I don't generally write reviews, but after completing the Professional Software Development course at CodeClan (Edinburgh campus) earlier this month and having had such an incredible experience studying at CodeClan, I felt compelled to share my views.... Read More
Before starting the course, I already had two university degrees, which was one of the main reasons I chose to do CodeClan over another degree. This was a much quicker and more hands-on approach to learning to code (nevermind the fact that my history was in social studies, which would make it hard, if not impossible, to make the jump to a masters in computer science), and the skills that I had developed both at university and in working life put me in a position where going back to university would not have given me all that much, and would have been a significant investment both in terms of time and money. It is much easier to live as a student and without income for a few months, than it is for a year or two. Moreover, the learning environment is completely different: everyone at CodeClan has decided to make a change in their careers after already doing something else. It's not a place you simply drift to, but everyone there is committed and wants to get as much out of their experience as possible.
I attended an open evening before deciding to do the course. This allowed me to hear from previous and current students, and learn more about the course. This was really useful, and unlike Anonymous below, I felt that CodeClan were very transparent and open about all statistics that they showed, and that the graduate employment statistics they referenced in the open evening were indeed concerned with those who had found employment in the tech industry. Because I had familiarised myself with the course contents at the open day, and an induction day before the start of the course, I felt that we all had been given a very clear idea of what to expect from the course by the time we started. This made it very easy to adjust to the (major!) change of going back to studying something totally new for the first time in many years. The staff at CodeClan also place an emphasis on the mental health and wellbeing of students, and aim to promote an inclusive environment. As one of only two female students in my cohort, I never felt like there was a "boys' club" mentality at CodeClan, and I knew that if there were issues, I could easily address those with members of staff, whether that's instructors or student support staff.
When it comes to staff in general, I have nothing but positive things to say. Our cohort had incredible instructors, all of whom went out of their way to ensure that we were all on top of things and felt supported throughout the course. They created an absolutely fantastic open atmosphere where I felt able to voice any struggles or ask questions. Most importantly, they always seemed excited about teaching us and showing us new things. The support was never limited to just our own instructors either, but all other instructors were always eager to help too. This was the first time in my educational history that I can genuinely say every single teacher was encouraging and helpful, and did so much to help us become not just developers, but confident in our own skills. I was in the unlucky position of being only halfway through my course when Covid-19 forced the school to shut, but the instructors ensured that our transition to an online learning environment was as smooth as possible, and they did an incredible job. I never felt like I learnt any less than I would have in a physical classroom, and actually ended up gaining so much more knowledge of remote programming tools than I otherwise would have.
In terms of career support, again Covid-19 placed us in an unlucky position in the sense that many companies have frozen their hiring processes. Because of this, we haven't had the chance to have a speed networking event yet, however we will receive careers support from CodeClan for longer than intended because of the current climate. CodeClan do try to help you as much as possible and want to see everyone employed with one of their partner companies or elsewhere in the tech industry. I think the crucial thing to remember is that completing the course doesn't mean that a job is handed to you. The tech market is growing, and there are jobs available, but you still need to work hard, apply to many jobs and continue to develop your skills in the meantime. And sometimes something like Covid-19 happens, and the job market changes unexpectedly: that's a risk you take when you change careers. Even with this in mind, I have never regretted my decision to do this course. In fact, it's now opening up so many more doors, and more open doors is the one thing I'd want to have in times like these.
In addition, I have attended numerous industry talks organised by CodeClan and have been assigned a mentor who works in the industry. All the feedback I have heard from people working at these companies has been overwhelmingly positive, and they are more than happy to hire CodeClan graduates. Hiring a CodeClan graduate is an altogether different package to hiring a university graduate, as most come with more experience in the working life, and multiple different skills that many fresh university graduates might not have had the chance to acquire yet. This seems to be recognised across the industry; I have also heard from people who work at tech companies who are not partners with CodeClan, and they are all happy with the CodeClan alumni they have hired.
To sum up, I do believe that what you get out of the course is a reflection of how much you put in. But even when faced with things like Covid-19, which no one could have predicted, CodeClan have continued to deliver a great standard of teaching and form a supportive and encouraging environment for all to learn. Personally, the decision to change careers and come to CodeClan was one of the best I have ever made. I have developed an incredible number of skills, become more confident and made many close friends; I knew exactly what to expect from the course in terms of its contents and learning objectives, but I've gained much more.