How Le Wagon is quietly becoming a major coding bootcamp in Europe

Slowly but surely, French startup Le Wagon is becoming a leading coding bootcamp in Europe. Not only the company is executing quickly and expanding to a bunch of new cities, but Le Wagon is also refining its approach to coding bootcamps by using technology as much as possible.

Le Wagon started in Paris more than two years ago. Only 15 students took part in the first class. I covered the startup back in 2014. It has been a slow and steady growth story since then. But things seem to be accelerating in 2016.

500 students have learned to code thanks to Le Wagon. Attending Le Wagon costs around €5,000 depending on the city — it turns out coding bootcamps can be a lucrative business. And right now, dozens of students are learning to code in Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Lille, Bordeaux, Marseille and Beirut. The company will soon open shop in London, Lisbon, Copenhagen, Nantes, Lyon and three cities in Brazil. All of this without having raised any money.

Attending Le Wagon takes two months and you learn back-end and front-end coding, database stuff as well as a bit of project management. After two months, you should be ready to dive deeper, learn other languages and tackle projects on your own.

In Paris, between two different batches of students, the team works on improving its tech platform. Little by little, Le Wagon is building an all-in-one teaching solution for coding skills. Then any developer can become a teacher just by following the syllabus and making students work on the exercise platform.

And this is key to understanding Le Wagon’s success. With this approach, the company can create a uniformized coding school in many different cities with a hands-off approach. This looks like a good way to scale. And it seems to be working as student feedback has been really positive.

And the fact that the company hasn’t raised any money also means that the company doesn’t feel the pressure to grow too quickly. But based on my interactions with Le Wagon, they’re an ambitious team and don’t want to be known as “that little coding school in France.” London could be a major stepping stone as it’s a more competitive market.