Flatiron School is an outcomes-focused coding bootcamp that offers Full Stack Web Development and iOS Development programs on its NYC and Online campuses. Flatiron School has led the bootcamp industry on outcomes, backing its 98% job placements rate and $75k starting salary with annual independently-verified jobs reports. Flatiron School also offers several free introductory courses, including Bootcamp Prep, and Certificate courses on their online campus.
Flatiron School's flagship, job-guaranteed Web Developer Program (available in NYC and Online) is designed to launch students into fulfilling careers as developers through a rigorous, market-aligned curriculum and the support of seasoned instructors and career coaches. By undertaking dozens of test-driven labs and developing several Portfolio Projects, students learn to think, and build, like software engineers. Self-driven learners can now access this proven curriculum without instructor support at a more accessible tuition in Flatiron School’s Community-Powered Bootcamp. In February 2017, the Web Developer Program underwent significant curriculum changes, and now has a longer, more flexible modular curriculum, regular student assessments, and greater focus on computer science and technical concentrations.
Committed to increasing accessibility to effective coding education, Flatiron offers scholarships for underrepresented groups in tech, including women and veterans, as well as financing.
* These outcomes are not audited by Course Report. In some cases, data is audited by a third party.
Flatiron School has an acceptance rate of 8%, of which 85% of accepted students enroll in a course. Of the students who enroll at Flatiron School, 99% graduate. 95% are hired in technical roles within 120 days and report an average income of $74,447.
Job Seeking Graduates Placed:
After 120 days
Notes & Caveats:
You can download the reports here!
Recent Flatiron School News
- Diversity in Tech: Why Tech is Poised To See a Change in 2018
- New Year, New Career? Learning to Code in 2018
- 2017 End of Year News Roundup + Podcast
Recent Flatiron School Reviews: Rating 4.78
New York City
Web Development Immersive
- Payment Plan
- Available on a case by case basis
- Grants and scholarships available for students from underrepresented groups
- Minimum Skill Level
- Prep Work
In PersonFull Time40Hours/week20 Seats
Application Deadline:January 8, 2018
In PersonFull Time40Hours/week20 Seats
Application Deadline:February 5, 2018
In PersonFull Time40Hours/week20 Seats
Application Deadline:February 12, 2018
In PersonFull Time40Hours/week20 Seats
Application Deadline:March 2, 2018
In PersonFull Time40Hours/week20 Seats
Application Deadline:March 23, 2018
Learn to code online—but not alone. Join a thriving community of students on Flatiron School’s Online Campus. Move at your own pace through the same course of study used in our Web Developer Program: a proven curriculum that gets people jobs.
- Financing options available! Email email@example.com for more information.
Online Web Developer Program
Learn online, at your own schedule, and get a job as a Web Developer – guaranteed. Lean on Flatiron School's expert instructor network for real-time and scheduled 1:1 support. Flatiron's Full Stack Web Development curriculum contains the same proven material they've taught and honed for years on their NYC campus—and then some. You'll learn to think, and build, like a software engineer through 600-800 hours of our lessons and test-driven labs, and develop your own portfolio-ready projects. To make sure you get the right help at the right time, Flatiron's instructional team works across timezones and specialties – from Flatiron grads with a fresh perspective on the student experience to veteran educators and technologists with industry wisdom to impart.
- Contingency Fee
- Pay as low as $350/month with financing available through SkillsFund and Pave.
- Payment Plan
- $1,500/ month, capped at $12,000. Flatiron estimates that the curriculum represents 600-800 hours of work, so depending on your speed and level of commitment, you can directly influence how much you will pay.
- Significant scholarships available for women and underrepresented groups in tech. Learn more here: https://flatironschool.com/programs/online-web-developer-career-course/#scholarships
- Minimum Skill Level
- Placement Test
- Prep Work
- Students encouraged to have progressed on one of Flatiron School's free intro courses, like Bootcamp Prep. https://flatironschool.com/programs/online-bootcamp-prep-course/
$500 Flatiron School Scholarship
- Online Web Developer Program (Online)
Flatiron School Reviews
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I started the bootcamp prep course with no previous knowledge of coding but the course easily lends itself even to complete beginners. You will be surprised how much you can learn and the change in perspective. If you get stuck it's great that you can always ask the community and instructors for some guidance. The course is worth a try even if you have a small interest and want to be moved to the next step.
Prior to this program I had many many BAD interviewing experiences because I was not prepared for interviews. However, about 75% through completion I took an interview for a Full Stack Program and got the job! I felt very prepared for the technical interviews because of the curriculum and hard work I had put in.
The online program will take hard work and lots of commitment but it is worth it!
i would recommend the bootcamp prep course to any novice looking to learn code. As a novice myself, i feel much more comfortable with key concepts of coding and i also developed a basis on how to think about writing code. The support system is A+. When ever i came acorss a problem there was an instructor available to help guide met to the solution.
I went through the online program last year and actually got a job even before finishing it. The whole culture of Flatiron is about integrety and results. They not only teach you how to code but how to love coding. As a product manager, upping my coding skills was invaluable. Instructors are passionate and the curriculum is excellent.
Definitely one of the best online, learn-at-your-own-pace, coding courses I've taken. I did a good deal of codeacademy courses before doing the Bootcamp Prep Course and while they were great for learning coding concepts and syntax, I never felt like I knew what to do to actually launch my own project because all the coding is done on the codeacademy site.
Overall, the Flatiron School's online Bootcamp Prep Course got me into programming like never before. I have been on and off when it comes to programming. I tried Codecademy, Udacity, and another bootcamp's free prep material.
The greatest advantage of their Bootcamp Prep Course is their Ask a Question feature. It summons almost immediate help from their tech coaches or fellow applicants. I also get the opportunity to return the favor. One night, I ended up working with someone else stuck on the same material. We finished it together.
I am now going to start the Flatiron School’s NYC Software Engineering Immersive in January 2018. The Bootcamp Prep gave me a taste of their teaching style and convinced me that I would love to learn code from the Flatiron community.
Background: CPA, 10-year tax consultant/accountant, BS Physics & BBA Accounting, Mother of an infant and a toddler, super supportive family.
- 2015-2016 - Thinking about changes and looking for different options
- Jan 2017 - Enrolled at Flatiron online web developer program
- Aug 2017 - Graduated
- Oct 2017 - got an offer
- Nov 2017 - Started the new life as a software developer
- Great curriculum: Study materials are comprehensive and organized in an intuitive way to lead students from entry to complicated concepts.
- Live tutors and study groups: readily available daily. I didn’t utilize those resources much b/c I learn at odd hours like Midnight - 4am and whenever kids are napping.
- Instructors: led study groups and reviewed portfolio projects. they were super knowledgeable and gave constructive reviews and suggestions. I reached out on Slack from time to time to ask about personal career questions and other random questions and always have support.
- Lectures are recorded videos: The videos were fantastic! I watched all of them and learn a lot more than just reading alone.
- Career services were top-notch: Everyone gets a designated coach who will work with you on cover letter, resume, online presences, interview skills, mock interviews, networking tips and more. They have a great network of employers meaning lots of opportunities to get interviews. All of my interviews came from campus recruiting.
- Time & Cost: online course tuition is paid monthly. The faster you learn, the lesser the tuition. I was fortunate to be got a scholarship that paid half of the tuition. (There are scholarships from time to time and make sure to take advantage of it.) My total cost was $4500.
Overall: I highly recommend Flatiron school. It is a great school with very dedicated individuals who are passionate about their missions and skillful at what they do.
Online classes are convenient and cost effective only if you are super motivated and dedicated. Check out the free pre-bootcamp class and see if you like the course materials and learning styles at Flatiron. If you can focus and finish the pre-bootcamp under a month (20-30 hr a week), that's a good indication that you can focus and finish the whole program. And almost all of pre-bootcamp materials are part of the actual curriculum, so it's to your advantage to finish it before you begin the full program, that'll save you time and $$.
Also, note that there wasn't any technical interview to get into the online program. There was only a cultural interview. The entry barrier may look like lower than the regular in-person bootcamp where acceptance rate is in single digit and often requires rigorous technical interviews, however that means you really have to be motivated, otherwise it's easy to slack off once you are in the online program.
I am by no means an expert at anything just because I attended a bootcamp and switched career. I am happy to share my own experiences. Feel free to reach out to me on Linkedin if you want to chat more.
Have fun and enjoy life!
Flatiron School's Bootcamp Prep course was a great place to start for me, as someone new to coding. The course was easy to use and broke down new concepts into manageable pieces, you can easily ask and see questions from other learners if you get stuck, and it provided numerous opportunities to practice developing new skills. I would recommend this as a wonderful place to start learning to code. A few months ago, I knew nothing about coding and now have been accepted into Flatiron School's in-person web development class. On that note, completing the Bootcamp Prep course was a great way to prepare to apply for the Development program, which had an efficient and straight-forward application process.
Originally, joining Flatiron's Online web-dev course was the second choice for me, I took it because I couldn't afford to take three months off work. In retrospect, I couldn't be happier with my decision.
The curriculum is excellent, the support from the instructors and the community is unparalleled, I can not imagine where I would be today without the support from Flatiron.
For more about my experience feel free to check out these two blog posts I wrote:
Feel free to contact me through my blog with any questions about my experience, I'm always happy to share.
I graduated from Flatiron's online program in April and am about to start my career as a software developer, earning +25k more than my previous job in accounting. Going through Flatiron was the best decision I ever made, but it was also extremely challenging. Becomming a software developer isn't easy, and neither is finding your first job in the field, but Flatiron provides with every possible resource for you to succeed. The curriculum is great, and teaches you the skills you need, and also the mindset needed to learn on your own. After graduating you'll have to put tons of work in, but the career coaches are absolutely amazing.
I graduated from The Flatiron School last December 2016. I was granted a full scholarship and participated in the Mobile Dev Corp program. It was a 20-week immersive course that focused on Swift (iOS) development. I have a Computer Science degree and used to work as a Software Engineer (SAP) for 8 years. My family moved to the United States and I had to stop working for 2 years. The Flatiron School gave me the opportunity to restart my career in Software Engineering.
Our cohort was a mix of amazing people who came from different backgrounds. The program was intense. But with hard work, dedication, and passion to code, you'll get the most out of the program. Each student had to complete labs, maintain a technical blog, present in front of an audience and attend workshops for your soft skills. The instructors were very helpful in understanding concepts that we have. By the end of the program, our team built an app that is available in the app store.
It took me almost 6 months before I got a job, which is normal in a competitive NYC tech market. The career services were very supportive throughout the job search. Each student has a dedicated career coach. She reviewed my resume, my communication, and outreach emails that I sent to companies. She also helped me manage my time and energy while interviews pour in. I had multiple offers towards the end of my job search. I landed my current job as an iOS Engineer for an awesome startup through the program.
I'm a recent graduate of the Flatiron School's remote immersive program. The program prepared me for an entry level position as a fullstack software engineer. I completed the program in about 5 months, working on it full time.
I had earned a degree in Computer Science over ten years ago, but never got the chance to apply the knowledge. Shortly after earning the degree I got involved in the aviation industry. The previous experience in Computer Science definitely gave me an advantage in completing Flatiron's program. The program was difficult, but would have been that much more challenging without the CS background. This is a good thing, you will be better prepared for the real world when you graduate.
The curriculum is good and constantly being improved. All lessons are test driven, giving you real world experience with TDD. Shortly after graduating the school added computer science/algorithm lessons, something very few of the bootcamps teach. The main complaint I have with respect to the curriculum is that parts seemed to be outdated. This is simply a side effect of the industry moving at light speed and likely can't be helped.
Instructors were good, and easy to communicate with if the need ever came up, although it rarely did.
The biggest benefit of the program for me was the career assistance after graduation. I was assigned a career coach who helped me in every aspect of the job search. She held me accountable, reviewed communcations with prospective employers, suggested networking ideas, and provided much needed motivation when the job search became tedious or frustrating.
All in all, would highly recommend. I came away with both a full time job as a contractor for a former employer and a part time job as Software Engineer at an up and coming startup.
I recently finished the free online boot camp prep course. I had been learning to code online and was trying to decide if a boot camp was the right fit for me.
This course was very helpful and it was great to be able to try it for free! The Learn.co website and Learn IDE that it operates through are easy to use and provide great feedback as you are working.
One of the best parts of the experience is how the Learn website allows you to interact with other students working on the same course. There is a help section where you can both ask and answer questions and you have the ability to set up study groups with other students working on the same material.
Having now completed both the course and the boot camp interview process, I feel that this course prepared me extremely well for my interviews.
I think Flatiron School is doing something right. I moved to New York literally the weekend before the program started and think it was all worth it. The curriculum is well structured and everything builds on top of itself which is reflective of how a real curriculum should work. I enjoyed the fact that I got to work with people of very diverse backgrounds as well as on my own in the final module. It allowed me to work on the softer aspects of software development which I genuinely needed work on. After graduating you still retain access to all the lessons and it appears new ones as they are created, which is also a nice bonus to remain sharp and pick up a thing or two as lessons are added to the curriculum.
As a final note, it's probably worth mentioning that Flatiron affords you the opportunity to learn, but it does not do the learning for you, no matter what they call their platform. I came into the city basically looking to learn as much as I could for as long as I could hold that pattern and through the length of the program (and a few weeks after), I spent significantly more time at the school than I did at home or anywhere else like 11-12 hours a day 7 days a week significantly. That might be an insane schedule for some, but I think it ended up being worth it for me. If you're going to do it, really do it.
I can sum up my Flatiron experience in a few points:
- I landed a Software Engineer role at a tech startup before I even graduated (still technically haven't graduated! Should next week though) which is solid evidence that employers take bootcamp experience seriously
- Worth every penny.. Especially for the incredible career coaching resources you'll get toward the end of the program. They have a world class team working for your best interests. I wouldn't have landed this job so quickly without the guidance of my career coach.
- If deep down you feel like you need to make a change... just do it. This program will change your entire career path.. and with that.. your entire life.
-Best decision I've ever made. Period.
Before attending Flatiron School, I went to a community college and studied computer information systems with hopes of becoming a web developer after graduating. Unfortunately the curriculum at that other college was lacking and I was not at all prepared to get a job as a developer. After several years of trying to learn more on my own, I decided it was time to look into these coding bootcamps I'd heard about.
After doing a lot of research, I decided to apply to Flatiron School and one other bootcamp. I went through the admissions process with both schools, but I was really drawn to Flatiron School's inviting culture. Not only did Flatiron School seem to have a great curriculum and impressive student outcomes, they also placed an emphasis on creating a community of passionate, diverse people who would support and encourage each other. Aka nice people who I'd be happy to spend 15 weeks with.
My experience at Flatiron School exceeded my expectations. I learned way more in that 15 weeks than I learned in the two years I spent at the community college. It was almost mind blowing to see our progress from week to week. Don't think it's easy, though. The program is intense and you have to be prepared to work hard. It's a stressful roller coaster, but you get what you put in. I can't say enough good things about the people at Flatiron School. My classmates will be lifelong friends. The instructors are wicked smart and want to see students succeed.
After graduating, I worked closely with the career services team, including my amazing career coach. My coach helped prepare me for the job search, and she was an invaluable resource once I started interviewing with companies. I graduated in June and accepted a job offer in August. I'm now working as a Web Developer, which is something I've wanted to say for years!
I decided to transition my career into Tech back in December of 2016. At the time I had not written a single line of code and had no clue what I was doing. I started the in-person Flatiron School Software Engineering Immersive course in March 2017, and graduated late June 2017. In August 2017, I accepted an offer and am currently a Software Engineer working at a start up specializing in software and data science consulting thanks to the Flatiron School!
I did a ton of research before applying to these so-called "coding boot camps." My research put Flatiron School at the number one spot out of the 3 boot camps I was looking into. One of the main reasons was because of the transparency with job outcomes. Graduate results were a huge factor for me. Not only is Flatiron School transparent, but they also have their outcomes report audited by a third-party firm. Still, I was hesitant to pull the trigger. To me, it seemed like a crash course that simply accelerated the process of learning how to code. If you are currently looking to transition, know this. I have been in your shoes, reading through review after review on various boot camps, trying to get more clarity on how these schools work. If you devote yourself to this craft and follow the meticulously designed curriculum, you will fall in love with programming, learn things in 3-4 months that you never thought was possible, make life-long friends with classmates and land a job as a Software Engineer after graduation. I must emphasize one thing, however - this is not an easy program! You get what you put into it.
Every instructor that I had the pleasure of working with at the Flatiron School were passionate, patient, and knowledgeable individuals who helped shape my programming skills throughout the program. The culture that the instructors instill onto the students is something that I cannot put into words. The school also does a phenomenal job in accepting students who align with the culture. Every person in my class comes from different backgrounds but we all had one thing in common - we all wanted to see each other succeed. This was mirrored by the instructors. It was obvious that they enjoyed watching us grow from newbies to full fledged engineers. The instructors made the course enjoyable but intense at the same time. It is quite clear that Flatiron School does not just hire anyone to be an instructor. They are not only knowledgeable but also can effectively communicate with the students. I also appreciated the fact that their responses to my questions allowed me to discover the answer on my own but with careful guidance; helping to build the underlying fundamental skill every programmer must develop, problem-solving.
Week 1 - Ruby
Week 2 - Rails
Week 4 - React
Week 5 - Computer Science/Specializations
I felt that the curriculum overall was fantastic. The Learn.co platform and its IDE is built from the ground up and designed specifically for students to learn. This alone puts the Flatiron School ahead of the boot camp race because the platform is so intuitive and conducive to learning.
That being said, I took one star off in this category because I feel that the curriculum's Computer Science module didn't live up to my expecations. We learned a bit about data structures and algorithms, but not quite to the level that potential employers expect. From my experience, many employers expect a baseline knowledge when it comes to these fundamentals, and so I spent a huge chunk of time learning these topics on my own. This is the one aspect of Flatiron School that I think needs to improve. However, if you are willing to read and work through Cracking The Coding Interview or Interview Cake or through any other interview books/resources, you will be fine.
I am amazed by how smoothly and efficiently Flatiron School is with assisting graduates to land their first role. As a graduate, I worked with several members of the business development team whose primary focus is to build and cultivate connections with companies. Once I officially began my search, I was receiving 3-4 introductions to companies a week! These introductions were with engineers, recruiters, and HR reps at the respective companies. It is quite overwhelming but in a good way! This is also why the Flatiron School assigns a Job Coach/Mentor to you who will guide you throughout the entire process. From building my resume to strategically structuring my LinkedIn profile, to mock interviews, to negotiating, to mitigating interview anxieties, my Job Coach was there every step of the way.
I can't be thankful enough to the Flatiron School and how they changed my life!
Top notch program, from beginning to end, including the job assistance from my couselor Katie. I was in the Learn.co, online program as I needed flexiblilty and it all worked out perfectly, completed in about 6.5 months. It's was hard work, no doubt about it but I never felt like it was undoable because the assistance was always there, quick and just one message away, plus the opportunity to live pair program if you needed more in depth help or guiadance. I graduated and definitely felt ready and prepared to enter the job market. Alongside my counselor, I found a job with an amazing and ideal company for myself in just about 3 months...Today my deal was finalized and I'm just reflecting on many things along with just being grateful that I was able to be a part of this program at Flatiron..Changed my life.
Amazing program, you learn so much so fast. Everyone from fellow students to instructors want nothing more than to see you succeed.
It really is hard work and day to day you will leave each day exhausted but recharged the next morning. After graduation is an uncertain time, but you need to stay busy with personal projects and expanding on everything you have learned. The job market is very competitive, don't expect to be guaranteed a job just for graduating. You have to continue to build your skills.
Just a pre-emptive note that, since I'm still an active student, I cannot comment on the efficacy of their job assistance.
So, I've noticed that many of the "most helpful" reviews are 1 to 2 star reviews from anonymous users stating that the curriculum is disorganized, their job reports are falsified, etc. After 11 weeks in the program, I can safely say that many of these are either trolls or people who are flat-out lazy. The curriculum is "disorganized" in the sense that you won't have instructors breathing down your neck to complete your labs; they expect that you're a functioning human being with an actual work ethic and desire to learn. The only things that are mandatory are lectures that help to reinforce what is learned from the labs and group projects that, again, help to reinforce what was learned in the three week module.
The program is amazing, but it's a lot of work in a short amount of time. To put it bluntly, if you aren't 100% dedicated, you won't make it.
After evaluating all the options for coding boot camps I decided on Flatiron. The comprehensive curriculum and learn at your own pace were attractive to me. As is the job-guarantee. I was confident I could get done quickly and save myself some cash along the way, which I did.
Career services post graduation was top notch. In addition, I have access to this resource for as long as Flatiron exists (I think they'll be around a while).
One of the biggest things that impress developers I've spoken with about the program is the Test Driven Development built into the curriculum. Every lab has tests that must be passed to move forward. I can say I learned in a TDD & BDD environment which is something most other boot camps DO NOT do. Telling someone I have read thousands of tests is a big plus to a lot of employers.
I really enjoyed my time in the program and even though I have now achieved a full-time developer position I still run study groups part time as a Teaching Assistant. The community was such a big part of my success and I enjoy giving back to it, yes I know I get paid but still.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Bootcamp Prep and highly recommend it. To me, the one standout feature was the Learn IDE. I have tried a variety of free programming courses online covering a variety of languages; generally, most expect the student to set up their own development environment or to use an online interpreter. However, Flatiron provides its own IDE (a customized Atom editor) that is fully integrated with the course.
When I finish coding a lesson assignment, I simply type "learn" into the Learn IDE's terminal to run tests on my code to check if it fulfills the assignment. Once I pass all the tests, I type "learn submit" which pushes my code to GitHub. Now, when I switch back to the Learn.co website, I see the lesson is already marked as complete. My "offline" progress on my computer is automatically synced with my Flatiron Learn.co account.
Beyond the amazing user experience, I greatly appreciated how closely this system matches how a real programmer works. The Learn IDE is based on Atom, a very popular editor used by actual programmers. The use of this IDE helps build foundational skills and familiarity in subjects rarely found in “Introductory”-type courses. You gain familiarity with project folders and their structure. You get a first look at GitHub and gain some (simplified) exposure to a Git workflow.
The big bonus was exposure to running test cases. The Bootcamp Prep lessons come with tests written in real testing frameworks (Mocha and RSpec). Many lessons encourage you to run the tests first before writing any code to see what test fail and use this information to help formulate your code. This is good practice for writing code and this prep course helps build some early familiar with test driven development/behavior driven development.
These aspects really helped set the Flatiron Bootcamp Prep course apart for me. It is a high quality course when considering the lesson content alone. But the inclusion and integration of the Learn IDE really propelled it to another level. The Bootcamp Prep punches far above its weight for a prep or introductory course
Our latest on Flatiron School
Yes, we get it – most high-salary industries need more diverse workers, and tech is no exception. But while the conversation about diversity in tech usually focuses on gender, diversity encompasses racial, socioeconomic, cognitive, and experiential differences. Think pieces and diversity reports show large tech companies admitting they have a problem and beginning to address the diversity in tech crisis, but do we really believe change is coming? Even if companies make public commitments to hiring more diverse candidates for technical positions, is the pipeline strong enough to fuel those hiring commitments? As we track non-traditional routes to tech at Course Report, it’s clear that talented, diverse coding bootcamp grads can fill that pipeline and play a role in shifting the demographics of the US tech industry.Continue Reading →
Is learning to code on your 2018 New Year’s Resolutions List? It should be! There will be 1 million more computing jobs than applicants who can fill them by 2020. And a coding bootcamp could be just what you need to make a fresh start in 2018 as a developer. We’ve compiled a list of 16 full-time, part-time, in-person and online coding bootcamps which have upcoming cohorts starting in January and February 2018. Most of these have approaching application deadlines, so submit yours quickly if you want to get a head start in 2018!Continue Reading →
In our End of Year Podcast, we're rounding up the most interesting news of 2017 and covering all the trends, thought pieces, controversies and more. Many schools are hitting their 5 year anniversaries – a reminder that although there is a lot going on in this industry, it’s still nascent and there is still room for new innovative approaches to the bootcamp model. We’ve chosen the most defining stories, and it was a very eventful year – a couple of big bootcamps closed, a ton of new bootcamps launched, some schools were acquired, and other bootcamps raised money.Continue Reading →
On the Course Report Coding Bootcamp News Roundup, we keep you up to date with the blossoming coding bootcamp industry. This November, we're covering the WeWork/Flatiron School acquisition, over $2M in funding to various bootcamps, and why tech is booming in "Heartland" cities. Of course we also look at new schools, new campuses, and our favorite pieces to work on this month for the Course Report blog! Plus, is The Iron Yard back from the dead? Read the summary or listen to the podcast.Continue Reading →
Pedro Acosta was a security guard training with the NYPD when he realized a career in software development would allow him to really excel and stimulate his mind like never before. Pedro quit the NYPD training and chose to learn part-time with Flatiron School’s Online Web Developer Program so that he could continue working full-time. See how Flatiron School helped Pedro prepare for the job search, how he landed his first developer internship at an artificial intelligence company (and turned it into a full-time position!), and read his tips on how to move up in the ranks and land a full-time developer role after a coding bootcamp!
What was your educational and career background before Flatiron School?
Prior to coding, I was pursuing a career with the New York Police Department. I graduated from John Jay College with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. At some point during my process with the NYPD, I realized joining the force wasn't for me. I wanted to look for something that would help me stimulate my mind in a way I never had before. After I became familiar with programming through a family friend, I never looked back and never regretted leaving the career I once wanted and initially went to college for.
Why did you want to change career paths and attend a coding bootcamp?
While I was working in security, I was also on the path to becoming an NYPD officer, which is a three-year process. I was towards the end of the process, but I realized that the organization does not allow people to prosper and excel. It’s a system that doesn’t care about the individual unless you have ties with those in upper management. My recruitment process was held poorly, so that turned me away and made me want to switch careers. I was also working in security at the time and felt the same experience of just being another number.
One day I got in contact with a manager at Trello, and we had a 40-minute conversation about possible careers in the tech industry, including programming. We talked about how software development is a promising career, people are excelling, and it could be a lot of fun. Once I did more research on Flatiron School, I saw that it was the best choice and from there I haven’t looked back.
How did you first learn about the coding bootcamp model? Did you consider other coding bootcamps?
While I was in the process of joining the NYPD, I was working as a security guard for a building and one of the tenants in the building was a tech company called Trello. One day a manager invited me up and told me about the many opportunities in programming. They gave me some recommendations and suggested some educational platforms to get me started. One of these platforms was Flatiron School. The manager explained how it was easier to go through a bootcamp than to go back to college to get a traditional degree. I also knew a few people who had graduated from bootcamps and became developers and engineers. I followed their recommendation and also did a lot of research in order to get a better idea of what it would take to become a programmer.
There weren’t many other online bootcamps when I was applying. Everything else I saw was in-person and it would’ve been too much to give up work altogether. Online worked perfectly for me, and it was self-paced. There was no deadline for when I needed to be finished – I could finish in a year or three months, and that was more appealing to me than anything else. I also applied to Startup Institute, but they canceled the course twice and I felt Flatiron School was more prepared.
What else attracted you to Flatiron School’s online program?
When I researched other bootcamps, Flatiron School stood out amongst the other options. The price was out of my range, but then I realized they also had an online program which had a tuition model that worked for me. I was one of the first students to apply to the online program and the structure was perfect for what I was looking for. It allowed me to work but get the same education and experience as a full-time student. I applied, I completed Flatiron’s free prep course, I got in, and ever since then I’ve been pretty happy!
When I first found out about Flatiron, they had just released a beta version of the online course and were accepting applications from students with little to no experience. As someone who graduated with a degree that was unrelated to technology or programming, that made me feel more comfortable. I felt like this could be something I could do and decided to do the free prep course before applying. I really enjoyed what I learned in the prep course and decided to go for the full program.
Since you kept working while doing Flatiron School online, how many hours a week were you able to study?
I started the course in December 2015 and I completed it in September 2016, while also working as a security officer. The amount of time spent studying varied based on my work schedule for the week. My position was on-call hours, so on average I spent 40 to 55 hours a week studying for Flatiron School – I wish I could’ve put in more but it worked out well. Self-paced learning was awesome. I never felt overwhelmed with work and going to school. It was still challenging and took a lot of time, but it was fun.
What was the online learning experience like at Flatiron School? How were the days structured and how did the instructors deliver the material?
It was a great curriculum and I thought it was organized very well. Flatiron School set it up in a way that allows people to feel good about themselves when they complete a lesson and mark off achievements in the curriculum. When I started it was fairly new so they were continually experimenting and evaluating student responses and feedback to figure out what was best for the students.
Since this is self-paced you could be stuck on the same project or lab for a couple of days – there’s no way around a lesson if you want to continue through the curriculum. There were times where I would struggle, but I knew I could contact other students or instructors for help through the Flatiron Slack channel. There’s also a button on the portal where you can let others know you’re struggling with a concept, and someone will help you out.
The way the curriculum was structured was very informative. I didn’t really need to go outside of the course to solve problems – even though I did, it wasn’t necessary. The Flatiron course provided enough information and there was more than enough help to get through every lab and every problem without needing to rely on extra sources.
What is your favorite project that you built at Flatiron School?
There was one project in particular that I was pretty excited about that I put a lot of time into – it was a baseball app. I play baseball and the website we use sucks, so I wanted to create something that we could use in the future. It tracked tracks, schedules, and rosters. I used Ruby for the back end and Angular for the front end.
How did Flatiron School prepare you for job hunting? What advice do you have for other online bootcampers going through the job search?
Flatiron School did a lot to help me with the job search. They helped fix up my resume, change my Linkedin profile, build cover letters, create cold emails, prepare for technical interviews, and more. It was pretty intense so it was almost like there was no excuse to not get a job.
For every company you apply to, reach out and send a cold email to a developer or hiring manager there. Don’t be afraid to do that. Also, go to a lot of meetups as you’ll make connections there. There are a lot of nice people out there who are willing to help fellow graduates.
Tell us about your job at CraneAI and how you found it! How long have you been there now?
I applied online to CraneAI a couple months after I finished Flatiron School. I went on a few interviews and got hired as an intern working in ReactJS for three months. I’m now a full-time Full Stack Engineer with CraneAI and have been in this role since July. I can't speak too much about what we currently do, but I can say we are an artificial intelligence (AI) company and the majority of my work has been around ReactJS. At first, it was very challenging, and one of the hardest things I’ve gone through in my life. There were nights when some of us slept here in the office! Now I’m way more comfortable so I don’t have to put in as many hours. CraneAI is a relatively new company and I was their second hire – we have about 12 developers on the team now.
Any advice for bootcamp students who are interns looking to get the promotion into a full-time role?
Be willing to accept different challenges and projects. Expect to fail. You’re going to fail every single day and that’s what I do every day. I’m comfortable with that, but I also have the willingness to learn. When you put in enough hours to work and have the willingness to want to grow, people are going to see that. When they see that, they know you are on the right path by being a good part of the team and they’ll want to help you out. Work hard and try not to get discouraged. If you don’t know something, ask. Your team is there to get through problems together.
Are you using the same programming languages in your role?
What is it like being a new software developer joining a small startup team? How has CraneAI been helpful to your first employer after a bootcamp?
I’ve never worked at a tech company before, but CraneAI is a lot of fun. We spend a lot of time with each other outside of work and there are a lot of experienced engineers and role models from whom I get great advice.
Even if I struggle, they put me into projects to help build my skills so that I can become comfortable enough to work on more intense, challenging projects. This team, in particular, has a lot of young guys. I’m one of the older employees at 25, so some people are more familiar with technology and I’m learning a lot from them. I ask a ton of questions all day long, and I’ve already learned a lot because there are so many opportunities for me to excel. Once my team puts me on the right path and I’m there, I’m very grateful. Everyone is very supportive and we all get along. It’s a great environment to grow as a developer.
From creating that project at Flatiron to getting the internship to now being a full-time developer, how do you feel like you’ve grown?
My skills have grown a lot compared to back then, but even now I still feel like I don’t know anything. There are so many things to learn. I try not to compare what I know now from before, but I like to see how much I don’t know to humble myself to see how much more I need to grow.
Do you feel you took anything from your experience studying to be a police officer or working as a security officer that helped you in your journey of learning to code?
Yes, working as a police officer requires you to constantly be aware of your surroundings and pay attention to details. This helped me with programming as I was familiar with having to research and mentally force myself to write efficient code.
Would you have been able to get to this place in your life if you hadn’t gone to Flatiron School?
No, not at all. Flatiron School supplied me with a fundamental grasp of programming and there’s no way I would’ve been able to do this without them.
What’s been the biggest challenge or roadblock in your journey to learn to code?
Making adjustments from going from back end to front end was one. Also, it’s challenging to explain what I’m trying to do in a technical sense. There’s certain terminology used that I wasn’t familiar with because I did an online bootcamp. Some tech terms were thrown at me that I didn’t at first get, so communication was a challenge at some points.
What advice do you have for our readers who are making a career change through a coding bootcamp?
Don’t be afraid to fail. If you’re not happy with your current situation regardless of what career you’re in, leave. There are so many opportunities out there, like programming, where you can put in a few months of effort to learn. There are many chances to excel and create a new career. Continue to push yourself and good things will happen.
Could you share why you’re thankful for code?
I am thankful for coding for giving me an opportunity to pursue something greater than myself. It has given me a new career and the ability to continue to grow not only as a programmer but as a person.
One of the challenges that bootcamps face and have really taken head-on is building diverse classrooms. If you’ve looked at demographics research, you know that tech is not diverse – and that means everything from a lack of racial to gender to cognitive diversity. But a lot of bootcamps are doing interesting things in this realm, around scholarships, community outreach, and partnerships with local government to get into untapped communities and train people with a lot of potential but little access to tech. On today’s podcast, we explore how one bootcamp, Flatiron School, approaches diversity in their cohorts.Continue Reading →
October 2017 was a busy month for the coding bootcamp industry with news about growing pains in bootcamp outcomes, mergers, acquisitions, investments, a trend towards bootcamp B2B training, and diversity initiatives. To help you out, we’ve collected all the most important news in this blog post and podcast. Plus, we added 12 new schools from around the world to the Course Report school directory! Read below or listen to our latest Coding Bootcamp News Roundup Podcast.Continue Reading →
Learning to code is tough when you’re a beginner. There is so much information to sort through and it can feel like you’ll never learn enough to become a legitimate developer. But if you know what to expect before you start, then you’ll be prepared for these inevitable challenges. Flatiron School dean and co-founder Avi Flombaum taught himself to code, and went through the same struggles that beginner coders face today. We asked Avi to share the 4 crucial obstacles beginners face when learning to code and how you can overcome them!Continue Reading →
Need a rundown of everything that happened in the coding bootcamp industry this September? You’re in luck! We’ve collected all the most important news in this blog post and podcast. This month, we kept up with the status of the bootcamp industry, learned about how bootcamps are thriving in smaller markets, and explored different ways to pay for bootcamp. Plus, we added 7 new schools from around the world to the Course Report school directory! Read below or listen to our latest Coding Bootcamp News Roundup Podcast.Continue Reading →
Why do journalists and industry leaders think that two coding bootcamps are closing? And despite these “shutdowns,” why do companies like IBM still want to hire coding bootcamp graduates? We’re covering all of the industry news from August. Plus, a $3 billion GI Bill that covers coding bootcamps for veterans, why Google and Amazon are partnering with bootcamps, and diversity initiatives. Listen to our podcast or read the full August 2017 News Roundup below.Continue Reading →
What were you up to before Flatiron School?
My background was drastically different before starting at Flatiron School. I received my BA and MA from Xavier University in Theology, and previously served as a professional college campus minister for a local, private Catholic University.
What motivated you to change career paths and do a coding bootcamp?
While I loved working in ministry, I hit a point where it started to become repetitive and unchallenging. I did some soul searching, and turned to another passion of mine – technology. In the past, I had learned some very basic HTML and CSS in my downtime, so I had somewhat of a foundation, albeit a small one. I decided that a future as a software developer would be both an exciting challenge and the best career path for my growing family.
Campus Minister to Software Developer: that’s quite a career change! Has your previous background as a campus minister been useful in your new job in tech?
I’d say the biggest skill that has carried over is understanding how people feel, behave, think, and act, and being able to effectively communicate this understanding with them. It’s really crucial for any job, if you think about it. However, making a career switch amplifies the need and importance for such communication.
Did you research other coding bootcamps or did you have your heart set on Flatiron School?
Yes, I did research other schools. I took part in a couple of other informational webinars prior to investigating Flatiron School. However, Flatiron’s approach to education, their commitment to community, and their breadth of curriculum won me over.
Why did you choose to learn online instead of attending an in-person bootcamp in Cincinnati?
Being able to learn online was a key factor for me in my research process. I wasn’t able to drop everything and move away from my family for a few months to do an in-person bootcamp. While there may have been some in-person opportunities in Cincinnati, none of them were with Flatiron School, nor were they as affordable. And again, I wasn’t in a position to be able to immediately quit my job as a campus minister and do the bootcamp full-time. So online it was.
Yes, learning online was daunting at first. I had never taken an online course before – all my previous education was face-to-face. And yes, it was a risk for me. I didn’t know how I would adjust to such a change in learning style and environment along with such a big change in content (ministry vs. tech). However, it didn’t take long for me to realize that Flatiron School was so uniquely set up to accommodate people in similar positions as myself. The online community of fellow Learn-ers (Learn is the name Flatiron School’s online platform) and instructors made the transition smoother than I anticipated. I definitely believe that without them, I wouldn’t have been as successful.
Since Flatiron’s online program is self-paced, how long did it take you to complete the course?
When I started Flatiron School, I was still working in my previous career. Thankfully my superiors were incredibly understanding, so they let me go down to part-time so that I could do Flatiron part-time. I learned at this pace for a few months, then went to full-time learning when my contract was up (I was a 10-month employee, off during the summer). By the time I graduated, I was a student for 9 months – 3 part-time, and 6 full-time.
Is there something you’ve discovered every Flatiron School online student must do to be successful?
First and foremost, don’t be afraid to ask for help! There will most certainly be times when you get stumped to the point of wanting to throw your computer across the room. Fight that instinct, and use your better judgement – consult the Flatiron School community. No matter the difficulty of the question, an instructor or fellow student is always willing to lend a hand. This degree of attention was a lifesaver for me, and shows how much everyone at Flatiron cares about your success. Some people may be able to do it alone, but you’ll be missing out. Even just having casual conversation with the community can give you a different perspective and will definitely reinforce your love for coding!
How supported did you feel by instructors and other students at Flatiron School?
I really felt valued not only as a student, but also as a person in general. Aside from the help with the coursework as I previously stated, the community at Flatiron School held regular weekly check-ins to see how we were overall – we could share highs, lows, or anything we wanted the community to know. It’s an open and accepting place that made me feel like I truly belonged.
How is Flatiron School different from the other online resources you’ve used in the past?
I’ve tried some courses on Codecademy. The major difference is the quality of the content. On Codecademy, it wasn’t difficult to get a hint or even the full solution if you ran into a roadblock. It wasn’t a challenge. However, with Flatiron School, the quality of the curriculum is evident. In turn, you really have to put in some effort to match the curriculum. There isn’t a “hint” button. You have to do the work in order to move on and eventually be successful. It’s a great mirror of life in general, come to think of it. Those free online resources can be good to supplement your studies, but I wouldn’t advise relying solely on them.
Because you’re based in Cincinnati, how did Flatiron School help you find a job despite living in a slightly smaller job market?
I’ll admit there were some moments during my search when I wished I lived in a larger tech hub like New York or Chicago. But my career coach gave me some great networking advice and strategies which put my mind at ease. She was confident that I’d find a job and remain eligible for Flatiron School’s money-back Job Guarantee.
Throughout Flatiron School, I had two mock interviews: a cultural/HR interview and a technical interview. Even though I had been through many interviews in the past, they were a great experience and gave me some useful feedback to better myself for actual interviews. My advice to bootcampers, whether in tech hub cities or not, is to network. Get yourself out there – attend meetups, schedule informal coffee meetings, go to conferences. In my experience, the leads you’ll gain through networking are far higher quality than simply emailing a resume/cold applying for a job.
Tell us about your new job! What is CRäKN and what’s your role there?
I’m a software developer with CRäKN. CRäKN develops proprietary software for the death care industry, a.k.a software for funeral homes and directors. “Interesting…” you may be thinking. But, everyone needs software, and CRäKN helps the death care industry manage and simplify their daily operations.
What are you working on day-to-day? Is this what you expected when making a career change into tech?
I work primarily on the back-end, in Ruby and Ruby on Rails, but I do occasionally help out on the front-end using EmberJS. I help tackle issues with our app as they arise, and assist in adding new features, too. It’s a great mix. I couldn’t be happier at CRäKN. We’re small, less than 10 developers, which I really appreciate for my first job in tech. My team is very willing to help, which is beyond encouraging for someone new to the field.
Did you learn everything you needed to know for this job at Flatiron School or has there been a learning curve?
I’d say Flatiron School prepared me about 75-80% for my current job. That’s really what I was expecting, too. Each company isn’t going to be exactly like the bootcamp’s curriculum. In my case, the complexity of our Rails app is much higher than anything I had seen before, plus the use of EmberJS required some extra learning. But, as previously said, my team didn’t expect me to know everything right away. So the short answer is yes – there has been an expected learning curve.
How did you get your job in the end?
What’s been the biggest challenge or roadblock in your journey to learn to code?
For me, the dreaded “imposter syndrome” has been my biggest challenge. It may stem from my own personality, but I constantly fight the feeling that I’m not living up to someone’s expectations, comparing myself to others, and thinking that I need to be on the same level as others. When I hit these moments, I try to decompress and talk myself down, realizing that 1) I have a job, so someone must believe in my skills, and 2) If I do the that best I can do, that’s all anybody who cares really wants.
Have you stayed involved with Flatiron School?
I try to check in with the community on Slack whenever I get the chance, either to say how things are going or offer help if I can.
What advice do you have for people making a career change through a coding bootcamp?
Trust yourself and don’t be afraid. If you choose to go the Flatiron route, you’ll find a welcoming community who can make your dream of a career in tech a reality. Is it a risk? Of course! But, for me and likely for you, the reward is worth it! Oh, and good luck and happy coding!
Need a summary of news about coding bootcamps from July 2017? Course Report has just what you need! We’ve put together the most important news and developments in this blog post and podcast. In July, we read about the closure of two major coding bootcamps, we dived into a number of new industry reports, we heard some student success stories, we read about new investments in bootcamps, and we were excited to hear about more diversity initiatives. Plus we round up all the new campuses and new coding bootcamps around the world.Continue Reading →
With the closing of Dev Bootcamp (slated for December 8, 2017), you’re probably wondering what other coding bootcamp options are out there. Dev Bootcamp changed thousands of lives, and built a great reputation with employers, so we are sad to see it go. Fortunately, there are still plenty of quality coding bootcamps in the cities where Dev Bootcamp operated. Here is a list of coding bootcamps with similar lengths, time commitments, and curriculums in the six cities where Dev Bootcamp had campuses: Austin, Chicago, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle.Continue Reading →
Missed any news about coding bootcamps from June 2017? Course Report is here for you! We’ve compiled the most important news and developments in this blog post and podcast. In June, we heard John Oliver and Megyn Kelly talk about bootcamps, we read about new investments in bootcamps, a number of newspapers wrote about the impact bootcamps are having at a local level, and we were excited to hear about more diversity initiatives and scholarships. Plus we round up all the new campuses and new coding bootcamps around the world.Continue Reading →
So you want to land a job after coding bootcamp? The statistics are on your side – 73% of bootcampers report being employed as developers after graduation. But did you know that many coding bootcamps go one step further and offer a job guarantee? We’ve put together a list of in-person and online coding bootcamps in the USA and around the world which offer guaranteed job placement. And don’t get caught off guard by the details – we’ve also included specifics about job guarantee tuition refunds, conditions, and tips to help you work out if a job guarantee coding bootcamp is right for you.Continue Reading →
Need an overview of coding bootcamp news in May? You’re in the right place! We’ve collected all the most important news in this blog post and podcast. This month, we read about a number of insightful surveys about employers, programming languages, and learners. We read advice about choosing a bootcamp, learned about efforts to encourage women and veterans to learn to code, and heard about student experiences at bootcamp. Plus, we added a bunch of interesting new schools to the Course Report school directory! Read below or listen to our latest Coding Bootcamp News Roundup Podcast.Continue Reading →
Learning at an online coding bootcamp means you may not meet face-to-face with your instructor, so we’re introducing you to Peter Bell, the Lead Instructor at Flatiron School’s Online Web Developer Program. Peter was already a big fan of Flatiron School when he joined the team in 2016, bringing extensive programming experience, and a background teaching at Columbia Business School and Github. Peter tells us how Flatiron School’s online program differs from the on-campus bootcamp, how he and the online team communicate with remote students around the country, and how his team continues to add new material to the curriculum.
Tell us about your background and experience in programming.
I studied a technical topic – I took a BEng/MEng in Electronic, Communications and Computer Systems engineering, but then I became a therapist, ran a sales training company and built an ad agency. I didn’t start programming professionally until five years after college when I started building CD-ROM product catalogs and trade show demos for clients in the mid-'90s.
Since you didn’t study computer science at college, how did you learn to code?
My college course didn’t include much coding (some Pascal), but I started programming as a kid in Basic on a Commodore Vic 20, and while in high school I went to a local community college in the evenings to learn to program in C. Later, I learned to program professionally using Visual Basic, ColdFusion, and Ruby, by selling apps to people and then figuring out how to code them!
How did you become aware of the bootcamp model? Did you need to be convinced of the effectiveness of this education style?
I know a lot of people in the industry and have always been convinced that we needed to improve the effectiveness of education. In fact, I quit college just before graduating because I didn’t believe a degree was a good way of determining how smart or capable someone was.
What made you excited to work at Flatiron School in particular? And why did you want to work in online education?
I know people running many of the top bootcamps and have always been a huge fan of what Flatiron School Co-Founder Avi Flombaum and the team are doing. They really care about changing lives and continuing to innovate – from working with underserved groups to providing independently-audited job reports. I also believe they have the perfect setup with a single physical campus for experimentation and a real investment in their online program.
What is your role as Lead Online Instructor?
I’m responsible for figuring out how we can help our online students be successful. I do that by hiring and managing a team of Section Leads, Program Mentors, and Technical Coaches who help the students with onboardings, live lectures, group check-ins, office hours, 1:1’s, accountability sessions and on-demand technical coaching to help them to stay engaged and learn to code as quickly and effectively as possible.
How many instructors, TAs and/or mentors are available to the Flatiron online students? And in what locations are they based?
The exact number of instructional staff changes pretty quickly as we’re growing the online program very fast, but we have over 20 people involved in providing instruction and support to our online students. It’s a “remote first” team so we have people from Seattle to Florida and from Tennessee to New York City.
What sort of teaching experience do you have? What is different about teaching at an online coding bootcamp compared with that prior experience?
Before I joined Flatiron School, I already had a bunch of experience with both online and in-person education. I taught digital literacy at Columbia Business School, have created materials for a number of different bootcamps, wrote a book for O’Reilly, created a video series for Pearson, and have presented at technical conferences around the world. For a number of years, I was also the only contract member of the GitHub, providing online and in-person Git and GitHub training to organizations around the world.
The biggest difference with creating educational materials and teaching online is that, generally, you get less feedback from students, so it’s important to be teaching materials that you have experience teaching in-person so you know how to present the material and the kinds of questions that are likely to come up. It’s also really important to think carefully about how best to engage students so they’re actively participating rather than just watching/listening.
How do you teach concepts through the online platform? How does this compare to teaching students in-person at Flatiron School?
Flatiron’s in-person NYC Software Engineering Immersive is great. You get to be in a room all day, every day with people all looking to change their lives by learning to code. It’s intensive, focused and if you have the time to do it, it is a wonderful way to learn to code in a highly structured environment.
On the other hand, Flatiron’s Online Web Developer Program provides students with the ability to learn on their schedule. In addition to reading text and watching videos, they get to work on labs so they can learn to code by writing code. And instead of just coding in a browser, throughout the course, they get introduced gently to all of the tools that professional developers use – from the command line and text editors to Git and GitHub. In addition, we have Technical Coaches available from 9am to 1am EST every day to help them when they get stuck and over 20 live lectures and office hour sessions every week where they can connect with and learn from the Section Leads and their peers. They also have the flexibility to go at their own pace and to live and work anywhere, rather than having to quit their jobs and move to NYC.
What unique challenges does teaching to a remote class present?
The biggest issue is getting feedback from students and helping them to keep coding when life gets in the way. As such, we are working on a number of accountability programs to make it easier for students to stay on track.
How do students communicate with other students and instructors?
We have both staff and student Slack channels and typically use some combination of Zoom, Screenhero, Slack and Google Hangouts for video chats and screen sharing.
Can you tell me about the upcoming changes to the online program?
We already have a great platform (our Learn.co “online campus") and a proven full-stack web development curriculum, so we’re continuing to look at how we can add educational services for our online students. We are continually launching new experiments to see how best we can help students to fit their studies in with their lives. Right now, we’re offering personalized onboarding calls with all new students to help them to succeed and are offering 30- and 60-day check-ins to make sure they’re making the progress they need, and to connect them with the resources they require.
What are the reasons for these changes?
Many of our students are already succeeding, graduating quickly, and getting great junior developer positions. However, we find that with a self-paced program, some students have trouble staying motivated and engaged when they get busy, so we’re working on a range of programs to try to help every single student to graduate in a reasonable amount of time.
How will these changes better prepare students to get jobs as developers?
Our graduates are not having any problems getting jobs (in fact, we recently released an online jobs report), so we’re just really focused on helping our students to graduate more quickly. We also continue to add new optional curriculum and live lectures on topics like algorithms and Test Driven Development so the students are ready to ace technical interviews and work successfully on high performing agile teams at the best companies.
How are you involved in those changes? In general, how are you involved in iterating on the online bootcamp curriculum?
As a team, we spend a lot of time talking to students and thinking about experiments we can run to help them to succeed even more quickly. My main role is to help the team organize the experiments, operationalize the winners, and learn from the experiments that don’t perform as expected. We have a whole separate curriculum team, so the instructional team does provide feedback on the content students are struggling with, but the curriculum team is actually responsible for improving the content.
Can you tell us about the ideal student for Flatiron School’s online bootcamp? Is there a certain type of student who does well in the class?
The ideal student really wants to learn to code, can find at least 20 hours a week to work on the program and is open to using tools like Slack and Zoom to connect with other students and instructors for encouragement and support.
Tell us about your biggest student success story!
It’s hard to choose just one when so many of our students are really committing to changing their lives by learning to code! You can read about how Kailee, Gabe, Shana, and Savannah reinvented their careers in very different ways on the Flatiron blog. People take the Flatiron School Online Web Developer Program for many different reasons.
How are you involved with giving career advice/helping students find jobs?
We have a whole separate team of career coaches who are responsible for helping our students to find and land great jobs – though I do have a lot to share about how to effectively build a career in tech.
What’s the goal for a student who completes the bootcamp?
The goal for the program is to give someone the skills to get a great job as a junior developer. Generally the difference between a junior and more senior developer is the number of years they’ve spent working full time on production applications, so the best way to become a senior developer is to get a job as a junior developer and then to keep on coding and learning for a few years!
For our readers who are beginners, what online resources do you recommend for aspiring bootcampers?
We know that the majority of graduates are finding jobs after coding bootcamp, but what happens in their careers two years down the line? Flatiron School recently surveyed more than 150 alumni who graduated 1 to 4 years ago to find out how their careers have progressed. We asked Flatiron School’s VP of Career Services, Rebekah Rombom, what coding bootcampers can expect their career trajectories to look like, and how they can position themselves for raises and promotions. Watch the video or read the summary.Continue Reading →
In the summertime, when the weather is hot... it’s a great time to learn to code! If you’re a current college (or high school) student, teacher, or professional looking to enhance your coding skills, a summer coding bootcamp can be a great opportunity to learn new skills in about three months. Many coding bootcamps offer summer course offerings to help you become more tech savvy and get you to that next level to launch a new career in tech. Check out your options below and transform your summer vacation into something far more productive in 2017.Continue Reading →
Flatiron School has been educating web developers in their NYC Software Engineering Immersive since 2012. But as technology and job markets evolve, Flatiron School’s education team felt the need to revamp their approach as well. We discussed these changes with VP of Education Joe Burgess, to better understand what these changes mean for students. Our takeaways? A longer, more flexible modular curriculum, regular student assessments, and greater focus on computer science and technical concentrations.
The most important change to a student may be the length- why did Flatiron School decide to extend its NYC Software Engineering Immersive to 15 weeks?
Honestly, four years ago when we started Flatiron School, we decided on 12 weeks and it worked well for our curriculum. Over the past four years, we've iterated and tried to squeeze more and more out of those 12 weeks. As this industry is maturing, one amazing thing that’s happened is that employers are demanding more from their junior engineers. The Flatiron developers have been increasing the caliber of junior engineers.
In our opinion, 12 weeks just isn't long enough to be able to create incredibly elite, high-quality junior engineers. Of course, we know that moving from 12 to 15 weeks is not a small consideration, but I think it's the right balance of time, depth, and breadth for our NYC program.
What are you able to add to the curriculum with those extra 3 weeks?
With those additional weeks, we’ll be able to add on project-based technical concentrations, in which students go really deep into a topic that interests them. Our Career Services team has been placing students for four years now, and we know what moves the needle– having a concentration in a particular topic is one of those things. The additional time also allows us to add a Product Series, so we can help students become well-rounded product engineers that understand there's more to being an amazing engineer than just slinging code. You have to understand how businesses work, how to solve problems, how to conduct user research, and how to work in a team, etc.
As we continue to talk to employers and to our alums who are thinking about their entire careers– their second, third, or fourth jobs– our alumni always say that they really wish they had gotten more Computer Science education, so we're building that into the 15 weeks as well.
Do you think that longer class time is a trend that we're going to see in coding bootcamps?
I would hope so. 12 weeks just isn't enough, and as much as I am really proud of how much we're able to squeeze out of 12 weeks in the immersive format, there are limits. I think many 12-week bootcamps will probably be making a move to a longer format. We believe that the return on investment of three extra weeks will be seen in better jobs and faster placement.
What do the new three-week rolling start dates mean for students?
This is really exciting. The three-week rolling start dates mean that we’re able to modularize our curriculum into five, three-week modules.
- Module 1: Programming fundamentals (Ruby, HTML & CSS)
- Module 2: Web Frameworks (Sinatra and Rails)
- Module 4: Front-end Frameworks (React & Redux)
- Module 5: Technical Concentrations (Databases, Performance, React Native, or a deeper dive into the Front-end)
Prospective students can take a closer look at these topics in our syllabus. At the end of every module, students will get two chances at an assessment to figure out how well they know the material before moving onto more material.
Why are you adding assessments to the curriculum?
Right now, Flatiron does not do regular assessments, and that can make it somewhat tough for students to know where they are in the curriculum. With these changes, in each module you’ll also get an initial assessment. If you pass it, you’ll go into a project for the last week of the module. If a student doesn’t pass the assessment on the first round, we will put together a customized learning plan and some extra instructional support to make sure they really understand it before moving on. If they still struggle with the assessment, then we let them repeat the full module at no extra cost. Assessments give us some flexibility as educators to tailor the course for every student where we weren't able to do before. It just felt fair.
Does that mean that a student can now technically fail out of Flatiron School?
Yeah, that is a big difference. Right now, we graduate nearly everyone and give extra help to people who need it, but we're not set up to really help people who end up coming in with a bit less experience. So instead of waiting 12 weeks before having a conversation with someone that says, "Hey, you're going to need to buckle down if you want to succeed," we're going to start having those conversations two weeks into your class. If a student fails an assessment, repeats the module, and fails it again, then the truth is that we've done everything we can do given the accelerated nature of the program. I also hope that students can also use this as time to understand their priorities and their passion for coding. That being said, the student will get some refund, or have the option to join our online program, which is self-paced. The self-paced nature of the online course allows less experienced students to take their time on difficult topics.
Could you give us an example of the technical concentrations that a Flatiron student can choose to focus on in the final module?
We noticed that we had a student who got really jazzed about a particular topic, and when those students got hired, their employers would always mention that they loved that the student was obsessed with NoSQL or Mongo or whatever.
During Technical Concentrations, students can choose from performance monitoring and software architecture, databases (traditional SQL databases as well as NoSQL), front end frameworks (React, Redux, and more HTML/CSS, D3, etc), and mobile application development with React Native. Technical Concentrations will be more student-driven. At the very beginning of the course, we're very prescriptive– we do everything with you. As the course goes on, you gradually become more self-sufficient. We still have instructors during Technical Concentrations, but they’re there to teach you how to learn, how to research yourself, and how to read documentation.
Will there be an assessment for the Technical Concentration module?
There will be an assessment, which will effectively be a mock technical interview. The whole point of the technical concentration is for students to “remove the magic” and actually understand what’s going on under the hood as much as possible.
What’s the new maximum class size at Flatiron?
The max class size is 20. Because we have classes starting every three weeks, we’re able to drastically reduce the class size. We went from 32 to 20 students, which means again that every single person that we admit has an amazing experience. For 20 students, we have two Junior Instructors and a Lead Instructor, so it's a really good student to teacher ratio.
Are Junior Instructors past Flatiron School graduates?
Yes. The title “TA” implies that they’re working part-time, and that’s not the case. We choose recent grads to be Junior Instructors because they’ve been through the curriculum. They know all the labs as a student and now as a teacher. Because they’re former students, we basically get to “interview” them for three months to make sure that we're hiring the best teachers. There are students who are constantly asking intelligent questions in class, and also naturally gravitating towards helping the people around them. They'd seek out opportunities to teach, and it felt silly for us not to hire those graduates as Junior Instructors.
Which computer science concepts has Flatiron worked into the curriculum?
The goal of adding computer science to the curriculum is twofold. One is that computer science is valuable to learn as a software engineer because it effectively builds your intuition. Secondly, knowing computer science concepts helps with technical interviews.
After talking to engineers at Facebook, Google, IBM, and all of our hiring partners about what they use day-to-day in their job, and what they look for in candidates, we came up with the CS curriculum. We are always trying to balance the theoretical topics with the practical, so we’ve added high-level algorithms and data structures– nothing too surprising. Students should expect to learn data structures like linked lists, trees, graphs, and hashes. On the algorithm side, they’ll learn searching, sorting, some binary tree stuff, some graph, minimum shortest path stuff, and then on top of all of that, algorithmic analysis, otherwise known as Big O Analysis. For the first few cohorts, computer science is taught on Saturdays. Our goal is to weave it into the curriculum, as well as offer extra work on Saturdays.
When will be the first cohort that sees all of these changes?
The March 13th, 2017 cohort will see all of these changes!
Was there an underlying force that pushed this revamp?
There was no specific catalyst; instead, we made the change because of conversations with employers and students. We're having conversations with our alums who have been out in the industry for three years and the alums that are now interviewing. We had enough data and the industry had matured in a rather serious way– so we knew it was time.
We spent 2-3 months talking to every department at Flatiron, employers, and prospective students to put together this plan. These changes are what the market requires from a well-rounded hire and software engineer, and we know that we can provide that with these changes.
Here’s what we found ourselves reading and discussing in the Course Report office in February 2017! We found out the three most in-demand programming languages, we read about how coding could be the new blue collar job, and looked at how new schools are tweaking the bootcamp model to fit their communities. Plus, we hear about a cool app for NBA fans built by coding bootcamp graduates! Read below or listen to our latest Coding Bootcamp News Roundup Podcast.Continue Reading →
There’s something about a good mobile app that just helps you throughout the day– be it your Linkedin, Google maps, CNN, Nike+ Training, or ESPN app– we depend on our smartphones for a lot. Due to the global rise of smartphones and tablets, mobile apps can be the go-to source for information, entertainment, productivity, e-commerce, and more. By 2020, global mobile app store downloads will reach 288.4 billion! With the rise of mobile applications on the market, the demand for mobile software developers continues to grow. We thought it was only right to give you a breakdown of what it really takes to be a mobile applications developer. From educational requirements to general stats on the profession to the top mobile coding bootcamps around the world– read below for our Ultimate Guide to Mobile Development Bootcamps.Continue Reading →
In 2014, Flatiron School was the first coding bootcamp to release an Outcomes Report. While that report examined outcomes for their NYC programs, they’ve since launched their online campus and are starting to graduate developers around the world (remember our peek into the types of students who are succeeding online?). Today, we’re diving into Flatiron School’s most recent Outcomes Report, which focuses on their Online Web Developer Program grads. See how this school is placing 97% of their online students in developer jobs!
This is not Flatiron School’s first Outcomes Report – it’s actually the third! Why did Flatiron School feel that reporting student outcomes early on was an important responsibility?
By the end of 2014, there was a lot of attention on the bootcamps that were popping up. A lot of those schools were amazing, but some were clearly being less than genuine with the ways they claimed outcomes. The very obvious public example is Devschool, which claimed 100% job placement, but also said they don't consider you graduated until you get a job. That's a really shady marketing tactic.
We saw what was happening with for-profit universities, which started with great intentions (colleges were wasting tons of money and putting students into debt; for-profit colleges thought they could do a better job). For-profit universities started growing really fast without much regard for quality, and the bad players basically ended up defining the entire industry. Now when you say “for-profit university,” nobody remembers the names of the schools that were well-intentioned; all you think of is University of Phoenix.
What drove us to release audited reporting was that we saw what was happening with for-profit universities, and we wanted to preempt that. Our industry was growing super fast, and there was no way for students to judge between school outcomes.
We want to send the industry in a different direction than that of for-profit universities. So we released the first ever audited outcomes report for our NYC campus in 2014. We then created the NESTA standards with a group of other bootcamps and the White House so that students could actually see which schools are willing to stand behind their marketing claims.
After digging into your online students’ results in the 2016 Online Outcomes Report, was there anything different between tracking online and in-person students?
We invest a ton in career services and coaching, and so we work very closely with our students. When they get jobs, we have all of that data.
The average salary is lower ($67,607 for online vs $74,447 in NYC), but that is to be expected given geographic variation. Our in-person students are all attending Flatiron School in New York, but online students are spread out. In New York, the average salary for online grads is closer to our in-person average. In San Francisco, the average salary is what you might expect there. In North Dakota, it's lower.
One thing that was inspiring to me about the online Outcomes Report is seeing the average tuition paid by graduates. So many online bootcamps are just online versions of their in-person courses, but because we built Learn.co, our self-paced proprietary learning platform, our students are able to work full-time and learn on the nights and weekends. They paid an average $5,601 in tuition and these people were able to completely change their lives.
What numbers were you most surprised by, negatively or positively, when you actually looked at the success of the online students?
I was surprised that the salary was as high as it was. 42% of our students are in the Northeast, and only some percentage of that are in New York, but seeing a $67,000 average salary across the country and internationally is insane. I was blown away by the fact that demand for talent is still high enough that employers are willing to pay that much for junior developer across the country.
One stat we noticed is that 15% of your online students are women, while women make up 40% of your in-person classes. Why the difference there?
It's possible that when we launched the online program, we took our eye off the ball and we didn't invest as heavily in trying to achieve the diversity we see on our NYC campus; but today, 40% of our online students are women.
Since we did that research, we've invested a lot more in creating more opportunities for women, including our Women Take Tech initiative, which we launched in partnership with Birchbox, and our Kode with Klossy scholarship with Karlie Kloss. In all, we’ve awarded over $300,000 in scholarships toward our online program for female students and collaborated on community events that take on issues facing women in tech. The response so far has been pretty inspiring and today those numbers are a lot more encouraging.
Arguably, the most important statistic here is the 97% job placement– can you take us through that conclusion and tell us how you got there?
The way to read this report is to first look at the 74 people who have graduated at the time of the report; then, of those people, 39 have finished a job search cycle (many of the graduates at the time we did the report were only a few weeks out from graduation). Of the 39 people who finished a job search cycle, only one person hadn’t yet gotten a job.
What does it mean to have completed a “Job Search Cycle”?
That’s simply defined as reaching six months after the beginning of your job search, or until you’ve accepted a job offer. And by the way, if you reach six months, have followed our job search standards, and haven’t gotten a job offer, we give you a full refund. But so far, everyone who has committed themselves fully to that process has been hired. The one graduate who hadn’t been hired wasn’t actively job seeking according to the standards our grads agree to follow for a long period of time.
Different schools decide to collect information from students in different ways (scanning LinkedIn for job titles, collecting job offer letters, etc). How does Flatiron School document a student’s job outcomes? Is that audited?
This is actually a huge differentiator and deserves to be discussed. We carefully collect comprehensive job data from our students, then we send our auditors a spreadsheet that has all the pertinent data: students’ names, contact information, their companies, titles and starting salaries, hire dates, and graduation dates – often with offer letters or contracts attached to further verify the information
We also send the auditors our financials, and then the auditors call 30% of the students at random. They require 100% response rate; otherwise, they won't certify the report. They also require 100% accuracy, meaning if anything is off by $1, they won't certify it. Think about that versus a report that only relies on a survey of students. There is a difference between a Review versus an Examination by auditors, and that’s something students should be aware of when they’re looking at the different outcomes reports being produced.
In-person schools are regulated by regulatory agencies like the BPPE in California. Is there a similar agency for online schools?
Even though we work with regulatory agencies for the in-person program, there are still no outcomes reporting standards from those state agencies. The reality is that online education is moving faster than regulation can catch up with. So there aren't really strict standards and regulations. We let our lawyers make sure we're doing everything we need to do.
For that reason, do you think it’s even more important to release an audited outcomes report for Flatiron’s online program?
Maybe. The larger the industry gets, the bigger the responsibility. Flatiron School was also the first to offer an online job guarantee. We spent six months really analyzing our program, designing commitments for both our students and our career services team and we worked so hard to get to a place where we were comfortable offering a guarantee. And literally within two months, there were five schools copying it. That's scary to me because there's no way they had time to prepare the way we did in order to actually stand behind the guarantee.
The online job report was fueled by the same idea: "We need to establish a standard by which students can actually evaluate the program."
Is there any chance that Flatiron School will work with other schools on common reporting methodologies like with Skills Fund, etc.?
We're always open to it. Since those standards have been designed, the conversations I tend to hear about new methodologies for standards are always less strict. And you have to ask yourself why. The NESTA standards are pretty easy questions: how many students enrolled, how many graduated, how many accepted a job, the average salary of those who accepted the job, etc... The questions are really, really simple. I’d love to see more schools get on board with those to start. We've also had some conversations with schools that want to make that standard even higher, which is interesting.
Ultimately, until there are some unified standards or strict regulations, I advise all students to be skeptical. This is a big investment and they should take the time to do the research and ask all schools the tough questions.
Read more Flatiron School reviews, check out the Flatiron School website, and explore Flatiron’s full Student Outcomes for yourself!
Welcome to the January 2017 Course Report monthly coding bootcamp news roundup! Each month, we look at all the happenings from the coding bootcamp world from new bootcamps to fundraising announcements, to interesting trends. This month we applaud initiatives that bring technology to underserved communities, we look at employment trends, and new coding schools and campuses. Plus, we hear a funny story about an honest taxi driver. Read below or listen to our latest Coding Bootcamp News Roundup Podcast.Continue Reading →
Attending a coding bootcamp can be a ticket to a fulfilling new career as a software engineer. But while demand for developers is high, jobs aren’t just handed out at bootcamp graduations. As the Flatiron School's Career Services Commitment emphasizes: job placement is a team effort, but you need to treat getting a job like a job – keep learning; put yourself out there; you get out of it what you put into the process. Find out how four Flatiron School alumni successfully launched their new tech careers – and how you can use their tactics in your own job search.Continue Reading →
Whether you’re just starting to learn to code, currently attending a coding bootcamp, or you're working as a software developer, it’s important to keep challenging yourself to learn more. After attending Flatiron School, working on the engineering team here, and recently starting as an instructor, I’ve been thinking a lot about my own goals for the New Year, as well as advice I can offer my students. Here are a few simple resolutions for 2017 to start the year off right and keep leveling up in your coding studies and career.Continue Reading →
It’s that time again! A time to reflect on the year that is coming to an end, and a time to plan for what the New Year has in store. While it may be easy to beat yourself up about certain unmet goals, one thing is for sure: you made it through another year! And we bet you accomplished more than you think. Maybe you finished your first Codecademy class, made a 30-day Github commit streak, or maybe you even took a bootcamp prep course – so let’s cheers to that! But if learning to code is still at the top of your Resolutions List, then taking the plunge into a coding bootcamp may be the best way to officially cross it off. We’ve compiled a list of stellar schools offering full-time, part-time, and online courses with start dates at the top of the year. Five of these bootcamps even have scholarship money ready to dish out to aspiring coders like you.Continue Reading →
Welcome to our last monthly coding bootcamp news roundup of 2016! Each month, we look at all the happenings from the coding bootcamp world from new bootcamps to fundraising announcements, to interesting trends we’re talking about in the office. This December, we heard about a bootcamp scholarship from Uber, employers who are happily hiring bootcamp grads, investments from New York State and a Tokyo-based staffing firm, diversity in tech, and as usual, new coding schools, courses, and campuses!Continue Reading →
If you’re researching coding bootcamps, then you’ve probably thought about job placement; so we sat down with Rebekah Rombom, head of Flatiron School’s Career Services team to learn about how Flatiron School’s online students are landing jobs. We dive into how the online job search compares to the in-classroom experience and how Flatiron School sets clear expectations to guide students towards a job that fits their needs with their Career Services Commitment.
What does Career Services at Flatiron School do for students?
Career Services at Flatiron School is divided into two functions: employer partnerships and career coaching. The Partnerships team is constantly engaged with companies to educate them about Flatiron School and to find opportunities for companies to engage with our students and graduates. They may organize end-of-semester interviewing, networking opportunities, meetups, or employer talks to the class.
The other part of Career Services is the Career Coaching team. Every student who graduates from Flatiron School and plans to engage in job search, gets paired up with a career coach. Together, you do a really robust set of activities to get you ready for your job search. We help you run a job search based on best practices. Not many people have spent a ton of time job-searching, but our team has seen this nearly a thousand times. Your coach helps guide you through that process.
How large is the career placement team at Flatiron?
With everyone on coaching, partnerships, and administration, we are around 20 people. We invest a lot in career services.
What's the difference between job placement for online students and in-person students?
Part of the exciting thing about the way that our career services department works, is that you get the same content as an online student or an in-person student. For an in-person student, a guest speaker will walk into your classroom and do a lecture. In online classes, the students might get that lecture via a video conference or with their coach.
We've identified the key steps that it takes to successfully get a job after Flatiron School, and we've made those location-agnostic. As an online student or an in-person student, you're creating a resume, sending it to your coach, and your coach is giving you feedback. You're retooling your resume based on that feedback, and then, you and the coach both do a final sign off. As an in-person student, you might do the first feedback session in-person versus over Skype, but the experience should yield the same results.
How do Career Coaches help guide you through Flatiron’s Career Services Commitment?
Part of your time with your coach is spent following up on a regular basis about what you've done to adhere to those commitments – contacting a certain number of people relevant to your job search each week, continuing to code, blogging about what you're learning, and meeting people in the community.
Your coach is there to talk about how those activities are going, keep you on task and accountable, as well as make suggestions about how you can get more leverage out of those activities based on the results that you're seeing.
Does an online Flatiron School applicant or student need to be job seeking? How selective is the admissions process?
You certainly don't have to be job seeking. Around 75% to 85% of our in-person students are job seeking, and we’re seeing similar numbers for online. You can certainly do the program if you're not job seeking.
For example, I’ve spoken with college students or incoming freshmen who want these skills, or entrepreneurs who want to have a better understanding of technology they're launching their startup with so that they can interact with their team in more valuable ways, and recruit more effectively. Other non-job-seekers are product managers or marketers who want to add these skills to their tool set so that they can be more effective at their job, but they aren't planning to become a developer.
For our Online Web Developer Program, we admit people who are going to be successful in the program. One of the key indicators that we use is that you've completed some of our content on Learn.co, our online campus, or other learn-to-code content already. You have a familiarity with the platform, and feel that you can be successful independently, online, remotely.
When are Flatiron’s online students introduced to that career coach?
Around 3/4th of the way through the course, once a student has passed their third code review in the online program.
Do you recommend that students wait to start the job search? Or should they be thinking about their dream job from Day One?
There's so much learning that happens so quickly, so your best bet as a student is to focus on learning as much as you can for as long as you can. In our Online Web Developer Program, we've timed the curriculum so that you start thinking about jobs as late as possible.
When you’re about three-quarters through the course, you'll start connecting with your coach, talking about goals, reviewing your resume and LinkedIn, and getting your materials ready so that when you do graduate, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running and start interviews.
If you think about your most successful online students, did they do something specific throughout the course that made them stand out?
I think it's about the craft. If you're only driven by a specific job, whether that's a sexy company or a salary number, that's not going to be as effective. What works is knowing that you want to do this craft and are passionate about this work. Our Online Web Developer Program is 800-1000 hours of independent, self-driven, bang-your-head-against-a-wall work, and when you graduate, you’re embarking on your first job search in a new discipline.
Finding your first job after Flatiron School is like looking for an internship as a college student. You're looking for a company where you can contribute, get paid, and continue to learn. That won't always be available at your dream company the second you graduate. Students who are open to doing this work, continuing to learn and hone their craft, and contributing to a team of people who also are passionate about this work–those are the most successful students.
We hear a lot that "anyone can learn to code.” Do you believe that or do you think that it's problematic to sell a dream that everyone can change careers and achieve upward mobility through coding?
I think everyone can learn to code and that everyone should learn to code. Whether you should be a software developer with that knowledge, I think, is dependent upon how much you enjoy it and how passionate you are. Knowing the basic concepts makes me better at my job and makes it easier to interact with the rest of our teams, but at the end of the day, I get more excited about other kinds of work.
You should choose a career that you're excited about, and do work that is sustainable for you. The students that I've spoken to who've graduated described the experience of learning on Learn.co as really, really challenging, but extremely gratifying - even thrilling. If that’s how you feel when you’re coding, then this might be the right career for you.
Flatiron School was the first bootcamp to release an audited, transparent Jobs Report. Will the next Jobs Report include Learn.co graduates in those numbers?
Of course! Our Online Web Developer Program is built with the same curriculum and the same outcomes goals, so we’ll certainly include online students. We are seeing pretty spectacular results from the online students who have already graduated, and we know that this data is important to applicants and to employers in the industry.
I'm working with our team and our auditors now to identify some data that we can get audited before the end of 2016, and we plan to release that data in January.
What are the biggest lessons that your team has learned about job placement?
Before Flatiron School launched Learn.co, we said, "If you don't get a job offer within six months, we’ll give you a full tuition refund." So when we launched Learn.co, we wanted to make it really clear to students what they needed to do in order to get a job. We thought really hard about all of the things that go into a successful job search. We took all of the learnings that we've seen over the previous three years, and put that into our Career Services Commitment, which students agree to before they launch a job search with us. As of today - over a year since we put the Commitment into place - nobody has followed all those steps for six months and has not gotten an offer.
What goes into that Career Services Commitment for the Job Guarantee?
Our Career Services Commitment outlines our responsibilities to you as well as what you’re empowered to do to make your job search more successful. You can see the full list of responsibilities and eligibility factors here. We set really clear expectations with students about the importance of these commitments for our Job Guarantee. You’ll need to complete all of your assignments. You need to create your resume and you need to read through all of our content about how to run a good job search. You need to be available for your coach when you both have scheduled conversations. You need to continue to code and attend your interviews.
The Career Services Commitment is a way to communicate to students again exactly what you need to be doing in order to get a job. As you start the job search, your career coach will help you refine the activities that you're doing to get you more aligned with the way you're going to be successful.
What's different about a developer resume versus your average resume? What do you recommend that people are emphasizing on a developer resume?
This may be a little bit more of a philosophical question to me than you intended, but I think that even more than the technicalities of what your resume should or shouldn't say, you want your whole application and your whole communication with a hiring manager or recruiter to convey the well-rounded value you can bring as a human and as an executor to this organization. Sure, a developer resume should have things like your GitHub links to projects. But if you're a career changer, maybe that means including one to two sentences about your path and why coding is important to you so that a recruiter can easily make the leap from your past career into your engineering resume. More than that, I think it's about finding touch points that are compelling to the reader that allow you to tell your story effectively.
If you can do that on your resume by having a very short bio and links to technical projects, and some bullet points about relevant transferable experience from your previous life, that’s awesome. But you should also have a cover note in an email that talks about that specific company and how your previous experience would benefit them.
Ideally, you're able to convey a more well-rounded communications strategy than just a one-page PDF that lists your past jobs and your Github.
Imposter Syndrome is a huge buzzword for bootcamp grads. How do Flatiron School students approach compensation, negotiation, and how can career coaches help navigate?
Your career coach is with you up to the point where you sign on the dotted line. That can mean help with negotiation, or figuring out if the offer is even reasonable, or taking a look at a benefits package or perks. Oftentimes early in your career, it's about finding your leverage, whatever that is. But your career coach won’t let you back out of an interview you’ve earned or a connection you’ve nurtured for fear of failing - and that can go a very long way.
Is there an employer network specifically for your online graduates?
It didn't really make sense for us to separate our employer network, because we want to put the best students for a given job in front of that opportunity and vice versa for the employers. For example, we have students from the in-person program who move back home to Denver. If we’re working with a Denver-based hiring manager, she’ll see good-fit online grads in the area, as well as that in-person student. So when we’re able to make connections, we base them on location and culture match, and employer needs.
Can you tell us about the success that you've seen amongst online students so far? Where are they getting jobs? Are they taking remote jobs?
Our grads are working primarily in full-time roles all over the US, and even internationally: San Francisco, San Diego, New York, Denver, Chicago and more. From what I’ve seen, the “Junior Full-Time Remote Developer” job is a unicorn, though. We do have some students who have a bunch of freelancing contract gigs that they're doing remotely, and have built a full-time schedule of work out of those. We're seeing a similar split between internships and full-time jobs among our online alums as we do for our in-person grads: about 40% going into internships and about 60% taking full time salaried jobs straight out of the gate.
Is there anything about learning online that is actually an advantage in terms of getting a job?
No matter what coding bootcamp you choose or where you are or what period of life you're in, a job search is always hard.
We've seen online students really embrace the hustle of the job search and go out in the community, make connections, keep at it, and continue to follow up until they land that job. That's a really important skill in the job search. Going through this really challenging and rigorous program by yourself, as opposed to in a classroom, our online students get a lot of practice in extreme resiliency.
People with different backgrounds, from around the country and the world, attend Flatiron School remotely through their online campus, Learn.co. So why do they want to learn to code remotely? And how do they balance studying with other parts of their lives? We spoke to three Flatiron School students, all with very different backgrounds and motivations, to learn more about their experiences juggling family, work, and travel, while learning to code. Meet Kenlyn, Lucas, and Maurice!
What is your background and how much coding experience did you have before enrolling in Flatiron School’s Online Web Developer Program?
Kenlyn: I studied biology in college, looking to help others via the medical field. My first job was at a cancer diagnostics company, manufacturing prototypes and diagnostic antibodies . Looking to expand impact by developing new products, I got my MBA at UCLA and eventually became a global product manager at the same company. During the time that I was responsible for the company’s hardware platform, I was introduced to software development by supplying market requirements to the R & D team.
After learning about pure tech product development through a couple of Product Management certification courses, I understood how short the development launch, and feedback cycles could be. You can iterate on digital products and provide value so quickly, versus heavily regulated medical devices, which take forever.
And then my life changed – I have a family now. And to do it well, product management work requires travel. So the timing seemed right to learn full stack web development because I want to be involved in developing technologies, tech skills are in demand, and there are many opportunities to contribute in the field.
Lucas: I first started to learn web development in high school. I was curious how the web works, so I taught myself HTML and CSS on W3Schools. Since then, web development has always been a hobby.
In college, I studied advertising and Spanish. When I graduated, I joined Teach For America, and taught bilingual Spanish and English at an elementary school for two years. I even tried to teach kids web development at that school, which was really interesting.
Maurice: I studied Business Management and Finance in college, and during that time worked for a nonprofit that organized a summer day camp and other activities throughout the year for underprivileged kids. After graduating, the next logical step was to get any bank job as soon as possible to gain experience and be able to update my resume. So I accepted a data entry job at a major bank. As tremendously boring and uneventful that job was, I reminded myself that I was working for a big-name bank and that’s all that really mattered. About a year later I moved to another bank and I’m still with them after 5 years.
I became interested in learning how to code about a year ago and decided to enroll in a C++ class at a local community college to get a feel for it. That was a pretty good experience and I wanted to learn more. I also did Treehouse for a few months and after a few lessons I decided this is something I definitely want to learn and eventually transition into. So I began researching schools and found Flatiron’s Online Web Developer Program. I consider myself a total beginner, just having scratched the surface with some online videos/tutorials.
Why did you specifically want to do Flatiron School’s Online Web Developer Program rather than an in-person coding bootcamp?
Kenlyn: I did a lot of research because I wanted to understand what it took to become a great programmer and find work as a developer. I heard stories of successful programmers who were self-taught and saw job descriptions that mentioned Computer Science degrees. However, after looking at Codecademy and other free resources, I had no idea what skills would make me stand out to a company. On the University side, even online meant at least 18 months of study, going into debt and maybe getting a job.
I looked at coding bootcamps and I thought 12 weeks to completion sounded awesome, but I couldn’t go to an in-person program because I have three kids under 10. I had to find something flexible enough that I wouldn't have to find childcare, yet was a great school that would guarantee a job within a reasonable time frame. And Flatiron School was it. I found them through a search for Learn to Code meetups in Seattle.
Lucas: I chose Flatiron School’s online program because it was the perfect fit for my learning style. Since I wanted to travel, I could work on Learn.co from anywhere because it was all self-guided. There is a curriculum, but it's up to me to choose how fast or how slow I complete it. The self-paced aspect really resonated with me because I could go back and review concepts, or I could move through quickly. I also really liked that it was hosted on GitHub and that we could learn through test-driven development. The main factor that set Flatiron School apart for me was their job guarantee. The job guarantee made it easy for me to finally enroll and pay for the program. I started doing the free admissions course while I was in Peru and got accepted in February to start the course.
Maurice: At first, I thought an in-person full-time bootcamp would be a good choice if I wanted a speedy transition, but that would mean quitting my job, which I couldn’t afford to do. Then I looked around for an in-person part-time bootcamp. The very few options were expensive and none really attracted me like Flatiron School’s program did. My criteria were: reputation, flexibility, support, and cost. All the reviews and articles I’ve read about Flatiron School, and even the reactions from people I’ve met at other bootcamp info sessions were all very positive and people highly recommended it. Online coding bootcamp students were saying the curriculum was very similar to the in-person program and in some cases even more robust.
I also wanted something where I could study at my own pace, not feel rushed, and be able to go back and re-read material as often as I’d like. I also wanted to receive support when I need it, and I’m seeing first hand that Flatiron staff truly care about you as a person and as a student. Their ‘Ask a Question’ feature is amazing and reassuring. You can use it as often as you need, and it provides support within seconds if you’re stuck on a lab, or need clarification on a concept. Instructors also encourage Googling because that’s what you’ll be doing at a real job, but the extra support is there if you need it. They also offer a job guarantee, which is even more appealing. So with all you get for the Flatiron School cost – it’s totally worth it.
Are you working full-time or part-time on Flatiron’s Online Web Developer Program and how long are you expecting it to take you? What pace are you working at?
Kenlyn: Initially, I wanted to match an in-person bootcamp schedule as much as possible, but it’s been four months and I'm about halfway through. My time commitment has evolved because I got the opportunity to become a Flatiron School ambassador in Seattle and it seemed like a win-win: I could help grow Flatiron’s presence and also dive into the Seattle Tech community. As an ambassador, I’m networking and immersing myself in the local developer environment. All that said, I guess it's going to take me a little longer. So I'm studying somewhere between 20 to 40 hours a week.
Lucas: I committed full time, but I still had the flexibility skipping a Friday because it was self-paced. I ended up finishing in about four months.
Maurice: I am doing the program part time. I try to squeeze in as much time as possible on Learn.co during the week on my lunch hour and after work. Sometimes I get to study on the weekend, which is a little difficult as I also want to spend time with my wife and two-year-old son. On average I set aside about four days a week, three to four hours per day. I’m in no rush and I’m not trying to complete the program as fast as I can. I try to remain focused on understanding the concepts, setting small achievable goals and being involved in student life. I estimate completing the program in roughly one year.
Where were each of you based while you were studying and what sort of workspace set up do you have to study from?
Kenlyn: I’m in Seattle and mostly study at home. I also go to coffee shops when I need a change of scene.
Lucas: The only constant throughout my studies was my laptop. I started the program’s intro courses while I was in Peru, then Buffalo, NY, then lived with my brother in Chicago, and finished the program in South Dakota. I did part time volunteering with an organization that I really love out there, doing web marketing and building houses on a reservation in South Dakota.
Maurice: I’m based in New York City, not far from Flatiron’s campus. I try to stop in every once in awhile – it’s a pretty cool space. At first, for a couple of weeks, I’d stay late after work to study either at Whole Foods or a coffee shop, but I missed my family so I decided I’d go home after work, hang out with my wife and son for a little bit, then study once my son goes to bed around 7:30pm. Ideally, I’d like to head to campus once a week and join their study group meetup.
What were your motivations to learn to code and what do you want to do when you graduate?
Kenlyn: I realized that most people who are successful and fulfilled in their careers are engaged in something that they're passionate about. I hit a point where, though I enjoyed my current role in medical devices, I could see that technology was having a big impact on it – and I wanted to be part of that impact.
I was also new to Seattle and not gaining a lot of traction in the tech-heavy job market. That’s when I realized that having a good college education doesn't guarantee you a job. I wanted to learn to program anyway and the job guarantee with Flatiron was a big deal. There are so many innovative companies, and coding skills are in demand in Seattle. One source put demand at one and a half software developer jobs for every applicant. When I graduate I'm leaving it open as to what sort of job to look for. There's a lot of cool stuff in health technology, but as long as there's a valuable product and a great team, I would be happy. I think it's all about the people I work with. I'm excited!
Lucas: My original motivations were mostly about the creativity that comes with being able to build something, and move an idea in my mind effortlessly into something that's real, that I can share with people. It's such a satisfying process. It feeds my need to be creative. It’s also important to me that there's always something new to learn in web development.
The overarching reason I'm excited about development is that the people who are actually writing the code are the ones building the infrastructure and the software through which the rest of the world interacts. Most people are consumers on our devices; we open up an app, and we use it. I would rather be a creator who can write a website that accomplishes a specific task. Or write an app that's going to change the way that people interact with each other or with data. Being the creator of that is really amazing.
Maurice: I began reading articles about start-ups which were creating amazing looking applications and providing services that functioned so smoothly. As I read more and dug deeper, I started to realize the driving force behind it all was the code and that essentially nothing could function without it. Fundamentally, it was everything. I was also inspired by these people looking to bring about a change in the world and make us think differently. Their passion, persistence and strong belief in their product was inspiring to watch and I’d never seen anything like it before. The realization that every technology we use on a daily basis is run by code, was something so powerful, and I was curious to learn more. I imagined one day creating or designing something and just the thought of the possibility of it having an impact around the world was very motivating. Also, I was at a point in my life where I needed to seriously reconsider my career and not waste any more time doing something that doesn’t make me happy.
I don't have a specific job in mind right now. I think I need to get through more of the curriculum to have a better idea as to what I’d like to do. I still have a lot to learn. It crossed my mind to find a job that would blend coding with my finance background.
How did you find the learning experience studying through Flatiron’s Learn.co platform and how immersed or motivated do you feel when you're studying?
Kenlyn: At times I can feel a bit isolated learning online, but Learn.co is definitely a huge improvement on any other online course. The “Ask a Question” feature is great. In addition to meeting with instructors, I think Flatiron School encourages you to find solutions by yourself and collaborate because that's what we're going to be doing as developers. Overall, it's a very relevant, intentional program and I highly recommend it.
Lucas: What was most exciting for me was using real dev tools. An advantage that Learn.co has is that we’re always using test-driven development. Test driven development and test coverage is a huge piece of being a real developer. So it was a relatively graceful transition from being able to build a basic Rails app that does one thing to now writing production level code.
I had a job interview question about Git, and I was able to say, "I have used so much GitHub. I have 500 repos" – which are all the labs from Learn.co. Learn.co helps you build a very impressive GitHub profile. One of the interviewers said, "Yeah, we can skip over the whole coding project and look at your GitHub. It looks great."
With my background in education, l like that Flatiron School and their Learn.co platform are moving educational methodology forward. Instead of just filming a teacher lecturing, there are real tools, self-guided lessons, and ways to reach out to experts and get help. The learning is very individualized with an overarching guiding curriculum. That's super cool.
Maurice: Each time I sign on to the platform, I'm impressed. There’s a central dashboard outlining your progress, a section where you can create or join one of the many study groups on different topics. The curriculum is a mix of videos and text. There are plenty of labs to help solidify the concepts. I showed that amazing ‘Ask a Question’ feature to a friend in another coding bootcamp. She was amazed, and said, "I'm so frustrated. I can't get past this lab and I have nobody to ask for help. I have to wait for their weekly office hours."
I like the sense of community – everybody is so nice and helpful. They have their own dedicated chat platform similar to Slack where you can meet new people. There are also meetups, on-campus events, and online and in-person lectures. They do “Thoughtful Thursdays” where students express feelings about life, coding challenges or anything else on their mind. It’s unbelievable how many students are on Learn.co worldwide, all learning together and helping each other succeed. The other day, I was answering a question from someone in Dubai. So, I am doing an online program, but I certainly don’t feel alone.
I do feel immersed while studying, although, I often remind myself to stay focused and on-track because it’s easy to get distracted. So I try to listen to music, face a wall (which does help), and place my phone face-down. The material is there, the help is there, it’s all there waiting for you to absorb – you just need to remain disciplined during that time.
How have you managed to balance your Flatiron School studies with other commitments in your life?
Kenlyn: It generally means working around my family’s hours. If I’m really determined, I get up really early before my family is awake. At times, I also rely on my husband to take care of the kids so I can get some focused study time – especially around assessments.
Sometimes I run into walls and have to take a break, clean up my workspace, and/or get some exercise. You know what I mean? It’s trying to maintain the balance of life. You’ve got to fit it all in, but breaks are important in order to stay focused and get it all done.
Lucas: Being able to travel while doing the program was really great. I could travel on a Wednesday, then work on a Saturday. I could still hit my weekly hour goals, but shuffle them around. But the main thing was I had had this dream to go live and volunteer in South Dakota. And I was able to go and actually accomplish that while working on Learn.co simultaneously. I would work most of the day on the program, but when volunteer groups were there, I would study part time. It is really flexible, and I appreciated it that I could still hit my goal of four months.
Maurice: My wife plays a major role and she’s been so understanding as I’m working through the Online Web Developer Program. When I first started, I was putting in a lot of hours and staying late after work almost every day, but I that was taking a toll on my family life. So I decided not to stay late so often and go home to be with my family a bit more. My wife has been extremely supportive and encouraging and knows this is what I want to do. I reassure her that things will get better, we just have to get through this tough year or so. I had to find that balance where I could spend enough time with my family and also get my studying done.
What is your advice to someone thinking about doing an online remote program like Flatiron’s Online Web Developer Program?
Kenlyn: Set learning goals and figure out what options could help you meet them. Try Flatiron’s free courses to see if it’s a fit for your learning style. Worst case, you’ve learned some relevant code; best case, it fits and you will have already completed courses towards the full Online Web Developer Program.
Lucas: The most important thing to do is optimize your own self-motivated learning. Learning how to learn is an important step to getting the most out of self-directed programs like what Flatiron offers on Learn.co. There’s tons of information to absorb, so take breaks, get good sleep, and review concepts regularly to move them from short-term to long-term memory. Start on the free prep course on Learn.co and see how you like it.
Maurice: Flatiron’s Online Web Developer Program is an incredible way to learn to code, connect with so many people, and finally make that career change you’ve been thinking of. They’re passionate and serious about teaching you how to code and getting you job ready – it’s just up to you to consider how serious you are and how disciplined you’re going to be for the next 6-9 months or even beyond that in my case. Once you commit to the program, prepare a study routine for yourself and stick with it. It won’t be easy - there’ll be great days and horrible days. Keep cool and keep going. Prove to yourself that you can do this!
On October 26th, the Course Report team took over the Women in Tech Snapchat Channel and had a blast introducing everyone to coding bootcamps, Course Report, and even took followers along to tour three NYC coding bootcamps!Continue Reading →
There are many reasons to attend a bootcamp- maybe you’re ready to take the plunge into a coding career or you want to update your current programming skills. Or maybe you’re part of a rising generation of aspiring technical founders and you’re ready to launch your own startup…you just need tech skills. Should you go to a coding bootcamp to start a company? Many bootcamp alumni are enjoying the fruits of their intensive bootcamp labor by choosing the path of entrepreneurship and launching their own app or website. In fact, Course Report’s latest outcomes and demographics study found that 4.3% of bootcampers attend to learn the skills necessary to start their own company. Our team loves an inspiring success story, so we’re highlighting those bootcampers who took the road less traveled, and managed to strike it big.Continue Reading →
As a future coding bootcamper, you're most likely new to tech and full of questions – and misconceptions – about what learning to code and being a developer really entails. With over 1000 Flatiron School grads making their way through the tech world, Flatiron's team has access to a lot of developers who are eager to share what they’ve learned through their countless hours of mistakes and breakthroughs, whether they’re new to the field themselves or seasoned tech professionals.Continue Reading →
How difficult is it to build the elusive idea of community into an online learning platform? We sat down with Flatiron School’s Head of Product, Mat Balez to find out how technology can actually fuel community and make learning more effective. Skip ahead to read about Mat’s thoughts on how online students can leave their mark on the Flatiron community, stand out amongst bootcamp grads, and experience the “power of connection.”
As the Head of Product working on an online coding bootcamp, what’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about community and interaction with other students/teachers?
If you think back to the most influential moments in your education, they almost always involve people. We make our first network of friends in school or through a significant growth experience; we remember the teachers who pushed us to go beyond our limits and the projects we worked on with our fellow classmates.
Flatiron School was one of the first coding bootcamps to open its doors back in 2012 and we’ve made it our top priority to build a supportive, inspirational, and diverse community of students. We often tell applicants: “We don’t admit a student, we admit a class.”
But what does that mean for your online program? Do you only admit students who show that they’ll be great collaborators? How do you build that community of online learners?
What we’ve always looked for in our students is passion; we want people who are passionate about learning in general and learning to code specifically. Ideal applicants don’t see programming as simply a means to an end (that is, learn a bit of code, get a cool tech job, and then stop learning). Rather, they recognize it as a craft that requires lifelong learning and they want to support fellow developers along the way on their coding journey.
Can “teaching style” exist online?
Absolutely. But it’s important to recognize that the Internet is fundamentally different as a medium for delivering education than a traditional classroom—and it’s important to be sensitive to those differences as you build an online program.
Over the past four years, the industry has seen many online bootcamps emerge—including Flatiron’s own online campus, Learn.co. Some schools mimic the experience of the classroom, offering video lectures (essentially putting a camera into a traditional classroom). Others set up daily or weekly mentor meetings. With Learn.co we’ve strived to build community into the heart of our platform.
We believe for learning to be effective, it needs to be social and hands-on. That could mean interacting one on one with an instructor over video chat or joining a student-hosted study group, as well as using real-world tools like GitHub and our own IDE (integrated development environment). Ultimately, we want to make sure students are prepared to start working as a developer on day-one of their job after Flatiron School and that they know how to continue learning. Because as a programmer, you never stop growing and honing your skills.
How do you balance the flexibility of online learning with the interaction that you get from learning in person?
As the Head of Product, my team and I set out to build a product that would account for the experience of learning in a way we’ve never seen done before online, combining all of the learnings from our successful in-person program with the powerful network effect of the Internet. We wanted to design a program that would serve any student who has ever thought online education “isn’t for me” or that they “learn better in person.”
Tell us more about Flatiron School’s online instructors and how students interact with them?
Just because someone is an amazing programmer, it doesn’t mean that they’ll be a great teacher. Our online instructors have been selected for their ability to do both—code and teach code. Students can use our Ask a Question feature to reach out to expert faculty (in addition to a community of helpful peers!) to get real-time chat support and one-on-one video support and screen sharing if needed. Most questions are answered in under a minute. For additional support, instructors will often conduct live lectures on pivotal topics.
Additionally, instructors host weekly “Thoughtful Thursdays” sessions, during which students come together in a virtual room synchronously to talk about what they're feeling, from imposter syndrome and balancing school to other life priorities that may be on their minds. Often these sessions are just the boost students need to keep pushing through toward their goal of finishing the program and becoming a professional developer.
As the Head of Product, you must have put a lot of thought into the Learn platform and the communication/collaboration tools that your students are using. Which tools did you choose (or build!) and why?
Learning to code is really hard and it’s even harder if you feel isolated and alone. That’s why we’ve weaved direct messaging into the experience, making it easy for you to reach out to other students you come across on the platform. To help you understand which fellow students are nearby, both in the curriculum or geographically, we created the concept of “Learn Neighbors”. Soon, you’ll also be able to “friend” them as you do on other social media sites and build a network of peers with whom you can stay in close contact. Friends can support and encourage each other, talk through tough concepts, and work on labs together. You can even initiate a Study Group (or join one organized by an instructor)—the platform easily lets people create a private virtual room automatically, with support for video chat and screen sharing. One of our students, Sarah, gives a great overview of what the experience is like to learn to code online at Flatiron School.
A large part of building community in an in-person bootcamp is the feedback loop between students and instructors. How can online students contribute to the evolution of Flatiron School?
We encourage all of our Learn students to share your insight and leave your mark on the community. All of our content is open-sourced on GitHub so anyone in our community can make suggestions to improve it–which means it gets better over time and is as up-to-date as possible (something that’s never been possible with classroom textbooks!). Our students have already made over 5,000 contributions to our curriculum, benefiting the whole user community.
What’s one tip for online learners who want to stand out from the pack?
Keeping a technical blog can be a great way to articulate what you’ve learned and set yourself apart among other job applicants. All of our students are required to maintain technical blogs and they’re able to see how their peers are solving challenges. To facilitate this process, we’ve built a blogging feature right into our online platform, and top posts are shared with the community via our “Learn magazine” which you can peruse just like you would on Medium.
What’s more, a blog can be a powerful portfolio piece and our students can now create a custom domain name—which helps them look extra polished to tech recruiters.
Anything else you’d like to add about the process of building community into Flatiron School’s online campus?
Danny Dawson is not your average programmer. He went straight into the British Army after high school where he focused on telecommunications design. That telecommunications background led him to start a telecommunications and e-commerce business in London. See why Danny chose to attend NYC coding bootcamp Flatiron School through their online campus, Learn.co (and how he landed a job at PWC Ventures after graduating).
What is your pre-bootcamp story before Flatiron School?
I joined the Army straight from school, so instead of a university, I did a technical, telecommunications apprenticeship within the British Army. After being in the Army for seven years, I worked as a telecommunications network designer for a range of UK telecom companies. Then I set up an audio-visual installation company with a friend and ran that for a couple of years (we grew too fast and unfortunately had to close).
I spent the last 5-6 years as a principal engineering consultant and project manager for IT and Audio Visual projects.
What made you want to learn to code?
I've run a couple of companies, in the audiovisual and e-commerce sectors. In my Audio Visual company I generally dealt with technical design and the web development work. This was back in 2006, when I was just getting into web development, so I used a template and modified it with basic HTML and CSS.
I always wanted to learn more about the web because I really enjoyed that basic HTML and CSS. Last New Year’s, my resolution was to learn how to code so I could essentially build my own MVP for a new business idea I had. I took One Month Rails, which was a $50 course teaching Rails in 30 days. After building a Pinterest clone, it got me hooked and I knew I wanted to be a full-time programmer. Because I am entrepreneurial, it's essential that I know how to code, otherwise I won't understand the possibilities.
It's been pretty hard, to be honest. But with each I course take, I fully believe that anyone can actually learn to code. You just have to expect to incorporate effort and push yourself.
What made you decide that a coding bootcamp like Flatiron School was the right educational path?
I've done online courses before, and I actually did the Stanford Technology Entrepreneurship MOOC, so I was quite comfortable with an online style of learning. And I knew that if I put the effort in, I could do it.
Secondly, because I was working full-time, I couldn't really afford to go back to school full-time. I'm 33 now, and I didn’t complete the last two years of high school in the UK as I joined the Army, so it was out of the question for me to do a four-year degree. I'm sure doing a CS degree is beneficial to every programmer, but a four-year track personally would not have worked for me.
What made you choose Flatiron School?
I spent about 1.5 years teaching myself using online resources. I knew that I could build an app in Rails/Ruby, but I didn't know the underlying technology behind it – the “why.”
At the time, I wasn't interested in a bootcamp because they were obviously quite expensive. I'd always had my eyes on Course Report, and when I saw Flatiron School’s Online Web Developer Program on Learn.co, it was the right time and the right place. I needed to continue working full-time, so I had to choose an online course.
Flatiron School is a well-established school. As I understand, they are one of the top few coding schools in the US that have online offerings. I liked the fact that Learn.co was essentially self-paced. There is a monthly cost, and you can do it as fast or slow as you’d like.
Did you face any challenges as an international student applying for Flatiron School?
I had a long chat with Flatiron School’s Dean, Avi, prior to doing the course – he is brilliant! He’s really infectious with how he wants to teach people and how he wants others to learn. It just got me excited about joining the school and obviously the new program they were coming out with. That's how I chose it really. In a way, it was like sort of like the luck of the draw but I think I chose it because Flatiron was one of the better schools out there. Flatiron School came up with an online platform right when I was thinking to doing it, and the price fit within my budget.
How long did it take you to finish Flatiron School’s Online Web Developer Program?
On top of working full-time and doing it out of hours for two months, it took me another 4 to complete full-ish time. So overall six months. The course was a lot more in-depth than I thought it would be, which is brilliant. I'm so glad I did it, and that it took that long.
How did you commit yourself to learning online? Any tips for our readers who are concerned about focusing?
I actually rented a desk at a co-working space. I went three days a week and surrounded myself with programmers and other startups; it definitely helped.
Coming from a very corporate engineering background, Flatiron School was very different to what I was used to. It helped being around like-minded people while I was trying to learn. When you're learning on your own, it's quite hard to stay motivated sometimes. I'll be honest, I love programming, but obviously you have off days and not be motivated.
As an online student, what was the application and interview process like for Flatiron School?
I filled out an application form and then created a video, detailing more information about myself and why I enjoy programming. They also asked questions like, “If you could do anything when you're a programmer, what would you do?”
Once I got to the interview process, everything was online through Skype interviews. I ended up talking with Avi, the Dean of Flatiron School. We had a half an hour chat on Skype about the course in general, a bit about my background, and what I'd get out of the course.
Then you take a free, 30-hour introductory course, which culminates in you building a Tic-Tac-Toe game in Ruby. Once you finish that, then you can apply for the full course. I liked that process because if you put the effort in and know you love it, you'll do better in the full course.
Tell us about your learning experience. What was the Learn.co online platform like?
Learning online 100% worked for me. When I first started I was still working full-time, so I could do Flatiron School coursework around my working hours. I used to get up in the morning at 6:00am, log onto Learn.co to do a couple of hours before work, sneakily do some lessons/labs at work, and then more in the evening when I got home.
Because I had already completed the 30 hours, I knew what to expect from the platform. There were instructors available for online chat/help if you needed them. If you needed someone to bounce ideas off or guide you to the answer without giving it away, there were mentors there for that. We also had a Slack community for Flatiron School, where we'd all keep each other updated and encourage each other.
The Online Web Developer Program on Learn.co was essentially an online version of the Full Stack Web Development Program that Flatiron School offers on-site in New York. The course had the exact same curriculum, so obviously it had been tried and tested for a few years beforehand. It was very well-developed, and you could tell based on its depth.
How many people were in your cohort?
Flatiron School’s online programs don’t really work in cohorts because they’re self-paced and people joined at different times. There were probably about 20 of us right at the start, then more and more people were added every week.
How was the teaching style and feedback loop for Flatiron School’s online program?
Although you're on your own, you never feel isolated – there are always instructors available, it’s easy to start study groups with fellow students, and there are live lectures you can join about three times a week. Because of my schedule, I wasn’t able to attend the lectures in real-time, but they were all recorded. You can go back and watch every lecture that someone has given online.
The teachers were pretty cool. They were always available to help if you needed them. Students could hit them up through Learn.co’s “Ask A Question” and built-in chat features, on Slack, or by dropping them an email.
What was your biggest challenge during your time at Flatiron School?
It's always a struggle learning to code, no matter who you are. Sometimes you think you've got the subject matter, but your command doesn't work out how you expect it to. But then when it clicks, it just clicks and you think "Yes, I've won!" (until you get to the next thing). It's a whole massive learning process.
I was always thinking about how I could transition into personal projects that I wanted to build. Design patterns were always quite a big thing for me. It’s always good to step outside of the curriculum and think about how this will apply to your future, because otherwise you lose why you’re in the course. The curriculum teaches you how to do something; you still need to think and evolve to be a better programmer.
What was your favorite project that you built?
We built four or five different individual projects—one at the end of each section of the course. The first project I built was a command-line Ruby Gem for a “World’s Best 50 Restaurants” website. Users could type into the command-line and it would give a full list and more information about the restaurants. You can choose which restaurant you want more information from and it will you give their signature dish, the address of it, a bit about the chefs, and more. It is a very basic project, but when you first start building sites like that, you feel amazing. Check it out here.
For one of my final projects, I built a project management app in Rails. It was an internal project that you could use to add tasks to a project, add people to a project, and then assign people on that project's tasks. These projects were just simple ideas, but I spent a lot of time trying to get my head around the underlying backend technology than building the best app in the world.
Learn.co gives free reign to build anything you want. You have an hour session with an instructor and they give you an outline of what you are expected to do, then you can choose any project you want to build. Instructors then assess what you’ve built and may even write tests with you and you explain your design decisions. It was pretty cool to get real-time feedback and individual time with an instructor for each project.
What was the job hunt like after you finished Flatiron School?
When I moved to Melbourne, I wasn’t in any technology circles and didn’t know any programmers. I started going to meetups, joined the Ruby Australia Slack channel, and went to a Ruby conference when I first arrived. By chance, I spoke to one of the lead devs at Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) and said, "If you're looking for a junior developer, I've got previous consultant experience, and I'd be very much interested in working at PwC." When I finished Learn.co, I passed my CV to the product manager and got asked in for an interview. I went through four interviews; it was quite a long process. There was an initial phone screen interview, a coding challenge, an interview with the lead dev and product manager, and then there was an interview with the group director.
I now work at PwC as a Junior Web Developer and have been there for about a month.
Tell us about your current role as a Junior Developer at PwC.
I work for PWC Ventures, which is under digital services. We look for inefficiencies in financial services, whether that be with government incentives or other areas. We think about whether we can turn these solutions into mini-businesses for PwC, and then we develop and build like a startup.
For example, I'm working on a project called Nifty Forms which helps companies in Australia, Canada, and the UK get tax rebates or tax allowances to pay most of your Research & Development costs. Nifty Forms essentially takes out the back and forth with companies and accountants and provides an easier way to apply for your R&D rebates with the backing of PwC. I also work on another product called Airtax which helps freelancers and Uber drivers with their tax returns on a quarterly and annual basis.
Do you feel that Flatiron School has prepared you for your career as a developer?
Definitely. I feel like I learned a lot during my time at Flatiron School. At PwC, I’m working in a large application, much bigger than while I have been learning, but I’m comfortable. Looking at the code base, I can tell what's going on and I already feel like I can contribute to the development. I definitely feel very much prepared.
Do you still stay in touch with the Flatiron School or any other alumni?
I actually worked for Flatiron School for a few months after I graduated. I wanted to continue learning and helping other students while I was looking for a full-time position. I was a Learn Expert, helping out part-time. I helped the students through the course materials or when they got stuck.
It was really rewarding, to be honest, and it was nice to help students understand tough concepts. Teaching solidifies the information in your mind as well. If you're not sure about something, and you have to convey how it actually works to someone else, it sticks in your mind a bit more. I also still communicate with alumni in on our Slack channel.
What advice do you have for people who are thinking about making that career change and joining a coding bootcamp?
I'd say the first thing is to make sure you love coding. Make sure you've done loads of prep work; don't just jump into it. It's a lot of money to be spending, and not everyone loves programming. You can learn all the information you want, but if you don't have the passion, the drive, and the excitement about programming, it's hard to get junior dev role. Don't fork out a lot of money if you don't know that you love it.
Welcome to the August 2016 Course Report monthly coding bootcamp news roundup! Each month, we look at all the happenings from the coding bootcamp world from new bootcamps to big fundraising announcements, to interesting trends. This month the biggest news is the Department of Education's EQUIP pilot program to provide federal financial aid to some bootcamp students. Other trends include job placement outcomes, the gender imbalance in tech, acquisitions and investments, and paying for bootcamp. Read below or listen to our latest Coding Bootcamp News Roundup Podcast!Continue Reading →
Many competitive coding bootcamps require a certain level of coding knowledge or background in order to be accepted into their programs- whether they’re looking for past experience on your resume or require that you pass a coding challenge. For a beginner, it can be tough to get the experience that a selective bootcamp looks for in the application process. There are many ways to learn basic coding (including teaching yourself) but if you want to make sure you’re covering the right material and quickly, then a bootcamp prep program may be for you.Continue Reading →
In July 2016, we announced one FULL scholarship to Flatiron School in New York City. Because there were so many amazing applicants, Flatiron School decided to award scholarships to TWO stellar applicants, and we are excited to announce those winners today. Jessica, a musician/video producer, and Dallin, a marketing strategist, tell us a little bit about themselves and why they want to learn code at Flatiron School.
Congratulations Jessica and Dallin!
What are your career/ educational backgrounds?
Jessica: I went to college at Belmont University and studied Songwriting and Music Business. After graduating I started a small label and worked with a couple of bands (including my own at the time) in Nashville. I eventually moved to New York and worked several odd jobs while getting settled. Finally my college internships with several music companies paid off and I got hired to do video production for ‘stache Media. At ‘stache I worked in Premiere Pro and After Effects creating lyric videos, pseudo videos, and pre-roll spots. During most of my post-grad life I taught myself bits of coding on the side whenever I had time.
Dallin: While attending Brigham Young University (BYU) I worked as a marketing and social media strategist for a tech startup called Arsenal MKG. After graduating from BYU with a degree in business I chased my dream to one day live and work in Asia. I turned down a number of job opportunities in the states including a job with Real Salt Lake and Marriott Vacation Club to go on the job hunt in Thailand.
After a couple of weeks wondering how I would be able to get a job in a place where I knew no one and I didn’t speak the language I secured a marketing strategy job in the heart of Bangkok. I have had the opportunity to live and work with the local Thai people for the past 7 months. While I have grown to love the Thai people and culture the desire to take my career and skillset to the next level have been constantly on my mind. I feel that coding is the door to the future and I want to be involved in the emerging tech scene of New York City.
What got you interested in code and why did you decide to attend a coding bootcamp?
Dallin: I love creating and designing. From a young age, I have spent countless hours drawing up designs and logos for future businesses that I would start. By the time I got to high school, I was turning those drawings into realities as I started my own clothing company and later opened up a local food stand during my freshman year in college. Thanks to this entrepreneurial drive of mine I joined a tech startup where I worked closely with designers and programmers that were building incredible tools that would be able to help people. I spent hours in awe watching these programmers type things into a computer and create things out of thin air. I started to wonder if I would be able to do that too. So I signed up for an entry-level computer programming class at Brigham Young University. My professor ended up getting terminally ill two weeks into the semester and our class was left without a professor. Many students dropped the course but I stuck with it and tried to successfully pass my college course professor-less. While teaching myself in this class, I discovered Codecademy and completed the entire HTML & CSS course. I also completed the Build Your Own Website course. I have now discovered Learn.co and have been working my way through the Web Development fundamentals.
What made you choose to apply to Flatiron School?
Jessica: I started telling all my friends that I was trying to get into some coding bootcamps in New York and asked for advice on which schools to go for. Flatiron was on the top of my list because it seemed to really encourage creative thinkers. A couple of my friends are graduates of the school and raved about it to me.
Dallin: Upon deciding to go to coding school, I spent hours researching different schools. Of most importance to me was curriculum, teacher-student ratio, one-on-one mentoring, languages taught and actual career placement. As I read about Flatiron, I sensed that the school has a passion for teaching students to code that matches my passion for learning the necessary skills. I also like Flatiron's focus and emphasis on Ruby as I feel it is a great foundational language. Furthermore, as I've searched the web for introductory courses, I've found that Flatiron's Learn.co is the most effective course to teach yourself how to code and to interact with others who are doing the same thing. Learn.co has pushed me to think beyond the written curriculum and is a unique online classroom. I also love the fact that Flatiron is located in New York City. Lastly, and most important, I was blown away with Flatiron's proven career placement. I love the local connections that Flatiron has from so many successful alumni.
You’re both super-creative people. What are you most excited about learning at Flatiron School?
Jessica: For some reason when I play guitar I have a limitless attention span; hours go by and I don’t notice. The only other thing this has happened with me with has been coding. I get started trying to solve a problem and time just seems to slip away (in a good way). I feel like this happens because coding and songwriting both follow similar processes. Understanding the interaction of structure and creativity in music is a great way to think about code. Also, when you create a song you have to be able to take a risk and put yourself out there. There are guidelines to follow, like keys and chord progressions, but initially the page is blank. I feel like with coding it’s the same thing — you learn the proper tools and guidelines but in the end you’re taking an initial risk in simply creating something new.
Honestly, I’m most excited about simply having so much time dedicated to studying web development! After spending several years learning whatever I can on the side of full-time jobs and on the weekends it sounds like a total luxury. I’m also excited to put all of my pieces of self-taught information together into full cohesive lessons, and finally develop the tools I need to build all these crazy ideas for programs I have.
Dallin: My vision for coding is beyond making a living for myself and my future family. During my time in Brazil, I witnessed corruption, even to the point of death for some whom I was close to, as a result of poverty and lack of opportunity. The wheels in my head began to turn as I searched for a way to help their mourning families. With the price of education beyond what they can even comprehend paying for, and the hope for a better future is out of their reach. I have developed a plan of action to help those I love and others in similar situations overcome the corruption that is rampant in Brazil, as well as across the globe.
I dream of someday, in the near future, taking the skills I will learn through Flatiron School’s program, and my fluency in Portuguese, to start a not-for-profit coding school that I will offer to the people of Brazil. With the opportunity to advance their knowledge at an affordable rate and develop a marketable skill-set, they will be able to make better life choices that will assist them out of the poverty cycle. I live my life by the motto: “Teach a man to fish and they will be fed for a lifetime.” I find more fulfillment in my own success when I can share my knowledge and skills to help others improve and find their own success.
Can you tell me about your background and experience before you joined Flatiron?
I have been programming since middle school. I'm one of those kids who discovered coding at an early age, and fell in love with it. In high school, I taught at a computer camp for middle schoolers. That’s when I caught the teaching bug.
I went to Carnegie Mellon to study computer science and information systems; but it got very theory based, which didn’t really swing with me. I wasn't good at it. The reason I love programming is because I love making and solving things. I couldn't figure out how the deep theory was connected to building better software, so I dropped computer science and picked up economics and information systems. During school I was TAing for CMU courses: statistics, economics, Intro to C, and Rails. In my senior year, I helped write curriculum for an iOS course.
When I graduated, I actually just wanted to travel, so I joined IBM and consulted. I was looking for a way to give back to the community and wanted to volunteer to teach at the public library, but they needed people during the week when I wasn’t available. I then heard about Flatiron School through a friend of a friend who was in the school’s second ever Web Development class. I got in touch to see if I could help out on the weekends, and it eventually became a full-time job. I'd always loved teaching and programming, but I’d never thought of it as a career.
What did you think of Flatiron School at first?
I really liked how instructors spent so much time with students in these immersives, building really strong relationships. I also realized that people were quitting their jobs, spending a lot of money, and just dedicating their life to this so it’s our duty to make sure they learned as much as possible. It is on our instructors to make sure they have an amazing experience just as much as it is on the student.
What has your progression been since you started at Flatiron School?
I started working at Flatiron early July 2013. For the first year and a half, I was the lead instructor for the iOS class. We're a small company, and if a teacher was sick, or needed someone to cover, I'd help out. I would also represent the company at events.
Then I started helping Avi Flombaum, our co-founder and dean, with onboarding new instructors, instructor training, and some curriculum development stuff. We were trying to build processes around how we capture issues, how we respond to them, etc. Then we found another Lead iOS Instructor who took over the iOS class and I was able to become Director of the Faculty. In that role, I was working on instructor training, hiring, and mentorship of new instructors – coaching them through the process of teaching, and emotional support for the students.
This year, I became VP of Education. I oversee the online curriculum, our in-person instructors, as well as help out with some of the online instructors. So I'm interacting with the students, but never as much as I’d like. I am currently teaching our iOS course, and I also do a lot of guest lectures in the web development courses.
Tell me about the launch of Flatiron School’s online curriculum. How did that work?
It's nice to no longer be constrained by 12 weeks. We now have the ability to give students extra work during or after the program if there are technologies they want to learn or practice.
Is this Learn curriculum just for the Web Development class or your other classes too?
The Learn curriculum is currently just for Web Development. We are working on some stuff for iOS. The one big push we're doing right now is the move from Objective-C to Swift. We're building in a lot of curriculum work around Swift as well as more recorded lectures for Objective-C.
How many students and teachers do you have in each program?
We have 30 students each in the three in-person immersive classes (two Web Development, and one iOS). Each immersive class has a lead instructor and two teacher assistants. For the online program, we have a very different model around how instructors work. We have a network of “Learn Experts” who act as mentors and are available anytime to support students.
Can online students start anytime and how does that impact the sense of community?
Students start whenever they like. One of the biggest features of the online program is flexibility; flexibility to start whenever you like and to build relationships with people who are either close to you geographically or in the same spot in the curriculum, even if they’re in different time zones. We recognize that when you think of amazing educational experiences, you think of the people you did it with, and your instructors. So we want as much as possible to really prop that up and facilitate the social aspect of education.
What’s the structure of the online curriculum?
Essentially the online and in-person program are the same. All of the online curricula came from the immersive class. The immersive is where we beta test new stuff, and push the edges of what's possible to teach within a short amount of time. Because we have 30 students with three instructors, we're able to create really tight relationships with our students. We use these relationships to figure out the pacing and to get a tight handle on how fast to go.
How often do you update or iterate on the curriculum?
It's a pretty constant process. It’s an open source curriculum so it's constantly changing. We get 30 to 60 issues or pull requests per week. Some are from students, some are from instructors, and they're getting merged at a rate of about 50 a week. It's great to get feedback from students and be able to quickly iterate and push a new change within days.
Instructors are moving stuff around and playing with ideas all the time. Last semester we played with teaching Ember, and our instructors just pulled it together on their off time so we could see how it worked and if we could teach it. Having open source curriculum and having a standard developer flow of GitHub and pull requests means that it's frictionless for us to try out new content and approaches to teaching, so we do it all the time.
How do the instructors stay aware of all the little changes to the curriculum and make sure they're teaching the most up to date version?
It’s not easy – but super important. Before teachers deploy new labs, they'll take a look at the commit history of those labs and see the changes another teacher has made. Everything is in there.
For the larger changes – for instance, when we added Angular – the instructors help us build the outline and they review it as content is developed.
How do the in-person on-campus students use the Learn platform?
We run the whole course through Learn, but usage is a bit lighter compared to the online students. Although the students are able to hit the “ask a question feature” in Learn, it’s more natural to ask a teacher in person because they’re standing right there. We do use Learn a lot for its pacing. It shows us how the students are progressing. We can actually look at the data to see how many tests they’ve passed, how quickly they are working, and if they’re engaged to be a bit more data-driven in our decisions.
How do you assess students’ progress through Learn? Can students fail?
All of Flatiron School’s curriculum has automated tests to make sure students are finishing tasks. For the online students, we have live assessments with an instructor throughout the course. For the in-person programs, there's no real failing. It's more just discussion with teachers: “here is where you didn't succeed, you have some extra areas that you need to study up on.”
In the online program, students who fail assessments have to go back and make some modifications before moving on. It's really important that anyone who graduates from Flatiron School really knows their stuff. If you happen to get through some content without understanding it, then we want to make sure that you understand it before you move forward. If you just compound shaky on top of shaky, when you get further into the curriculum - to Rails and Angular – it's going to be difficult.
If students are struggling, we step in immediately and provide additional materials in the form of Learn lessons, extra one-on-one time, or extra one-on-small group time. We also continue to work with students after they graduate if they need additional practice ahead of interviews.
What kind of person do you think is the ideal student to do the in-person Flatiron School bootcamp?
I think the person that really values it is someone who has just fallen in love with code and wants to be completely immersed: physically, mentally, and philosophically surrounded by people who are passionate about coding. They want that really close knit relationship that comes from constantly interacting with your teacher. You sit next to your teachers, you have lunch with your teachers – so if you really love being driven by instructors and you can come to New York for three months, it’s a great option.
Learning this stuff is hard, so you need a community to support you. That’s true whether you’re learning online or in person. Both programs really embrace that concept.
Welcome to the June Course Report monthly coding bootcamp news roundup! Each month we look at all the happenings from the coding bootcamp world, including new bootcamps, what we’re seeing in bootcamps internationally, outcomes, and paying for bootcamps. Plus, we released our big Bootcamp Market Sizing and Growth Report in June! Read below or listen to our latest Coding Bootcamp News Roundup Podcast!Continue Reading →
Jennifer Sardina had a lot of interesting jobs, as a foreign language teacher, a chemistry lab technician, a health coach, and a full-time mom. But she wanted a career. She had never been interested in computers before, but when her brother gave her a programming book, she couldn’t put it down. Jennifer enrolled in Flatiron School’s Web Development program and is now a software engineer at XO Group for TheKnot.com. Jennifer tells us why she chose Flatiron School, how she juggled working full time with motherhood, and all about her exciting job.
What is your education background? Your last career path?
It’s ironic that I ended up in this field because I always knew I liked working with people and communications, but I did not want to work with computers.
I originally attended Stony Brook University to study chemical and tissue engineering. But as an animal rights advocate and a vegan, I decided I didn’t want to dissect animals, so I switched to literature. I studied Italian language and literature then went to Italy for some time. I came back and started working as a Spanish and Italian teacher, then became a health coach and worked as a chemistry lab technician. I had a lot of different jobs but I didn’t have a career.
So how did you get interested in programming?
My last job as a health coach was at a startup, and my job was mostly community outreach and working with patients. But I wore many hats, and often collaborated with a research team to track data. They were using excel spreadsheets, but it was frustrating because they didn’t have a real database. I would vent to my brother (a Flatiron School grad) and he suggested I might enjoy programming, because I’d be able to solve these problems with code. He shared Chris Pine’s book “Learn to Program” with me, which I secretly started reading and fell in love with. I quit my job a couple months later to go to Flatiron School full time. It was the best decision of my life.
Did you consider teaching yourself?
No I didn’t. I was having a lot of “aha” moments and it felt like I was playing games all day. At the same time, I was working full time, and I’m a full-time mom and wife. I felt like if I wanted to focus on it enough to actually become a programmer, I needed to devote 100% of my time to it. Otherwise, I was afraid it would just become a hobby.
Did you look at other coding bootcamps in NYC or just Flatiron School?
I did look at General Assembly and App Academy. App Academy sounded interesting because I wouldn’t have to pay upfront- they offer deferred tuition. But my brother interviewed with them and didn’t like the experience. I went to an open house at GA and heard alumni talking about their experiences, but it wasn’t as convincing as Flatiron School to me. My brother already went to Flatiron School and he loved it. So I applied, really liked the interviews, and I felt this positivity and excitement for code and that was really nice.
What was the Flatiron School application and interview process like for you?
I submitted the application, and I had a phone screening with a woman from the Admissions team. She looked like me, and she seemed interested in me, my experience, and why I got into programming. The human connection was a great first start.
After that there was a code challenge. Flatiron School wasn’t looking for an answer; they were looking at my thought process and my ability to explain it. I liked the questions during the technical interview with Avi Flombaum. He didn’t just say “oh this is working;” instead he asked me how I arrived at this answer, why this is important, and made me think about my implementation. Avi is also someone who naturally smiles, which made me comfortable.
How did you pay for Flatiron School?
I’m the sole provider in my household, so you can imagine that quitting my job completely and paying $15,000 upfront was impossible for me. Flatiron School offers a $1000 scholarship for women and minorities. I am a black, Hispanic, and a mom, so I did get some help there. After the two scholarships, I ended up paying $13,000 in total. My brother also helped me out, which was really nice of him, so I could focus on the bootcamp. Flatiron School does also offer financing options.
Was your class diverse in terms of gender, race, life and career backgrounds?
There were 18 to 20 people in the class, with a good number of women and different age ranges. There were other moms, there was one other Hispanic person, and one black person in the iOS class. And there was one instructor who looked like me.
Who were your instructors and how did they support your learning?
The main instructors were Ian, Rose, and Amanda initially, but then Amanda transferred to the other incoming class. They were awesome. I would bother them all the time and they were naturally so patient, and didn’t mind repeating the same thing over and over again with the same tone. They seemed like they were always having fun.
What was the learning experience like at Flatiron School?
Every day was different, but every morning you understood exactly what was going on. Our long list of tasks would be online already on the Learn platform. The intention for students is to never really be “finished” with the tasks; we always had to reach for more. First, we would do the Problem of the Day. Then we did group or solo activities, but we’re always encouraged to talk to other people at our table, and have study groups, so we could talk through the problem. One thing Flatiron School emphasized is explaining your thought process to others. And we did a lot of whiteboarding – every table was a dry erase surface, so you could draw out problems on the table. There were also two hours per day of lectures, and a lot of homework to do outside of class.
I was in the Flatiron classroom from 9am until 6pm, then I would run home to a three-year-old every evening. Some people stayed really late, and every morning people were there already. I think some people stayed overnight because they were open 24 hours a day - though I think that’s mainly because they were so enthralled with what they were learning.
What was your favorite project? Did you get to use your own ideas?
My favorite project was our final project, which was a heatmap of ethnic food in New York. I worked with two classmates, Jason and Jeremy. If a user searches for Indian food, they’ll get a heat map showing where in NYC the most Indian restaurants are. I thought that was really fun, partly because it was a single page app – we used Rails, and we practiced a lot of Ajax which was really cool because we hadn’t had much experience with that. We also got to use the Google Maps API and the Foursquare API. That project was a good combo of back end and front end work in a very short period of time.
How did Flatiron School prepare you for finding a job after you graduated?
Flatiron School definitely helped me make connections, and I met my current supervisor at the Flatiron Science Fair. They gave me confidence in talking about my technical background, which at that point was very limited. We focused a lot on our elevator pitch and finding the right words when presenting yourself to a potential employer. I tend to talk a lot, and it was good to learn how to choose specific words and stick to a one-minute pitch. Lastly, when it came to job offers, I had two job offers at once, and they were very supportive in helping me choose the right job for me.
Which job offer did you take? Where are you working now?
I ended up taking the second job offer because I really wanted to work at XO Group. I started as an associate software engineer at XO Group on June 1, 2015, about four weeks after I graduated from Flatiron School. The other initial offer was from a nonprofit organization with interesting problems and technologies, but I didn’t see any women! It was all men dressed in suits and very quiet. When I got the XO Group offer, the atmosphere at the office helped me make my decision.
Tell us about XO Group- where have we seen your work around the internet?
XO Group runs the websites The Knot, The Bump, and The Nest. We support couples through their most important life changes. When you’re getting married you can create a wedding website, registries, and manage your guest list on The Knot. You can use The Bump when you’re pregnant and about to start a family, and then use The Nest when you’re raising kids. I work specifically for The Knot in the wedding websites guest services team, maintaining the wedding websites and guests manager.
What does your day-to-day look like as a web developer?
At 10am we have standups, where everyone updates their team on what they are working on, if they have any blockers, and generally maintains situational awareness. Then we get started on work. Sometimes I work solo on stories or chores, sometimes I pair with other developers. For the first few months, I was the only full-time developer on my team, but it was great because I got to learn a lot. Now the team is growing and there’s a lot of room for pairing and learning.
We also have time to review code requests, when someone else looks at your code and gives you feedback, which is another great opportunity to learn. My team is 4 or 5 people including myself, and we’re all actively working on the same products.
Are you still using Ruby on Rails? How are you keeping up to date with new tech?
I feel like Flatiron School equipped me with a good foundation in programming with specific tools, languages and frameworks. I do sometimes think about getting a CS degree when my daughters are a little older, to learn more about big architectural problems and algorithms.
When you started at Flatiron School, did you know that your goal after graduating was to get a job as a junior developer?
I did want to get a job as a developer because I wanted to be able to focus on programming full time. When I started at Flatiron, I didn’t know what kind of company I wanted to work for. I was just leaving a nonprofit organization with a very small team of just 5 women. I thought about working for a small startup, but I knew I wouldn’t have time to have a life. I didn’t know I wanted to work for a large company until I went to XO and fell in love with it. The people are just so happy all the time.
What’s been the biggest challenge in your new job as a developer?
My biggest challenge is communicating technical thoughts confidently. Sometimes I feel like I know exactly what I’m talking about and I know it’s the correct answer or best implementation, but sounding confident and representing myself in the technical world has been a challenge. To combat this, I’ve tried writing blog posts and doing presentations. I challenge myself to do presentations at work, I presented at the NYCRB, and at the NYC Camp last year at the UN. Those things are helping, but it’s still a big challenge getting beyond that point.
What advice do you have for people making a career change after bootcamp?
My older brother once told me that if you want to find your dream job, find the job you would do for free. Before making a decision, make sure that programming is something you would do for free. I thought that was beautiful advice.
Programming is a field where you don’t stop learning. If you want to be competitive, you have to read every day and learn new technologies and continue developing. Don’t pay attention to how other people are doing, just look at the progress you’ve made as an individual. The marathon is not against other people but against yourself.
Apply now for the Course Report + Flatiron Full Scholarship!
Flatiron School has been a leader in immersive coding education since 2012, and we’ve watched as they’ve produced amazing graduates like Vaidehi and Stephanie. That’s why we are so excited to announce the Course Report Web Development Full Scholarship for Flatiron School’s Web Development Immersive. You read that correctly- a FULL scholarship worth $15,000.Continue Reading →
You know the stereotypes of the creative-minded artist and the technically-minded programmer. One with the creative writing degree but lost when it comes to tech; the other focused on computer science but too mechanical to be imaginative. One whose workshop is the artist’s studio or concert hall; the other tapping away in their terminal. Keyboard vs. keyboard. BA vs. BS. Well, it is B.S.
If you’ve met a real developer, you know these stereotypes aren’t true. Here at Flatiron School, we’ve seen students with creative backgrounds flourish as programmers—and the employers we work with have appreciated how our graduates from different disciplines bring their creative skills into the workplace. In fact, we believe that what separates a great programmer from a good one is creativity.
That’s one reason why an increasing number of people who love to create—from artists and linguists to chefs and designers—find a career in programming to be a fulfilling outlet for their talents. Just open up your terminal and start building something from scratch, no canvas or instrument required.
Some have even noted that our classes “run less like math classes than creative writing classes. Students build projects, review and discuss each other’s work, and then rewrite them.”
We believe so strongly in creative programmers that we're actually partnering with Course Report to offer a full scholarship to our immersive web development course in NYC for people with non-technical backgrounds. Whether you’re pursuing your creative talents professionally or as a hobby, we’ve seen students with this experience thrive here at Flatiron School. Here are a few of their stories:
Vaidehi Joshi: from freelance writer to full-stack engineer
Tyler Davis: from musician to startup founder
Tyler, a lifelong musician and multi-instrumentalist—and a Flatiron alum—brought together his love of music, design, and development through the launch of SoundViz: a site that converts the soundwave of your favorite song into a piece of high-quality, ready-to-hang art.
Stephanie Oh: from teacher and songwriter to product manager
Stephanie was a writing teacher, tutor, and songwriter, while also working in the talent management industry with artists like Def Leppard and CeeLo Green. She thought the end result of that path would be a job in marketing or PR, but wasn’t sure if either field truly excited her. After seeing the creativity present in websites and apps, she wondered: who were the people actually making them? She attended Flatiron School, convinced that an entry-level developer role would utilize more of her creative abilities than the path she had been on—as a developer, she would be the one making things. And she’s right: Stephanie has gone on to be a Product Manager at Splash, Constant Contact, and inMarket.
Grace Lee: mixing art with programming
Grace is a Flatiron student, who has been combining her artistic and programming passions in a fresh way. Take a peek at her technical blog, where she illustrates tough concepts through delightful pen and marker drawings alongside lucid written explanations. She also penned the art on this blog post!
If you want to come to NYC this summer and join our passionate community of web development students, apply for a full scholarship to Flatiron School’s Web Development Immersive ($15,000 value)! Applications are due June 21st and all of the details can be found here.
Welcome to the May 2016 Course Report monthly coding bootcamp news roundup! Each month we look at all the happenings from the coding bootcamp world, from acquisitions, to new bootcamps, to collaborations with universities, and also various reports and studies. Read below or listen to our latest Coding Bootcamp News Roundup podcast.Continue Reading →
What is it like to study at an online coding bootcamp? How will you interact with your instructors, mentors and other students? And will your learning portal be a place you look forward to learning each day? We have done the research and asked some of the most popular online bootcamps to give us walkthrough demos to answer all your questions about studying online.Continue Reading →
Since the first bootcamp acquisition in June 2014, we’ve seen several bootcamps acquired by for-profit universities and even other schools. These acquisitions and consolidations should come as no surprise. With rapid market growth in the bootcamp industry, for-profit education companies are beginning to take note. And as existing coding bootcamps think about expansion, consolidation through acquisition is certainly on the horizon. We’ll keep this chronologically-ordered list updated as bootcamps announce future acquisitions.
Continue Reading →
If you're a college student, an incoming freshman, or a teacher with a summer break, you have tons of summer coding bootcamp options, as well as several code schools that continue their normal offerings in the summer months.
Wondering what a college student or a school teacher can do with coding skills?Continue Reading →
Sarah was working as a grants manager for a nonprofit, when she got inspired by browsing beautiful websites to pursue coding. She wanted to find a way to study coding without quitting her job, so she chose Flatiron School’s online Learn-Verified coding bootcamp. It meant she was able to study with an established NYC-based school, while living in Des Moines, Iowa. Sarah told us about what and how she has been learning, and gave us a video demonstration of the Learn-Verified platform.
Tell us about your background and what you were doing before Flatiron.
I majored in marketing and writing at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa. After college, I worked at a local nonprofit and did a year of Americorps. After that year, I got hired full time as their grant writer, writing and managing grants.
I’ve always enjoyed design and I started to get inspiration from web design; eventually, I realized that I could figure out how to make those sites work, so I started learning HTML and CSS through books, tutorials, and articles. I got frustrated with CSS because it never did exactly what I wanted it to do. At that point, I realized there was a lot more to websites than just HTML and CSS, so I just kept learning.
Once you decided you wanted to move on from learning by yourself, how did you make that decision to do a bootcamp?
About six months ago, I started to get really serious about coding and decided to pursue it. I really enjoyed learning about coding and I enjoyed the fact there was always something new to learn. That’s very important to me – learning is always going to be a significant part of my life.
As I was coding on my own, I was always wondering what I should be learning next or what I should be doing. If I wanted to take this seriously I realized I needed to know what I should be learning, so a bootcamp was a really good way to do that.
How did you decide you wanted to do an online coding bootcamp rather than an in-person option?
Is the teaching language (Ruby) at Flatiron important to you?
It definitely was. As I was learning on my own and making these decisions, I had read a lot about Ruby and about it being friendly, easy to pick up as a first language, and had a great community around it, so learning Ruby seemed like a great choice. Previously, I had built a few things in Rails, nothing super fancy or really cool but I at least had done Rails and knew how to start a new application.
Can you tell us about the application process with Flatiron Learn-Verified?
You start by signing up on Flatiron‘s website for a free introductory course which goes through some basics of Ruby, data types, basic logic statements, etc.
Once you complete part of the intro course, you are invited to apply and update your LinkedIn profile, submit that, then you have a short interview with one of the co-founders or admissions directors. In the next few days, you’ll hear back whether or not you were accepted.
Did you have to quit your job to start Flatiron’s online Learn-Verified?
No, I work full time and do all of my Flatiron work at nights and weekends.
Can you tell us about the learning experience at Flatiron Learn-Verified? What’s a typical session like and what is the teaching style like?
They have a really good learning platform set up. You start with a reading about a programming concept, they give you examples in that reading, tell you things to watch out for, show you ways you might solve this problem, and additional resources about the concept. After the reading, you’ll usually have a lab where you put what you learned into practice.
Then you do a lab for each section. Everything just keeps building on each lesson. Flatiron is really good at making sure you know the foundation of a concept before you get the quick fix for it.
So you always feel like you understand a concept before you move on?
Yes. The other nice part of it is everything is stored on Github so if I forget about how something worked, I can go back a few labs and look at what that was, then reference it or put it back into practice in whatever I’m working on.
How often do you interact with other students taking the course?
They encourage pair programming at different times during the course. When you finish each major section there are a couple projects - one that you’ll pair program and the other that will be your assessment. For the project, you’re encouraged to pair with someone else who is at a similar pace as you. There’s a Slack channel for the course that’s helpful for reaching out to other students and finding someone to pair with.
They explain a few different ways you could pair program (work linearly together, one person does one requirement and the other does the next, or both work on different parts at the same time and meet in the middle).
You’re encouraged to pair in each of these ways throughout the course so you have experiences working collaboratively.
What sort of pace have you been learning at so far? How many hours per week have you been spending on Learn-Verified?
It’s definitely varied. On a weeknight, I try to make sure I spend at least one or two hours. Obviously, that varies depending on what else I have going on. But then a lot of my weekend is also devoted to Learn, so I would say ten hours every weekend (Saturday and Sunday).
I started at the beginning of November and I’m more than halfway done. I expect to be done in April.
What are your instructors like? How often do you interact with them?
I usually interact with instructors if I have a question, if I’m a bit confused about something, or if I run into a problem. They have a nice ‘ask a question’ feature on the platform where I could ask about anything and get an answer. We also have a Slack channel and there’s always an instructor online who can answer questions. That also helps with getting to know everybody else who’s in the Learn-Verified community.
I believe they’re all based in New York but they have a great online presence and online community using a lot of different tools. It’s been good.
Logistically, I would hit the ‘ask a question’ button and type a question. They’ll either help you or refer you to another instructor. We also have a Slack channel so the other way I might get someone’s attention is by writing a question in there.
What’s your plan once you finish Learn-Verified?
Another thing that made this program exciting for me was the job placement guarantee. I’m definitely looking to switch careers and be a full time developer, whether that’s a junior developer or another programming role.
How is the Flatiron team going to prepare you for job placement?
One really great thing about the course is that it teaches you to be comfortable using professional developer tools - ie- the command line, GitHub, text editors, etc. Having the entire course on GitHub has been useful in the fact that it builds up a portfolio of projects that I’ve worked on. I recently went to a Ruby meetup for the first time. I was talking to some of the regulars and they asked if they could see my Github profile. We were able to look through it together, and he liked to be able to see what I was learning and to be able to get into the code. I think that’s helped a lot.
I know when I start looking for a job, I’ll have support from Flatiron. Someone will be checking in with me, helping me keep motivated to work on my code, and encouraging me to network.
Do you have any advice for people who are considering an online bootcamp? How can they stay motivated while learning online?
It’s been really important for me to have a goal at the end – that I want to get a job. So I have something to look forward to when things get a little difficult for me to grasp or figure out. I know I need to keep going and it eventually will pay off.
I would really encourage people to just dive into the material and to make sure they’re proactively learning new things on their own, too. So do your research, try to figure it out and really try to digest what you can and keep going.
Watch the video below to see Sarah's demo of the Learn-Verified platform:
Can you tell us about the Learn-Verified online platform and how it works?
The first page is my profile page. It shows what my Streak is, and every activity I’ve done. Right now I’m on a four-day streak, last week I was on a 21-day streak.
You can also see the lessons I’ve completed, including all the different sections I’ve gotten through. It shows I am on this Rails section right now, and all of the different readings, lessons for that section. Then it shows exactly which lesson I’m on within the Rails section.
Do you actually build projects through Learn-Verified?
To open up a particular lab I could hit the ‘open’ button and there’s a Learn gem you would install at the beginning of the program. Usually, I open Terminal, then I would input ‘Learn open.’ That will open up my current lesson as well as Sublime text for what I’m working on.
You were mentioning before how Github is integrated with this platform. Could you explain how you use Github?
All of the labs are on Github so I can open Github through the Learn platform. When I do “Learn open” in the Terminal, the files from the lab on Github get forked into my local machine.
Then just like a normal developer, I would work on all of the tests. For example if I run an R-spec, it will show me all of my tests that are not passing right now. And if I did have all of them passing, I would run a Learn command which basically is going to be R-spec right now. But if I was passing everything then the button would turn green saying everything’s passed and I’m okay to submit a pull request to Github. Once I did that, I would hit ‘Learn submit’. That’s basically how you use Github with this.
Once you’ve passed the local tests, does that allow you to move on to the next lesson?
Yes. Then after I’ve passed the test, I can go to Github and look at the test solution which may be a different than how I got everything to pass. I think it’s really great you can see different ways to do things and maybe that will help you see ways you can refactor your code.
So once I’ve submitted everything I’ll hit ‘next lesson’ and go to a reading for this next lesson. If I wanted to hit ‘next lesson’ before I finished all the tests, it’s not going to let me go forward.
How does this platform compare with other free online training websites like Codecademy?
I’d say this is a lot more comprehensive than Codecademy. It’s going to tell you ways you should do things and why that might be the best option. Another thing that’s different from Codecademy is I can see the tests on whatever lab I’m working on. I can interact with them and get a better feel for what I’m supposed to be doing. Whereas with Codecademy, it might tell you exactly which code to write, but I don’t always know why. On the Learn platform, I have full control over the code. I should not be changing any of the tests but I always get to look at them, see what they are, and what I’m working towards.
Have there been any parts on this platform you’ve found challenging or a steep learning curve?
The program is really good because everything builds on the last lesson. Once you get through some of the foundational concepts, you see a lot of patterns or ideas repeating themselves. There’s always going to be something that’s a bit further than what you’ve already learned, so those are the points at which it’s really helpful to go and Google things on your own, and try figure out what that concept is. Everything is eventually going to be explained.
Is there a feedback channel through this platform?
If I ran into a bug, I could report it through the platform. Otherwise, if I was to go into a pull request, I’ve definitely seen people say “check out this test” or “this seems funny” and things like that. That’s also the place where I would go to ask a question and if something seemed weird to me, I might ask it there.
Or I could also email one of my instructors to give broader feedback about the course.
What do you like best about using this platform?
I like that I have a clear path for learning. I can easily see after I finish Sessions, I’m going to learn Authentication. I trust that Flatiron instructors know what they’re talking about and they have a really good track record of getting people jobs and teaching people to code.
I like that they lay out that path for you and make it available so I don’t have to spend my time questioning what I should be learning or is this the right way to learn it.
I’d say it’s a great program, it’s definitely worth the time. I know a lot of people have put a lot of work into building it and maintaining its community – so I would definitely consider it!
Are Coding Bootcamps the new "replacement" for college degrees? Or are bootcamp grads missing out on valuable Computer Science theory by opting out of a traditional CS degree? As coding bootcamps rise in popularity, they face both praise and criticism- but what is the real difference between these two education paths? Join Course Report and our expert panel (seriously, these folks are running the best bootcamps in the world) to dive into this topic: CS Degrees vs Coding Bootcamps.
This webinar is perfect for future bootcampers or anyone interested in the coding bootcamp industry.Continue Reading →
How much do coding bootcamps cost? From students looking for free coding bootcamps to those wondering if an $18,000 bootcamp is worth it, we understand that cost is important to future bootcampers! While the average full-time programming bootcamp in the US costs $11,451, bootcamp tuition can range from $9,000 to $21,000, and some coding bootcamps have deferred tuition. So how do you decide what to budget for? Here, we break down the costs of coding bootcamps from around the USA.
When coding bootcamps started gaining popularity, we wondered if tension would arise between traditional universities and these alternative education providers. On the contrary, a trend arose and universities have now been partnering with coding bootcamps for a few years now. When the Department of Education announced the EQUIP Initiative in October 2015, these collaborations were formalized by the US government; but EQUIP is just one example amongst the myriad of strategic and independent partnerships between universities and coding bootcamps.
Updated April 27, 2017Continue Reading →
Do you want to be a front end developer or a back end developer? Understanding your career goals at the end of a coding bootcamp can make it easier to narrow down which school is best for you. This can be a tricky task if you aren’t familiar with these terms – but no need to worry now that you have this guide. Let’s dig into the difference between front end web development and back end development: which programming languages you’ll learn, which coding schools teach them, and what to expect from a career as a back end or front end web developer!
So, you think becoming a web developer is the right path for you?Continue Reading →
Garett Arrowood discovered Learn while at a crossroads in his life. As a freelance musician and former teacher, he’s always embraced a lifelong philosophy of learning and developing his craft. Now that he’s pursuing a career in web development, he opened up about what using Flatiron School’s online program Learn is really like, and gave some advice to those who are considering taking the plunge.
Why did you want to learn programming?
I no longer wanted to do what I was doing full-time, so I started looking around. I started reading one of those books that help you find your ideal career, and about a quarter of the way through it had me look at a bunch of different professions. That’s where I stopped. I got interested when I saw how much job opportunity was in this field and started investigating schools. I was planning on finding an immersive, but once I learned I could do it all online, I didn’t feel I needed to go to a physical school.
How is programming rewarding?
I started really liking it once I started doing it. I had no idea how much I would like it, but little by little what I found most appealing was the instant gratification. What’s really nice about coding is that you get what you put into it, so if you work and study hard, you’ll have a product right in front of your eyes. I’m a performing artist and teacher, and sometimes you can put in more effort than you get out. The more time you put into coding, the more value you get out of it. I feel like my time is always rewarded by having concrete things happening.
What were you doing before you started Learn, and how has that affected the way you learn to code?
I was and still am an active freelance musician. For the last five years, I also was a full-time teacher, but have been teaching in some capacity for my whole life. A major part of being successful in these fields for me was embracing a lifelong learning philosophy, forever studying and improving your craft. This lends itself very well to coding. As you meet more people in the tech community, you find that everyone is still learning and studying as they go. Since there is no way to learn everything out there, a good programmer learns how to learn, and keeps improving at it.
How have other platforms you’ve used compared to Learn?
I started learning with Codecademy. And it was great because each lesson is spoon fed. You are given a problem, shown the answer, and then stepped through reassembling that answer. But Learn asks you to do much more, and like the title implies, integrates coding knowledge. In addition to teaching the technical nuances, Learn shapes how you approach programming problems. It equips you with an understanding of how languages interact and how frameworks are structured.
What kind of software would you like to build once you start working professionally?
Software that has a positive effect on society. It would be wonderful to work towards making it easier for underprivileged minorities to vote. Fantastic to write something that makes it easy to identify and fix our gender pay gap. Software that helps visual and performing artists get a larger piece of the pie. And with all that said, something that is preferably written in Ruby.
Where do you see these skills taking you in the next few years, and what languages are you interested in learning next?
I am very excited about career possibilities moving forward. Due to the high demand for qualified programmers, I feel like I can finally decide where I would like to live as opposed to letting my profession decide that for me. The idea of eventually working remotely is also very appealing. I’d like to spend a significant amount of time living outside of the country. What languages I learn next depends on what my first job in this field needs. In the meantime, I plan to keep learning more tools and libraries in the languages I know.
What advice would you have for other people on Learn?
Two things — the first, ask a ton of questions. Keep putting your questions out there. Not just on Learn, but to anyone who you can ask. Second, have patience with yourself. Nobody goes through this easily. Anticipate frustration and be patient with yourself. Realize that you’re learning something everyday, and that’s an accomplishment.
Welcome to the October News Roundup, your monthly news digest full of the most interesting articles and announcements in the bootcamp space. Do you want something considered for the next News Roundup? Submit announcements of new courses, scholarships, or open jobs at your school!Continue Reading →
Flatiron School has made a reputation for itself as one of the earliest and most transparent programming immersives. Despite that, the company decided not to expand its adult programs outside of New York for years — until now. Adam Enbar, co-founder and president of Flatiron School, took some time to share the company’s new online platform Learn, which comes with a job offer guarantee for all accepted students. Read on about the direction online learning is taking, the most important component of a successful immersive, and what sets Learn apart from its competitors.
What have you been up to the last few months?
For the past six months I’ve been working with our high school program, which has been phenomenal but logistically intense. Avi and I actually taught our first high school class in 2013 just for fun when we had no employees and it was just us. We ran a program for high school students for the summer in partnership with Skillcrush.
The next summer in 2014, we had 150 students and they loved it. So this past summer, we decided to grow it out a little bit and the demand was so crazy that we ended up going to 13 cities in 10 states, teaching hundreds of students. It is so fun, but it’s chaos. We trained 45 teachers and the stats on them were incredible. Half of them had no background in programming, half were women, half were minorities, over half of them from Title 1 schools (Title 1 schools are designated as underserved, 75% of children received free or reduced lunch).
Thinking about computer science in K-12, there’s no precedent, so everything is looked at with fresh eyes. It’s a really interesting and amazing opportunity but it has to be navigated carefully, because whatever gets implemented will have legacy and that can be very hard to change in a dramatic way later.
Are you thinking about online education as a way to expand without losing quality? Why not open new brick and mortar locations?
We’ve always wanted to expand access to our program — but not at the expense of quality.
If you look at the fellowship program that we do, it’s amazing. It’s 18 to 26-year olds, no college degree. Actually, the most recent class averaged $100 higher on their average salary. And they have jobs at places like Goldman and Sachs, MasterCard, Foursquare and Kickstarter! We just launched a new iteration of the program program with NYC called the Mobile Dev Corps that’s giving free tuition to our iOS program.
Brick and mortar is expensive. Rather than invest in new locations and collect more tuition, we’ve focused on investing in technology and curriculum that will serve our students.
Why did you create Learn-Verified?
At the Flatiron School immersive program, we don’t let students leave until they’re successful. We’re transparent about our outcomes. And when we think about expanding access, we want to enable more people to get these outcomes without the costs and infrastructure of a brick and mortar location.
I think online education has failed us in a major way. At Flatiron School, we want everything we do to have a real, measurable impact on somebody’s life. In the immersives, these programs get people jobs. Learn follows the same philosophy. If you want to dip your toe in the water and level up a little bit, Learn isn’t right for you. Learn is for people who want to change their lives.
What’s the process for getting accepted into Learn?
In order to apply, you have to go through 30 hours of free coursework. We want to know that you’re serious, that you can do the work, and that you enjoy it.
I don’t think there is a product online today that is successfully focused on career change. At Flatiron School, we want every single person to not just learn, but to qualify for a job. We have the same exact expectations of online students as we have of our immersive students.
Are the Learn and Flatiron School application processes the same?
The standards are the same, but the application is a little bit different because they’re doing work before the application, so we can actually see their code on GitHub.
Are there students enrolled in Learn-Verified right now?
Actually, I’m shocked because we only launched on Thursday and some people completed the qualifying track in 24 hours! Hundreds of people have already started the free course, but we’re being deliberate about admitting people into the Verified program. Community is incredibly important to us so we still want to get to know all the students personally.
For someone who is familiar with Thinkful or Codecademy or even Hack Reactor Remote, how does Learn compare to those online options?
I think they’re all incredibly different. Codecademy is great for beginners — it’s where most of our students started their journey. They’ve even hired from Flatiron School. Hack Reactor Remote is essentially an immersive; you’re just in a different room. Thinkful is great, but hasn’t been focused on outcomes.
Learn is designed to open access by allowing people to go through the program at their own pace, while maintaining our incredibly high bar for outcomes, and at a dramatically lower cost than the immersive program.
I think different styles of education serve a different purpose. All of these things need to exist in a spectrum.
What makes Learn different from some of the other online education platforms?
We’ve spent three years teaching people and understanding what it is that makes people successful. We’ve been using the Learn platform for the last year internally. There are three things that we think are missing from online education today that are necessary for outcomes, and we’ve built those things into the platform.
The first thing that makes Learn different is using real tools. What do you get when you finish an online course today? A badge or a certificate after completing multiple choice questions. In order to complete Learn assignments, you have to use your terminal, GitHub, and a text editor. An employer that’s looking at a Learn student’s profile doesn’t see badges, they see code, various projects, and the student’s approach to an assignment.
The second thing is open source curriculum. In order for education to be effective at scale, it has to be open. We’re getting dozens of edits a day to our curriculum, so it’s constantly improving based on feedback from the community — whether it’s adding new material, changing parts completely, or even fixing typos.
Finally, there’s community. The Learn platform is built with community at its core. People don’t learn from videos, lectures, or textbooks. They learn from each other. Learn empowers people to come together in real time.
When we think about the hundreds of coding bootcamps today, is it the curriculum that sets bootcamps apart from each other?
No. The curriculum is not the driving factor. Walk into Barnes & Noble, go to the programming section, and there are 50 different curriculum options to choose from. It’s the people. Learning doesn’t happen from content. Learning happens when you connect people around content.
We thought a lot about the structure of Learn before launching. We looked at several different models — should we match students with a mentor once a week? Have group lectures? Nothing seemed right because students had the same complaint: “I had an awesome session with my mentor on Wednesday, but now I have a question and it's Friday. I have to wait until next Wednesday.” If you have a question that drives you nuts for two hours, why should you wait a week?
The entire community on Learn is built to answer questions in real time. A question is tied to a specific lab, so only students that have completed it will see this question, as well as instructors. When you ask a question, you can set up a screen share on this specific topic and up to 10 people can join.
Can you pair with other students?
Yes, you can all screen share. I can see an activity feed of who’s doing what. We also have a Slack channel that ends up being a lot more social. The point is, it’s designed to make you feel that you’re not alone.
I think one of the challenges with online platforms is that they have to make it easy. They don’t want you to get stuck. Unfortunately because of that, it’s never going to get you to the level where you can get a job.
We don’t make it easy. What we do is make it easier to get through the hard stuff. We can’t make the curriculum easy, but we can make the experience of going through that and going through that struggle feel better by offering a supportive community.
So to me those are the three things that are missing from all online education today; community, real tools and open curriculum. Those are very deeply built into the Learn product. We’ve been using Learn to run our immersives here, we’ve used it to run programs at Google and at some colleges and it’s worked. We’ve had people doing this for a year in Beta who have gotten jobs already.
Are students divided into cohorts or are they all self-guided?
We’re playing with that idea, but the reality is that if you start next Monday with 40 people, a week later you might be twice as far ahead as someone else. We’re trying to be more deliberate about connecting people that are going through it at the same pace, have the same goals, and maybe even are in the same locations. That way they can form relationships and go through the program together.
What type of student is Learn for?
We have a lot of students who were considering bootcamps, but they were worried about financing. Our goal is to make this as accessible as possible. I think $1,000 per month is a huge leap forward relative to somebody who’s going to do this full-time, it changes the costs dramatically. And we’ll give students a full refund if they’re not successful!
It’s still really expensive though for most people. We put a huge amount of infrastructure behind it — instructors, placement services and coaching.
Our goal is that over time as we build that community, we can rely on students to help each other more on community, and work with employers to aid the placement processes to bring the costs down (we even have some employers consider putting Learn Verifications in their jobs listings).
Do you think that having a cost associated with Learn will help with attrition?
In online education, we see articles that say thousands of people have completed a program and hundred get jobs. That’s not something to celebrate, that’s like a 10% success rate. To me, that’s a problem. If people choose to try it and don’t like it and drop out, fine — if it’s free.
But if you’re going to pitch a course as jobs-oriented, and students devote their time (which is precious) and only 10% get a job, that’s crap. The bar is so low, it’s so sad.
I think it’s a different world once you accept people’s money. You have to be explicit on delivering on what you’re promising. We are promising a career change, and that comes with a huge amount of focus and investment to make the process successful.
When do you expect your first graduates?
We have people who have finished it in the beta and have gotten jobs already. But of the paid, verified program, we’re not sure when the first students will graduate. We will do another Flatiron Jobs Report this year.
We explore the differences and similarities between App Academy and Flatiron School, two of the best coding bootcamps in the US. What type of student is each bootcamp best for? What's the culture like at each school? How does job placement compare? All of these questions answered and more!Continue Reading →
Of the many coding boot camps found in New York City, the tech capital of the East Coast, Flatiron School and General Assembly are two of the most established and recognizable. If you’re looking to jumpstart your career as a web developer, both schools offer great Web Development Immersive (WDI) programs. Catered to the beginner, these programs aim to engage students in a fast-paced learning environment that will directly prepare them for professional opportunities. But what are the key similarities and differences between these schools?Continue Reading →
As of December 8, 2017, Dev Bootcamp will no longer be operating. Dev Bootcamp and Flatiron School both offer intensive full-time web development programs that focus on Ruby on Rails, but that’s where their similarities end. Whether your focus is strictly coding or you are seeking a complete life overhaul, it’s a hard choice between these top New York coding bootcamps.Continue Reading →
This Wednesday, our friends at LiquidTalent hosted a spectacular panel of women who discussed their experience at New York coding bootcamps and transitioning into their first jobs. Course Report was lucky to moderate the panel- here are 12 things we learned from this rockstar panel of lady developers!Continue Reading →
While programming bootcamps can offer a high return on investment, the average tuition at code school is ~$11,400, which is no small sacrifice. A number of not-for-profit and well-organized programs offer free coding bootcamps. Some of these bootcamps are funded by job placement and referral fees; others are fueled by community support and volunteers. Expect rigorous application processes and competitively low acceptance rates, but for the right applicants, there is so much to gain at these free coding bootcamps.Continue Reading →
Welcome to the March News Roundup, your monthly news digest full of the most interesting articles and announcements in the bootcamp space. Want your bootcamp's news to be included in the next News Roundup? Submit announcements of new courses, scholarships, or open jobs at your school!Continue Reading →
Apple’s newest, beginner-oriented programming language Swift has made developing for the iPhone a possibility for new and experienced developers alike. iOS developers earn over $100,000 on average, so it's a perfect time to learn to program for the iPhone. With the help of one of these iOS bootcamps, you could find yourself developing mobile apps utilizing Objective-C, Cocoa Touch, and Swift.
Welcome to the January News Roundup, your monthly news digest full of the most interesting articles and announcements in the bootcamp space. Want your bootcamp's news to be included in the next News Roundup? Submit announcements of new courses, scholarships, or open jobs at your school!Continue Reading →
A bootcamp's quality can be measured partly by how connected they are to their community, and two US bootcamps are leading the pack in engaging high schools in teaching students to code. Flatiron School in New York began with a summer academy, then expanded their Flatiron After School program into the academic year. Mobile Makers Academy in Chicago recently announced their partnership with Chicago-area schools to add programming into the STEM curriculum.
We compare the two programs and how they're making programming accessible to high school students.Continue Reading →
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Sara Chipps is the remarkable co-founder of Girl Develop It, an organization that has taught over 4,000 women to code in a supportive environment, and joined Flatiron School as CTO in 2014. We caught up with Sara to learn about her role at Flatiron School, why she beleives in the coding school, and how Flatiron Labs, their unique on-site dev shop for graduates, is helping to produce excellent software developers.
You joined Flatiron in January as the CTO. What does it mean to be the CTO of a programming school?
My team and I build technology that supports the school and the students. Our teachers and staff all use web applications that make their job easier, whether it’s for admissions or building curriculum. Our teams builds and supports that technology
Do you have a large team?
We have 10 people now.
Have you had a role in designing some of the curriculum at all?
I haven’t built any of the curriculum here. That is the role of our teachers but what I’ve been looking to do is make their lives easier by building technology that makes it a lot faster and easier to build curriculum.
Do you ever do any guest speaking or teaching with the students?
Yeah; every semester we usually teach an introductory class where students can go and learn how to get started and different stuff like that. It’s really neat getting to know our students.
Before Flatiron School, you had cofounded Girl Develop It. What was the motivation behind Girl Develop It?
Girl Develop It started out of the experience of myself and Vanessa, my cofounder, of feeling uncomfortable oftentimes, asking questions when we were a minority in the room. We founded Girl Development, where there were no stupid questions; you didn’t have to feel self-conscious asking those questions.
I’ve noticed that a lot of schools will partner with their local Girl Develop It chapters. Was that a conscious decision or did people just start contacting you?
One awesome thing about Girl Develop It chapter leaders is that they’re super plugged-in to the technology community in their particular cities.
The city gets really excited about the opportunity to educate females in the world of technology and therefore it becomes visible to people. When schools have been moving into these cities, they’ve been reaching out to Girl Develop It chapter leaders to see how they can help students, which has been really awesome.
What do you think makes Flatiron School stand out in the bootcamp world and what made you want to work specifically with them when there are so many bootcamps these days?
Flatiron School really doesn’t consider itself a bootcamp as it implies that you learn everything you need to know in a short amount of time and then go out and work. We see our job to provide you with the first phase of your education, and then we continue supporting our students throughout their careers.
One thing I think that really set Flatiron apart early on was our teacher Avi, one of the founders. He really had an amazing approach to education and especially technology education. He was passionate about getting people literate and passionate about coding, who may not have that opportunity before. That’s one thing I really love about our students.
Another thing that I think sets us apart now is our 100% placement rate. That was really one of the numbers that got me on board, was knowing that each one of our students that made it through this program have gotten a job offer within 90 days. I think that’s really effective.
One thing I’m concerned with is bootcamp programs that teach people and then just say “Okay, go do your thing now.” It’s difficult, right? When you’re new in the field and you don’t have that support system of people that can introduce you to the world and the community, it can be a really scary place. So I think between Avi and the placement team, I think that’s really what sets us apart.
Does Flatiron require that a student must be looking for a job as a developer in order or them to be accepted? Could somebody do Flatiron School and want to be a technical cofounder or start their own business?
Absolutely. Right now we have a 7% admittance rate, so 7% of the applicants to Flatiron school make it in. Adam, our CEO, who is our admissions processor, looks for well-rounded people who have lots of different interests and people who have a record of grit and being passionate about their projects.
The thing that is most important to Flatiron School is that our students love programming and want to become amazing at it. We want people here because they are in love with this craft, and not because they want to become rich or see it as a means to an end, like founding a startup.
Typically most of our students end up being job seeking as they strive to become better coders and get mentorship after the program. However, we have definitely had founders come through our program. For example, one alum Danny, got accepted into Y-Combinator weeks after graduating, as a cofounder of Statuspage.io.
Flatiron Labs is a “dev shop.” Can you explain what a dev shop is?
In a dev shop, like Flatiron Labs, we take on client work where people are looking for an external company to build their web application.
How long does a typical client relationship last?
So far we’ve only been doing this for 7 about months, so our typical client relationship lasts 7 months!
It really depends; we’ve had one client that we’ve had since the beginning, we’ve had another one that we’ve had for the past 4 months. We haven’t made it far enough yet to see a long-standing pattern.
Do you see Flatiron Labs as being more of a dev shop or like an apprenticeship or some of both?
I think the focus is on the apprenticeship. We’re not looking to make a ton of money with the dev lab or anything like that; were looking to take our existing graduates and bring them to another level of proficiency and give them some experience.
Who are the mentors or senior developers working with the junior developers in the lab.
They’re people with 3 to 6 years’ experience working in the field as professional developers. They’re people that have been in other companies and can bring some of their experience to the apprentices and guide them when they run into trouble or mentor them when they have questions.
How many people have gone into Flatiron Labs after Flatiron School?
So far we have 6.
Would you ever accept somebody who went to a different bootcamp or a self-taught developer who wants to do an apprenticeship with Flatiron Labs?
Right now, that’s not part of our program. I can’t tell you if it will be one day but right now we’re focused on Flatiron School graduates.
The goal is to get students hired from Flatiron Labs as well, right?
Yes; the students have a 6-month contract and at the end of 6 months, the goal is to get them an offer with a client or to get them a full-time offer elsewhere.
Has that been successful?
Yeah, so far so good. I‘m really impressed with how far our apprentices have gone. They’re super viable full-time software developers; we’ve still yet to let one go. We may have to soon, but they contribute so much to the team.
Are the Flatiron Labs devs being paid like junior developers?
Yes; we’re very competitive.
What is the application process like? Is it just like a job interview that students would go through for a job?
After class, before they go interview with other companies, students can opt in to interview with Flatiron Labs. The team interviews everyone who is interested and then we make our decisions based on the people that we meet.
Are there any future plans to expand Flatiron Labs outside of New York?
The answer is no. What we really are focused on is quality here in New York. We don’t want to expand until we feel 100% confident that we’re pleased with every part of this business and we still have a lot that we want to focus on. So there’s really no rush for us.
Do you see Flatiron sticking to the iOS and Rails curriculum or do you see it expanding to any other languages?
We believe passionately about the value of great teachers, and like to say that we build classes around teachers, rather than hire teachers to lead classes. So we’re always looking to hire the best teachers in their field and are open to building new courses around them, but don’t have specific goals around launching courses that might lead to sub-optimal quality.
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Zeke and Granger Abuhoff are giving new meaning to the term "brogrammers." The brothers are both learning to program at competing bootcamps in New York. Granger attends the WDI program at General Assembly (he transferred from App Academy) and Zeke is almost halfway through his Mobile Development course at Flatiron School.Continue Reading →
How do you choose a coding boot camp in New York that's right for you? New York City is home to 13 full-time coding bootcamps, teaching everything from Web Development to Mobile App Development to FinTech. With so many options to choose from, you should consider factors like your learning style, professional goals, and language preferences.
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