New coding boot camp to enter Detroit

Breana Noble
The Detroit News
Cleveland-based Tech Elevator is bringing its coding boot camp to Detroit.

A computer-coding boot camp is seeking to elevate Detroit's workforce.

Cleveland-based Tech Elevator is opening its fifth location at start-up incubator TechTown Detroit in its efforts to meet a growing need for software developers. The coding academy offers 14-week, full-time courses to train workers in Java or Dot Net languages. Its first section launches in May.

"Detroit is a city that has deep roots in innovation," Tech Elevator CEO Anthony Hughes said. "We work in communities with industrial roots where people know what hard work is.

"Detroit has some of the most hardworking people in the country but they increasingly lack the skills needed for the modern economy. They're looking for the right opportunity and we provide a path to get there."

More than 20,500 positions were posted for software developers in the region in 2018, according to data analytics firm Burning Glass Inc. Meanwhile, the region's four-year institutions graduated more than 1,100 students with computer science bachelor's degrees, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

"We're trying to bridge that gap," Hughes said.

The course costs $15,500 and includes five weeks of pre-work for students before classes begin. For comparison, Detroit-based coworking space Grand Circus offers 12-week Java, JavaScript and Dot Net boot camps for $9,750 each with scholarships available.

Hughes said Tech Elevator costs more because instructors have more than 20 average years of experiences and come from places such as accounting firm Deloitte and semiconductor manufacturer Intel Corp. Its program incorporates a career-readiness program and on-site networking with more than 250 hiring partners from JPMorgan Chase & Co. to Progressive Corp.

The Detroit boot camp will launch May 28 at TechTown, located at 440 Burroughs St. south of New Center.  Students apply to the program by passing an online aptitude test. There also is an interview process. The first class will have up to 14 students, though Hughes predicted Detroit could be its largest market with eventually more than 200 annual junior software developer graduates.

"It makes sense to have a coding boot camp and to be up-skilling and re-skilling people who may be looking to make a career move," said Jonathan Colo, membership manager at TechTown. "We’re excited to have Tech Elevator move into the space so that people can reskill themselves to join the software development workforce that is one of the growing workforces in the city."

Tech Elevator's programs in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Pittsburgh have a 92 percent graduation rate with more than 600 graduates since 2015, the company says.. Within 90 days of the courses' completion, 91 percent of students on average have a job offer.

"We've had everything from high school graduates to people with PhDs," Hughes said. "What pretty much everyone has in common is that they've been in the workforce and they haven't felt fulfilled. They haven't felt intellectually challenged."

Grand Circus says it has graduated 1,500 students in Detroit and Grand Rapids since launching in 2013, and has placed 90 percent at more than 300 employers from Quicken Loans to General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co.

“We saw a large number of open roles in Detroit and across Michigan that traditional sources of talent weren't filling. We wanted to create a business that would close that gap,” said Damien Rocchi, Grand Circus CEO. “We are also working directly with companies to modernize their technology workforce."

Those interested can go to for more information. A free introduction learn to code event will be held 5:30 p.m. Thursday. Attendees should register online.