SwitchUp sat down with Jessica Mitsch, Co-Founder and CEO of Momentum Learning, a new coding bootcamp in Durham, NC. Prior to founding Momentum, Jessica worked as the Director of Growth and Strategic Partnerships for The Iron Yard. In this Q&A we explore the motivation behind starting another technology bootcamp after The Iron Yard’s closure last year. Find out how the team's experience at The Iron Yard is propelling this exciting new program.
Tell me about Momentum. What does the program offer prospective students?
Momentum offers the skills and network to jump-start a career in tech.
The skills-training we provide is delivered by a fantastic group of instructors who bring a wealth of both industry and educational experience. Our approach to teaching begins with a belief in students ability to accomplish their goals. We guide students through an immersive (full-time) experience over three months where they gain the knowledge and practice required to launch a career in coding.
To launch a new career, people also need the right network. The right connections are necessary to guide someone through an interview process, share their resume with employers, and mentor them once they land a job. Momentum is proud of our deep network within the North Carolina technology community. Part of what we do is provide students access and introductions to the top tech employers and contacts in the area.
You were previously a founding member of The Iron Yard, which unfortunately closed this past year. What made you decide to start another tech training program?
Our world is experiencing historic and rapid transformation due to the power and reach of technology. It has never been more important to empower people with the tools to change their career and stay relevant. We believe technical skills and savvy open the door for a wide range of rewarding career possibilities.
Our team has experienced the benefits of transformative skills-based training for career changing adults. The experience we gained with The Iron Yard and the students we got to know inspired us to keep the Momentum going.
Our team has deep roots in Raleigh/Durham (many of us are born and raised in the area) and we didn’t want to see our area go without a strong program. Most of us also gained experience in this industry from The Iron Yard, and we saw a vision for moving forward, taking the best of what we learned from our experience.
How will Momentum be different from the Iron Yard? How will it be similar?
The shell of the Immersive program will look very similar to The Iron Yard. We’ve kept the 12-week length and are still working with career-changing adults so that all looks similar. We’ve even kept the tuition the same in order to make the transition easy for students who had previously been accepted to The Iron Yard.
Our immersive program has some new features. We have a core curriculum that all students take together during the first two weeks before entering a specialization in either back-end or front-end. We are also focusing a lot more on collaboration within and between the course specializations. Finally, we’ve added material on core developer job skills such as pair programming and performing a code review.
Finally, our goal with Momentum is to become a hub of activity for lifelong learners in the tech industry, including tech professionals.
What type of students are the best fit for Momentum?
The best students for Momentum are people who are excited about the tech industry and are ready to work hard to grow their mind, skillset, and network. Our students work in groups and are guided in person by instructors. The combination of the community and network along with the rigor of an immersive program mean that students who are committed will get that commitment in return from the community.
Walk me through Momentum’s curriculum. What topics (i.e. web development, UI/UX, etc.) will students learn?
The Immersive curriculum guides students in web development, including both front-end and back-end technologies. A full review of our curriculum can be found here.
What outcomes can a student expect to achieve by completing the program?
Students will be prepared to earn a position as a junior web developer or software engineer. The skills they gain will also apply to careers as freelancers and other entrepreneurial endeavors in technology. Graduates will also have all the tools required to continue learning new languages and technologies with greater ease.
Momentum is very focused on the local tech industry in Raleigh-Durham. How will the program work with local employers?
The Immersive program collaborates with employers in two ways:
Employers inform the curriculum. We have an Employer Advisory Board comprised of over twenty of the area’s top employers, including enterprise companies and startups. These companies provide valuable insight into our course offerings so that we’re always teaching to the market needs.
Employers also interact with our students during the program. They provide guest lectures on various technical and soft-skills topics, they open the doors of their offices to our students for field trips and help students practice the skills needed for acing technical job interviews.
Do you have plans to expand to other locations?
The Immersive coding program will remain in the Raleigh/Durham area.
We look forward to providing training and consulting services to companies who have locations nationwide.
How can prospective students learn more about Momentum and apply?
The first step would be to check us out at Momentumlearn.com. For students who are located in Raleigh/Durham, check out our Meetup group to attend a free community Crash Course or Open House.
Our team is also available to answer questions over the phone at (919) 502-3114 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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