A coding school that pays you to attend

Nowadays landing a job right after college can be daunting. Companies need experienced, entry-level technology professionals, but how can entry-level talent gain the experience needed to get those jobs?

Many college students and graduates are turning to coding bootcamps, short (usually 8- to 12-week) programs offered by private companies that teach students computer programming in a short period of time, to gain that needed experience. 

While the average full-time programming bootcamp in the U.S. costs around $11,451, bootcamp tuition can range from $5,000 to $21,000.  But a new Virginia-based coding bootcamp rather than charging tuition is now paying students to learn computer programming while also guaranteeing them jobs when they graduate.

Revature is a coding company that invest on students. Instead of asking students to pay $11,000, Revature pays them the minimum wage (around $11 per hour) while providing free training, certification, and even accommodations. And after graduation, the company sends its graduates out on two-year assignments at federal agencies, banks and other companies.

So what’s the trick? you must be asking. Revature works like an employment agency, writes Danielle Douglas-Gabriel for The Washington Post. Employers pay the company while graduates are under a two-year employment contract, and the company keeps a percentage and then pays workers. Salaries range from $50,000 to $65,000 a year.

Basically, Revature is an employment agency that offers apprenticeships. Many countries, such as Germany and Australia, have large apprenticeship programs and now, due to the growing student debt, apprenticeships are risen sharply in the United States. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there were 505,000 Americans in formal apprenticeships in the fall of 2016, up from 375,000 in the fall of 2013.

The company also works close with universities, offering academic partnerships to empower students with enterprise-level skills and real-world training. As reported in The Washington Post, Revature is currently partnering with 10 colleges, including the University of Maryland University College, George Mason University and the City University of New York. The schools provide the space and the company covers all other expenses. 

While this may seem like a pretty attractive choice for many students, its not clear what happens if Revature graduates want out of the contract to pursue a higher-paying job. Would they have to repay the money the company invested in their training?

“Some students are very debt-averse," says Rick O’Donnell, CEO of Skills Fund, an Austin-based lender to students at other coding boot camps. "The risk of knowing they will have a job might be worth making a little less the first few years,” he added.