Here at Fullstack Academy, we recently launched Fullslack, a Slack group for anyone learning to code, transitioning to tech, or considering a coding bootcamp. To inaugurate the new community, our Admissions Director Jeff Harr hosted an AMA, and it revealed many of the struggles aspiring coders are dealing with as they consider their futures. Here, we share three of them.
Online courses, seminars, and meetups have been around for years now, but there’s been little standardization of this educational model. Online education could mean downloading a bunch of reading materials and studying independently, or it might mean watching lecture videos and engaging in chat discussions with remote classmates. Or like at Fullstack Academy’s Remote Software Engineering Immersive, it might mean meeting in an online classroom with a bunch of others at a set time each day to receive lectures from an instructor speaking live. Details vary across programs and the technology involved keeps changing, so the whole concept can be difficult to wrap your head around.
Another thing that keeps changing (for the better!) is the quality of online education. While online programs were initially seen as a far less rigorous version of “real school” and may still be thought of that way, the online programs of today can be just as effective as their “real-life” counterparts. At Fullstack Academy, for example, other than the difference in program delivery (i.e. via online platforms), our Remote Immersive sees no difference in curriculum, daily schedule (full-time, M-F 10am-6pm EST), instructor pedigree, level of career support students receive, or number of community-building activities.
Because the costs and benefits of remote education aren’t always clear, it’s hard for bootcampers to know whether to relocate for in-person instruction or take a chance on a remote program. The truth is that you have to be guided by your own needs and abilities. If you can successfully study and collaborate in the same place where you relax and unplug, then remote education might work fine for you. If, on the other hand, you need to separate your work life from your home life, you probably want to attend in-person, if that’s feasible.
Several years ago, Fullstack Academy launched a partner program exclusively for women. It’s called Grace Hopper Program, and it has two major draws: An all-female environment and the option to defer tuition, which means you train now, but don’t pay full tuition until you secure full-time, in-field work. Students consistently leave us glowing reviews and write about their empowering experiences, while the more quantitative outcomes are just as positive. More than 94% of our grads, for example, land full-time, in-field work with median salaries of around $87,000 a year.
The only drawback? It’s exclusively in NYC. We can’t tell you how many women have asked us when we’ll be expanding Grace Hopper Program to other major cities, and the most common question (which came up again in the recent admissions AMA) is: How come you don’t offer Grace Hopper as a remote program?
First things first: We hear you. We are committed to undoing years of systemic disadvantages by removing barriers to entry for as many women as possible--but there are challenges. For women in the current NYC-based Grace Hopper Program, the job market is strong, with literally thousands of job openings for programmers in the tri-state area. But what if you live in Iowa or Kansas or anywhere else with a lower cost of living than we see in New York and Chicago? Your location alone can diminish your earnings prospects, which can make it harder to pay back tuition.
So like we said, we’re working on making Grace Hopper Program accessible outside of New York. We’ve already started the process in Chicago, where the Grace Hopper Track now offers at least deferred tuition, even if the environment is still co-ed. We hope growing interest in Chicago will be the precursor to an all-women’s campus there, too, and that Grace Hopper Program will only continue to expand. So keep asking. Keep fighting for resources like this one. It’s working; it just takes time.
When you’re choosing a bootcamp, curriculum and hiring outcomes are extremely important, and prospective students tend to focus their questions around those. But the closer you get to taking the bootcamp plunge, the more you start thinking about day-to-day realities, and suddenly the human element of the whole thing comes into focus: How many instructors do students have access to over the course of an immersive? Who else can I rely on when I’m struggling? What does the support system look like?
Fullstack has a wealth of support staff, plus (just as importantly) regular check-ins with all those people to do our very best to ensure you never have a chance to fall behind. In addition to two to three dedicated instructors, each cohort has its own team of teaching fellows (recent program grads who come back as mentors) always ready to help out with technical questions or even give guidance when you’re having a hard time. You’ll meet numerous Fullstack experts through our lecture series and have regular office hours with our Student Experience team, whose job it is to ensure you feel supported. Finally, our Career Success team will help you through every step of the job search, whether you’re putting together a resume, preparing for an interview, or negotiating a job offer.
We also curate an inclusive student body, as it’s your fellow students who are arguably most important to your experience. They’ll be your industry connections after you graduate, but more significantly, they’ll help you survive a very challenging couple of months. Our motto is No a**holes. After all, you’re going to be in the same room with these people for at least eight hours a day, nearly every day for 13 weeks. Interpersonal connections are incredibly important in life, and a coding bootcamp is no different. Ours is well-stocked with good humans.
We learned so much from this AMA--and it’s only the first of many. Each week, our Slack group will be graced with alums, fellows, members of our career success team, and special guests. If they’re all as educational as this one, we’ll be one happy bootcamp. Want to catch the next AMA yourself? Join Fullslack and watch the #ama channel. See you there!
This piece was sponsored by Fullstack Academy.