A lot of people probably see Codecademy as a place to build up programming skills before hitting the job market, but now the company is teaming up with similar organizations like Thinkful, The Flatiron School, and Dev Bootcamp to create a broader initiative called ReskillUSA.
As described on its website, ReskillUSA’s goal is to “close the gap between technical education and employment.”
Codecademy co-founder and CEO Zach Sims (pictured above) said the site is really aimed at two audiences. First, there are the unemployed or underemployed who want to beef up their technical skills — Sims said ReskillUSA presents them with one place that has “pulled together the best of the education providers that have popped up,” and in doing so, it’s “making the pathways for people clear for how to get from zero to employed.”
He added that by teaming up with other organizations, Codecademy is also hoping to convince employers that completing one of those programs is a meaningful qualification for a job, and that you don’t necessarily need a bachelor’s degree in computer science.
“By banding together, we’re trying to raise awareness of these new forms of education,” Sims said.
Now these programs aren’t exactly impartial observers — it’s in their interest to pump up their legitimacy. But ReskillUSA has the advantage of focusing on more than one company. And Sims said this effort was first “catalyzed” by conversations with the White House, particularly after US CTO (and former Googler) Megan Smith’s comments about the talent gap and education. (To be clear, though, the White House isn’t a partner in this program.)
Right now, the ReskillUSA site is mostly a showcase for these different programs, dividing them into online and offline categories, and listing basic facts like the topics covered, the price, and the duration. (On the offline side, it includes programs located in Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and San Francisco.) When I asked if the site could do more, for example by bundling complementary programs together into a single package, Sims said it’s “definitely” a possibility: “This is hopefully only the beginning.”
Codecademy also teamed up with Google and DonorsChoose recently as part of an effort to increase girls’ interest in computer science.