Origin Code Academy
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Recent Origin Code Academy Reviews: Rating 4.52
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Origin Code Academy Reviews
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Origin Code Academy was one of many coding bootcamps that I considered to attend after deciding it was time to make a change professionally. My goal was to shrink the learning curve, absorb knowledge, and most importantly land a job in software engineering in the shortest time possible.
It was important for me to understand what I was getting myself into so I stalked Origin Code Academy and its founders online, met with Jeff, Cameron, and some of the students personally, and got familiar with the curriculum and how it’s taught. My research showed that out of all bootcamps considered, OCA offers the clearest path to employment upon graduation. OCA makes it a point to stay connected with the community of developers and employers, they know what technologies are being used in the industry in San Diego and they align their curriculum with technologies most in demand.
The 12-week course consisted of several parts. Starting with the backend and .NET technologies we learned the fundamentals of application architecture, database schemas, and how it all comes together in Web API applications. From there we moved to frontend technologies, combined it with backend technologies to create full stack web applications. The course culminated with a final project - an application that you build to show off what you have learned. Cameron is a caring, patient, and tough mentor. He made sure that I have an understanding of the fundamentals that I will be applying in my future work.
The coursework was done, now it was time to dive into the job search. This was one of the toughest things I had to face professionally. I was a brand new developer with little experience. The imposter syndrome was a real impediment. Fortunately, Jeff’s support with building a solid resume, having weekly check-ins, spreading the word about me and other graduates to employers and recruiters, and preparing us for the interview process, gave me a significant push towards reaching my goal of obtaining the desired software engineering position at the desired salary. Mentally, this is a taxing process. Jeff and Cameron were talking me through each step of the way.
It’s been over a year since I graduated. I’m happily employed as a Full Stack Software Engineer at one of the coolest companies in San Diego that develops its own products. I feel very fortunate I have met Jeff and Cameron. I wish them and OCA nothing but success
I started to find an interest in basic html and css so went online to teach myself for free. I learned a lot and started to realize how much I enjoyed it but felt I hit a wall with how much more I could learn. Attending Origin is one of the greatest things I ever did, not just for the knowledge but also the people.
I heard about Origin Code Academy (OCA) as I was randomly eating in a Mexican restaurant. I had just moved to San Diego and did not know what I was going to do for a job. I knew I did not want to go back into the hardware side of IT / Computers, and I had just missed the deadline to apply to a 4 year school to finish my bachelor's degree. Vowing to not return to my old type of job, I figured, "Let's try it." I fully admit the commercial had a very informercial feel / unrealistic vibe to it, but I had no other options at that point. I had shied away from CS initially in college as I was very intimidated by the difficulty that was associated with CS degrees. Little did I know it would so positively change the rest of my life.
Going into the course I had done Team Treehouse and Code Academy courses for pre-work, which helped a significant amount throughout the duration of the course at OCA. The one thing about not just OCA, but any programming boot camp, or even a BS in Computer Science, is that you will only progress as much as you push yourself and drive yourself. Programming overall is extremely difficult and time consuming. Nine times out of ten, if someone is complaining about a progamming school or academy, it is because they expected to have their hand held 100% of the time. OCA goes above and beyond helping students become great programmers, but if you do not do any work or put any effort in yourself, do not expect to learn anything. It would be a waste of your money if you go into a coding school without a decent amount of research and pre-work done - you HAVE to be tenacious.
The instructor that taught my cohort was extremely knowledgeable and helpful not only during class hours, but after hours and on the weekend. I have even occasionally reached out and received help with my coding after I graduated. What a lot of people do not know is that, specifically with OCA, you are gaining access to an amazing network of resources that will help you grow as a programmer, obtain a job (not just your first job, but developer positions for the rest of your career), and life long friends. OCA is not only the best thing to ever happen to me, but to almost every single alumni that has attended OCA that I have ever talked to.
After many jobs focused around business management and data analytics (think Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations), I decided to take a risk by making a career change and trying out Software Development. I couldn't be happier that I decided to jumpstart this change by attending Origin.
I was in Cohort 7, taught by Cameron Wilby. He's an amazing instructor who, despite his crazy knowledge of extremely complex subjects, is able to easily come up with analogies to help us understand. He answered any and all questions/concerns I had and is extremely open to feedback on how to teach more effectively. He also kept the curriculum flexible so that we could spend extra time on subjects that people were struggling with. I also asked the other instructors, Sean and Mike, for help when Cameron was busy, and they were helpful as well. I didn't spend 12 weeks with them like I did with Cameron, but any experiences I had with them were very positive.
The curriculum is tailored to whatever employers are looking for in San Diego, so I know it had been updated for our Cohort (more Angular,.NET, MEAN stack focus than previous Cohorts) and has been edited even more for Cohorts after me - this makes sense that they constantly tweak the curriculum, as their #1 focus is to help get you your first job as a developer after the 12 weeks. The first 6-7 weeks was mostly individual projects where everyone in the class helped each other out, which maybe an hour or 2 of lectures in the morning, and the rest of the time spending coding. Learning by doing is most effective for me, so this was a great fit personally. The next 2 weeks were group projects where you learn how Agile development and how to conduct a Sprint. Then the last 3-4 weeks was our final project where we worked with local companies to develop something for them.
The #1 reason I chose Origin over other boot camps in the area was their focus on job placement after the 12 weeks, and they definitely delivered. I was lucky enough to start in a software development role less than a month after graduating. Most of my classmates have accepted positions already, or at the very least have gotten numerous interviews. That's pretty impressive for boot camp grads, all of which had no previous development experince on their resumes before Origin.
I dabbled with coding and online courses for years leading up to Origin, but the class gave me a framework to turn my dream of becoming a coder into a reality. I found myself happily devoting my life to development for these 12 weeks, and now, it's just a part of who I am. I'm so happy I got out of my comfort zone and started a career in software development, and I am extremely grateful for Jeff, Cameron, my classmates, and everyone else at Origin who made this possible. If you're serious about making a career transition into coding, or if you just want access to amazing resources for accelerating your career, I would highly recommend Origin.
I grew up with the internet and went to a techincal college to pursue a tech career but didn't pan out back in the early 2000's and ended up pursuing a successful career in retial management. I found myself not happy doing what I was doing and began to look back at what I wanted to do coming out of high school, so I looked up coding and found Origin Code Academy.
Let me tell you I had a long process before I took that leap of faith to quit my established career and try and become a software developer. I contacted Jeff the owner when the school was only teaching its second cohort in prospects of joining a night class, which eneded up not being available due to availablity. So I had to look back and see if this HUGE change of life and commitment is something I can do. Six months later after saving money and planning I quit my job and started going to school in September. I was nervous and anxious to go back to school after 10+ years out of it but I was signed up and ready to go.
What sold me about Origin was Jeff CEO went thru a similar experience I did where I finished school but had little to no help actually landing a job and feeling prepared for the real world. He tailored the curriculum to fullfill what San Diego companies need and want so it really felt like I was ready to tackle what the real world would throw at me. The course was great but more so was the atmosphere created by the staff and my fellow students. I couldn't be happier that I was hired within 3 weeks after graduation now working as a Web Developer for a great startup. If you have any questions reach out to any students or you can randomly find me at the school whenever I work remotely, I tend to just hang out there lol.
I am a graduate of Origin Code Academy. I attended OCA about a year ago. I went through the entire 12 weeks of the bootcamp and it was an okay experience. I say "okay" because of how expensive it was.
They taught me alot but I was paying them north of $350 a day to teach me how to code. I thought it was an investment because in my mind I thought I was going to get hired as a developer within a week of graduation. After I graduated I was applying to jobs every day, every new developer job I saw I applied and followed up with emails. I got a few interviews but I was too inexperienced. I met with jeff (jeff is the founder of OCA) a few times for "job assistance." I did however after 7 months landed a minimum wage job... but it was NOT a software/web developer job. I was content with the job because it was a job that paid.
All in all, for the money not worth it. In retrospect I should have not done the Origin Code Academy bootcamp. I should've done a monthly subscription course such as teamtreehouse.com, pluralsight.com, and udemy.com.
I don't want to bash OCA but I want to tell people my story and have them think before they get themselves in a financial struggle like me.
Origin Code Academy was a great choice for the training I needed to make a career change. I was looking for a program that allowed me to learn full-time in a classroom setting and cover a lot of curriculum in a short amount of time. Origin did just that. As a student, I had access to the classroom any time I needed. The school was in a great location in downtown San Diego. The curriculum covered a very full stack of languages and was adapted to the most marketable languages and skills for the San Diego market. The program is intense and they expect you to jump right into the curriculum which proved to be the best way for me to learn. Make sure to come to class prepared and pre-work completed as this will help to keep you from falling behind.
Cameron was an incredible instructor and I would recommend everyone joining Origin to request his class specifically. He is so personable and really cares if you do well and understand the material. He is an incredible programmer, a wealth of knowledge and would take the time to learn a new tool or language if you expressed interest in learning more about something that wasn't in the core curriculum. He was my favorite part of Origin and I cannot say enough good things about him.
When I attended Origin, there were several transitions with administrative staff in the middle of the cohort. Even with the changes, the staff did a great job filling in and making sure that students had enough support. One of the biggest reasons I chose Origin Code Academy was the help that they offer for job assistance. While it did take several months to find my first development job, the additional help that I received from Jeff and the staff was exactly what I needed. It was Jeff's recommendation that ultimately led me to my first job offer. Realistically, students shouldn't expect to magically find a job the day after they graduate without any effort. Origin is good, but it's not that good! Expect to work hard to develop your coding skills, take time to practice your interviewing skills, be proactive in the job hunt and listen to Cameron and Jeff's advice. It can take a couple of weeks or a couple of months of searching before you find the right job.
I would have loved to have more companies show up at the graduation day presentations and more exposure to companies that are potential employers throughout the cohort to better prepare for the job searching process. However, with how well the staff takes feedback and actually does something with it, I am sure this is something that has already been addressed for future students.
About a year ago, I built my first computer and quickly realized that the only difficult part of the build was the software that went with it. From there I decided to take try taking some programming classes at a community college and loved it. The only problem was the downtime between classes made it seem like I was being taught such a small amount relative to the four months in completing a semester. I then looked for an alternative way to learn software development and found Origin.
Not only was I taught different languages and frameworks, but also how to go about researching and problem solving on my own. I'd highly recommend this program to anyone who is looking for a fresh start in an exciting career path.
The best part of the program is the comradery that you build and the freindships.
Best thing I've done with my career. I learned more in 3 months at Origin than I did in my previous 4 years in college. The staff is great and very helpful. I truly feel like I gained a new family not only from the fellow students in my cohort, but also from the students from all the cohorts before and after me. Origin gave me all the right tools to become a great software developer and pursue my new career. Great first step to take in pursuit of the tech life!
Could not be more grateful for the support, and lessons demonstrated throughout my time at Origin Code Academy. It is not just a temporary bond, it is something that will last through time. I am honored to be a part of the Alumni, and to take these new found skills into my future career path.
Thank you Jeff, and Cameron!
I joined Origin Code Academy after almost a year of checking out different code schools and programs. I can confidently say it was the best decision that I have made. It was a huge decision since I was already in an established career making a decent salary and had many benefits including company car and phone etc. The problem was my day to day sanity and feeling of satisfaction was lacking or non existing. Software was something I could really get my hands dirty with and have the satisfaction at the end of the day that made me feel great and accomplished. Origin shaped my thinking and helped me understand basic and fundamental principles of software development in such a way that made it possible for me to learn more and succeed not only in a team environment but by myself. The support I received specifically after the course was constant and easily one of the most important parts of the program. I am happy to say that shortly after completeing the course I was offered and accepted a position at a well established and fantastic SaaS comapny local to San Diego.
This review is long overdue.
Here I am a Junior Front End Developer at an awesome company in downtown San Diego, doing work that fits my personality way better than anything I had ever done before. But I could not have done it without Origin.
Who would have thought I was contemplating quitting 2-3 weeks in? So glad I didn't, and I can thank Jeff Winkler and Kelly Lovett for being persistant in pushing me to keep at it -- thanks guys!
I really can't complain about anything. My fellow cohorts were awesome, my teacher (Sean) was awesome, the curriculum was in line with what was most in demand in San Diego and the support I got when looking for work was exactly what I expected -- I was placed right after graduation!
I'm proof that you can make a career change in your mid to late thirties if you put the effort in and have the support in place. I never thought I'd make this leap, but I did and I'm so glad.
Thank you for the experience and memories Origin!
I do not have a single negative thing to say about Origin. From the cirriculum to the instructors themselves, from the facility/classrooms to the post-graduation services, this place is an incredible experience for anyone looking to make the jump into the world of development.
The staff is very good about identifying the specific needs of each student, and adjusting to the various skill levels in each class. No matter where you are in your coding ability, Origin will be able to help you and push you. I had Cameron and Sean as the instructors in my class, and both were extremely knowledgable, but also had the right personalities for teaching.
When it came time to graduate and start looking for a job, Jeff and Kelly were bending over backwards to make sure that every student had a well put together resume and was getting interviews. They stayed engaged throughout the entire process. If you follow their guidance during applications and interviews, there is no doubt in my mind that you can land a developer job after graduating from Origin.
Do yourself a favor and get in contact with these guys as soon as possible.
Going into Origin Code academy I had no previous technical skills. Looking back at how much I learned within 12 weeks is crazy! I built some pretty cool projects along the way which I loved showing off to my friends and family. For the final project I was working for a local startup and building a product that was going to be used in the real world, specifically for firefighters. I felt it was a great way to transition and learn expectations for a future career in software. My teacher, Co-Founder Cameron Wilby, was amazing. You could not ask for a better teacher, you could tell he really loved teaching the subject and was very patient. He went above and beyond what you expect from any teacher and I highly recommend signing up for one of his classes, he is extremely skilled. I felt very comfortable throughout my entire experience at Origin Code Academy. All of the staff was great! Kelly, Vice President of Business Development at Origin Code Academy, taught us some great techniques and showed us tips on how to land a job which I was able to accomplish in less than 3 weeks after finishing the course! To those reading this I should warn you my journey was not easy by any means, I often stayed late after class and came in on the weekends as well to study/code more. I am proud to say my hard work payed off and I couldn't thank everyone at Origin enough. I look forward to my new career that Origin laid the foundation for. If you are interested in becomming a software engineer Origin Code Academy is the best place to start.
After the 12 weeks at Origin I left there with an incredible understanding of multiple programing languages, a ton of great friends, and a job doing what I love. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience from a coding bootcamp. The Instructors were very knowledgeable and helpful. They have been in the industry for a long time, gave great advice on how to problem solve, and prepared me for my career. It was very easy to contact them outside of classroom hours and get help with anything I was working on. I gained a great understanding of programing fundimentals, while having a blast doing so. Being hired just 2 weeks after completing the course, I felt confident going into my new job.
I had worked for a while as a jr dev in San Diego and wanted to jump start getting into roles that were more advanced. My old job didn't use any frameworks and I was having a little trouble learning on my own.
Cameron Wilby (my teacher at Origin; there's two, soon to be three) was able to guide a class of all levels (no coding experience to a little experience) and within 12 weeks were able to create full stack apps for the demo day. While the curriculum could have been a little tighter (I thought there was no need to teach jquery, and wanted more time learning unit tests) it was a pretty thorough course for 12 weeks.
Our class size was on the larger end of their range at 17 students. It never felt like too many people, and those of us who picked up on things quicker helped out other students who had questions. It was a very collaborative atmosphere.
There were no expectations of crazy salaries after graduating, with the staff being realistic that we'd mostly be evaluated as jr level developers which can be anywhere from $40-60k in San Diego. Due to my experience I was able to get $75k, up from $50k at my old job.
The job help is on a few different angles. They prep you for interview questions, both technical/whiteboard and HR. For my class there were at least two resume reviews. They help you identify who to contact on LinkedIn to bypass the dreaded resume black hole. If they know someone at the company you want to work at, they'll work that connection in your favor. They setup a trello board with labels for you to fill your status with every company you apply for. They'll even take a professional-looking photo for your LinkedIn so you don't look like a schlub programmer.
I had fun, I worked hard, I almost didn't have my project done by the Demo Day, pulled through at the last minute, learned things I didn't know I didn't know, and got the job I wanted. It was a great investment for me.
Origin Code academy provides a fantastic curriculm that mirrors a real world stack. Not only is the technology stack great for job seekers, the Main Instructor and Co-Founder Cameron Wilby is superb. You could not ask for a better teacher. His instruction and guidance will help you grasp concepts much faster compared to reading books and self practice. Not only is he a good teacher, he also has many years of real world development experience. He can quickly pick up topics and become well-versed in new areas which makes him an amazing teacher for new programmers. His instruction will accelerate your learning ten-fold.
Origin code academy will give you all the tools you need to succeed. Its up to you to put it to work.
My 12-week cohort at Origin Code Academy was awesome! Growing up, I was always interested in computers. I was building them for friends and family before I even turned 13. Knowing a good amount about computer hardware was great but I couldn't really make a career of it. I tried the whole college thing and it just wasn’t for me. I ended up working in real estate for a few years after dropping out of the university I was attending. This was great and I enjoyed real estate for the most part but I still wanted something more.
I had been hearing a lot about coding boot camps and wanted to see what they were all about. I talked to a family member of mine who works in San Francisco for Dropbox as a developer. He gave me a few good starting points and books to check out. The sites I used to learn were ok, they were definitely lacking though. If you want to get any sort of real world job you’re going to need more experience than what a few websites can offer you.
Frustrated by the lack of depth I got from trying to learn online, I started looking at code schools. The previous conversation with my cousin brought to my attention some of the powerhouses in the boot camp world. After looking over what they had to offer I just wasn't sold. Sometime later I came across Origin Code Academy. I looked over the curriculum, talked with the founder, and met with the instructor. They really helped reassure me and helped plan a path for my success.
During my time at the boot camp I learned an incredible amount. I went from honestly not fully understanding what a string was, to writing and designing full stack applications. My instructor Cameron was incredible. I cannot say enough good things about him. He is smart, understanding, and patient, which says a lot when working with a group of new coders. The way he explains things and breaks them down for you really is what made this class so enjoyable. Cameron would go above and beyond to make sure all of us understood what was being taught. He was available anytime I needed him via Slack which was awesome when getting stuck on classwork from home.
After graduating from Origin I started freelancing full-time from, get this... wherever I want! As of writing this review, I currently have four happy clients that I do Web development for and it's growing fast. Being entrepreneurial, freelancing, and being my own boss was what I wanted for myself. Origin has helped me achieve those goals and I could not be more grateful for that.
If you are in the market for a code school, then look no further. I cannot recommend Origin enough. Be prepared to put a lot of hard hours in though, after all you only have 12 weeks. But, if you are up for a challenge and are ready to improve your life…. Apply!
I just finished my first week as a full-stack .NET developer, and that would not have happened without Origin Code Academy! The technology that is used at my job is very similar to what I learned at Origin Code Academy, with a few small differences to make it interesting.
I went to college a while back and got a B.S. in Computer Science-Mathematics, and worked as a developer before Web development existed, but then stuff happened and I ended up in other jobs. When I heard about coding bootcamps, I realized this could be my way back to development. I was nervous realizing I would be older than the average bootcamp student, but felt it would be worth it to try, and that some employers might value workplace experience.
I had recently returned from living overseas and was staying with a relative, so attending Origin Code Academy would mean paying my own living expenses in addition to the tuition. The job guarantee made me feel more confident in my decision, as a guarantee means the bootcamp is motivated to offer a curriculum that teaches the necessary skills, and is motivated to have contacts with employers.
From the first day, I was sure that I'd made the right decision. Cameron is a great instructor, and knows how to present topics in a way that shows how they are relevant to industry usage, and how to use them in applications. When there was something I didn't understand, he was always available to help. I liked that he assigned basic features and extras for homework, so that I could challenge myself to try to get the extras done.
Be prepared to work hard; after all you have only 12 weeks so you need to put in the time. I usually worked until 8-9pm, and worked on the weekends too, probably 70-80 hours a week, even more towards the end. I loved every minute of it, it was so fun to learn all these new concepts and write code and see my applications running on the Web! I had some challenges with my final project, and was not sure that I would be able to get it done, but I managed to complete it, and I was able to put a link to my final project on my resume!
I don't understand how they can still claim 93% job rate in their advertising... my cohort is more like 40%. Seems like they are still quoting their first class of 6 people from a year ago. It feels really dishonest. I've done the hussle and been on interviews, but I don't feel right working for a stuffy defense contractor in a cubical and there dont seem to be any other .Net jobs in the area. I'm really disappointed and worried about what I'm going to do next.
Response From: Jeff Winkler of Origin Code Academy
Jeff, the Co-Founder of Origin Code Academy promises to "do everything" to land students jobs. He barely assisted in placing anyone from our session. Origin just seems to be a numbers game where they get more students in than they know how to place. Jeff apparently says he doesn't know how to code either. Why listen to him?
Response From: Jeff Winkler of Origin Code Academy
I decided to take on a career change, and ended up deciding on software development. After looking through several different code schools, I landed on Origin Code Academy. Everything about the course was awesome. The teacher, Cameron Wilby, is an awesome dude and excellent teacher. Their curriculum is relevent to the job market and they encourage you to go out and learn as much as you can on your own as well as with the class.
With NO prior experience in anything relevent, I was able to land a job in software development within 3 months of graduation, and received constant assistance in my job hunt the entire time.
Not to be over the top, but this course truly changed my life. I was able to change careers without spending years in other, more traditional programs and spent a fraction of what it would have cost to attend a more traditional multi-year program. The curriculum is more up-to-date than when you would find in your average college, and was highly applicable to the job market I was in.
The teachers are incredible and are constantly tweaking the curriculum to keep ahead of the curve (not a small task when new hot tech is coming out every day!). Not only are they incredibly talented, but they genuinely care about their students and will go the extra mile for you.
I was in a new job within a month of graduation, which I competed head-to-head with computer science majors for. The practical skills I learned at Origin were exactly what the market was looking for!
Origin has changed my life immensely. Within months following graduation I started out as a developer intern, was then hired at a start-up, and then landed in my current role, tripling my salary from my last job. I could not be happier with my decision to start a tech career in San Diego. For those prospective students considering attending Origin, the student-to-instructor ratio is perfect to allow maximum individualized attention from the best teachers in the business, while also receiving constructive peer feedback and support. The day-to-day practical projects help immensely after following up with the morning learning topics, and the interview prep covers a number of scenarios to help build confidence when the student is eventually placed in front of a hiring manager or dev team. Origin will give you every resource and opportunity to be a skilled full-stack developer, but it is up to the student to put in the discipline and the hours required.
Our latest on Origin Code Academy
With the closing of Dev Bootcamp (slated for December 8, 2017), you’re probably wondering what other coding bootcamp options are out there. Dev Bootcamp changed thousands of lives, and built a great reputation with employers, so we are sad to see it go. Fortunately, there are still plenty of quality coding bootcamps in the cities where Dev Bootcamp operated. Here is a list of coding bootcamps with similar lengths, time commitments, and curriculums in the six cities where Dev Bootcamp had campuses: Austin, Chicago, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle.Continue Reading →
Welcome to our last monthly coding bootcamp news roundup of 2016! Each month, we look at all the happenings from the coding bootcamp world from new bootcamps to fundraising announcements, to interesting trends we’re talking about in the office. This December, we heard about a bootcamp scholarship from Uber, employers who are happily hiring bootcamp grads, investments from New York State and a Tokyo-based staffing firm, diversity in tech, and as usual, new coding schools, courses, and campuses!Continue Reading →
One of the newest players in the bootcamp game, Origin Code Academy has set up shop in San Diego bringing a much needed source of web development training to one of California’s larger cities. With just a couple of immersive code schools to choose from, San Diegans now have access to this .NET based program. Founded by a graduate of Iron Yard Academy, Jeff Winkler decided to open up his own code school after seeing how Iron Yard was having success propagating throughout the country. We recently got a chance to talk to founder Jeff Winkler, a graduate of Iron Yard about his decision to open Origin and how he created his curriculum and found companies to partner with in San Diego.
When is the first Origin Code Academy course?
The first class is in September and we are expected to have around 6 students in the class. We have students signed up for our next class which will begin immediately after New Year’s. This is really our starting point.
Where is the bootcamp being taught?
We’re hosting class at a startup incubator called EvoNexus in San Diego. The shared space suites our needs as we wanted a lot of startup founders to be around the coders and vice-versa.
This particular work space is a perfect fit for us, and they see the value of having a code school in their community.
Is your background in education or programming?
Up until a year and a half ago, I was in finance. From a career perspective, I didn’t feel I was adding a lot of value, and I felt like a commodity.
I started my first startup, Gym Exchange, which eventually merged with Gym Surfing (think: a Travelocity for gyms). We sold it in February of this year and a large part of why we sold was that the buyers really liked our developer who designed and developed it. Selling the company made me want to go to a code school so that I could start another company and not have to give up 50% of it! I lived in Raleigh, North Carolina at the time, which is a fairly big startup town with a few code schools. It's not like New York, San Francisco or maybe Austin but it has a pretty big startup presence.
The closest available class I could find at The Iron Yard ended up being in Orlando, Florida. I was in the first Ruby class in Orlando. Of the eight of us in our class, only four finished and to this day I think only one of us has a development job.
I personally didn’t care about getting a job, I wanted to start another company, and we decided that a code school was the perfect business.
Why did you open the first campus in San Diego?
In our research, we found that Raleigh has five code school in the same building, so I didn’t want to start there. I had lived in San Diego before, and I was familiar with a lot of startup founders in the area. In San Diego, there’s only one code school, but it’s the eighth biggest market in terms of population.
We went to employers first and asked them about the in-demand coding languages and what the local job market was looking for in developers. We narrowed it down to Ruby and C# within the .NET framework.
Why did you decide to teach .NET?
Before we talked to employers, I anticipated us teaching Ruby considering that is what the majority of code schools teach. However, after our discussions with companies in San Diego that changed. There are more enterprise companies here in San Diego and .NET is the technology of choice for them.
Who were those companies that you talked to during the initial research stage?
Some startups, some larger companies. We even talked to an executive at QualCom and a startup that runs QualCom's job board. They have 125 portfolio companies in their venture fund. From our conversations we anticipate that those are going to be a very big feeder for us and our graduates.
If a student is not interested in going through the job placement process, and instead wants to start their own business, is Origin not the school for them?
We actually opened with 2 options, one being the freelance option with a tuition of $8,000 and one for job placement where the tuition is closer to $12,000. We’ll probably eliminate the freelance option because 95% of applicants request the job placement option. We’re doing a meetup group every other week where they build coding projects, so if somebody says they just want to be entrepreneurial, we would suggest that they join our meetup.
Will there be a referral fee for Origin for placing students?
Presently there is none. We just want our students to get hired. We’re not going to make any money or set up a placement fee with any company hiring our students.
We really just want the focus of the first couple of cohorts to get jobs. If and when we have enough companies competing for our graduates we might consider other options. If we can have a placement fee to offset their tuition at some point down the line, we’re definitely not opposed to that either.
What are the details of your job guarantee?
We guarantee our students a junior developer job within 90 days after graduating. If we don’t find them a position, we give them 100% of their tuition back.
Some companies offer paid internships, apprenticeships, or hire on a trial basis. Our goal is to get our students into at least a trial period position to prove themselves. We’re not responsible for carrying them through their trial period but we are responsible for getting them to the point where they’re getting paid as a developer.
I know sometimes bootcamp grads will settle and work anywhere for free just for the experience. That’s not a job. A job to us is getting paid to do work.
Who is the ideal student at Origin? Are you looking for people with a little bit of experience or are you looking for complete beginners?
The best applications have been from people between 25–35 that are looking for their second career. Everybody who has been accepted so far has been trying to teach themselves and have essentially hit the wall on CodeSchool.com or Treehouse.
We don’t require any previous experience. We have pre-work which is pretty typical amongst a lot of coding schools. It’s not super intensive coding pre-work, just some material to review before students get to the class.
Another interesting point in San Diego too, is around 80% of our students have been in the military before They go to their army job fair and hear about personal security or the police force. There are no technology jobs there. We already know they’re committed, we already know they have a big “why” as to why they’re taking the class and why they’re going to work hard. We didn’t anticipate this and it is very specific to San Diego, but it’s very welcomed.
Will you offer scholarships for veterans, for women or underrepresented minorities?
At the moment, we don’t offer any scholarships. We work a lot with Geek Girl and have sponsored their conference. They were the first partnership we had. Because of that, our meetups have been 70% women. We do actively want to reach out and bring them into our meetup to get them into our class and involved with the tech community.
Who is the instructor for this class?
There’s three of us on the Origin team. Cameron is the instructor, Mike is our investor, and myself.
Cameron has a Masters Degree in Computer Science, he’s been a freelancer for five years, and he’s also done private tutoring with people teaching them how to code. We chose Cameron because his focus has been .NET and C#. Once Mike and I decided that was the direction employers wanted us to go, we chose Cameron.
From your experience at Iron Yard, what did you think was important to keep in the curriculum and what did you think needed to be changed?
I really enjoyed having a guest speaker every Friday; someone from the industry who essentially tells you what their career has been like as a coder. It’s helpful on many fronts. First, you’re mentally so tired by Thursday from working so hard that having a guest speaker is a welcomed relief. Second, it's easy to have concerns about your future so hearing about other people’s successful careers is very reassuring.
I also liked how Iron Yard had people work together on projects and we are looking to take that even further at Origin Code Academy. No one works on an island as a developer. Understanding the role of the sales team in an organization and the role of the marketing team is important. The more students learn to integrate into what the company’s trying to accomplish, the easier their job is and the less frustrated they’ll be when they talk to the sales manager or the marketing guy. Students need to learn to communicate effectively on an enterprise level.
I had a pretty good idea how to shape the curriculum because I had gone through their program and then Cameron fine-tuned my ideas based on how he was taught. Then we took it to those same employers that we talked to when originally coming to San Diego and said, “Here’s our curriculum. Which parts of it do students need to know if they started working here tomorrow?” They responded with examples like, “I don’t care if they don’t know what a server is but I do need them to know that they need to work well with other people.” So they helped us eliminate some of those things from our curriculum that were unnecessary.
How are you preparing students for jobs after graduation?
Another addition to our curriculum is providing more interview preparation and understanding of the job hunting process specifically for junior developers. One of our guest speakers was a hiring manager at Microsoft for a period of time, and he really grills our students on what exactly they need to know.
You can’t fake a coding interview. You really need to be able to describe your thought process and tell them what’s important. They don’t care if you code the project right, it’s more about how you think. There will be a whole week spent on job prep which includes white boarding, mock interviews and information sessions.
The reason we’re structuring it different is because we have a different end goal; it’s specifically to get jobs rather than learn how to code per se. We’re just trying to reverse engineer everything from getting a job and working backwards.
How many students will be in the first cohort and what is the average you are aiming for in terms of class size?
We anticipate the average being closer to 12. Anything can change but 12 is a really good average based on my experience. You don’t want to go too small because when you work in groups, there’s always two or three people that kind of drag the class along with them and you want to make sure the groups big enough that you have people putting pressure on them.
Have you all had to deal with the BPPE or any of the city or state regulatory agencies as part of launching?
We have not. We anticipate having to work through that. We’re not really on their map right now. So we’re aware of it but we’re sure they’ll contact us at some point.
Do you have a refund policy in place?
We give 100% back if they don’t get a job. Students have the first two weeks to "drop out", and if they leave within the first two weeks they get a refund.
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