Since 2013, Software Guild has been offering both virtual and in-person bootcamps teaching Java and .NET/C#. Kishore Pashindla, a Technical Trainer at The Software Guild, joins us for a virtual walkthrough of the Software Guild online classroom and explains a typical day at the bootcamp. Kishore also shares his advice for students interested in making a career change into tech and tells us exactly what sets Software Guild apart from other remote bootcamps. Please note, currently we are only conducting virtual bootcamps due to the current COVID-19 restrictions.
Can you tell us about your role as a Technical Trainer at Software Guild?
I train students in our Java Bootcamp primarily, but I also work with a few other programs. My role is to inspire people to write quality code! I teach in the live, remote bootcamps these days, but before COVID-19, we also delivered in-person training.
What sets Software Guild apart from other remote bootcamps?
At Software Guild, we follow a set of principles:
How long has Software Guild been teaching remotely?
We have been teaching remotely since 2013! Software Guild has provided both onsite and online bootcamps. We encourage folks to choose whichever format works best for them.
Has anything significant changed about the remote program during COVID-19?
Not much has changed, to be honest. Our instructors used to travel across the globe to deliver the training events. However, now all classes are being taught online, and we have utilized current technologies the best we can. We have still been able to deliver the courses throughout the pandemic.
The pandemic added some additional value to remote bootcamps as people can attend from anywhere. They don’t have to travel to the office or a training center, which is an advantage. There are certainly challenges adapting and using technology tools, but things have been running smoothly outside of that.
Which formats can Software Guild students choose from? What’s the time commitment?
Our Java Bootcamp and .NET/C# Bootcamp are both 12-week programs covering the basics of Java/.NET/C# and some intermediate and advanced concepts. We offer both a 12-week full-time and a 10-month part-time course. We also offer both asynchronous and synchronous learning. We have found that the asynchronous program is best for those working full-time jobs, as they can complete classwork when most convenient for them.
How are students on the asynchronous track guided through the curriculum?
We provide the same course material to students in both synchronous and asynchronous tracks. The asynchronous courses include milestones to keep students accountable and at a consistent pace of completing the modules. We communicate with students and provide guidance and feedback around timing and speed. This communication typically happens over Slack or another form of chat. We have dedicated instructors who check in to see how they are progressing through the modules. If we recognize we have an upcoming topic that they may need more time completing, we may provide them an extra week to complete a task and motivate them to continue with the next module.
What are you typically looking for in an ideal student for Software Guild?
We welcome students of all backgrounds! However, we don’t require that students have coding experience to get into the Software Guild. That is primarily why we designed the pre-training course called Introduction to Web Development. It encourages student to learn and get comfortable with coding before getting started.
Typical Day at Software Guild
A typical class day is from 9am – 4pm. We check in with students for a standup at 9am and follow an Agile workflow, which means we talk about what students accomplished yesterday, what they’re working on today, and any roadblocks they encountered. We then dive into our hour-long main lecture, which covers the specific topic for that day. After the lecture, students begin to tackle their exercises and apply what they learned that day. Our learning management system hosts our curriculums exercises, quizzes, and assessments.
At 3pm, instructors release the next day’s lesson so that students can start reviewing it.
What does the remote classroom look like at Software Guild?
We use Software Guild’s learning management system to store course material. Instruction takes place via Zoom. In addition, we often facilitate communication and group work through Slack, Zoom Breakout Rooms, and GitHub classroom. Our teaching style is student-centered and incorporates elements of both blended learning and an agile approach.
Software Guild Teaching Style
Our training is based on the Agile Approach. We begin the day by asking students three questions: what did you learn yesterday, what will you complete today, and what roadblocks are you encountering. The roadblock question helps us, as instructors, understand what went wrong with the content and the struggle the students are facing. Additionally, we build in time for students to receive real-time guidance from instructors when completing coursework, such as assessments.
Blended Learning: We incorporate a flipped instructor model, where students complete readings and videos outside the classroom training hours. This material prepares them for the next day’s material, which is published in the module.
Student-centered: In addition to live instruction, our course material is also presented as both written material and recorded videos, which is helpful for students with different learning styles. Students will have access to modules after completing the prior module. We encourage students to focus on one topic to ensure they understand the concepts thoroughly before moving to the next lesson.
When do Software Guild students take quizzes or assessments?
Our modules include quizzes and assessments, where students will be asked to apply the knowledge and skills they’ve learned to a problem. Assessments typically take students about a day to complete, so we don’t expect them to work on the assessment outside of the training hours. Instead, these assessments are typically done during the training hours to receive real-time guidance from instructors and ask questions.
Zoom Breakout Rooms: We often use Zoom Breakout rooms in class, which is an excellent way for small group communication. I typically divide students into teams and assign them to different breakout rooms to communicate when working on assignments or projects.
Slack: If students need any assistance, we encourage them to reach out to instructors via Slack. Students are also open to communicating via Slack channels
Github Classroom: We use Github Classroom, which is a feature provided through GitHub. All the students can have their own repositories. You can also set up a local repository for students to use when working on a group project. This is a great way to have them collaborate on projects, and it helps with productivity.
Do students have access to all the class material at once?
No, we don’t post every module on the website. Instead, students will have access to modules after completing the prior module. We encourage students to focus on one topic to ensure they understand the concepts thoroughly before moving to the next lesson.
Do you have advice for online bootcampers who are setting up their home “classroom?”
We always come up with a software “build guide.” All of our courses are based on specific software and tools, and we advise students to download all the required software before their training starts. Some students may need some technical help or guidance, so we do a check-in with students on day one to ensure they have all the required software installed correctly. For example, we use Netbeans to build Java applications. Sometimes students download other software based on their preference that may not sync with the material. So we encourage students to stick with the software recommended by the Software Guild team so they don’t face any issues.
Another question we typically get from students is about the minimum computer requirements – memory, RAM, capacity – needed for the course. We provide them with the guide prior to the training, so they have a computer that meets the minimum requirements for installation.
What types of support does the career services team provide at Software Guild?
The career service team is very important! They provide resume preparation and assist students in setting up their LinkedIn learning profiles. Apart from that, they train students in soft skills, like interview preparation and mock interview sessions. We also connect with students regarding job descriptions to ensure they’re considering jobs that they will enjoy. Our instructors also provide mock technical interviews, which they coordinate with the instructor team on.
It is very important to us to see successful job placement of students.
Are career coaches helping students find a job all over the country?
Yes! We conduct a survey, which includes questions about what locations students are interested in working in and their comfortability with relocating for a job. The team takes those responses and helps with job placement in those identified areas through the employer network.
What are your favorite resources for beginners breaking into tech in 2020?
Virtual meetups! I would also recommend publications and magazines about IT, technology, or infrastructural computer science. You can also attend the code events hosted by large companies, like Oracle, Microsoft, and AWS. They do some entry-level coding events that anyone can participate in, regardless of background in coding or computer science. You will be able to learn a lot about technology trends at events like this.
Why is this moment a good time for someone to go to a remote coding bootcamp and make that career change into tech?
There is no such thing as a good or bad time. Technology continues to play a tremendous role in our life. Having a subject, course, or skill set in IT will add incredible value to your career. It is really fun to learn to code, and once you begin to learn, the sky’s the limit!
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