Best city for learning to code? Atlanta is up there.

Where should I learn to code?

Learning to code in an Accelerated Learning Program or “Coding Bootcamp” can require a significant amount of time as well as financial commitment for an individual and/or family.

The other day, a prospective student asked me the question, “why should I learn to code in Atlanta?” So, I went home and did a bit of homework.  In order to layout a macro picture, I researched 4 key areas to evaluate if Atlanta is, in fact, an ideal city for learning how to code.

1.     Are there multiple options in the area? Why is this important?

2.     How does cost of living compare to other cities?

3.     Are there job opportunities available?

3.     What's the tech and start-up community like?

Atlanta Beltline Image

Atlanta, GA - The Beltline

Are there multiple options in the area? Why is this important?

I decided to breakdown this question first, and a few questions came to mind…  Are employers in the area aware of these programs?  Are there successful coding bootcamp alumni in the area?  Are there schools offering different programs and various curriculums?

According to Course Report’s 2015 Bootcamp Market Size Study, the top 5 cities with the most coding schools are…

1.     San Francisco – 12

2.     New York – 9

3.     Seattle – 8

4.     Portland – 6

5.     Chicago – 6

At the time of writing, Atlanta currently has 4 full-time, immersive code schools. Not far off the list!  This means there are multiple programs working around the clock to raise awareness of the bootcamp model, and those programs are continually educating hiring partners and local corporations about their talent pools and curriculum effectiveness.  Successful alumni are already spreading throughout the tech community which means a growing network of bootcamp alumni that will be (or already are) in hiring positions.

In addition, the presence of a number of code schools means higher competition in pricing (tuition) and more technologies available to learn.  Keep in mind, if everyone in a given market is learning the same programming language and web stack, there are more alumni competing for the same junior-level positions.

Atlanta Beltline Image

Just by Piedmont Park

How does cost of living compare to other cities?

Well, as someone who has travelled a good bit in the past, it doesn’t take much to quickly look at the list of cities above to know Atlanta has a lower cost of living.  Having said that, I went ahead and did the math using CNN Money’s Cost of Living Calculator.  Here’s how Atlanta stacks up:

1.     San Francisco +68%

2.     New York +123%

3.     Seattle +27%

4.     Portland +26%

5.     Chicago +17%

The percentages above are calculated using an annual salary of $75,000 in Atlanta, GA.  Therefore, an individual living in New York would essentially need to make $165,000+ per year to equal that of someone living in Atlanta earning $75,000 per year.

Are there sufficient job opportunities?

To keep things simple, I decided to use as a quick way to gauge the volume of job opportunities in Atlanta and the surrounding areas.  At DigitalCrafts, our 16 Week Immersive Web Development Bootcamp covers 2 full stacks including JavaScript and the MEAN Stack as well as PHP and the LAMP Stack.

A quick search in Atlanta for search terms “JavaScript” and “PHP” filtered further by $70,000+ annual salary and full-time position returned the following results. If these numbers seem low to you, keep in mind these are only "full-time" positions and not positions for "contractors" or "part-time" which are abundent in the software development world.

1.     JavaScript: 1,350 opportunities

2.     PHP: 289 opportunities

As you can see, there is high demand for both JavaScript and PHP in the Atlanta area (according to Indeed).  I would caution every reader to do his or her own research specifically for current job opportunities as this example gives only a limited macro view at a certain point in time. Moreover, our program covers many more languages and technologies in addition to JavaScript and PHP.

What's the tech and startup community like?

Atlanta has made tremendous strides in the past decade to establish itself as a leader in the technology and start-up space.  For example, the state’s legislation has enacted several notable tax advantages for investors (see: Angel Tax Credit), and there have been a number of start-up accelerators, co-working spaces, and (yes) even coding bootcamps launch over the past 3 to 4 years. You can see a full list at StartUp Atlanta, or you can drop by our Buckhead location to check out Atlanta Tech Village located next door (home of our part-time iOS course).

In conclusion, there are a number of reasons why Atlanta’s a great place to learn a new skill.  Even if you’re from out of town or if you are planning to move to Silicon Valley with your newfound tech chops, it’s hard to find a place with better value, educational options, and job opportunities than Atlanta, Georgia.  Plus, the food is excellent, Piedmont Park rocks, and the Beltline is always packed.

Off to the park!


Jake Hadden

Co-Founder, CEO