Online Bootcamp Devschool Disappears—Along with Students’ Money

DISAPPEARING ACT: Devschool’s website is typical of many online coding bootcamps, with all the trappings of course offerings, testimonials and even job placement guarantees. But the school is a sham, as Inc. magazine has uncovered. Operating from Mexico, the school’s founder and instructor, Jim O’Kelly, has suddenly disappeared—along with more than $100,000 of students’ money. Irate students later learned that he’s on a Most Wanted list in Oregon. One red flag that something was off: a Devschool student said O’Kelly “had a penchant for oversharing personal information and sometimes ripped hits from a colorful glass bong during video lectures with the students.”

The popularity of coding bootcamps, fueled by the allure of high-paying jobs, has attracted unscrupulous actors. Devschool may be one the most egregious examples, although professional software engineers have critiqued some of the lofty promises made by many other programs. There’s a sliver of good news, however: Thinkful has offered to help Devschool’s abandoned students.

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