CareerFoundry is an online coding school that offers self-paced, mentored online programs in web development, UX design, and UI design. Students learn with a 1-on-1 mentor using a personalized, project-based, and adaptive curricula. Headquartered in Berlin but with a global student base, CareerFoundry has provided tech education since 2013. CareerFoundry combines the flexibility of online learning with the guidance of mentors, training students to become employable technologists in four to 12 months.
Students who choose the UX Design course will learn user experience design, graphic user interface design, industry best practices and will use real-world tools. UX Design students work on a complete re-design of a web-based app, which includes creating user personas and a UX Design portfolio. The CareerFoundry UI Design Course will give all the necessary skills to become an employable junior UI designer. The curriculum is focused on acquiring practical design skills using all the latest tools in the field, including Sketch and Visual Website Optimizer (VWO). Upon completion, students will have completely redesigned the user interface for one site and built a marketable portfolio that includes the UI for four apps.
Recent CareerFoundry Reviews: Rating 4.37
Recent CareerFoundry News
- October 2018 Coding Bootcamp Podcast
- Guide to Coding Bootcamps with Job Guarantees
- Why a UI Designer is Not a UX Designer
- Start Date
- Rolling Start Date
- Class size
- Online, Berlin
- Minimum Skill Level
- Basic Computer Knowledge
- Placement Test
- Start Date
- Rolling Start Date
- Class size
- Online, Berlin
- Minimum Skill Level
- Placement Test
CareerFoundry runs one of the world’s leading UI design programs. With the mission to help people transform their careers and lives, we’re driving digital innovation through world-class courses, personal mentoring and an unrivalled graduate network. In fact, we’re so confident that our students will have the skills, portfolio and mindset to land the right role within 6 months of graduation that we refund 100% of your tuition if you don’t. We’ve built a course that has everything you need to get a job as a UI Designer. It teaches you about key fundamentals such as user research, interfaces, design workflows and design principles. We walk you through creating an app from top to bottom, consolidating your work throughout the course into a complete portfolio and creating branding for yourself as a UI Designer. You’ll also learn how to operate on today’s most widely-used tools for testing and design, including Sketch, InVision, Optimizely and Visual Website Optimizer. As a student on our UI Designer course, you’ll have TWO dedicated people guiding you towards success. You get a tutor to help with exercises and answer your day-to-day questions and a senior mentor who works you through exactly what you need to do to impress employers and get a job you love. To ensure this we’ve purpose-built a Career Change ‘Achievement’, providing a step-by-step process that first gets your profile polished and then puts it in front of the right people. We’ve also opened up the CareerFoundry library so that our students get lifetime access to all materials for ALL our courses, and we’ve built beautiful new communication features for you to ask for help from your mentors and collaborate with other students.
- Start Date
- Rolling Start Date
- Class size
- Online, Berlin
- Tuition Plans
- 6 monthly installments or upfront fee
- Minimum Skill Level
- Placement Test
If you want to build a career as a UX designer, this is for you. Over the course of ten months, you’ll learn everything you need to know to break into the industry. Created by leading UX designers from tech giants including Apple and Hewlett-Packard, and structured by course designers from Harvard and Berkeley, we’re here to give you the very best learning experience there is. Beginning with UX Fundamentals, through to complete end-to-end design, we’ll fully immerse you in the industry as well as cover each area of specialization you’ll need to know as a working UX designer. At the end of the course you’ll have an impressive, personalized portfolio ready to show potential employers, giving you the confidence to ace any interview as a Certified UX Designer.
- Start Date
- None scheduled
- Class size
- Online, Berlin
- Tuition Plans
- 6 monthly instalments or an upfront fee.
- Minimum Skill Level
- Suitable for beginners or students with basic knowledge of UX.
- Placement Test
In PersonFull Time15 Hours/week52 Weeks
If you are looking to train as a UX Designer and enter the world of UX Design, this course is an ideal choice. No only do we teach you everything you need to know about UX, but we also offer three areas of specialization to ensure your status as an all-round expert. These specializations are Frontend Development for Designers, UI for UX Designers, and Voice User Interface Design. Created by leading UX designers from tech giants including Apple and Hewlett-Packard, and structured by course designers from Harvard and Berkeley, we’re here to give you the very best learning experience there is. Beginning with UX Fundamentals, through to complete end-to-end design, we’ll fully immerse you in the industry. At the end of the course you’ll have an impressive, personalized portfolio ready to show potential employers, giving you the confidence to ace any interview as a Certified UX Designer.
- Start Date
- None scheduled
- Class size
- Online, Berlin
- Tuition Plans
- 6 monthly instalments or an upfront fee.
- Minimum Skill Level
- Placement Test
$250 Discount to CareerFoundry!
CareerFoundry combines the flexibility of online learning with the proven guidance of mentors, training students to become employable developers in six months. Students choose between Web Development and UI Design. Enter code coursereport for $250 off one of these CareerFoundry course!
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$500 CareerFoundry Scholarship
CareerFoundry combines the flexibility of online learning with the proven guidance of mentors, training students to become employable UX Designers in six months. Enter code coursereport for $500 off of the UX Design CareerFoundry course!
Offer is only valid for new applicants to
- nbsp;CareerFoundry. Applicants who have already submitted an application cannot claim this scholarship.
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(I had basic coding knoweldge and a little bit of iOS experience before beginning the course)
The CareerFoundry iOS Bootcamp helped take me from a beginner iOS Developer to paid professional. Throughout the course you cover a wide range of iOS topics that when put together give you the tools to create tons of different apps. I enjoyed taking the course online, at home, and at my own pace. This allows you take more time on topics you struggle with, and less time with others.
My mentor and career specialist were also instrumental in helping me pass the course and get a job. They were always available, extremely helpful, and awesome throughout!
I highly recommend CareerFoundry!
I decided to start my UI design course at Careerfoundry because after years of experience as a 'classic' graphic designer I felt it was time to upgrade my professional skills for the world of digital design. Before deciding to sign up for the course I've been hesitating many times about my choice, since in many cases an online formation doens't really give the skills you can then apply in the real work market. All my doubts just blew away as soon as I started my experience at Careerfoundry. All the lessons were really clear, focusing on the most practical aspects of design. My tutor and mentor (the lovely Henrietta Creedy and Argenis Alvarez) were extremely qualified and very kind people, always there to help me and clarify all my doubts. Last but not least, when the course was over I could still count on the support of the members of Careerfoundry's team, who shared with me a lot of useful informations and tips for my job research and interviews. And 1,5 months after the end of the course I got my first UI designer job!!!
I would definitely repeat this great experience and recommend it to anyone else who feels fascinated by the growing world of UX/UI design.
I took the UX Design Course at CareerFoundry in 2017, and can absolutely recommend it anyone who wants to gain practical experience in User Experience Design. The course covered everything from the conception of ideas, through sketching, prototyping testing and iterating. Don't worry about the fact that it is an online course - my tutor was always available when I had questions, my mentor was there for the bigger questions, and the community of students and student advisors is super supportive. I was already super happy with course immediately after finishing it, however the cherry on the top was the career specialists' advice AFTER the course. I could always reach out to them and get an answer, or an appointment for a skype call / mock interview within a few days. Their advice was actionable and super helpful. I think, this is what makes the course different to others in the end. Only a few weeks after finishing the course I started working for a Design Agency, that I had dreamed of working for in about 3 years time.
I’m a Creative Development Specialist in Global Product Development at eBay and work with developers and engineers on a daily basis. Since I don’t have a CS background I wanted to use this course for understanding Web Development better and be able to facilitate this understanding in my job. The course provided a good opportunity to dive into Web Dev through a concrete project, which was challenging but also fun. My tutor provided superb support and patient explanations on every topic, that needed further elaboration. I’m happy I took the course and would recommend it to anyone, who would like to deepen their knowledge in this exciting field. However, if you want to start a job in Web Dev, this course wouldn’t be enough and some more practice would be necessary. It provides a good starting point though and you can learn a lot, if you are willing to do some research and exercises on your own. I didn't take the "Job preparation" course, so I can't evaluate the Job Assistance.
I come from a design background having studied Graphic Design in university and having 4 years of web design under my belt, however I wanted a career refresh so that I could move from websites to user experience design within the mobile app industry without having to go in at a junior position.
After taking the User Interface Design course last year I am now in an amazing role as a mid-weight UX designer at the UKs leading mobile app company. I am currently the sole designer on a number of app projects and I get to work alongside talented project managers, strategy managers and iOS/Android developers. The company takes UX seriously so alongside UI design I am learning loads about UX and strategy and I will be helping facilitate a week long client design sprint within the next couple of months (using the Jake Knapp methodology).
I have come so far since starting the course, I would never have dreamt I’d be in this position less than a year into studying so I just want to say a big thanks to everyone on the team at Career Foundry! Although I didn’t get the chance to finish the course, it gave me all the skills I needed to move from web design into the mobile app and UX industries.
I would recommened this course for anyone who already has some design background or talent, who has a passion for problem solving and user experience.
Overall, I really enjoyed the UI Course. It helped me boost up and round out the UX experience I already have under my belt. The classes/modules were comprehensive and challenging. By the end of the course I felt confident that I could market myself as more than just a designer who was limited to wireframes and site maps. Now I have a whole host of other skillsets that help design an entire website/app from soup to nuts.
I personally like the UX Bootcamp at CareerFoundry. At the beginning, I was hesitated to enroll this program for many reasons. Because of its 100% online course, I wasn’t sure how the school would navigate Graduated students for their future careers. However, at the end of this road, I knew I made the right decision.
A couple things I want to point out that I think might be helpful for the future students. For those who have a design background may found it’s very light contents at the beginning but think in this way - this is where you can speed up. I do think the curriculum laid out is well-design and effective - getting challenging more and more as you go along. I got a great mentor, he has been super helpful. His feedbacks and suggestions help me get a clear understanding of many “whys”. Help me to develop a mindset and ability to empower my skills.
Danielle is amazing! She is a career specialist here. She helped me when I graduated with all the resources, everything you need to prepare and get done if you need to succeed in your career. I had many interviews right after but I still enjoy learning, so I paused for a while to continue learning, develop skillsets, and get connections. Not for long, I achieve my goal - get a job I love.
Overall, it’s an excellent course. I would recommend for anyone who is interested in getting started in UX Design. All you need to do is just to set you mind believing in the program, make a commitment and believing in yourself!
I really enjoyed my time going through the program. Right out the gate I was introduced to my tutor who helped sharpen the quality of my work throughout each exercise. She offered Skype calls whenever I wanted, which I took advantage of with my most challenging assignments. The video reviews my mentor sent were instructive and the 1-on-1’s are mainly what you want them to be, so be prepared to ensure you make the most of them.
CareerFoundry has an excellent community. Fellow students are active on slack, always sharing, and there's certainly a spirit of participation. Seeing others progress spurred me on too. CF staff reach out often and are a vibrant bunch. I interacted with a lot of awesome people beyond my tutor and mentor. This also increased my level of engagement.
The coursework itself was good and helped me develop solid design skills. Each task has examples of previously approved work which gives additional perspective. I will say that some of the article links seemed a bit outdated (a few were 2+ years old) but CF was working on refreshing this material.
After receiving my certification I started working with my career specialist who is very resourceful. I spent the majority of the 6 months after graduation developing my portfolio which took away from applying. Know upfront you should have at least 3 projects to be considered a viable candidate. I ended up recently accepting a new job in the tech field that I wouldn’t have been able to get without this course. UX plays a big role with any company and these skills are applicable anywhere. CareerFoundry is a great place to learn it and live it!
I completed the UI Design Course with Career Foundry in August, and got a job 2 month later. I really liked the flexibility of the class, exclusively online and self-paced. I also liked being able to communicate with real humans at the same time (my mentor and tutors) to answer questions. The one area where they could improve according to me is to provide a better consistency in the quality of the classes (they were not all equivalent in quality of content and deliverables to provide)
Hi, I recently finished my User Interface designer course and was happy to have made this decision, to go with CareerFoundry, I am so grateful to the wonderful CF community, as now I made a transition from Web/Graphic designer to a UI Designer, This course gave me the skills, knowledge and professional credibility that were required for my field. My confidence as a designer has excelled exponentially with the help of the CF Curriculum, Team and Mentors. Thanks for all the support !
One year ago I decided to give a try to Careerfoundry online Web Development course.
After a few presential courses and some all over the place self study, I decided to try something more structured than my own program and more modern than the previous classrom intake.
My major concern though was the kind of support I'd receive and how to proceed when I got stuck.
It turns out that I had the best feedback ever and the tutor and mentor know in so much depth what they are teaching. To not mention how quick they are. You usually wait 1-2 days for an assessment review and you can also schedule calls.
I do think the course doesn't go into enough depth into JS and Ruby, to be honest, but it already took me nearly 8 months to conciliate work and studies. So overall it has a good balance.
I'd strongly recomment this course to anyone willing to start a career as web developer but keep in mind to go further in all the links and extra material your tutor provides.
The carrer specialist were also great and helped me to tailor my resume and get more confident for interviews.
As I was putting some of the course skills on my marketing and social media job since the beginning of the year, I had some sort of experience in the eyes of the marketing but not much, what was decisive were the code challenges and I was able to do them all until I found the perfect match 2 months ago.
Career Foundry's UI Designer course helped me to up skill is some key areas where I need some help. As a designer with 8 years commercial experience I was unsure whatelse I would learn. But, I was wrong.
The course structure is designed for someone who has no 'design' expereince so the early course content was a little limiting. But as the course progressed learning new software and applying design patterns to mobile interfaces was inspiring and worthwhile.
The tutors are friendly and helpful and my mentor pushed me to succeed. The online community are very supportive and I found each student wanted to help and assist eachother.
The only CON I would have is that the UI course is predominatly mobile app focussed. This was fine for me as I wnated more expereince in this area. But the course content is less aimed at desktop and tablet, if this is what you are wanting.
I did found it difficult to juggle full time work and a young family around my studies. This could be down to my time management but I found the length of course content challenging. Full time workers beware.
The decision to depart from my 11 year long career in Marketing to become a UI designer was not one i took lightly but was without doubt one i will never regret. It's one year since i began my UI Design course and since completing the course just under four months ago, i have managed to secure a number of paid UI/UX design roles and just last week a full time designer position in a well respected UK digital design agency. I am delighted i chose Career Foundry as my course provider and enjoyed every minute of the course. The format of the teaching and lessons were well crafted, the projects challenging but fulfilling and the general UX of the online course was great. One of the best parts however, was the tutors and mentors. My tutor was extremely helpful and marked all work in a timely manner. My mentor, Muwuso an very experienced designer by far exceeded my expectations in his mentoring role providing me with consistently valuable feedback, insights and suggestions and continously inspired me in my journey both throughout the course and onwards. He was generous enough to support me in my search for a job even once i had completed my certificate and we are still in touch. I cant communicate enough how important his mentoring influence had on me.
I researched many many courses and even signed up for a few, but they did not have the level of detail or proffessionalism I needed. I got an amazing tutor and she encouraged me to develop the course in a direction I wanted to best suite my requirements.
Skype calls were really the best and quickest ways to develop ideas and go through feedback, also my tutor Olga went the extra mile and always encouraged me to email her any time I got stuck.
My partner is now doing the UX course and I have the confidnce that she will complete it being ready for the change of career she desires.
Expensive, but really, it's worth it in the grand scheme of things.
The CareerFoundry UX course was a great experience for me. My intention for taking it was to change careers and get a job in UX Design. The course material was excellent and I gained many new skills over the 7 months. What made this course highly valuable to me is the interaction I had with my mentor, tutor, and career advisors. At the end of the course, I felt confident in my skills and abilities, and was excited about moving forward in the UX industry. Most importantly, I was successful in getting my first UX job at a well-known company!
Overall, this course was worth every penny. I learned a lot, enjoyed interacting and receiving feedback from mentors and peers, and got a job in UX!
I took the online UX intensive back in the fall of 2015. I was really pleased with the experience - the material was well written and easy to follow, and I liked completing the tasks at the end of each unit. My instructor took the time to give me constructive feedback during our sessions that I feel really helped me apply what I was learning in a practical way. I think the focus on creating a portfolio-ready piece by the end of the course set me up for success and helped me showcase my skills to potential employers. I'm now a full time product designer and very happy with my experience with CareerFoundry.
I am now 2 months of 3 into the Web Developer course from Careerfoundry.
You get daily text lessons for which you have to submit exercises at the end which are then revised/approved by a Tutor. At the end of each chapter you have to submit one project which is video reviewed by a Mentor. You also get a total of 4 Skype calls with the Mentor.
First of all, the lessons themselves are limited and short, and not always easy. They can serve like the thread to climb along but won't be helping you enough by themselves. You do spend most of your time researching the internet and learning from outeside sources. I myself am enrolled in 2 other Rails courses in the internet, which are cheaper and explain the Ruby on Rails framework better. So why this course?
Well, the good part ist that you have a Tutor at your availablility which can help you out if you get stuck or have questions. My Tutor is quite available and really knows his way around Rails, so I am quite happy with it. My Mentor is also really professional and his video reviews are always very helpful. All in all it does motivate you to keep going and that is something that helps many people to not give up.
A part where the course is lacking is the student community. You actually don't have any contact with your fellow students. There are some Slack channels but they are not very well visited because it is not enforced. Which is a pity because collaboration and team work are important parts of being a developer, too. There is a commenting system on the lessons where students can ask questions about the course, but 99% are not answered so you are better off just asking your poor Tutor. I think in this area, the course could improve and enforce the students to help each other out more. Additionally it would be great if someone would take care of those student questions, which sometimes arise due to unclear or outdated course material.
The course comes also with a "Job Prep" course, which is supposed to help you change careers. I have not finished that part of the course yet, but what I have seen of it is indeed helpful.
I feel that the idea of the course is really great and that it you can access it with a "Bildungsgutschein" is wonderful. But there are areas where the course could really improve, like the student community, and the lessons could be revised a bit more often. Finally, I personally don't think that the course is worth 3500€, but that is really my opinion, as I would expect a little more for that money. But it can help you to become a Rails Developer if you really fully dedicate yourself to it and use other courses and start your own projects soon - and it is a wonderful alternative to other courses that are available with a "BIldungsgutschein" - so my review is still 4 of 5 stars.
Response From: Jakub of CareerFoundry
We also appreciate your feedback in regards to the course content. The Curriculum Team releases updates to the courses on a weekly basis to reflect student needs and industry trends.
I enrolled the UX design course in December 2016 and finished in August 2017.
I had a basic knowledge of design and psychology from my previous jobs, but I was totally new to a tech field.
At the beginning, I easily and often got overwhelmed because there were so many things to learn. I wasn't sure if I could finish the course. It was not easy and very challenging. But more I learned, more I enjoyed, and eventually my anxiety disappeared.
I am sure I couldn't have completed the course without the help of my very passionate and encouraging tutor, and very precise and perceptive mentors.
There are still lots of things that the course doesn't cover and I have to learn on my own. But I felt I was quite ready to start my career as a UX designer after completing the course.
Following the advice from the awesome career specialists, I updated my resume and LinkedIn, and a few days later a design director from a digital healthcare company got in touch with me asking if I'm interested in a UI/UX designer role, and eventually I got the job!
Even though it's an online course, I got to know very inspiring people such as my tutor, mentors, career specialists, other students etc... and I will be in touch with them for sure!
Taking the UX course was definitely one of the best choices I made in my life :)
I wanted to do a UX course for a while and tried to study UX on my own. Because there are some many websites, blogs and free courses out there, I didn't know where to begin. That's why I choose to follow a UX course at Careerfoundry. I hated going to university: studying books and writing papers was very boring to me. However, I love the UX Fundamentals course in Careerfoundry because you can start building up your portfolio right away. The exercises are hands-on, very practical and exciting! I really appreciate the help from my tutor and mentor, as they always gives me helpful and motivating feedback. What I like the most is that I can immediately start using my new skills in my current job. I would definitely recommend this course to anyone who is interested in UX!
Very dissatisfied with the Student Advisory team. More of that later.
The course is tough! Taking up more time than expected but I'm progressing and on track to finish on time. If you're a beginner like me, treat this as a full-time course. You may find it difficult to stay on track if you devote only 20 hours/week.
One thing I do not like is the excessive amount of links the lessons throw at me. Ruins my flow. I'd spend a bunch of time finally understanding a section, go on to the next section and get links to read up on other stuff. This happens a lot and pretty much in every lesson. It's overwhelming. Hard to determine which links are important and which ones I can save for later. If I were to go through each link, it would take forever to complete the course. Not ideal for a beginner programmer. Intermediate or Advanced, okay. But I'm not gonna read through all this stuff. I would have liked something more streamlined.
My tutor is okay. He responds to my lesson submissions within 24-48 hours. Maybe on 1-2 occasions, past 48 hours. If I'm stuck and send him a direct message, he'll respond in a couple of hours. 24 hours the latest. Good luck if you have a PC. It's hard to progress once you get on Achievement 3, Ruby. Easier if you have a Mac or Dual boot Ubuntu. Tutor wasn't able to help me with my PC problems so I ended up having to take my Mac out of storage to continue on with the course.
Not a lot of activity on the CF message boards. A lot of questions go unanswered. I might get better success on Slack but I don't see a lot of students posting lesson specific questions so I never bothered. From what I've seen, most of the posts on Slack are for career placement.
My mentor knows his stuff well. Hesitant to reach out to him, however, as he's very busy. He's a contractor for Career Foundry and I was encouraged to reach out to him on Slack only when it is urgent or if I'm really stuck on something. He also didn't sound too confident when I asked if he can help me get up and running on Achievement 3 using a PC. He said he'd try his best. I opted to just get my Mac out of storage. Our communication, for the most part, is via webchat. I have about 8 sessions(up to an hour) total. I need to have a list of questions prior to each session to make the most out of them. Outside of these webchats, it's tough to send quick questions.
I'm basically on my own. They highly encourage Google and Stack Overflow to solve your own problems and only reach out to your tutor/mentor when you absolutely need it. Since they take up to 24 hours to respond to you and not much activity on the message boards, it's hard to get a quick answer.
The course is ideal for intermediate/advanced programmers but for a beginner who needs a little extra hand holding, I feel the human element is strongly lacking. This brings me to the Student Advisory team. These are the guys you reach out to if you have general questions, concerns, requests for tutor/mentor replacement, etc. I'd like to compare the student advisor I was paired up with to that of a robot. This person felt that copying/pasting blocks of text to answer my questions was sufficient correspondence. Questions were only partially answered. I complained about it and another advisor volunteered to replace her when I considered dropping out of the course for a full refund. I believe you have a week or two to back out before you are financially committed. The thing is, once I agreed to stick with CF and knew I wouldn't get a refund on what I currently paid, the replacement advisor stopped answering my emails. It's funny, the only genuine conversations I've had with anyone throughout this experience were with the sales rep when she was selling it to me and the replacement student advisor who assured me I wouldn't have to go through the same frustrations I've experienced with the first advisor when I was thinking of getting a refund. When money is involved, I know they would put in their best effort to address your concerns. After that, you better be lucky you're paired with a good advisor, tutor, and mentor. In my personal experience, I've observed that CareerFoundry is driven most by revenue and will put in a minimal effort into my growth and development and a web programmer.
I haven't started on the job placement portion of the course yet. I'm only halfway done. Don't need to wait, however, to complete the course to write this review. I've already formed my opinion of CareerFoundry. They get 1 star for the overall experience, but I'll add an extra star because I am learning(ever so slowly) and for the job guarantee.
This course is really worth your time and investment. I was a COMPLETE beginner with a small tech anxiety too, so it was a challenge for me even see myself as a competent member of the tech industry. Of course, the imposter syndrome is still there and will stay for a while, but I cannot deny myself the huge progress I've made since the beginning of the course.
It is all down to my tutor/mentor team, honestly. They were so patient, helpful and knowledgeable, that I learned a huge deal from them. No task was ever approved just, so I get pushed along - NO, even if one took me weeks, it had to be on a great level for them to accept it. That's what I wanted, I don't want to finish a course and still have no idea what I'm doing - I put in the work, they gave me their attention and perfection seeking attitude. I genuinely felt like I'm seeing online products with completely different eyes, notice things that I've always taken for granted and seeing the difference between the good and not-so-good UX design.
The curriculum is great, easy to understand and presented in a non-techy language, so I was not confused at all, yet learned everything I needed to know (including the properly explained tech lingo).
You get to use industry standard software that makes you feel confident about entering a workplace.
Staff is super helpful, friendly and positive.
Even though I haven't yet finished the course, I can see that the career team is very active and full of energy to help me find a job as much as they possibly can. I talked to a career advisor once already and had a great session, I can do that as much as I want with CF, whenever I need some advice or say an interview prep session. They are like energy volcanos with a passion for getting things done.
There is simply nothing I can think of that I was not very impressed with and you can trust me, I'm not easy to please ;)
I'm coming to the end of my UI Design course and I must say I'm a little sad that's it's going to be over soon. I have learned SO much & my confidence as a designer has excelled exponentially. As much as I'm excited to start applying my newly found skills to the real world, I am going to miss Career Foundry. I will especially miss the indepth, encouraging, timely and constructive feedback I've been receiving from my tutor, Henrietta Creedy. I recommend this course to all - especially those who think they have no business meddling in the world of tech. I was nearly computer illiterate before I started. Now I consider myself a Sketch master and a UI Designer on my way to the top!
CareerFoundry was the best decision I could have ever made. I make a transition from Graphic Designer to UI Designer and it was really easy because of the Curriculum and Mentors The school has. My mentor was always open to give me advice, critic my work so I can enhance my skills and also there were 12 calls available which was awesome. After finishing my course I got my first job as a UI Designer in just 1 month and about 2 weeks. They have some career specialist you can contact so they help you on your job hunting.
Honestly CareerFoundry is growing and for now, I think is the best online tech school. Before enrolling I look for others courses and curriculums and the most completed and interesting was that one. Every chapter was well developed with enough information to understand each topic, examples and of course the orientation of your mentor.
Our latest on CareerFoundry
Just as coding languages are always changing, things also change very quickly in the coding bootcamp industry! In October we read about two big acquisitions, some fundraises, and partnerships and rivalries between universities and bootcamps. We heard about the interesting backgrounds of some female bootcamp founders, and what demand there is for software developers in the tech industry! There were also articles about companies teaming up with bootcamps and two coding bootcamps going through hardships. Read the summary or listen to the podcast!Continue Reading →
So you want to land a job after coding bootcamp? The statistics are on your side – 73% of bootcampers report being employed as developers after graduation. But did you know that many coding bootcamps go one step further and offer a job guarantee? We’ve put together a list of in-person and online coding bootcamps in the USA and around the world which offer guaranteed job placement. And don’t get caught off guard by the details – we’ve also included specifics about job guarantee tuition refunds, conditions, and tips to help you work out if a job guarantee coding bootcamp is right for you.Continue Reading →
UX? UI? So you’ve seen the acronyms everywhere, but now you’re wondering what exactly is the difference between the two terms? And to make it even more confusing, just what is a UX/UI designer? Some kind of unicorn hybrid? While some people tend to group the two positions in the same boat, they’re actually separate disciplines that both share a common goal of creating a product that is centered around the needs of its users. But just how does the role of a UI designer differ from that of a UX designer?Continue Reading →
Wojciech Hupert originally studied advertising and graphic design, but as the market demand for web skills increased, he transitioned into UX design. Now Wojciech is a UX Design Mentor at online coding bootcamp CareerFoundry. He also works full-time as a UX/UI Designer at Berlin startup BigchainDB. Wojciech explains why he wanted to get involved in education, how he uses his varied background to give career advice, and why he loves seeing CareerFoundry students grow and learn.
Tell us about your background and experience before you joined CareerFoundry.
My approach to the visual and advertising world was from an artistic angle, as I was always seeking a commercial avenue for an artistic expression. So I started to look at different ways of using my visual skills in visual media, like web design and publishing.
A lot of my knowledge is self-taught through e-learning, working with others and having great mentors. Over the course of a decade, I navigated through different territories, learning as I went to meet the market’s needs.
At what point did you start calling yourself a UX designer?
In the mid-’90s I wasn’t aware of the role of UX Designer for quite a long time even though I worked on a lot of front end projects. These were the early days of web design, so it was relatively easy to get into it, and only a handful of principles differentiated design for web from design for print. I learned CSS and HTML, and that was about it. I got into UX without realizing. I entered the space of digital design when the whole platform was going through this exciting phase of figuring things out. So once I picked up the right books and started to talk to UX experts all I had to do was to fill in the knowledge gaps that I still had at the time. It was a natural, organic transition. I started working as a UX Designer in 2011.
Do you work full time with CareerFoundry, or do you have other projects you’re working on as well?
I work with CareerFoundry part time. I also have my full-time job as a UX/UI designer at blockchain technology startup BigchainDB. There I work on a lot of things, but mainly UI, UX, and occasionally print design.
My work with CareerFoundry has a mutual benefit for both me and my students, because it keeps me engaged with what I’m passionate about the most – UX thinking. If I don’t have a pure focus on UX for a week or so at work, I am still very in tune with UX because I’m working with CareerFoundry students. People who work in UX tend to fall into narrow-focus pockets. We may work on a specific project for months, and get detached from other areas of UX work. When I work with CareerFoundry, I always need to be up to date with everything related to UX, so I never feel like I’m forgetting something or I’m far from the scene. It’s a great way to be on top of my game.
How did you become aware of CareerFoundry and what made you want to be involved?
I had been traveling for a year through Southeast Asia and I decided to come back to Europe and settle in Berlin, which was bursting with opportunities. I’d heard about the startup scene in Berlin, and I already had a freelancer lone wolf mindset, so I wanted to keep that going. I also wanted to engage with some startups in Berlin. CareerFoundry offered me that, I could do freelance work, and at the same time I could have a connection to a company with that startup culture and mindset.
At that time, CareerFoundry was just starting to recruit mentors, so I was actually one of the first mentors. I liked the idea of working with six to eight people at a time, and assisting their growth. It’s an interesting process to engage with. I have a lot of admiration for the CareerFoundry founders. They have created an amazing platform. I worked with one of their first students, and there was a lot of uncertainty in the beginning because it was the first time I was teaching. Everything worked well, and I really got to like the dynamic between student and mentor. I realized that since part of my job as the UX designer was to educate my own clients, teaching as a concept was not as abstract as I thought it would be.
Looking back, do you think a program like CareerFoundry would have been useful when you were learning?
Definitely, there are a lot of resources on UX. My transition was a little disorganized and took about five years. My process took so long because there is so much information and resources out there, it’s hard to see the big picture. It’s easy to get into a pocket of information, and you only know what you know, but not what you are still missing. But if you complete a course designed from start to finish, you know you’ve covered the entire scope of what you need to know.
When you complete the CareerFoundry UX design bootcamp course, you end up with a portfolio that you can actually show to clients or employers, and this is something that junior UX designers cannot get very easily. Most projects that UX designers do are under NDA’s (non-disclosure agreements) and are not to be published or visible. A course like this gives you a valuable asset – the development of a product through the entire flow of research, finding out what users want, and then making it happen.
Did you have mentoring or teaching experience prior to teaching at the bootcamp?
When I was freelancing I realized that whenever I was trying to sell my designs, I had to educate my client. I had to tell them what they were missing out on, explain the service I was offering, and what the expected results should be. So I took that approach to mentoring as well. UX is so young, and understanding of it varies, so having informed clients and employers is important for the UX movement in general.
There is a lot of misconception, and I think it’s the responsibility of UX designers to explain what it is, and what the role involves. It’s up to UX designers to educate whoever is looking for the service or product.
What is your specific role as a mentor at CareerFoundry?
In the course there is a lot of reading material and instructions for the students. The mentor is there to coordinate, assist, clarify, review, and answer questions. So as a mentor I step in at the most interesting part of the knowledge acquisition, when students are already informed about specific subjects. We always discuss topics and problems, but I hardly ever need to explain things from scratch.
On a daily basis I review whatever my students send to me – that could be questions, doubts they have and completed assignments. Once a week we connect over Skype, and we discuss things they sent, misconceptions, and mistakes. If everything is clear and covered, I often share my experiences from working in the industry. I answer questions about working in UX, getting work as an employee or getting projects as a freelancer. About 80% of students are career changers, so they need that insight, they need to know how to engage with this new scene and industry.
An interesting thing about the UX community, is that it’s not competitive, everyone is really helpful. I think it’s because UX has so many niches, and people are aware of that and don’t think of themselves as being in competition professionally. It’s more of a self-supporting community and there are many resources they are keen to share. The community at CareerFoundry is a proof of that – there are close to 1700 people on the CF slack channel at this point in time.
What is the structure of the curriculum, and where do you fit in?
The curriculum gives a wonderful overview of what’s involved in UX as a framework. It starts with research-related assignments, and ends with visual design assignments. The course covers everything from ideation through early concepts, to wireframes and user research. It’s really well thought out and well written. It’s always full of relevant information, very comprehendible, easy to read, and designed so you can work on it every day, on top of other things happening in your life.
The course requires an hour or two per day, so it’s very manageable. It’s divided into assignments, and tasks. As you go through it you get a sense of achievement and progression. It’s easy to measure how fast you move, you don’t feel stuck, and you feel you are moving through it really quickly. You get your results fast, and you can see how your work on the previous tasks contributed to the current one.
Throughout the course, students are developing an app (Taskly). They learn and build it as they go. Then I stand behind to help with anything that comes up. It’s the most effective way to learn and jump into the field. The course was designed to expose students to different stages of development, so by the time they are finished, they will be well prepared to go into the market and do real projects.
What technologies or subjects does CareerFoundry teach as part of the UX program?
Students are developing UX for web and mobile applications. The course also teaches the basics of HTML and visual language principals so students can talk to UI designers and developers in their ‘own language’. They can also do very basic UI design implementations themselves, and get exposed to copywriting, which can be a part of UX as well. By the time this course finishes, students can execute and have an active involvement in each department they collaborate with. They start with project management, and develop concepts as if they were founders. Students then create the marketing side of it to verify if the concept for a product works, then they create specific UX stuff.
The bottom line is, UX designers need to understand what needs to be designed before they start designing – this is an important and often ignored fact. Quite often, when people want to do UX they jump into creating wireframes, which is not the most efficient way to do it. This is something students discover as they go through the development of the workflow. Students are encouraged and supported to learn the most common applications and design tools. They are being provided with access to UXPin – a web-based drawing tool with prototyping capability, so they can produce their concepts and turn the design into clickable prototypes. They can also work in InVision, and they are encouraged to use Sketch, AdobeXD, and Illustrator if they are inclined to push their skills even further. Not every student has the desire to learn those, so it’s flexible.
How many students do you usually work with at one time?
My personal limit, and comfortable level, is a maximum of seven students at a time. I started with just three. With seven students, I tend to have calls almost every week. It’s a really effective way to interact with students, so I always look forward to those. As a contractor at CareerFoundry, I can decrease the number of students I work with if I think I’ll be busy in a specific time of the year. I can take holidays whenever I want and my absence will be covered. Or if I want my mentoring to become my full-time job I can simply increase the number of students and commit more time to it.
How do you communicate with the students?
For regular exchange of messages, we use a brand new internal messaging system. For weekly calls, we use Skype. Some students want to use Hangouts, or other programs. We tend to have the first call with video so we can get to know each other better. But after the first couple of calls, I tend to recommend audio only, so we can both concentrate – it’s better to look at the design rather than each other. If there are any technical problems I’ll often share my screen and my workflow and show them how to do particular things. We discuss changes as they are happening on the screen. Students love this.
How often do you have one-on-one time with individual students?
It’s recommended to do one Skype call every week. With some students it’s not required if they are moving very swiftly, so we connect every two weeks or so. It’s really up to them, but the course is designed to have one Skype call per week and I always recommend that.
Where are your students located? How does that work with different time zones?
CareerFoundry does a great job of distributing students to mentors in their timezones. So the majority of my students are in Germany. When CareerFoundry first started up, it wasn’t as organized so some of my students were in the US, and there was a time difference problem. It’s no longer a problem – all of my students are in Europe. Some of them are in Berlin like me, so we sometimes meet face to face whenever there are conferences or UX meetups. But that’s not a common practice.
What are the students like at CareerFoundry?
CareerFoundry facilitates a community between me and the people I mentor. It’s a really rewarding and enjoyable activity for both me and the students. They always have interesting stories and different professional backgrounds to bring to the table. I’m there to see how they adjust to the UX mindset and workflow, and it’s always fascinating to follow, to get their ideas and answer questions. So far I’ve worked with about 30 to 40 students, and every single one has a different story, a different experience, and a different unique talent. I’ve never had two students that would be alike.
Have you contributed to the bootcamp curriculum? If so, what was your role?
As I got to know the course really well over the years, I had a lot of ideas and observations, so I shared them with the CareerFoundry team. There are hardly ever any errors, my suggestions are more like “hey let’s optimize this”, “let’s make it easier, add something or update the resource.” So I actively participate to make sure the course is up to date. I know the audience, I know who the students are, and I want to optimize their experience.
Do CareerFoundry UX students collaborate with each other?
I believe they do collaborate, especially in the phase of user testing – they all leverage the existence of the community to send their design concepts for user testing purposes. This is where the collaborative, supporting characteristic of the scene comes in. All the students are happy to participate and later they get the favor returned. Plus, they are always interested to see what others are working on.
How many hours a week do you expect your students to commit to CareerFoundry’s UX program?
Some tasks are more in tune with their current background, some are not. So there is no standard amount of time. But it usually takes an hour to two hours per day.
How do you assess student progress and ensure they are getting through the material?
There is an initiative called the Job Readiness Rubric which helps to quantify the quality of the work. Mentors use this rubric to see what kind of advice to give to students to push them towards the industry standard. It’s hard to quantify those things, but when you’re looking at deliverables, you can easily see what the student excels at and what areas need to improve. So the job readiness rubric helps to tune the aspects of where they need to be, with where they are right now.
Do you have a hand in career advice or job placement at all?
Yes, very often. Because I have worked for both corporations and small companies like startups, and I’ve done freelancing, I know the different ways of talking with employers or clients. So students can always reach out to me and voice their fears or expectations or desires of what they want their next career step to look like. Towards the end, the last assignments help students to get ready for stepping into the job market. They prepare their first portfolio and UX Design-centric CV. They also plan their future outreach for their personal brand, so they know how to market themselves and speak intelligently on what they can offer.
We often talk about goals. I always take a customized approach to each student and find out their needs and where they want to be in the next six months.
Tell us about your biggest student success story!
I have a couple of successful entrepreneurial stories about people who worked in a boring job, trying to get their side project off the ground. Once they had learned the UX workflow,they could then visualize their projects and promote them. It’s always a great thing to witness. I have also worked with a couple of students who were sent to the CareerFoundry UX course by their employers to educate and later drive their UX efforts within the company they work in. Quite often they would be doing something else before, like project management, research etc. Once they learn the UX workflow and mindset and practice it, they have the potential to drive the UX department in the company. There are a lot of success stories like that.
Alex was a printer and graphic designer in the UK, and a teacher in Thailand before he moved to the states and decided to learn to code. He started CareerFoundry’s six-month remote Web Development Program in January, and studied part time while working full time as a dog walker in NYC. Alex tells us why online bootcamp CareerFoundry suited him so well, explains how intuitive and easy to follow the lessons are, and even gives us a live demo of the learning platform.
What was your career background before you decided to enroll at CareerFoundry?
I'm from England, but I've traveled around a bit. I spent seven years teaching English in Thailand, and before that, I was a printer in England for 10 years. I dabbled in graphic design, but printing was a dying trade at the time, and I needed to find a new career.
When I came to the United States, I was interested in code and web development. I tried to learn a little bit of code on my own and looked for the right course that would suit me, my time, and my future. At the moment I'm a dog walker, which gives me flexible hours so I can study a little more.
Did you learn on your own before you decided to enroll at CareerFoundry?
Yes. I went through a couple of free online bootcamps, and even tried a couple of paid ones like Treehouse and Code School as well for a few months before I found Career Foundry.
Were you always looking for an online bootcamp or did you consider doing an in-person bootcamp?
I looked into in-person bootcamps, but they always seemed to be a bit more expensive and because I needed to keep my full-time job, they didn’t fit my time frame. I chose to do an online bootcamp because I can study when I get home from work, at my own pace, and in my own time. Plus, it ended up being a lot more affordable.
What else did you consider when you were choosing a coding bootcamp?
Honestly, it was hard because I didn't know there was so much to web development in general. I didn't know which path to take. I had really basic knowledge, so I was looking for a course that would teach me from the ground up. Because web development is so broad, it was a good idea to start from the bottom and see where it would take me.
How did you pay for the CareerFoundry tuition? Did you take out a loan or use financing?
I researched a lot of online bootcamps, and a lot of them required one payment. Others allowed you to enroll for three months, six months, or a year and pay a monthly fee. CareerFoundry had two options: pay a lump sum at the beginning, or in installment plans, which was perfect for me. It worked out to be more manageable, so I wasn't throwing a lump sum of money into a course.
What was the CareerFoundry application and interview process like?
It was pretty easy. I picked how I wanted to pay and the time frame that I wanted to complete it in. I chose the six-month program, although there were other timeframes available. I thought six months would be long enough to get my head around the material. I wasn’t sure, either, whether I was going to struggle or keep up.
Once I signed up for the program, I went through an enrollment process. Then, the following Monday I was assigned a mentor and just dived right in. It was very simple.
Was there a coding challenge in the CareerFoundry application process?
No, and that was really helpful to me. CareerFoundry teaches you the basics, from building your first web page, and then builds on your knowledge from there. I think anybody could do CareerFoundry with no coding experience and be pretty successful.
What was the learning experience like at CareerFoundry? What was a typical day like?
You log in with your ID, and you get materials for the lesson you're on that week. You build your website through the course material as you go. You always have a mentor or tutor who gives you feedback, who you can contact anytime. Everything is explained really simply, but also goes deep enough to dig a bit further if you want to.
Who were your tutors and were they on the same time zone as you?
At the beginning of the course, I had a mentor who was in NYC. Then I had another mentor straight after who was on the same timezone as me. The great thing is CareerFoundry has a time frame where you know you can contact your mentor and get a response. I always got a response back really quickly from my first and my second mentor. Sometimes they'd be online when I was online so it was rare that you couldn’t get hold of someone.
How often did you interact with your tutor?
At the end of each lesson, you submit your work to your tutor. You can submit it as a direct message to your tutor through CF, or you can send them a message on Slack, to let them know you’ve finished. Usually I would get an approval or reevaluation of the lesson from the tutor within 24 or 48 hours. Most of the time I was speaking to my tutor or mentor once a day. Halfway through my lesson, if I didn't understand something, I would contact my tutor straight away on Slack.
Do you ever have face to face conversations?
We didn't really need it. I have spoken to a couple of people in the CareerFoundry Slack channel who have done Skype one-on-one meetings. I think you can set up a call with them and go through what you've learned so far, and show them your code one-on-one.
How often did you interact with other CareerFoundry students?
CareerFoundry puts you in a Slack channel with other students, where there are at least 50 people online at any time. They all have questions, they've got their own ideas, and when you're stuck or another student is stuck, you can help each other. If I’ve already done a section in the past, then I can help answer a question and vice versa, or give general advice after you finish the course. You also have the option to network with each other.
How have you balanced your full-time job with your CareerFoundry studies?
Dog walking gives me a lot of flexibility. My hours are never 100% set, but I know I can get home at a relatively decent hour, and can study for at least three hours a day. Because CareerFoundry is so simple and flexible, it’s very easy to be able to juggle full-time work and put in the hours to study as well. That said, you do have to buckle down and commit. There was one instance where I had to take a few days off and I did get worried that I wouldn't finish the course in time. Just like studying anywhere, you have to put in the hours if you want to finish.
How many hours per week were you putting in?
About 20 to 25 hours. The great thing about CareerFoundry is they have general lessons, but they also provide links so you can study further by yourself as well. Once you get into a certain topic, and really like it, there is the option to research more by yourself.
Can you share your screen with me now so you can show me what the CareerFoundry platform looks like?
Tell us about the CareerFoundry dashboard.
This dashboard is where I working from every day. It has the courses available – Web Developer, UX Designer, UI Designer, and iOS Developer. Let's choose the Web Developer. This is your course plan down here, which you gives you an extensive overview of what you learn throughout the course. Overall you end up completing six achievements to build your portfolio. Here are the links to each lesson. So if I was to go on to HTML and CSS basics, this is pretty much what you're studying from every day.
As you progress through the course, it obviously gets a bit harder, but everything is laid out so you can navigate to different points of the lesson. When you come to the end of each lesson, you submit your progress to your mentor or tutor. You end up getting really familiar with GitHub and Heroku. Another great thing is at the end of each lesson you can see other students’ work as well. If you get stuck on code, you can always go over another student's code on GitHub and see where you're going wrong or how they've written it.
How do you check on your progress to see how far you are through the course?
The dashboard shows you your progress. During the course, it gives you achievements, it gives you the time spent on the course, and your percentage of completion of the course. Obviously, I finished in July, so I'm at 100%. If you click on an exercise or lesson, it will tell you how many lessons you've completed in the last seven days. Then it advises you on how many lessons to complete per week to finish the course on time. That was brilliant because it let me know how much I had to buckle down to finish.
Where do you actually build your projects that you're working on?
You use Sublime text for writing your code and you use Bit Balloon at first. We ended up using Heroku once we started the Rails project for production, but mostly it's on those two platforms.
What's your favorite project or exercise you worked on at CareerFoundry?
I see in the bottom right-hand corner of the dashboard that it says career progress. I was wondering how that career coaching is integrated into the learning platform?
Unfortunately, this bit was changed in my last lesson of study. They added in job readiness calls, but I didn't get to use it. I wish I did because it does look really helpful, especially if it's helping you be prepared for the job that you're aiming for.
How would you say your experience working in CareerFoundry was different from working through other online coding courses like Codecademy?
For me, what attracted me in the beginning and has helped me most was the fact that you had a tutor. To have the option to contact somebody who knows what you're working on and obviously can approve or reevaluate your code, is really helpful. In other courses, you don't get that sort of option, and you end up having to Google everything, especially if you're watching videos, you only have what you see in that one video. At CareerFoundry you have the option to ask somebody, someone who has the outline and knows what you should be getting from your code. That’s the most helpful thing that CareerFoundry does.
What would you say has been the biggest challenge you've had at CareerFoundry?
I jumped into it without too much experience. And it is challenging to get through the course, learn, and come away and understand everything. It does tell you during the course to research by yourself and it provides you great links for extra study. It can get very difficult, but again having a tutor on hand, they always help push you in the right direction. So even though it can get very tough, there's always somebody to dig you out of a hole.
And is there a place in the CareerFoundry platform where you can give feedback about the program?
Yes. After every lesson it always gives you a list of questions and you can give feedback at the bottom of each lesson as well. You can give a star rating on how easy you thought the lesson was. A question I thought was quite cool was, “if you were asked to perform this task in a job how confident would you feel?” They take your needs into consideration, and they can reformat their lessons by judging how the students rate it.
Is there anything else that you want to show me on this platform?
You can go directly to the Slack channel from the website, which is really handy when you need help. I feel like everything is so simple with the layout and the course in general.
What was your original goal when you decided you wanted to learn to code at a bootcamp? Are you looking get a job as a junior developer or start a business or what's your plan?
I originally wanted to do freelancing, but after diving right into the CareerFoundry Web Development course, I’ve realized that there's a lot to learn, and I think I should jump into a junior level developer position to continue learning with a team.
And have you started applying for jobs now that you've finished the program?
Was there any further advice that CareerFoundry team gave you for job hunting?
My tutor was my mentor when I finished the course. I had a ton of questions for him, on what he thought was best, how he got into coding, and ended up exchanging numbers. And the tutor’s advice is going to be one of the best pieces of information you’ll get from CareerFoundry. The courses are brilliantly laid out, but your tutor is a professional. So he's got a lot of advice for you, can push you in the right direction, and give you a lot more focus.
Is there a specific industry or type of developer role that you're hoping to find?
That's sounds like a good plan. What advice do you have for other people who are considering changing careers and doing an online coding bootcamp?
There's a wealth of information out there and way more than you expect there to be until you dive in. After the six-month course, I do feel like I'm much more confident now than I ever was. But it's a learning curve every day. It's hard to find a course for you that's going to work with your budget, your time frame, and the area you want to go into. For me, CareerFoundry checked the boxes on my list. It's not easy, but stick at it.
Is there anything else you'd like to add about CareerFoundry or your experience there?
It was a great platform and course to take. I’m thankful for CareerFoundry and for pushing me in the right direction. I'd recommend it to anyone, to be honest.
You’ve probably heard about the field of UI design. Maybe you’ve been wondering why it’s so popular and whether learning UI design could be a way to shift careers into something more challenging, fun and lucrative. Well, I’ve got some good news for you! In this post, I’m going to dig into what UI design actually is, why it’s so popular, and why you should start learning it right now.Continue Reading →
Are you thinking about becoming a web developer, but wondering if it’s the right career choice for you? Then check out this list of five signs you’ll love a career in code from CareerFoundry’s Rosie Allabarton, to see if it matches up to your personality and skill set.Continue Reading →
CareerFoundry and Thinkful offer online mentored courses in Web Development and UX Design. Whether your concern is cost, curriculum or job placement, this deep comparison will help you decide which online coding bootcamp is best for you.Continue Reading →
Learning how to become a UX designer and finding a role in the field is not as clear cut as you might think. Unlike the title ‘Junior Web Developer,’ a job advertisement for a ‘UX designer’ can have a number of interpretations and connotations, with different companies expecting dramatically different things. When you’re thinking about a career in UX design it can be extremely confusing to understand exactly what you’re getting yourself into, since often what companies are advertising for is not actually what they need or want.Continue Reading →
Welcome to the June News Roundup, your monthly news digest full of the most interesting articles and announcements in the bootcamp space. Do you want something considered for the next News Roundup? Submit announcements of new courses, scholarships, or open jobs at your school!Continue Reading →
Coding is fun, but in the summer it can be hard not to wish you were somewhere with sand between your toes. Now surf's up while you ramp up thanks to CareerFoundry's Code & Surf Retreat raffle. Striving to hit that sweet spot between work and play, they're launching a raffle that's great experience professionally and personally.
The winners will have an unforgettable time learning to code at a Santa Cruz beachhouse thanks to CareerFoundry's exceptional online learning platform. Students can learn Web Development and UX Design with experienced mentors at their own pace via Skype and a messaging system. Besides building their portfolio they'll also get the chance to network with like-minded students and build relationships that will drive their future in the industry. Burnout will be almost impossible with activities like surfing, hiking, yoga, BBQs, and more!
The retreat will take place between August 8-15 in Santa Cruz, California at a beach villa provided by Outsite, the only coworking space of its kind in the San Francisco Bay Area. CF will give away their online mentored courses and Code & Surf trip for 3 people through a raffle which ends on June 24th.
For more information check out CareerFoundry's blog post announcing the retreat. Good luck and don't forget to wear sunscreen!
Apple’s newest, beginner-oriented programming language Swift has made developing for the iPhone a possibility for new and experienced developers alike. iOS developers earn over $100,000 on average, so it's a perfect time to learn to program for the iPhone. With the help of one of these iOS bootcamps, you could find yourself developing mobile apps utilizing Objective-C, Cocoa Touch, and Swift.
CareerFoundry combines the flexibility of online learning with the proven guidance of mentors, training students to become employable developers and UX designers in three months. Watch the live webinar to:
- Hear from Martin Ramsin, CTO and founder of CareerFoundry, who will share tips and tricks to breaking into the world of Web Development.
- Find out how to make a career change and the types of jobs available to someone with Web Development skills.
- Learn about the CareerFoundry Web Development program!
Hi everyone, thanks for tuning in to this live Course Report Q&A. My name is Liz Eggleston and I work on Course Report which is a resource for finding the right coding bootcamp that’s right for you. So if you haven’t looked at Course Report yet you can use our directory to find schools that fit your needs; you can check out our blog, we’ve got interviews with students, instructors and founders at bootcamps across the world, some application tips and other resources like that.
Today we are joined by Martin Ramson. Martin is the CTO and cofounder of Career Foundry which is a really cool online mentored bootcamp based in Berlin. Martin is going to answer all our questions about changing careers which he did himself, resources you can use to really understand if you want to take that leap into web development, and he’s going to give advice to students who are thinking of taking a Career Foundry course.
I want to remind everyone that this is going to be a Q&A style webinar so please use the questions tab on the right side of your screen to send in any questions you have or you can also tweet @coursereport.
One other reminder is that we’re going to have a great exclusive scholarship for everyone who’s tuning in, so you can use code coursereport in the referral section of your Career Foundry application and you’ll get 10% of your first course, which is awesome. I’m also happy to answer any questions you have about discounts, scholarships and anything like that after the webinar.
Thanks so much for joining us today, Martin.
Thank you for hosting me.
Do you want to just introduce yourself then we can get into some of these questions.
I’m Martin, I’m one of the founders of Career Foundry. I come from Sweden originally and moved down to Berlin, Germany about 10 years ago. Berlin has become a huge startup scene here in Europe and quite interesting to see what’s going on here.
My background is as a product manager; I was a product manager for about 10 years then I changed my career to web developer and through that process started Career Foundry.
So you started as a product manager, transitioned into a web developer. Why did you decide to make that transition?
I’d thought about it for a very long time. Actually, I didn’t think about web development, I thought about creating a startup. I had a lot of ideas for startups that I wanted to do, and I was constantly talking about them with everybody that I knew but it never came to anything.
I just realized I had to learn coding on my own to get that going and to do something about that – so I did. I quit my job and I learned web development.
How did you learn? How did you go down that journey?
I used free tutorials so I started with Codecademy, which is cool because it’s free. I definitely recommend that for anybody who is interested because there you can find out if that is for you, if that’s something that you like doing or not. I used that and other tutorials.
I had a developer friend who helped me a little bit, kind of mentoring me, that’s how I learned. I also built a project and that project kept me going every day because I was so into it.
Did you ever get to use the skills that you were learning in web development in product management and did you find that that was helpful or did that never really overlap?
I quit being a product manager to become a web developer so it wasn’t really an overlap like that; although today I have a product – Career Foundry – so doing both. For me the biggest difference is that I can create things now in Career Foundry and that’s just awesome.
What are some of the differences that you’ve found between working at a large company and working at a startup and even more than that, what would you suggest for a new developer who’s just looking for their first job? Do you suggest that they work at an established enterprise company or a startup?
I would always advise to work at startups because it’s just so much more fun. I’ve been working for big companies for a couple of years and they pay well but that’s about it. There are a lot of drawbacks of working at a big company, including things like doing stuff for over a year and then that project just gets canned or something like that. When you’re in a startup, everything that you do matters and every person on the team matters lots more than in a big company and that makes a really big difference. Also the culture, you value each other much more than in a big company I think.
You were saying that when you decided to take the leap and learn to code and become a web developer, that you were pretty self-taught, but you also mentioned having a mentor. How did you find that mentor and what sort of role did they play in helping you learn those skills?
What was difficult for me was that although there are good free tutorials out there, what they teach is really the coding aspect but being a web developer is so much more than just that; I felt that was always missing. And having someone to talk to, learning processes and best practice and understanding what is code quality and what tools do I use; all those practical things on being a web developer is often missing. So that’s what I was looking for in help from a friend, and I was lucky to have a friend.
Through that experience I created Career Foundry which is matching people like me who want to learn to become a web developer with mentors.
That’s one of the big upsides to Career Foundry, is that you get matched with this mentor who helps you get through and that’s all online. How do you make sure that that mentor relationship is strong and that you’re really able to communicate with that mentor online as opposed to someone you’re friends with and can meet up with?
First of all, we pair the mentors with students as close as possible to their location so that they’re in the same time zone. If they share a common experience of a city it could be something to talk about and if you want to get into the scene of being a web developer, it’s good to know what meetups to go to and so on. So we try to do that local pairing is possible.
Communication online; what we are doing is we have a set of exercises that students work on, so we have 16 total and each of those is one day of work, so 2 – 3 hours of work and applying your new knowledge to your project. Then you submit that piece to your mentor to get reviewed on your code quality and things like that.
Every day you get feedback from your mentor on your project and your code and then every week we have Skype calls or Hangouts with your mentor. That’s really where the bond is created, which is very important. If you want to learn something from somebody, you really need to talk to that person. And actually, it works very well with Skype or Hangouts. Through these three months of the course, it creates a personal bond between students and mentors and that’s really awesome.
This may be hard to pinpoint but how long would you say it took you to confidently say that you were a web developer as opposed to a product manager?
My story was, I started in April with the free tutorials and then I built a project on my own in Ruby on Rails, which was a social network that I tried to make my friends use but they never did in the end – but it was a great learning experience. That took me in total three months of building every day. I ended that in June then in August I started building the Career Foundry platform that it is today. So I would say in August I felt confident enough to actually create a product from scratch.
Wow. Was Career Foundry your first professional experience as a developer?
Yeah, it was.
Did you do freelance work or anything like that before?
No, I did not. I did have some experience with coding back in school so I did learn a bit of Java back them. So I had had a little bit of practice before but that was over 10 years ago and completely different. But this was first real project.
Can you tell us about one of the challenges that you faced whether on your journey to becoming a developer or even in creating those first iterations of Career Foundry and how you overcame that?
The challenge in the beginning is that you follow a tutorial which lays out how you can do things, and you implement them and it works. Sometimes it doesn’t work and you get totally frustrated but you realize after a while how to do it.
But then you’re not really sure if you learned the core programming or if you just learned how to do exactly that tutorial. That in the beginning is a little bit scary. You just basically have to do another. You have to do another project and another project. Then when you’ve done a few, you realize you can do this. So it’s about practice in the beginning.
There are a lot of challenges to learning coding and that’s why a structured program might help because you have everything in one place, you have access to mentors and other students that you can ask. It speeds up the time to become a developer I think, by probably double the speed that you can go on your own.
Also, the quality of your work is better because if you’re on your own, you don’t really know. It’s hard to create quality code because nobody challenges you to do so. You do the minimum that actually works but it’s completely not readable by anybody else. That is the challenge.
I think that there’s a great post on the Career Foundry blog about this. Even before somebody looks into an educational platform that’s a little more structured like Career Foundry, what can they do to try out web development and know if it’s right for them? Can you tell us a couple of good resources that may be free?
And then I would build a website. Build something that you want to build. Try for a while; see if this is something that you like. If you like programming or web development. It’s not for everybody for sure and for some people it’s very frustrating. Just the way we are different in the way we’re thinking; if we’re logical thinkers or not. That’s why I urge everybody to try it first and see if you really like doing it.
Have you found that there is a specific type of person who is cut out for programming? Do you have to have math and science background?
Oh, no. In our team in Career Foundry, we have a mix of people who have backgrounds like a wine specialist, for example. So no, they come from all kinds of backgrounds. It doesn’t really matter. I think you need to be a logical thinker and a problem solver but to find out, there is just one way - try it.
So Martin, one of the first things that I noticed students do in the Career Foundry web development course is to create a personal portfolio site, and I thought that was really cool. Why is that so important? Why did you decide that that’s the first project that people need to focus on?
We do have two different projects throughout the course; the first is the portfolio site. Then when students get to Ruby on Rails, they’re building an eCommerce website.
The next project that you’re going to start on, the eCommerce website will be basically your first piece of your portfolio that you just built. It is very important because when you do look for jobs later on, if it is freelancing or if you’re looking for a full time job, what people are going to look at are your existing projects. They’re not going to look at certificates or anything like that; they’re going to look at what you have done, what you can do.
That portfolio is really showcasing your knowledge so it needs to be good. That’s why we’re focusing on building that.
For a web developer role or a freelancing role, would they submit a traditional resume anymore?
It’s usually a resume containing links to things like GitHub, Stack Overflow, places like that. Those online resources are really showing what you can do and your GitHub account.
What makes a really good portfolio site? Are there ones that you’ve seen that have been submitted on Career Foundry or in general that are really effective?
They all make it very personal and make it specific, would be my advice. If you are generic about yourself like, ‘I like HTML’ then it’s not going to look so good. You need to say what you are after. Who are you, what are you going to do, what do you love doing?
Because especially startups want to hire people who are really passionate about things.
We have a few technical questions about technologies that are used in the curriculum and we’ll just do a lightning round. You see questions like these all the time so we’re just going to go through a few of these.
Tell us what is Ruby and what is Rails?
Ruby is the programming language and Rails is a framework. A framework is a fancy name for a lot of code that has been written already for you that does common tasks so that you don’t have to do them yourself. That’s the difference. And they’re bundled together often so you use both of the, that’s why it’s called Ruby on Rails. It’s basically both; programming in Ruby but using the Rails framework.
Can you be just a Ruby developer or just a Rails developer or does it have to be Ruby on Rails together?
You can be just a Ruby developer because Ruby the programming language is also used in other places. There are very specific uses of it. It was invented in Japan first and used in very specific back end system operational things that I have no clue about.
But most people use it together with Rails. The advantage of Ruby on Rails and why a lot of startups are using Ruby on Rails is that it’s very quick to create things; and if you’re a startup, you need to be fast. So the development is very quick. Why we are teaching it is also because it’s a comparatively easy language to learn and you get a lot of things for free, which in other languages take much more time to learn.
The thing is, if you have learned one language and one way of creating applications, learning the next one is not that difficult. But starting with something like Node.js is a challenge. I think it’s too big of a challenge at once.
What is the very first thing you learn to do in a Career Foundry web development course? What are the first basics?
The very first is installing all the tools that you need and they’re all part of the course. There are tools that web developers are using every day, so we only teach things that developers are using. So it’s about those tools.
Then you’re going to create your first website for the first exercise and also put that live on a hosting service – so you’re going to have a live website after the first exercise.
So you do that portfolio project and you were also talking about an eCommerce site. Can you tell us about that project?
The Career Foundry course is built on Ruby on Rails. For example, having users that sign up for your service, you can have products that you’re selling and you can have for example, credit card payments and you can have a database of things. So you’re going to build an eCommerce website where you’re going to sell something.
If you have an idea for something you want to sell then you should go for it through the course. You will implement things like reviews of your products and also included is how to do automatic testing and code reviews and all those things that you need to know as a programmer. Then you will launch it on Oroco which is the hosting service where Career Foundry is also hosted, so we’re basically teaching everything that we use ourselves.
Would you say that once a student has completed that kind of project and that’s on their portfolio, is that enough to present to a potential employer if their goal is to get a job or start freelancing or do you suggest they do another project on their own?
Getting a job as a web developer, you have the problem of most employers wanting experience so we do advise our students to do more projects, either with other students – we have an alumni community where people are building stuff together – or taking freelance jobs.
There are small, tiny projects and there are huge projects. You can be building a website for a restaurant on your block if you want to. That’s quite a small project but still, it’s a real project that you can put on your portfolio website. Then you can take it up a notch for every time until you are confident in what you can do, so freelancing is also a good way.
Doing a group project has the added benefit of learning the group tools and learning how to work in a group as well, so that’s also recommended.
So Career Foundry is online and you can do it part-time so a lot of your students might be working simultaneously at their current job and also doing Career Foundry. Do you have advice to those students for balancing their time? Is it possible to do both?
Yeah, for sure. We do have loads of students who do that. It is tough for sure because there is a lot to learn; but you need to create a structure in your life that allows for an hour every day at least, of work. Or if you set aside more time during the weekends or have certain days that you put down more time, but having structure definitely helps. Having a habit like you do it every day. You try to have something that you work on every day, that helps.
I would imagine that there would be a lot of employers who would pay for their employees to go through Career Foundry because it’s a great resource to upscale and get new skills for their current job. Have you had experience with that and do you advice to convince an employer to pay for a career Foundry course?
We do have quite a number of students that their employer paid. It’s not a big price to pay for the company so it’s not too difficult to convince them. What you can say is that since this is a very flexible program, you can do it, it doesn’t have to be during work hours. So you can do it on the weekend, evenings; it doesn’t affect your performance at work.
Lauren has a question for us: What is the best way for online learners to develop a community as opposed to an in person program? Does Career Foundry do things to make sure people are meeting offline or do you have advice for people who may be looking for that kind of community?
We have a student community that is online, on Slack, if you know the program. It’s pretty cool. It’s a very giving community; people are constantly posting their work there and getting peer feedback. We also have groups in certain cities where people are meeting up but that’s nothing that we organized from our side, it just kind of happened. If you want to meet locally I would go to Meetup. There’s a lot of things on Meetup.
You had mentioned doing some group work once you’re done with the Career Foundry course. Do you suggest any particular hackathons or things like that? I think I remember students from Career Foundry stating something like Career Foundry having organized an offline hackathon or meetup.
We do hackathons maybe once per month. That’s a fun way to get experience and meet people.
Well Martin, that’s a ton of great information about Career Foundry and about your story. Is there anything that we did not cover that you want to add about your journey to becoming a web developer, starting Career Foundry or the course itself?
I don’t think so. My advice is generally just trying it. If you like it you can become a web developer and you can be creative online. That’s a huge difference for me at least. I feel that I’m not just a consumer online but I’m a producer online; I can create things that other people are using. So I would try it, build something, get out there and don’t be afraid of making mistakes because everybody does in the beginning.
Amazing. That’s all wonderful advice and really specific takeaways as well, we really appreciate it. Thanks so much everyone for joining us on this webinar and for asking questions. Martin, we can’t thank you enough for being here.
Martin has a couple of really cool blog posts on the Career Foundry blog which I will send out after this webinar. Remember that you can try the first lesson on Career Foundry for free. I did it yesterday and it’s really cool. If you have any additional questions for Martin about Career Foundry, I’ll send out contact information after this. And if you have other questions about Course Report, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’ll send out the recording of this webinar and some information about that 10% off code for Career Foundry that I talked about earlier, so check your inboxes for that. You can share it with any of your friends who may have missed this webinar.
And of course, visit CourseReport.com and sign up for our email list. You’ll get all of our future updates on webinars and interviews. You can tweet us and tell us which school or topic you’d like to see at the next webinar.
Thanks so much for joining us and have a really good day!
Marlon Doomen was a visual designer who wanted to expand her skillset and add UX Design to her toolbox. So she enrolled in the online, mentored UX Design course at CareerFoundry. Marlon tells us about her experience communicating with her mentor, balancing a full-time job with the course, and what she's been able to accomplish after graduating!
What were you up to before you started at Career Foundry?
I have been working as a visual designer at info.nl, a dutch full service internet agency in Amsterdam for over 2 years now. We have a UX team where I’m responsible for the design, visuals, online branding & visual concept.
Did you quit your job or were you employed while you studied at Career Foundry?
I continued working as a visual designer for 36 hours a week and studied after dinner, on the weekends and some days off.
Did you have a technical background before you applied?
I already used some of the tools used in UX design because of my job. You don’t need any technical background to get accepted. I think most of the content of the program is very clear and does’t require a specific experience to understand the assignments.
What were your motivations for doing an online bootcamp?
I wanted to get more out of my current job. And secondly I wanted to become a more allround webdesigner. I’m always looking for new skills to learn and UX design is a very important and exciting work field.
Why did you decide to do an online program instead of an in-person bootcamp?
I wanted to do a program or course next to my day job. in-person would have added travel time as well. I talked with the team at Career Foundry and was convinced this was a good program for me. I appreciated having the perks of an actual mentor but could work online.
What was the application like for you? Were there any requirements to be accepted?
There are no requirements to be accepted. You can start any time with or without experience. I think that I had an advantage of already working in the tech field, but it is not necessary.
Did you work with a mentor? Who was your mentor and how did you communicate?
Yes, I was mentored by Danielle. We communicated via the Career Foundry platform and through Skype. We had a 3 hour time zone difference because she was working in a different country for a new project, but we never experienced any issues.
Did you interact with other students at Career Foundry?
No, not when I was studying. I visited a meetup in Berlin and Amsterdam organised by Career Foundry. But there is a Slack channel now! You can now share your work and get feedback from other students and talk with them about everything related to UX or the course. That’s very nice!
How personalized/customized did you feel the program was to your needs? Was there anything that you wanted to learn outside of the curriculum?
It was exactly what I needed and expected. I changed to a different assignment than the given one and that was not a problem. I would love to learn some basic HTML & CSS. Because I think that makes you a better designer if you understand it partially.
What technologies did you learn in your course? Were you able to learn it all in the short time you were in your program?
I learned how to write a proposal, make user personas, make an information architecture, make paper prototypes, design wireframes using Uxpin & Sketch3, do user testing with invision app & verify, make a visual design style guide & ui kit and learned some basics about Google Analytics. Writing is my weak spot so the proposal and the report in the end took me some more time.
How many hours per week did you spend on Career Foundry?
I think I spent an average of 16-18 hours a week for 3 months. It was very hard for me because I already work 36 hours a week. After having this experience, I would recommend taking the 6-month plan if you have a (part-time) job. 10 hours a week is very do-able!
How well did your program prepare you for the post-bootcamp world?
I already started a project working as the UX Designer; I not only do the visual design, but also the UX work, and that's after 1 week of finishing the course. Career Foundry gave me the courage to do that.
Was Career Foundry worth the money? Would you recommend it to a friend?
Definitely! Having a mentor that you can actually talk to really made a big difference for me!
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Julia Himmel was working in the wine industry in New York City before she switched to graphic design and then eventually web design. After attending Dev Bootcamp, she looked for a front-end position in Berlin and was drawn to the opportunity to enhance education at CareerFoundry. Julia talked to us about the front-end curriculum at CareerFoundry, her recent opportunities as a mentor, and the unique aspects of online, mentored learning.
What is your role at CareerFoundry?
I am a Front End Developer at CareerFoundry; over the past few months I’ve been working closely with Sue Li to develop the front-end course curriculum. I’m also helping her and Sean, our Head of Engineering, to develop the current back-end course.
Tell me about your background and your experience with programming or education.
Actually, I am somewhat new to education and programming. I worked in the wine industry in New York for five years, made the switch to graphic design and worked for a design firm that focused on print. I realized I was more interested in web. Web gave me more flexibility to work on projects that I was interested in and it made me more versatile and useful in general. A year ago now I actually went to an in-person bootcamp, Dev Bootcamp, to make that switch.
When you decided that you wanted to switch careers to graphic design, did you have experience in that field?
I didn’t have a design background but I had majored in art history and had taken some studio art classes. I was virtually self-taught, aside from a class I took in InDesign and a couple of continuing education classes at the School of Visual Arts.
A friend from college was starting a company so I helped them launch by doing their branding, logo, and collateral. That was my first project that wasn’t for myself or for a class and that helped me build enough of a portfolio to get employed.
When you decided to do Dev Bootcamp, had you tried any of the online classes before like Codecademy or Treehouse?
I did a little bit of Codecademy and I had to edit a bit of HTML for a previous job in a Wordpress site. But really not much at all.
What was your impression of Dev Bootcamp?
I adored it; it was fantastic, but it was very intensive and very thorough. It was 9 weeks full-time and on-site; I averaged 70 hours a week and there are people who did more.
Students are onsite, and lock their phones away during the day to learn; it was a fantastic experience. I learned not only about programming but also about how people learn and how best to structure the material. I’ve been a beginner myself relatively recently, and have worked alongside other beginners. More experienced developers might not remember that a beginner doesn’t know the basics - I’m kind of closer to that.
How did you get introduced to CareerFoundry?
I was looking for jobs in Berlin, and just Googled "developer jobs in Berlin."
I applied to several front-end positions and I actually got to the later rounds of interviewing at another company but I felt a great connection with CareerFoundry. I am interested in education and in how people learn and how one builds that conceptual scaffolding that allows them to take in new information about a subject and actually make it useful.
In addition to working as a Front-End Developer for CareerFoundry, you’re also helping to rework the curriculum. What have you accomplished since you started?
In the first iterations of the curriculum, some developers sat down and wrote the course based on the process for building a simple website or simple Ruby app.
We realized there were a lot of gaps and topics that were unclear. Like I said, when you have developers with a lot of experience, they may have no idea that what they’re writing is unclear to a complete novice. We started by defining the skills that we needed the students to have when they finished and designed project-based lessons around those skills.
What are those skills?
We want students to first understand basics like variables, functions, methods, objects, data types, and data structures. Then they can understand higher-level concepts and not just graduate with the ability to cut and paste pieces of code and hope they work. That kind of conceptual structure is important to them when they go on to learn on their own.
The average CareerFoundry student finishes in maybe three months so it’s not that much time. They’re going to need a bedrock to allow them to easily take in new information and put it into a conceptual framework.
What is the difference between the Paced, Full-Time, and Part-Time options at CareerFoundry?
All three options consist of the the same content at different paces. If you choose to go slower, you have more spread-out Skype calls with a mentor. For the full-time course, you have a mentor call twice a week.
I would recommend the paced or the full-time options simply because the lessons flow so easily into one another. If you build a simple HTML page and then wait two weeks, you’re more likely to forget that information.
Do you ever get to mentor students?
I’m actually doing that now. I’m mentoring a coworker in our office who is taking the course.
What is the feedback loop and support system like for your mentors?
We definitely encourage feedback from mentors about the curriculum. We have a dedicated team member who works closely with mentors and addresses any of their concerns. As part of the latest revamp of the course we’re also working on more detailed materials for the mentors like rubrics that they can use to evaluate student work, guidelines for what should be covered in Skype calls, etc.
We do have a mentor handbook and we’re working on making it a lot more detailed and creating more consistency across mentor experiences for the students.
Tell us about some of the projects students complete during the front-end course and how you design those projects?
For the front-end course the students build a portfolio website. It ends up being a single-page scrolling website and students can add various effects to make it cooler, etc.
In the Rails course, students work on three projects. During the intro to Ruby as a programming language, they make a small Ruby program. The major portfolio piece is an e-commerce site that is going to have a blog or review component – we haven’t decided.
Would you say that the course at CareerFoundry is comprehensive enough to get a graduate a job?
This current iteration, in particular, is looking really good. Graduates will certainly be prepared to freelance and build websites easily.
What is the career support like at CareerFoundry?
Raffaela Rein and Martin Ramsin, the two cofounders, are available for calls regarding career advice. Mentors are required to have a minimum of 5 years professional experience in their field, so they're a great resource for career advice and industry knowledge as well.
Since you’ve had experience with in-person bootcamps (Dev Bootcamp) and online programs (Codecademy), how is CareerFoundry different from those types of learning?
One reason I actually wanted to work at CareerFoundry was that the challenges we face as an online bootcamp are really different from the challenges at an in-person bootcamp, and resolving those challenges is very rewarding.
The big difference is engagement and motivation. At CareerFoundry, we cannot make people come in for 9 to 15 weeks and lock their phone in a locker while they learn. We also don’t want to charge them thousands of dollars.
So keeping people engaged and making sure they are thoroughly learning the material is a challenge. We want to be responsible and accountable to our students and make sure that they’re graduating with the skills they need. That’s a different challenge when you’re teaching online.
At a self-guided online program, these engagement issues are amplified times a thousand. My husband is trying to go through Treehouse right now, for example, and when he doesn’t understand a topic, there aren’t real people to ask. When he’s discouraged, there isn’t someone there motivating him.
At Dev Bootcamp, students have already invested so much and are there all the time. Their rate of attrition is virtually none. The biggest problem that in-person bootcamps face is accessibility. Of course, it would be great if everyone could devote months of full-time, in-person attention to programming, but it’s something that should be accessible to people who don’t have that time or the $12,000 to spend on learning. Resolving that problem is a cool opportunity.
Introducing Sue Li, Instructional and Curriculum Designer at CareerFoundry. Sue’s extensive background in K-12 education and project-based learning made her the perfect fit for the Berlin-based educational platform where she works on the design of the curriculum for CareerFoundry’s online courses in Web Development and UX Design. We talk to Sue about CareerFoundry's commitment to keeping students motivated throughout their courses, strengthening the feedback loop between students and mentors, and what it takes to achieve strong outcomes with CareerFoundry.
Tell us about your background and your experience in the education space.
My journey in education started with Teach for America, where I was a journalism teacher and taught project-based, digital production with my students; we took photos, created layouts, and produced the annual yearbook. I think that inspired me moving forward to continue with technology and education. It’s important for people to have these skills at a young age and have exposure to technology.
After Teach for America, I taught in China in a high school, also doing project-based learning with digital photography. After that I came to Berlin and got really interested in entrepreneurship, where I learned more about technology and the startup scene.
During my time in graduate school working towards my Masters in Education, I interned in the digital department of WGBH, a public broadcasting station, that produces PBS Kids, an interactive website for kids. We produced games, animations, and projects for kids and their parents to learn together. That’s how I got exposed to this space and this world of “informal learning.”
After graduating, I worked at the KIPP Foundation, a nonprofit management organization for the KIPP schools in the United States, designing online materials for trainings and webinars for the KIPP community. This really opened up the doors for the potential of online learning.
Because of your background, will CareerFoundry start to get involved with K–12 coding education as well?
We’ve recently launched a new initiative with Teacher Tube to actually bring coding to teachers to strengthen their own technical skills so that they can teach coding or some type of media or digital literacy to their students.
What is your position at CareerFoundry?
I’m an Instructional and Curriculum Designer. As an instructional designer, I think about the overall learning experience, the user experience design from the student perspective, and the actual learning platforms. In my role as a curriculum designer, I analyze and improve the lesson content, identify gaps in skill or knowledge, and help define standards for proficiency.
How do you improve the User Experience for CareerFoundry?
For example, at our last meeting we talked about what we want students to do and feel when they come to our dashboard. We’re trying to implement more project-based learning and making the connection between the individual exercises to the overall project a lot stronger. We’re designing ways to encourage students to come back and work on the projects. Another focus is our connection to the mentors so students always feel supported and designing a learning community.
What was particularly convincing to you about CareerFoundry and the bootcamp model?
At CareerFoundry, we have students from all over the world, from the U.S. and from Europe and that’s what I think is really cool about it. You can have learning communities in different places and everyone can connect. As long as you have internet access, you have all these resources.
We’re seeing that for students who attend universities that have begun using open education resources, the value of their education is not just in the content (which is now free) but in the active collaboration and with their peers and mentors. Universities such as the Stanford Medical School are experimenting with a flipped classroom model where students review their lesson content at home and come into class to work with one another.
I think the cool thing with technology is that you don’t need a classroom that’s in four walls anymore; education is everywhere. It’s one of these skills that can be employed anywhere. The barriers are coming down. The high-schooler that learns to code could have the same job as a 30-year old.
How is the curriculum for the Web Design and Web Development courses designed at CareerFoundry?
Something I’ve been working on to improve the learning experience is making sure that we backward-design the courses, starting with the outcomes we want students to achieve. We want to make sure there’s a strong scaffold for students as they go through the course so that the learning goes from just the exchange of information to actual creation.
As one piece of the backward-design process, we look at actual interview questions for Junior Front-End Developers and make sure that we’re hitting all of those points so we prepare students for interviews after they graduate. Because the whole purpose of the course is for them to build portfolio pieces that make them job ready.
How often does CareerFoundry change the curriculum?
All the time. If we find a great resource or a piece missing, we’ll put that immediately into the course. We try to update it as often as possible.
We’ve also formally revamped the whole course several times since we launched. I work with our back-end developer and front-end developer to do this. It’s a team effort. I collaborate with subject matter experts (SMEs) to define the learning goals and and work with developers to make sure that the content and the pieces fall into the right places.
Do CareerFoundry courses prepare students to get jobs afterwards?
Our platform is outcome-based. The skills you are learning are skills that any junior full-stack developer learns. We teach the modern plugins, Bootstrap, Ruby on Rails including some common gems. What we teach is not only the programming language but the framework for how the browser and the tools work.
Another thing that we’re trying to emphasize a lot is troubleshooting skills. Programmers spend a lot of time debugging so we’re trying to build that into the curriculum so students become more self-sufficient and able to solve more problems on their own.
How many hours per week should a student spend on CareerFoundry?
People do come in the course with different goals and different time commitments. If someone is coming in with the expectation that they’ll spend a couple hours a week on CareerFoundry, their outcomes are going to be different than someone who’s able to come in and dedicate themselves for 20 - 30 hours, which we recommend. It’s not possible for everyone but we recommend a time frame: 3-6 months for about 20-30 hours. What you get out of the course depends on what you put into it.
Can somebody learn things that are not in the curriculum with their mentor?
Absolutely. Actually, that’s something that we encourage. We have a lot of resources; links to other sites and blogs in our course. That’s because we believe that this is part of the practice of being a web developer. When you’re a web developer, you’re going to Google bugs you don’t understand; you’re going to look on Github.
Part of being a web developer also includes involvement in the development community and being able to look at outside resources and even contribute to them. The value we add is not just the platform but also the mentors. We have a structure that we try to guide the students through but there are other great resources out there and we encourage students to look at them.
How do you evaluate your graduates?
As a best practice in project-based learning, we use rubrics to evaluate students’ portfolio projects and have broken down rubrics to address each task within the larger project. Our rubric assessments are composed of formative and summative evaluation.
Formative evaluation is designed to help students and mentors review and revise their work. We have these rubrics for each exercise to help guide the student through the whole unit. At the end of every unit there’s an Achievement, which is like a badge they can unlock if they demonstrate proficiency on the larger project component. The summative evaluation is the final project itself.
The three levels on the rubric are In Progress, Proficient, and Professional. In Progress means the student has attempted the exercise but might be missing some knowledge or skills. Proficiency means they got the learning goals of the lesson. The professional level means that they understand the skills, the concepts of that lesson, plus they’ve put time and effort and thought about style, design, best practices, content, typos, etc.
That type of understanding of where you are in your progress may help differentiate the student that wants to do freelance and the student that graduates and wants a full-time job. We try to differentiate for all those different types of learners and their course and professional goals. We’re still in the process of refining these rubrics and how to incorporate these into the user experience.
I don’t think you should get a grade because this isn’t like traditional school. That’s something that I have grappled with - do we give points or grades? If you’re doing a formative evaluation throughout the program, there shouldn’t be any surprises when you get to the end.
What challenges have you noticed about working in the online education space (as opposed to in-person)?
I think it’s really difficult to get feedback sometimes from mentors and from our students because they’re physically far away in different time zones. We have a great mentor advisor here, Blake; he’s great at working with the mentors from different countries, and Annie, our student advisor works directly giving support and advice to students as and when they need it.
We read all the emails from students and all the comments, so whenever something comes up we try to improve it or address it immediately. I think that is one challenge; not being able to get immediate feedback as we would like from the students and mentors.
Another challenge with online learning is potentially a lack of motivation. These are difficult skills and students have to commit to it for 3-6 months. It’s different at an in-person bootcamp where you go to a physical space every day. We try to address it as much as possible with our mentors.
How do you keep students motivated throughout an online course?
One way to do that is to support the mentors more and that’s the next step in the process: creating more resources for the mentors, making sure mentors are really clear about what the students need to know in every lesson. I think the more the mentor is supported, the easier it is for them to review student work and identify gaps in their understanding, the better experience it’s going to be for the students. It creates accountability and predictability.
We’re also working on the feedback loops between students and mentors.
It’s great that there is focus on supporting mentors!
Mentors are experts in their fields, but they also need to know how to explain concepts to someone. A lot of times the programming language that mentors learned at first was not HTML, CSS or Ruby on Rails; maybe it was PHP, maybe it was C or Java, so they’re coming into this language already with a lot of programming concepts versus someone that’s coming in and looking at Ruby on Rails for the first time.
So what we’re trying to do is establish some of the core concepts for programming in general; what are methods, objects, variables etc.
Another way to think about it is that knowledge is like a tree. The core concepts or fundamental understanding of a discipline is the "trunk.” The specific, discrete skills, knowledge, and vocabulary are like the "leaves."
Are you doing the web development course yourself right now?
Yeah, I had to learn it as quickly as possible and then try to really reflect on my own learning experience and think of the gaps in what I learned and how I could learn more. I look at a lot of different resources: books, documentation, blogs, Code Academy, Code School, Treehouse and other curricula then put together bits and pieces to try to understand what I should be learning and try to figure out what is it that I need to know to know a subject really well.
Is there anything that you want to add about CareerFoundry?
One thing that I should mention is that CareerFoundry is a great working environment - it’s a team-based structure. I work with an amazing front-end developer, and an amazing back-end developer. There’s a culture here where we work together and collaborate- I think everyone is on the same page and our mission is to improve the product and the student experience.
When Ben Gogge decided to work on his own startup, he knew he would need the technical skills to launch the product. He needed a flexible approach to learning web development, so he decided to try Career Foundry, the online, mentored training program. Ben is in the first weeks of his Career Foundry course, and tells us about his first impressions!
Tell us what you were up to before you decided to start CareerFoundry.
Until very recently, I was working as head of product and marketing for a small startup. We were a team of three people and we had a hard time finding developers for our project.
I had some prior knowledge about programming but I didn’t have a solid background. I knew that it would be valuable to dive into developing, especially learning about how to structure code and that kind of stuff.
Did you quit that job in order to start at CareerFoundry?
I am starting my own startup now and in the transitional phase I’m doing CareerFoundry to ramp up my skills.
Very cool. What’s the new startup?
At the moment, it’s still in customer development but it’s focusing on marketing and analytics data for small companies. In the beginning, I’ll just do that as an agency and then I’ll build out products to assist my own work, clients and other agencies.
Is your motivation for doing CareerFoundry to build the technical side of that startup? Do you expect to be the developer for your new business?
The idea is to build the first prototype on my own. When it gets more complicated, I’ll hire someone with more experience. Whatever kind of course you take, you’ll never be a hardcore developer afterwards; you’ll just be in the beginning stages. But I know that I’ll be able to do lots of things that are needed.
What level were you at before you started CareerFoundry?
I started to learn programming several times. The first time I was about 13 or 14 and bought a book, Java for Dummies. It was on sale so it was about an outdated Java version and it didn’t work, so after a while I just got so frustrated that I stopped.
Then I began again, especially through Codecademy. I really enjoyed the experience, but at the same time, Codecademy is not as much about the production environment and about getting real projects done. You have those projects that only exist in that small sphere of Codecademy.
I found a cool course on Coursera called Startup Engineering about Node.JS specifically. Unfortunately, when I was nearly in the middle, they just stopped publishing content from the syllabus so they ended the course early and there were some parts that were missing. Anyhow, it was a great course and I really liked it.
I started looking into different programs, both bootcamps or online courses. Then I saw that CareerFoundry Black Friday ad.
Did you research other in-person bootcamps? What were the factors you were considering?
I’d been looking into CareerFoundry and I liked the model of having a mentor that you can work with. I really enjoyed my mentoring sessions that I had before. That was really a crucial thing for me for an online course. If I would have done another paid online course, it would have had to have mentorship as well.
It was nice that CareerFoundry is based in Berlin because I am too. They have some kind of visible community in Berlin, which is a nice benefit.
The technology stack isn’t totally what I had been looking for but it’s totally fine. I compared it to the other courses that were built on a similar structure with mentorships. For example, Bloc costs thousands of euros and seemed like too much. I didn’t really look at Thinkful in too much but it seemed to me that it was just not as detailed. In the end, it was just a spontaneous decision.
Was there an application process for you? Were there any requirements to be accepted?
I just registered myself online. I’d been talking to other people who’ve been in contact with CareerFoundry, and it seemed like a good use of money.
Have you met your mentor yet?
My mentor is Benjamin Mateev. He’s an engineer at 6Wunderkinder. We just had our first mentoring session and it was great. We talked about what to focus on during the course. He also gave me some answers on detailed questions about Git that I had never gotten and now I understand that.
It was a nice chat. We’ve been doing it on Skype just through chat messages.
Your mentor is also in Berlin so there are no time issues?
No, absolutely not. CareerFoundry has mentors in every time zone around the world. I had been looking into other courses and the mentoring hours that they were announcing would have been the middle of the night in Germany- that would have been hard!
Did you tell your mentor at CareerFoundry that you are working on a startup? Do you expect that you’ll be working on projects for your startup while you’re learning?
We didn’t talk yet about my future plans of starting a startup. I want to use the skills that I’m learning now to apply them to the basic web page for my startup directly. Then I want to build at least one or two very small products that I can use either for myself or something that I can publish as well during the course and maybe together with my mentor.
There is a timeline syllabus at CareerFoundry that follows a certain structure, so there isn’t room for developing a totally new, fully-fleshed web app. It’s more about rebuilding some system and then building one feature on top that you are building on your own.
Now that you’ve seen the curriculum and know what you’re going to learn, is there anything that you’re particularly excited to learn that you couldn’t figure out on your own?
There are some parts about development which seem to be difficult if you don’t have somebody who’s helping you; especially authentication and authorization stuff and APIs: how to build them, how to make them useful and so on.
That was one part of the decision for me as well. When I saw the syllabus before I purchased the course, I saw at least 4 or 5 topics that I had some trouble with on my own because I didn’t have the opportunity to dive deep into it. This is a great opportunity to have somebody who assists me if there’s any kind of trouble.
We’d love to keep up with you as you progress through CareerFoundry over the next couple of months!
Yeah, absolutely. The first week was a great experience. I could refresh my frontend skills and really start with web development in Ruby. It’s a really good mixture of having external resources suggested alongside their own unique content. It’s been a good mixture so far.
We’re coming to the end of another year, Christmas is around the corner and in the New Year our thoughts will turn once more to new jobs, fresh starts and doing all of those things we’ve been promising ourselves all year. So it’s time to start thinking NOW about what you want to be different NEXT YEAR.Continue Reading →
Welcome to the September News Roundup, your monthly news digest full of the most interesting articles and announcements in the bootcamp space. Want your bootcamp's news to be included in the next News Roundup? Submit announcements of new courses, scholarships, or open jobs at your school!Continue Reading →
How to Kickstart Your Tech Career with Career Foundry
Wednesday, September 24Continue Reading →
Career Foundry combines the flexibility of online learning with the proven guidance of mentors, training students to become employable developers in three months.The Course Report community is eligible for 10% off tuition!Continue Reading →
We learned so much in our Lunch & Learn with Martin and Emil from Career Foundry, including:
As promised, you can watch and share the whole webinar on demand by following this link.Continue Reading →
Spyros Fotiou is a student at CareerFoundry, a three month, online, mentor-driven career accelerator. Spyros tells us what to expect from the CareerFoundry Web Development course and how to be successful in the program!
What were you doing before you decided to go to CareerFoundry?
Directly before I started the course, I was out of work for about 3 months. Before that I was working for a tech company in Berlin but in more of a managerial position. It wasn’t very inspiring; that’s how I would put it.
Were you doing anything technical in that job?
No, but I think that I appreciated the role of the developers in the company. Later, when I began to learn how to code myself, I was able to understand and appreciate their role even more.
Is that what sparked your interest in programming or had you tried to teach yourself before?
I actually started learning electrical and computer engineering at university. So I did take some programming classes. I didn’t really know anything about HTML or Rails but I think that I did have a basic understanding of how programming works. I think I was in a better position than an absolute beginner.
Did you consider doing any in-person boot camps or did you only look at programs online?
Honestly, I just liked the way that Career Foundry offered its course and since I had the time and I found it quite affordable, I thought it was a good fit for me. The fact that they also offered the mentoring played a role. But to be honest, I didn’t spend weeks researching because it wasn’t a major investment of either my time or money. But I think it’s definitely paid off and I’m optimistic for the future.
Did you look at any of the other online mentored programs like Thinkful, Bloc or Skillcrush?
I didn’t because I liked that I was in Berlin and Career Foundry is also in Berlin. I felt that it might also be more helpful for me afterwards because I figured that the company would be connected– I had been working for a startup in Berlin, so I definitely got the idea that it’s a small scene and very interconnected.
Which course did you take at Career Foundry?
The web development course. I still have 4 weeks left. It’s a 3-month course.
Do you have to complete the course in 3 months?
Yeah, because you have access to your mentor for a specific amount of time.
Do you have a part-time job now in addition to it?
Do you think that you could balance a part-time or full-time job with Career Foundry?
I think that a part-time job would definitely be possible. It would just take more drive. You need to be really concentrated and plan your time accordingly. Of course, it you had a full-time job it would be really hard.
How many hours a week do you spend on Career Foundry?
It’s kind of hard to tell because there’s an assignment at the end of each day and I might be finished with a daily assignment in an hour, or it might take longer.
Was there an application process that you had to go through or was it just signing up?
I did talk to one of the two founders. We had a nice talk, a 15-minute chat. I was already pretty convinced that I would do it but it was nice to talk to him. Aside from that, there was no real application process. As soon as my money was in I could start – which was also really good for me because as soon as I decided I wanted to do it, I didn’t want to waste any more time.
Is your intention to get a job after you’re done with Career Foundry or is it to start your own business?
Ideally, I would find a job; this is my intention because as I said, in Berlin there’s a lot of jobs right now in tech, so I’m really hoping that the skills I acquire in the course will help me.
Who is your mentor and did you get to choose them?
No, they were assigned to me and I’ve had two mentors so far; Kai Chan and Edward, and he’s based in Berlin. I’m now starting my third month and I’m not sure if I’m still going to be with Edward or if I will get someone else.
How do you communicate with your mentor? Do you use Google Hangout?
I write to them because I prefer it. I email them, ask questions, send my assignment and then they send their review or help me out. But I have also done Google Hangout a couple of times.
Is your mentor always available or do you have to schedule time? How often do you talk with them?
We communicate daily because the assignments are daily. My mentor might not be available immediately but usually, the reply will come in fast.
You said that you had projects at the end of each day. What kind of projects have you done?
It’s all connected to what you learn each day then you have to kind of reproduce what you learned. When I learned HTML, I had to create a website and now for Ruby on Rails I’m in the process of creating an app.
Does CareerFoundry help you get a job at all? Are they helping you with the interviewing process?
I’m definitely very concentrated on finishing right now so I haven’t really thought about it. But they have connected with me with possible opportunities. They have let me know that there are companies who are interested in the students. So that’s why I said that I was really optimistic that something will come up. Honestly. I really haven’t looked into the job market yet.
Do you think that anybody can do this CareerFoundry program or do you think that you have to have a certain learning style or certain traits that make you successful at CareerFoundry?
I just think that you need to be determined to do it because 3 months might sound like a small amount of time but it’s an everyday thing. But it’s not like saying that if you don’t like math then it’s not for you. Programming is something so special and different that if you have never done it before then it will be something completely new and I cannot say if a person will like it or not. I just think you need to be determined if you’re going to make it work.