California’s strict regulations on everything from home construction to green energy are the stuff of legend, but now the regulatory apparatus is stepping on the toes of one of the state’s favored industries. Coding bootcamps—brief training courses where students of all ages receive intensive programming instruction—have become a hot item in California as people without an academic background in computer science seek to gain coding skills in the hopes of landing a job in the lucrative tech industry.Last month, however, a number of these bootcamps received a notice from California’s Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education that they were not in compliance with the agency’s regulations, and would need to come into compliance immediately or else be forced shut down and risk a $50,000 fine. Needless to say, this has ruffled a few feathers, and given the length of time required to gain regulatory approval, many programs think they’re doomed either way. And as VentureBeat reports, many are concerned that existing regulations are not set up with these sorts of courses in mind:
Anthony Phillips, cofounder of Hack Reactor, said the founders of these bootcamps are not averse to oversight and regulation in principle. ”I would like to be part of a group that creates those standards,” he said in an interview at the Hack Reactor offices in downtown San Francisco. “However, what that looks like and what makes sense for our schools is not necessarily going to fit in the current regulations.”
It’s true that some of these schools have had mixed results, and occasionally they make unrealistic promises about the average starting salaries graduates can expect. Regulators have a reasonable mandate to keep schools honest in their promotional materials. Some of the new regulations, however—particularly one that requires that every teacher must have a bachelor’s degree—strike us as unnecessary and outdated, and seem more designed to ensure that traditional colleges retain their market share than keeping students from being ripped off.At a time when college costs are skyrocketing and many grads are having difficulty finding jobs, alternate routes to the workforce are especially important. Intensive, short courses that give people the skills to break into in-demand fields relatively swiftly are, at the very least, worthy of consideration. State governments should be trying to update and simplify regulations to make operations easier for the businesses trying to fill this need.