It's no secret that the Chicago market offers a plethora of boot camp options to choose from. So what makes Coding Dojo unique? This post explains what I love about Coding Dojo specifically and why I find that employers are drawn to our alumni.
Here are a few of my personal favorite aspects of our Coding Dojo alumni, and why I think employers are eager to hire from the program:
At Coding Dojo we believe that learning should take place by doing and problem-solving. This is why we have a project-based curriculum structure. Through the course students will complete over 150 projects and assignments, and all of them are applicable to “on-the-job” situations. These are projects such as building an e-commerce site, social media apps, and more. This way, when students start their job, they’ll be ready to build from day one.
We do this by starting each day with a daily algorithm challenge. Then we step into lecture with our accomplished and diverse instruction team. From there they will be given a project to complete in a group or pair-programming setting. By structuring the program in this way, we provide students the opportunity to leave Coding Dojo with project examples they can use in their portfolio and work that can directly showcase their abilities. In addition, it provides them with material they can continue working on in order to fine-tune their skills as they begin the job search.
Bootcamps in general are a disruptive methodology of instruction. It’s only natural that our student body is also reflective of that. Cohorts here hover around 30%- 40% female students versus the industry average 15%; latinos make up 20% of our graduates while only comprising 6.8% of CS programs. Bootcamp students are also older; the average age being 28 and having had seven (7) years of workforce experience (For more information on the difference between CS grads and Bootcamp grads read here). Because of this, we graduate an incredibly robust and diverse group of alumni from all different walks of life with unique backgrounds. We’ve often heard from employers that our alumni’s diverse backgrounds enable them to approach problem solving in ways that someone with a more traditional technical background might not have considered. Our students are able to harness their past skills in combination with their technical abilities in order to become innovators and leaders in the workplace.
After completing the boot camp, each cohort steps into a week-long career services workshop. The goal of this week is to take our students' new tech skills and finesse them into a complete career ready package. We create stellar technical resumes, practice interviewing, networking and how to leverage the tools and skills you've gained into a fruitful career. Because we value and understand the importance of industry exposure, we also organize a site visit to one of the many tech companies in Chicago during Career Readiness Week. Our goal is to have our alumni equipped with the tools they need in order to succeed in their job search and provide them with opportunities to leverage those tools successfully by the end of their Career Readiness Week.
It is no secret that the technology world moves at lightning speed and that new products come out daily. So knowing how to be a lifelong learner is an essential skill for any good coder to have. This is exactly why Coding Dojo takes the full-stack teaching approach. Our onsite students complete the program with three full-stacks under their belt, while our online students learn two. Because of this our students not only leave the program with a diverse skill-set, but with the ability to take their current knowledge and apply it to new languages and programs. It is not uncommon for Coding Dojo alumni to land jobs utilizing languages outside of what they covered in the curriculum, because of their ability to apply their skills to other methods. Not to mention their ability to take on nearly any role on a given development team. Be it front-end, back-end, database, testing and more our students have had exposure and experience with it all. What employer doesn’t love an employee who can be a team player and who is willing and able to jump into any aspect of a project with enthusiasm.
In conclusion, there are certainly a wide variety of bootcamps that companies can utilize for their employment needs, but I find that many come back to Coding Dojo time and time again because of the approach we take in our course-work. Our alumni are not only knowledgeable, but they possess drive, passion and dedication to the industry. Key ingredients to consider when adding new members to a team and an organization at large.