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  • Catalyst (Full-Time) Full Stack Development Bootcamp

    Apply
    MySQL, HTML, Git, JavaScript, SQL, jQuery, Mobile, CSS, Express.js, React.js, Algorithms, Android, Node.js, iOS, Front End, Scrum
    OnlineFull Time40 Hours/week12 Weeks
    Start Date
    None scheduled
    Cost
    $9,500
    Class size
    N/A
    Location
    Online
    Financing
    Deposit
    $50 application fee
    Financing
    Financing options are available through Skills Fund.
    Refund / Guarantee
    Job Offer Guarantee
    Getting in
    Minimum Skill Level
    No experience required.
    Prep Work
    Catalyst Prep course, which is included in the application fee.
    Placement Test
    No
    Interview
    Yes
  • Molecular (Part-Time) Full Stack Development Bootcamp

    Apply
    MySQL, HTML, Git, JavaScript, SQL, jQuery, Mobile, CSS, Express.js, React.js, Android, Node.js, iOS, Front End, Scrum
    OnlinePart Time25 Hours/week24 Weeks
    Start Date
    None scheduled
    Cost
    $4,800
    Class size
    N/A
    Location
    Online
    Financing
    Deposit
    $50 application fee
    Financing
    Financing options are available through Skills Fund.
    Tuition Plans
    $425/mo for 12 months. $800 for 6 months.
    Getting in
    Minimum Skill Level
    No experience required.
    Prep Work
    Molecular Prep course, which is included in the application fee.
    Placement Test
    No
    Interview
    Yes

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Our latest on Covalence

  • The Switch to Online Coding Bootcamps at Covalence

    Imogen Crispe5/15/2018

    After running in-person coding bootcamps in Nashville and Birmingham for a few years, Founder Matt Landers wanted to make Covalence more affordable and accessible to students. Enter their new, online-only coding bootcamps, the full-time Catalyst program and the self-paced Atomic program. Matt tells us why it’s important to keep the student:instructor ratio as low as possible, how Covalence classes differ from other online coding bootcamps, and what lessons from in-person teaching he is bringing to the online classroom.

    What’s your role as the CEO of Covalence and how you are involved with the new online program?

    I’m very hands-on when it comes to the program curricula. I work on the business side, but I'm also a developer – I was at Microsoft for 10 years. So if you take a Covalence course, you'll see me in a lot of the videos. We have a team of about eight at Covalence, and we’re all either developers or working in student success.

    Covalence has been teaching immersive in-person classes for a few years in Nashville and Birmingham. Why did you decide to replace those with the Catalyst program?

    One reason is that the overhead of an in-person class required us to charge a high price, and we don't want price to be a barrier to learning to code. The other is that we weren't able to focus on iterating the curriculum as much as we wanted to because we were so focused on the operations of the business itself. After expanding to five different cities, we took a step back and decided to just focus on the curriculum, and launch it online.

    Because we're switching to an online model, we don't have rent to pay, we don't need to have instructors in every city, and students will get the same bootcamp experience where they will meet with a dedicated instructor live via web conferencing every day.

    This model will be more beneficial for us and for students in the long run because we'll be able to impact more people's lives and make learning more affordable for aspiring developers.

    What's the difference between the Catalyst program and the Atomic program?

    The Catalyst program is designed to mimic an in-person bootcamp. You've got a dedicated instructor, and there's a strict timeline with things that we expect students to do on a daily basis. If you want to learn to code in nine weeks, you need an instructor available to help guide you through the initial learning curve of software development.

    The Atomic program is designed for you to study on your own time, at your own pace. If you have a job and you can't dedicate all of your time to coding from 9am to 5pm every day, then the Atomic program will work better for you. It's the exact same content as the Catalyst program, you just don't have a dedicated instructor there to help you move through the content; however, we have a very active and supportive community (including Covalence staff) that will be with you every step of the way while you're progressing through the material.

    What technologies are you teaching in the Catalyst program – the same curriculum that you were teaching in the in-person bootcamp?

    We teach React, NodeJS, MySQL – everything from the back end to the front end. There's no way we can predict which technologies every single job is going to need, so we’re focused on teaching you how to pick up technologies on your own. A lot of our graduates work with languages we don’t teach, like C#/.NET and Java, so we give students the skill set to allow them to pick up those tools, frameworks, and languages really quickly.

    Since we moved Covalence online, we have recorded our curriculum in video lessons. We're also starting to supplement that with additional content. For instance, I'm working on a C# and .NET course, which is what I used at Microsoft. Then we're going to add content for other languages and technologies like Python, machine learning, and AI.

    Our content is always going to be new and fresh depending on what technologies are hot, and what feedback we get about what's working and what's not. In fact, we just redid the first week of Catalyst based on feedback from students.  

    Has your admissions process changed now that your courses are all online?

    For Catalyst, it's fairly similar to when we were teaching in-person classes. Our free pre-work Intro to Web Development ensures that students are on the same page when they start. It covers HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and students need to spend 40 to 80 hours on it to be ready for the Catalyst class. We need to make sure students are prepared for what they are about to get into, which is a nine-week, intense coding bootcamp. Even though it's not in person, Catalyst is an immersive coding bootcamp, so you're going to need to be available all day, every day for those nine weeks. Catalyst is far cheaper than our in-person bootcamp, and most of our competitors, but we don't want students to pay and not be able to complete it.

    One of the most important things we look for in applicants is curiosity about technology and coding. Making money is not enough of a motivator to learn to code, because coding is hard. If you're going to learn it in nine weeks, and do it professionally as a job, you need to be highly motivated, curious and really love it.

    We don't have any requirements for the Atomic program because you can just start and stop at will because it’s a subscription.

    What is the time commitment and schedule for the Catalyst program?

    It's a full-time, nine-week program running from 9am to 5pm CST. Our in-person coding bootcamp was 10 weeks, but that first week has become our pre-work, which you go through before the course. For the first six weeks, the instructor works with the 10 students in your cohort directly. There’s a daily schedule that students must follow, and each day the instructor will be available to help the students through voice chat and live streaming in our community. Students progress through the labs and exercises together and, if needed, can have coding walkthroughs from the instructor – just like we would have done in person. We have a 10:1 student to instructor ratio because when you’re studying online it’s very important to have somebody dedicated to you in an environment where they are not being stretched too thin. For the final three weeks of the course, students work in teams to build final projects using all of the things they’ve learned.

    How often will students interact with other students?

    They interact on a daily basis. Even the students in our Atomic program interact with other students. Our Covalence Community is in our Discord server, which is an instant chat service where people can get together, share their screens, ask questions in the general channel, or talk to somebody one-on-one. Everybody is constantly communicating with other students or alumni. We try to foster a community of developers who want to share with each other and help each other out. And that's truly what it’s like to be a real developer – being part of a community and enjoying seeing other people learn things.

    How do students learn the curriculum? Are there videos or do instructors teach live?

    Students go through the online content together with the instructor. For our last in-person cohort, we switched to our online content as well because we had multiple locations where we were delivering this content, but we couldn't control the quality of the instructor at each location. By recording it, and having our best instructors teach the content, we ensure that the quality of the instruction is always consistent.

    Students watch the content individually, then come together as a cohort with the instructor via a video call on Discord to ask questions and bring the concepts together. That instructor can get you over any hurdles that you would have otherwise had to look up and figure out on your own.

    What is the learning platform like?

    Our learning platform is called Gravity (continuing the science theme).

    Students can watch videos in the portal, and see the layout of the curriculum. As students go through the online platform, they are checking things in GitHub, speaking with instructors, and receiving feedback on their code. Every module has assignments, from drills, right up to a full-scale project. Students submit all their labs and exercises through GitHub and give the instructors access to that so that we can check it. That also helps students build a portfolio on GitHub so people can see their code and what they’ve been building, which is really important when you start to look for your first job.

    Instructors also use the platform to make sure everybody's on the same page. We can take notes, see where each student is at, which videos they have watched, and make sure that we're giving each student all the support they need during their journey. If you’re struggling with something and we see you haven't watched the video, then we'll follow-up to say, "Hey, you missed this video which might help you get through it." If you're in Atomic, we have the option for you to buy one-hour mentoring sessions where we connect with you and help you through whatever hurdles you might be having.

    How is this learning platform different from a free, self-guided resource like Codecademy?

    A lot of the online training you get out there is very guided and hands-on. The way that we designed our curriculum is to get students to actually write code. But it’s not in a little editor with hints on the screen – at Covalence, students have to constantly understand what they are learning. We've designed the curriculum to give students a thorough understanding so they can become professional developers.

    But you absolutely can go and learn for free on the internet. I taught myself using a book! But I didn't do it in nine weeks. Without a team to support you, connect with, and ask questions, it's going to take you a lot longer.

    Plus, there's more to becoming a developer than just learning to code. We cover a lot of problem solving in our labs, and ask you to do things that you never learned. As a developer, it is so critical to learn how to be resourceful and effectively search on Google or Stack Overflow to solve problems. When you get out there in the real world and land that first job, there is nobody there to say, "Hey, here's all the answers.” That is what will make you a self-sufficient developer who has the skills to succeed.

    How will career services work for Catalyst? How will your team help students find jobs in many different cities?

    Our student success team is there to help you build your technical resume, find jobs and prepare you for what to expect after you graduate. We're also working on adding a feature to our portal to allow employers to engage with students. Employers will be able to create accounts and post jobs that only students who have gone through our curriculum will be able to see. A big problem for employers now is that when they post a job on the internet they get inundated with tons of unqualified resumes that they have to sort through, so it can be hard to find a good developer. Our platform will give employers more confidence that they’ll get more qualified applicants.

    Right now, we put the power in the hands of the person going through the course and give them all the tools they need to get a job. We can't have a job waiting for each student; that’s not how it works. Even the schools that guarantee a job have a list of criteria that you must follow in order to get that guarantee at the end. We tell students that they need to be actively engaged in the application process (writing code, building projects, checking in to GitHub, writing a blog, reaching out to employers, and applying to jobs). At the end of the day, getting a job depends on the person who’s going out to get the job. I don't want anyone to be under any assumption that we're going to find you a job.

    When you're networking with employers, is there an emphasis on remote jobs, since these students are learning remotely?

    These days, even working as an in-person developer, you're going to work with remote developers – it's inevitable. There are too many positions that need to be filled. As you go through the Catalyst program, build your project using Agile methodologies and sprint planning, and work alongside other virtual developers, you are really getting set up for success in a remote environment. I’ve talked to employers who say they really need people who can work in virtual environments.

    What are the biggest lessons your team learned while operating the in-person class and how you're bringing those to Catalyst?

    There are a couple of different lessons. One of them is finding the right person for this type of fast-paced learning environment. It's not for everyone. If you think you've had a hard class in college, you have never done anything like this. It is intense. It's all day, every day. People come to us crying like, "I don't think I can do it." Being a coding bootcamp instructor is, at times, almost like being a psychiatrist because students are panicking – they've spent all this money, they’ve quit their job. So we learned to set the expectations upfront of how hard it's going to be, but how worth it will be in the end, and how much you will learn.

    The other thing is making sure we allow students the freedom to figure some things out on their own. As an instructor, it's tempting to just answer all their questions right away. But you're really doing students a disservice because although they are finding the answer to a question, they're not truly learning the material, and don't know why it works. When they go out and research on their own, they learn so many ancillary things by researching that answer.

    I'm excited to take everything we’ve learned and apply it to our online platform in order to have a bigger impact on the developer community. There’s a huge need for development skills, and a lot of people can change their lives and benefit from learning these skills. If we can make this work in this remote environment, we're going to be able to impact so many more people. We're really excited to get in there and change lives.

    What’s your advice for students who are embarking on an online coding bootcamp?

    The main thing we see is that you can't take big breaks. You're learning so much, so fast that if you take a break, you won't allow the content to accumulate on itself and get that deeper understanding. Even if you're just doing an hour a day, that's better than doing 10 hours each weekend. Keeping it fresh, thinking about it all the time is really important, especially in an online scenario.

    As soon as you get to a point where you've learned enough to actually build something of significance, start to work on a project you care about on the side while you're still learning. You’ll always spend more time and more effort building something that you want to build, and little projects like that really solidify the concepts and ideas in your mind. It also means that when you graduate, you're really ready for a developer role and you've done a project or two that you care about.

    Find out more and read Covalence reviews on Course Report. Check out the Covalence website and the free Intro to Web Development.

    About The Author

    https://course_report_production.s3.amazonaws.com/rich/rich_files/rich_files/1586/s300/imogen-crispe-headshot.jpg-logo

    Imogen is a writer and content producer who loves writing about technology and education. Her background is in journalism, writing for newspapers and news websites. She grew up in England, Dubai and New Zealand, and now lives in Brooklyn, NY.

  • October 2017 Coding Bootcamp News + Podcast

    Imogen Crispe12/5/2017

    October 2017 was a busy month for the coding bootcamp industry with news about growing pains in bootcamp outcomes, mergers, acquisitions, investments, a trend towards bootcamp B2B training, and diversity initiatives. To help you out, we’ve collected all the most important news in this blog post and podcast. Plus, we added 12 new schools from around the world to the Course Report school directory! Read below or listen to our latest Coding Bootcamp News Roundup Podcast.

    Continue Reading →
  • August 2017 Coding Bootcamp News + Podcast

    Imogen Crispe12/8/2017

    Why do journalists and industry leaders think that two coding bootcamps are closing? And despite these “shutdowns,” why do companies like IBM still want to hire coding bootcamp graduates? We’re covering all of the industry news from August. Plus, a $3 billion GI Bill that covers coding bootcamps for veterans, why Google and Amazon are partnering with bootcamps, and diversity initiatives. Listen to our podcast or read the full August 2017 News Roundup below.

    Continue Reading →
  • Alumni Spotlight: Hillary Whitworth of Covalence

    Imogen Crispe8/4/2017

    covalence-alumni-spotlight-hillary-whitworth

    When Hillary Whitworth heard that a coding bootcamp, Covalence, was opening in her city of Birmingham, Alabama, she took a semester off from college and took the plunge. Now, two years after graduating from Covalence, Hillary hasn’t regretted her choice! We asked Hillary about her career building websites and mobile apps for local Birmingham businesses, how she continues to keep learning on the job, and why finding her dream job after coding bootcamp meant she didn’t need to get a traditional college degree.

    Q&A

    What were you up to pre-Covalence?

    I've always been good with technology but I didn't really know how to carve a career path out of that. I started taking Computer Information Systems courses in college and stumbled across an Introduction to Programming course. I did really well and noticed that I didn't have to force myself to work on it; I just liked it. So I decided to dive into web development and started teaching myself HTML and CSS in my spare time. But I was still waiting tables and bartending through college.

    When I heard that Covalence was opening in my city, Birmingham, I decided to quit my job and take the plunge. I took a semester off of school, went to Covalence, and got hired as an intern at a bank, BBVA Compass. Because I found the career that I wanted after Covalence, I actually didn’t go back to college! I don't want to tell people not to finish school, but I ended up getting my dream job straight out of the bootcamp, and I saved a lot of money too.

    Were you in the first cohort of students at Covalence?

    Yes, I was, which was a scary thing, because I didn't have past students to talk to or get advice or reviews from. It was risky to take a chance on this company that I hadn't heard of and didn’t have a reputation yet. I almost waited until the second class, but I am so thrilled that I didn't wait. I had a fantastic group of people whom I was able to learn and grow with.

    Matt was my instructor and the quickness of plunging into exactly what I wanted was just amazing. 10 weeks in there and you're hired.

    What was the application and admissions process like at Covalence?

    First, I submitted a general application. They want to understand if you’re a fit, and make sure that you’re actually passionate about tech and web development. If you're not passionate, then you don't need to waste your time. After that, I did an in-person interview.

    Before I was admitted, I completed several hours of pre-work, which I think is a good way to make sure that coding is something you really like before you take a risk and quit your job. We also had to take an assessment where they provide you with a simple design for a one-page website and you have to build it out and submit it. Once you pass those challenges, then you do a final interview.

    Since you started learning to code a few years ago, what’s been your biggest challenge or roadblock?

    I’m not sure if this is the answer you're looking for, but my biggest challenge was just taking the initiative to start. I didn't know which technologies to focus on. That's something tricky about trying to get into programming, web development, or app development – there are so many different ways to do it, and I didn’t know which route to take. There was all this information and I wasn’t sure what I needed to know to be successful. There is so much information out there and it can be intimidating and daunting and overwhelming.

    So just taking the chance and pushing through that noise was the hardest part for me. Once you get started, it all falls into place. Things can seem difficult, but you will figure it out.

    What was the actual learning experience like at Covalence?

    Class started at 9am and we had a lecture until around noon. After lunch we would work on a lab. We were assigned one lab each day, or if they were a little more difficult we would have two days to complete them.

    During the lab, I worked with my fellow students, but we also had the instructor and a TA available when we had questions. They provided instruction to us, showed us how to get started with the material, and we could use them as a resource as we needed them. I thought that was great because it's very much like coding in a job. You're not going to have someone sitting next to you the whole time telling you exactly what to do. You’re more likely to be given a problem that you've never seen before and have to figure it out. Covalence teaches you how to teach yourself, and to think like a programmer.

    Which programming languages did you learn at Covalence?

    The curriculum covers HTML and CSS, JavaScript, Typescript, and Node.js. The cool thing about Covalence is that the employees who created the curriculum actually run a digital marketing agency called Platypi, so they know what technologies are the most relevant and in-demand. The founders of Platypi started Covalence because they were having trouble finding talent in Birmingham, and realized that other companies were having the same issue. So I trusted that they were offering the most relevant technologies that companies were looking for.

    How many people were in your cohort and what kind of diversity and backgrounds were there?

    There were about 15 people in my cohort. The career backgrounds were all over the place. Some people had been to college, started a career, then realized they weren't happy and wanted to change careers. One student had a Master's in finance and was a financial advisor, another had a physics degree, someone had a philosophy degree and taught math, and another person worked at a comic book store. Other people, like me, hadn't started a career at all – I was still in college and waiting tables. It was a wide range.

    We were all different ages. Most people were in their mid-20s, with a couple of students probably in their late 40s. There were three other women in my class – it was mostly guys. We had a few people from outside Birmingham – one guy had come down from Philadelphia to take the course and another guy was from Atlanta.

    What brought us together was that we were all interested in technology, and we knew that there was a demand and a future for tech.

    What was your favorite project that you worked on at Covalence?

    For the final project, we worked as a group and decided what to build. My group of three built a cross-platform budgeting app. That was my favorite because we actually got to put all of our knowledge together and work together as a team to create something, start to finish. Users could log in, input their monthly income, how much they wanted to save, and their expenses, and the app would show users how much to spend each day, week, or month.

    It was really cool seeing it all come together, getting to work with my teammates, and helping each other. As you go through the course, you find out what you're good at, and everyone is good at different skills, so you learn a lot from each other. I was better at the UI/UX side of things, whereas one of my teammates was better at the technical back-end.

    How did Covalence prepare you for job hunting?

    The networking and exposure from the classes alone is amazing. The Covalence team helped us with resumes and mock interviews, and they are very connected with employers in the Birmingham community. Guest speakers came to the classroom all the time and would say, "We have an internship or position coming up and we're looking at you, because the Covalence curriculum is teaching exactly what we need."

    Now, Covalence is not specifically going out and placing you in these jobs, but they do help push you in the right direction. Several of us at least had an internship before we even completed the course.

    What was your internship and how soon did you start after Covalence?

    My internship was with BBVA Compass. They selected us for the internship before we finished the class, and we started work on the Monday after graduation. During the internship, we were free to come up with an app or idea to disrupt banking using an API.

    It was a four-week internship and I worked on two different teams. It was a great learning experience. But during that internship, I decided that I wasn’t happiest in a corporate environment – I wanted to be more creative. After the internship I was hired by Platypi, a creative agency.

    Some of my classmates in the internship are still working at BBVA, and they’re using Java – a technology that they didn't learn at Covalence. Once you learn how to think like a programmer, you can pick up anything. You don't have to learn a specific language.  

    How did you get hired by Platypi and Covalence?

    There was talk that Platypi was expanding and wanted to hire a developer from my cohort. I expressed interest, went through an interview with one of the owners, then further interviews with two developers. Since they are the founders of Covalence, they already knew what my skills were, they knew the curriculum, and they knew the kind of work I had already completed, including my final project app. They ended up hiring three different people from the first cohort at Covalence

    Can you tell me about your role there and what you do?

    I work for Platypi doing client services, building websites and the mobile apps, but Covalence also uses me as their in-house developer. I think they're going to redesign their website soon, so I’ll be a part of that project.

    Mostly, I work for Platypi in Client Services. Platypi offers digital services to businesses around Birmingham. I build responsive websites and small mobile apps for those businesses. There are three developers who do most of the development work. The websites are small enough that I usually do entire projects by myself, but we have also had larger projects which required all hands on deck.

    Within the first three months of working at Platypi, I had already built about six small-scale websites. For example, I've built websites for an environmental company in Birmingham, a lawn care services company, and our local radio station. The next project I have coming up is a mobile app for a medical center in Birmingham, where doctors can login and contact other doctors.

    It sounds like you get to make a difference in the Birmingham community!

    Oh, yeah. Most of our clients come to us because they need a lot of design help. I don't do design, but I get to implement the designs and make sure that the client is getting a beautiful site that looks good on all devices, all browsers, all screen sizes, and that their information is being displayed properly. It's really cool to help them figure out who their target audience is, where they're getting the most traffic from, etc.

    Are you using the same technologies that you learned at Covalence?

    I do still use the same technologies that I learned at Covalence – HTML and CSS, JavaScript, Typescript, and Node.js. But no matter what you do, if you choose programming, you're going to have to keep learning because technology keeps changing.

    My skill set has grown tremendously since the bootcamp – I’ve grown from building standard brochure type websites for small businesses to learning how to incorporate third party services to create e-commerce websites. I’ve worked with Wordpress and I can create fully customized Shopify themes using their templating language. My day to day work still relies heavily on the skills I took away from the bootcamp, but my knowledge of these subjects have grown tremendously since graduation. Covalence provides you with a solid foundation to get started as a developer, whether you want to grow the skills you learn there, or branch off and take on something entirely new.

    Over your last two years working at Platypi, how has your team facilitated that learning?

    My team regularly throws problems at me that they know I'm not familiar with. I'm literally learning something new every week. That’s just what it’s like to work for a creative agency. When clients need something new, my boss will say, "We've never done this before, but Hillary, why don't you dive in and see if you can figure it out." If I'm struggling, there's always a mentor or someone who can help me develop a further understanding. So my learning comes naturally with new projects, new clients, and their needs.

    I know you still work with Covalence, but do you keep in touch with the other alumni from your cohort?

    I developed really strong friendships with people from my cohort and have become very close friends with two of my cohort-mates. We've grown together as developers. Once you go through something as difficult as a career change and the struggle of defeating a bootcamp, you create strong bonds with your classmates.

    I keep in touch with the Covalence staff as well. I regularly go to graduations and see the new graduates’ final projects, which just keep getting better.

    What advice do you have for people who are thinking about going through a coding bootcamp?

    There's so much advice. You can't go through it and expect to just let the information come to you. It's something you have to pursue 100% and just give it everything you've got. Treat it like it is your job already. A lot of people will say, "There's no way that I can be job ready in 10 weeks." You can be job ready in 10 weeks, as long as you treat learning to code as though it is your career already and dedicate all of your time to it.

    And make sure that you're passionate about programming before you start a bootcamp, and that you're going to dedicate your time to it. Just be persistent and be passionate and know that no matter how difficult it may seem, if you keep pushing, you'll succeed for sure.

    Find out more and read Covalence reviews on Course Report. Check out the Covalence website

    About The Author

    https://course_report_production.s3.amazonaws.com/rich/rich_files/rich_files/1586/s300/imogen-crispe-headshot.jpg-logo

    Imogen is a writer and content producer who loves writing about technology and education. Her background is in journalism, writing for newspapers and news websites. She grew up in England, Dubai and New Zealand, and now lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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