In an apparent effort to expand its portfolio of professional offerings from real estate to education, co-working giant WeWork has acquired New York-based coding bootcamp Flatiron School.
Neither Wework nor Flatiron announced the the terms of the deal, which apparently had been in the works since early this year but was only announced today.
Flatiron's staple is offering a 15-week technical training program at a fraction of the cost of traditional four-year college degrees. WeWork's acquisition of Flatiron seems to indicate that the former is betting that, in the foreseeable future, many computer programmers will not receive their coding-related education in universities, but rather will pursue much shorter-duration and less expensive vocational training.
In fact, from an economic standpoint, such a career path might make sense - people graduating from coding bootcamps enter the workforce with highly-desired skill sets, and without the crippling debt that many college graduates face.
That said, there are valuable social and educational benefits to the college experience, as well as questions about the quality of code (including issues related to information security) emanating from coders with only weeks of experience - so time will tell if WeWork's apparent prediction is correct. (Note: Flatiron recently settled with the NY State Attorney General over claims that it misled the public about its job placement successes.)
WeWork has focused on building "community" among its members - and, clearly, learning is part of the community experience; culturally speaking, the acquisition seem like a good fit. "WeWork's culture is one in which we are always ready to do more, to learn more, and we are proud to expand our offering with this new platform for learning," said WeWork CEO Adam Neumann.
WeWork plans to dramatically expand Flatiron from a single location in Manhattan by bringing classes to most of the real-estate giant's 170 co-working spaces around the world, making the coding academy available to many more people without their having to relocate.