‘Coding bootcamps’ to receive NIS 10m. investment
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“This program is one of the key tools that will provide a short-term solution" to the shortage of quality personnel in high tech.
In response to the growing need for skilled engineers and computer programmers, the Israel Innovation Authority has announced it will invest NIS 10 million in deploying “coding boot camps” for rapid training of workers for the hi-tech industry.The authority is the governmental body charged with fostering the development of industrial research and development within the State of Israel.As of April 2017, Israel’s market demand for programmers exceeded the number of those available by two-and-a-half times – a gap that the country is now taking steps to bridge. To help accomplish this task, the authority has approved a 12-month training program aimed at college graduates in the sciences who are interested in a career shift to computer programming, a statement from the authority said.“The hi-tech industry is hungry for quality personnel. This is the main challenge for an industry which is Israel’s most significant economic growth engine,” Aharon Aharon, CEO of the Innovation Authority, said on Wednesday. “This program is one of the key tools that will provide a short-term solution.” The coding boot camps, developed by the authority’s societal challenges division, will offer an alternative route to those eager to join the hi-tech workforce, through expedited employee education, the statement explained.Participants will be able to apply for a competitive grant program, under which computer programming training agencies will be rewarded in relation to the number of graduates they produce who receive high-paying jobs in hi-tech development, the statement said. The authority is aiming to prepare 250 new employees by the end of its first year, and 450 by the end of the third, with an emphasis on including diverse populations in the hi-tech industry.“On the one hand, companies will have free rein in determining their business model to draw the highest quality students, and on the other – the authority will oversee to ensure that the end result – placement of high-quality personnel – is satisfactory,” said Naomi Krieger Carmy, head of the societal challenges division.“Thus, the quality of the training will be supervised by industry experts who will oversee the content and its relevance to the hi-tech industry, admission standards, course demands, teaching staff and training, and the degree of cooperation with the hi-tech industry.”In addition to the authority and its societal challenges division, both of which fall under the purview of the Economy Ministry, the government bodies involved in the program include the Social Affairs and Social Services Ministry, the Finance Ministry, the National Economic Council, Israel Advanced Technology Industries and senior executives from the business sector.While coding boot camps may be new to the Israeli government, they have become an increasingly popular tool all over the world, including in the Israeli private sector. In the United States, 70% of graduates of similar programs in 2016 went on to work in the hi-tech sector, the statement from the authority said.Although such courses typically cost between $15,000 and $30,000 outside of Israel, employers recognize their value, the authority stressed. A survey conducted this year among 1,000 hi-tech companies in the US showed that 84% of employers believed that graduates of coding boot camps were as good as, or better than, university graduates with computer science degrees, the authority added.“The government decision over the past year to significantly increase the financing of technical colleges as well as universities, to help increase personnel for the industry, will bear fruit in as soon as two years,” said Economy Minister Eli Cohen. “This initiative will help provide short-term solutions for the lack of employees in the hi-tech industry.”The Israel Innovation Authority will be publishing a call for submissions for training agencies this fall.