Today, Byte Consulting, a global technology firm creating cutting-edge products for Wall Street, launched Byte Academy, a New York City-based bootcamp and workshop that bridges the gap between finance and computer programming to create a new class of financial technology (fintech) experts. The academy is the first-ever bootcamp to focus solely on serving the financial ecosystem. Enrollment is currently open for the inaugural 12-week program, which begins September 29. To celebrate its launch, Byte will award five full scholarships to applicants based on demonstrated passion for a career in financial technology, as displayed in their application. Included in the scholarship is Byte Academy’s 12-week bootcamp and job placement service, and every applicant until October 30 is automatically entered to win.
“New York is the global hub for finance, yet the industry is playing catch-up when it comes to technology,” said Richard Hu, Dean of Byte Academy. “The result is a growing emphasis on technology recruiting by investment banks, asset managers, fintech startups, and everything in between. As the need for talent continues to expand rapidly, our goal is to arm exceptional people with the soup-to-nuts programming skill and financial acumen they need to fill today’s and tomorrow’s jobs.”
We were lucky enough to interview Richard, so that our readers can get an inside look of the Byte Academy experience.
Richard, run us through a typical day running your coding bootcamp.
For students, here is what to expect from our typical day at our bootcamps: Students are typically in by 9am each morning. After reviewing the previous day’s homework projects, the instructors start on the new topics for the day. Through code-along sessions and short instructional tutorials, students enter another day of learning new concepts in fintech programming. The cohorts break up for lunch around 1pm and visit the many cafes around Bryant Park. After lunch, the groups attend the smaller Finance or Java workshops to ensure that they have adequate training in both object-oriented programming as well as in fundamental concepts in Finance. Following this, pairs work together on selected projects until late in the evening with instructors available to help as required. On the evenings and weekends, students are finishing off their projects or hanging out with their classmates in New York.
The coding bootcamp/immersive program is a recent trend, and new courses continue to pop up every day. Is there a unique feature or distinct motivation for your bootcamp?
Byte Academy is a first-of-its-kind school based in New York City—the finance capital of the world—that arms students with the programming skills and finance knowledge they need to develop products and solutions for the financial services industry. Through our full-time bootcamps and part-time workshops, our students will master a broad range of financial concepts and programming languages, becoming uniquely positioned to fill jobs in the fintech industry immediately.
What backgrounds do you find your applicants usually coming from? Will a student with previous finance experience excel more than a student without? How can they prepare for this type of expertise?
Our ideal student is a smart, driven individual with a passion to break into fintech. While a preliminary background in programming or finance is useful, those with no experience can enroll in our pre-boot camp workshops to get up to speed. Our bootcamp is equally suited for someone fresh out of college or someone with years of work experience in finance or programming.
What are some of the biggest challenges facing your coding bootcamp and the industry today?
Coding bootcamps are only now starting to become accepted by a broad audience of employers. As more and more students graduate, employers who have traditionally not hired from bootcamps will be convinced about the value proposition and will start sending their employees to enroll in order to keep up with the fast-changing technology industry.
Since your first cohorts, how has the direction of your coding bootcamp changed over time, if at all?
Our first cohort will be starting at the end of September. We are getting a lot of requests for a part-time bootcamp program from people who are working full-time and we expect to begin launching this in the near future.
What kind of roles, jobs, and/or companies do your programs ready your students for?
The fintech space is New York is growing exponentially; the amount of tech jobs in the city has increased 21% since 2006 and the sector has grown at twice the rate of Silicon Valley’s. The once paper-driven Wall Street is now dependent on cutting-edge technology to remain efficient, and only programmers with a sophisticated understanding of finance can engineer optimal solutions. Our students are trained for entry level or mid level positions in the fintech industry. Financial institutions and fintech technology companies have already begun expressing interest in recruiting from Byte.
What’s the best advice for students who want to attend your coding bootcamp?
If you’re looking to get further information about our program, attend one of our bimonthly informational meetups. Once you’ve decided to attend, we would encourage students to apply early even if you’re not sure what dates may work for attending our bootcamps. Once admitted, we’ll work with your schedule to pair you with the right class.
What’s the best advice for people who want to start a bootcamp?
There are already a number of well-established bootcamps in most major cities. Do ensure that you’ve got a unique value proposition before starting.
How do you see the learn to code movement and the bootcamp industry changing over the next one to five years? Where do you see these programs fitting into the larger picture of education?
Unless the schools and colleges in the US start providing good programming education and experience to all of their graduates, the bootcamp industry will keep growing. I expect that over the years the bootcamps will become more segmented by specialization and reputation.
What was the process of finding your instructors? Do they share different or similar teaching philosophies?
We’ve been able to find good instructors with programming and finance backgrounds and similar teaching philosophies. These were mostly through referrals and direct applications.
Is there anything else you'd like to add? Any updates?
Finding jobs for our graduates is a high priority for us. With the help of our Byte Consulting team, students will work on honing their interview skills and resumes. Over the duration of the bootcamp, students will have a chance to hear from and meet with industry leaders. In addition, students will create 4-5 fintech projects that emphasize their new skill-set to hiring managers.