students with relevant skills for today’s job market. As a result, bootcamps are now viewed as a viable alternative to traditional education for those looking to break into the tech industry or upskill in a specific area.

15. How does cost compare between attending a traditional college program versus a tech bootcamp in Chicago?

The cost of attending a traditional college program versus a tech bootcamp in Chicago can vary significantly. Traditional college programs typically involve a longer time commitment, usually 4 years for a bachelor’s degree. This means that students will pay for 8 semesters of tuition, room and board, textbooks, and other expenses.

On average, the total cost of attending a traditional college program in Chicago can range from $80,000 to over $200,000, depending on the specific school and program.

In comparison, tech bootcamps in Chicago tend to have much shorter programs (usually around 12 weeks) and a lower overall cost. The average cost for a tech bootcamp in Chicago is around $11,000 to $15,000. However, this cost typically does not include housing or other living expenses.

Also, many tech bootcamps offer income share agreements or financing options that allow students to pay only after securing a job in the industry. This can make the upfront cost of attending a bootcamp more affordable for some students.

Overall, the cost of attending a traditional college program may be higher than that of a tech bootcamp in Chicago. However, it is important to consider the potential return on investment and career prospects after completing either program before making a decision.

16. Can a program provide any statistics on job placement rates for graduates of these bootcamps compared to traditional college programs?

Yes, some bootcamps may provide statistics on their job placement rates for graduates. However, it can be difficult to compare these rates with traditional college programs as they often have different structures and goals. It’s important to research and consider the specific program and how they define job placement success before making any comparisons.

17. How are diversity and inclusion prioritized within these tech bootcamp programs?

Tech bootcamp programs typically prioritize diversity and inclusion in the following ways:

1. Inclusive admissions process: Many tech bootcamps have a rigorous and inclusive admissions process, which includes open-mindedness towards candidates from diverse backgrounds and giving equal opportunity for admission.

2. Scholarships and financial aid: Some bootcamps offer scholarships and financial aid specifically for underrepresented groups, such as women, minorities, and LGBTQ+ individuals.

3. Inclusive curriculum: Bootcamps strive to provide a curriculum that is inclusive and relevant to all students regardless of their background. This includes using diverse examples, case studies, and projects.

4. Diverse teaching staff: Many bootcamps actively work towards having a diverse teaching staff that represents different backgrounds and experiences.

5. Support networks: Bootcamp programs often offer support networks for diverse students, such as women in tech or minority groups, to help them connect with peers who share similar experiences.

6. Inclusive language and communication: Bootcamp instructors and staff are trained to use inclusive language and communicate in a way that is welcoming to all students.

7. Ongoing diversity initiatives: Some bootcamps have ongoing initiatives focused on diversity and inclusion within their program, such as workshops, guest speakers, or partnerships with organizations promoting diversity in tech.

It’s important for bootcamp programs to prioritize diversity and inclusion because it not only creates a more welcoming learning environment but also helps address the lack of diversity in the tech industry overall.

18. Have any notable startups or new businesses emerged as a result of individuals graduating from tech bootcamps in Chicago?

Yes, there have been several notable startups and new businesses that have emerged as a result of individuals graduating from tech bootcamps in Chicago. Here are some examples:

1. Braintree – This online payment processing startup was founded by alumni of the coding bootcamp Starter League (now called Fullstack Academy). The company has since been acquired by PayPal for over $800 million.

2. Designation – This design and technology bootcamp has produced several successful startups, including Monogram and Showroom, both of which provide solutions for the interior design industry.

3. Capital One – Several alumni of coding bootcamps such as Dev Bootcamp, DigitalCrafts, and Code Platoon have gone on to work at Capital One’s Chicago-based innovation lab, which focuses on developing new digital products and services.

4. Opus Logica – This data science consulting firm was founded by two alumni of Metis’ data science bootcamp program in Chicago.

5. ManyChat – Co-founded by an alumna of Fullstack Academy’s online coding bootcamp program, ManyChat is a chatbot platform that helps businesses communicate with their customers through Facebook Messenger.

Overall, tech bootcamps in Chicago have played a significant role in preparing individuals with the skills and knowledge needed to launch successful startups and innovative businesses in various industries.

19. How do these bootcamps stay updated with the rapidly changing tech industry to ensure their curriculum is relevant and valuable for students?

Most bootcamps have a team of curriculum developers who are constantly monitoring the tech industry and keeping up with the latest trends and technologies. They often speak with industry professionals, attend conferences and workshops, and conduct research to identify the most in-demand skills and tools. Additionally, many bootcamps have advisory boards made up of experts from various companies in the tech industry who provide feedback and advice on the curriculum. This allows bootcamps to make adjustments and updates as needed to ensure their students are learning the most relevant and valuable skills for current job market needs. Some bootcamps also offer continuing education programs for their graduates to keep them updated on new industry developments after they have completed their initial training.

20. From a third person’s perspective, what makes Chicago an ideal location for pursuing a career in tech through a bootcamp program?

Some reasons why Chicago may be an ideal location for pursuing a career in tech through a bootcamp program include:

1. Strong Tech Scene: Chicago has a thriving tech scene, with a growing number of startups, established tech companies, and tech events throughout the city. This creates a supportive environment for new developers to break into the industry.

2. Booming Job Market: The demand for tech professionals in Chicago is high, with many companies looking to hire qualified candidates. By completing a bootcamp program in the city, students may have access to these job opportunities and be able to establish their careers more quickly.

3. Affordable Cost of Living: Compared to other major tech hubs like Silicon Valley or New York City, Chicago has a lower cost of living. This means that students can save money while attending bootcamp programs and can invest more resources into their career development.

4. Accessible Bootcamp Programs: There are numerous reputable bootcamp programs offered in Chicago, giving prospective students plenty of options to choose from based on their interests and career goals.

5. Collaborative Community: With numerous co-working spaces and community meetups available throughout the city, students may have opportunities to network and collaborate with other developers and professionals in the industry.

6. Diverse Industries: In addition to technology companies, Chicago also has a strong presence in industries such as finance, healthcare, and manufacturing, providing graduates with potential job opportunities in various fields.

7. Supportive Government Initiatives: The Chicago government has shown commitment towards promoting technology growth within the city through initiatives such as investments in infrastructure and startup support programs.

8. Convenient Location: As one of the largest cities in the US, Chicago offers easy access to both domestic and international markets, making it an appealing location for companies seeking to expand their business operations.

9. Cultural Opportunities: With its rich history and diverse population, Chicago offers students a unique cultural experience while attending their bootcamp program. This can provide a valuable perspective and enhance their overall learning experience.


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