Coding bootcamps are nothing new, but they have always been more popular in the U.S. than in Europe. Last year, when Le Wagon started, it was a breath of fresh air. The team not only wanted to bring the concept back to Europe, but also wanted to add its own flavor. Le Wagon is a coding school specifically targeted towards entrepreneurs. It designs its own high quality content to make you learn coding in two months.
“We all have the feeling that the world needs our students, and not the opposite. Our students can do more or less whatever they want after Le Wagon,” co-founder and COO Romain Paillard told me in a phone interview. “Starting next year, twenty CTO or CEO will graduate from our school every month.”
And this is key to Le Wagon’s success. It is more than a coding school. Some students already have a strong business background because they graduated from a business school, or already went through a demanding engineering school. Yet, they don’t know how to use this theoretical knowledge to produce pragmatical code.
Le Wagon dubs itself a product accelerator. Instead of helping you on the business side like most startup accelerators, Le Wagon will make you work on your product. You enter this school with your idea, and you will code it from scratch and produce an MVP. After two months, you will be able to take your project further if you want.
Bouquet is an app to order and deliver a bouquet of flowers on demand. Roadstr is a sort of Drivy for vintage cars. Kudoz is a Tinder for job recruitment. All these projects were released by Le Wagon students. And there are many more examples of products.
Other students applied for engineering jobs and became engineers at Stripe or Finexkap after only two months of intense learning. It will cost you nearly $5,000 to attend Le Wagon (€3,900), which is quite expensive but can also be seen as an investment. And it doesn’t seem to scare people away — the next two batches are already booked.
But how does a startup like Le Wagon scales? First, the company spent a lot of time this year on its own teaching process. The team developed its own learning platform to assign exercises, talk with teachers and see how other students are doing. It gets much easier over time to teach a new batch. Second, Le Wagon is opening its school in new cities, such as Brussels early next year.
Third, Le Wagon is thinking about new course formats. “In 2015, we will work on shorter sessions on very specific topics, such as iOS development,” Paillard said. “Our idea is that we will be able to aggregate all this content and repackage it for online courses.”
In other words, Le Wagon could start competing with Treehouse, Code School and more. All of its content is already in English. And testing it with bootcamps is great way to make sure that Le Wagon can provide quality content.