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Software Guild

Akron, Minneapolis, Louisville, Online

Software Guild

Avg Rating:4.7 ( 57 reviews )

Recent Software Guild News

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Recent Software Guild Reviews: Rating 4.7

all (57) reviews for Software Guild →

4 Campuses

Akron

2 Courses
526 Main Street Suite 609, Akron, OH 44311

Course Details

Deposit
$125
Financing
Skills Fund and Climb
Payment Plan
$13, 750
Interview
Yes
Minimum Skill Level
Basic computer knowledge
Placement Test
Yes
Prep Work
No
May 8, '17 -Jul 28, '17

In PersonFull Time

Aug 21, '17 -Nov 17, '17

In PersonFull Time

Course Details

Deposit
$125
Financing
Skills Fund and Climb
Payment Plan
$13,750 tuition
Interview
Yes
Minimum Skill Level
Basic computer knowledge
Placement Test
Yes
May 8, '17 -Jul 28, '17

In PersonFull Time

Aug 21, '17 -Nov 17, '17

In PersonFull Time

Minneapolis

2 Courses

Course Details

Deposit
$125
Financing
Skills Fund and Climb
Payment Plan
$13,750 tuition
Interview
Yes
Minimum Skill Level
Basic computer knowledge
Placement Test
Yes
May 8, '17 -Jul 28, '17

In PersonFull Time

Aug 21, '17 -Nov 17, '17

In PersonFull Time

Course Details

Deposit
$125
Financing
Skills Fund and Climb
Payment Plan
$13,750 tuition
Interview
Yes
Minimum Skill Level
Basic computer knowledge
Placement Test
Yes
May 8, '17 -Jul 28, '17

In PersonFull Time

Aug 21, '17 -Nov 17, '17

In PersonFull Time

Louisville

2 Courses

Course Details

Deposit
$125
Financing
Skills Fund and Climb
Payment Plan
$13,750 tuition
Interview
Yes
Minimum Skill Level
Basic computer knowledge
Placement Test
Yes
May 8, '17 -Jul 28, '17

In PersonFull Time

Aug 21, '17 -Nov 17, '17

In PersonFull Time

Course Details

Deposit
$125
Financing
Skills Fund and Climb
Payment Plan
$13,750
Interview
Yes
Minimum Skill Level
Basic computer knowledge
Placement Test
Yes
May 8, '17 -Jul 28, '17

In PersonFull Time

Aug 21, '17 -Nov 17, '17

In PersonFull Time

Online

2 Courses

Discover a part-time option for a full-time job, with The Software Guild’s online program. This program is ideal for those who want to learn the skills necessary for entry-level software development jobs, but who cannot commit to the immersive, full-time on-ground program. In nine months, students will learn the same skills as those in the on-ground program. All classes are asynchronous, and can be completed when it is convenient. Lectures are conducted via video, and instructors are available via instant messaging or email to answer questions.

Course Details

Deposit
$125
Financing
Skills Fund and Climb
Payment Plan
$12,000 tuition
Interview
Yes
Placement Test
Yes
Apr 3, '17 -Feb 4, '18

OnlinePart Time

May 1, '17 -Mar 4, '18

OnlinePart Time

Jun 5, '17 -Apr 1, '18

OnlinePart Time

Jul 3, '17 -May 6, '18

OnlinePart Time

Aug 7, '17 -Jun 3, '18

OnlinePart Time

Sep 4, '17 -Jul 1, '18

OnlinePart Time

Oct 2, '17 -Aug 5, '18

OnlinePart Time

Nov 6, '17 -Sep 2, '18

OnlinePart Time

Dec 4, '17 -Sep 30, '18

OnlinePart Time

Discover a part-time option for a full-time job, with The Software Guild’s online program. This program is ideal for those who want to learn the skills necessary for entry-level software development jobs, but who cannot commit to the immersive, full-time on-ground program. In nine months, students will learn the same skills as those in the on-ground program. All classes are asynchronous, and can be completed when it is convenient. Lectures are conducted via video, and instructors are available via instant messaging or email to answer questions.

Course Details

Deposit
$125
Financing
Skills Fund and Climb
Payment Plan
$12,000 tuition.
Interview
Yes
Placement Test
Yes
Apr 3, '17 -Feb 4, '18

OnlinePart Time

May 1, '17 -Mar 4, '18

OnlinePart Time

Jun 5, '17 -Apr 1, '18

OnlinePart Time

Jul 3, '17 -May 6, '18

OnlinePart Time

Aug 7, '17 -Jun 3, '18

OnlinePart Time

Sep 4, '17 -Jul 1, '18

OnlinePart Time

Oct 2, '17 -Aug 5, '18

OnlinePart Time

Nov 6, '17 -Sep 2, '18

OnlinePart Time

Dec 4, '17 -Sep 30, '18

OnlinePart Time

57 reviews sorted by:

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2/26/2017
Ben Etzkorn • VP/Manager of Stress Models • Student Verified via LinkedIn
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1/11/2017
CJ Whaley • Programmer • Graduate
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1/7/2017
Elijah King • Software Engineer I • Graduate
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12/20/2016
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12/19/2016
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11/16/2016
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10/30/2016
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8/26/2016
URVASHI ATODARIA • Applications Engineer • Graduate
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7/27/2016
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5/31/2016
James Morin • Software Developing Engineer in Test with Xpanxion • Graduate
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Our latest on Software Guild

  • Instructor Spotlight: Derek Hannah of The Software Guild

    Imogen Crispe1/11/2017

    The Software Guild has been teaching .NET/C# and Java at the Ohio coding bootcamp for years, but with the increasing demand for mobile development, they’re launching a new, flexible, part-time Android bootcamp in 2017. Curriculum Developer and Lead Instructor Derek Hannah has experience as a web and mobile developer whose interest in mobile development was sparked by the first iPhone. Today, he’s an expert in both Android and iOS, and tells us about his teaching style, the online format of this new Android bootcamp, and why The Software Guild offering is best for students with some programming experience.

    Q&A

    What was your background and experience before you got involved with Software Guild? How did you learn to code?

    I've worked in a wide breadth of different kinds of programming. I went to college for multimedia which was a lot of animation and after effects including broadcast graphics, with a little bit of web development and programming.

    After school, I was really into animation. I was working for an e-learning company developing courses to train employees. We used a lot of Flash animation and coded in ActionScript. That’s how I was introduced to object oriented programming.

    Then I worked for an advertising company where I did web development for advertising campaigns, working in more JavaScript, CSS, and front end work. As I got more JavaScript experience, I picked up a side gig making interactive web-based learning materials for high school and college level science classes using JavaScript.

    What’s your background in mobile development?

    I started getting experience in mobile development as soon as the first iPhone came out. I got the beta release of iOS and started working with XCode, which is the IDE (integrated development environment) you use to develop iOS applications, to tinker with before the first iPhone went on sale. I made a couple of mobile applications early on for a company called Moen, and one for Marathon Gas while I was still working at the advertising agency.

    After working with the advertising agency, I worked on a grant-tracking application called AmpliFund at StreamLink Software. Then I worked at Realeflow, a company that made SAAS products for real estate investors to track their properties. My last position before working with The Software Guild was at KeyBank, a large enterprise bank in Cleveland, where I worked in both native and hybrid mobile development.

    It sounds like you basically taught yourself mobile development.

    Yeah. I feel like I really taught myself programming because I went to school for multimedia. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, and did not get a computer science education at college. So I really am self-taught.

    A lot of my former bosses – very experienced people I've talked to who have computer science degrees – say that after a four-year computer science degree, you really only know a lot of theory. You don't know what it takes to build an application from concept to production. There are a lot of vital parts in working on a software team that college does not teach – like version control. Whereas bootcamps are teaching those things. If I had decided to go to a coding bootcamp earlier on in my career, that would have been a better choice than going back to college and paying much more.

    How did you get involved with The Software Guild?

    Earlier in 2016, I was in talks to launch a version of a nonprofit program to teach less-fortunate people how to code in Cleveland. When I was approached by The Software Guild to write their mobile curriculum, I was already thinking about coding education. The Software Guild was impressed with my mobile background, and they liked that I worked in JavaScript. After I complete this mobile curriculum, I'll build out a full stack JavaScript curriculum too.

    Are you just developing the curriculum or will you be teaching the program when it starts?

    I'm both the lead instructor and curriculum developer. But unlike The Software Guild’s .NET and Java courses, this Android course is going to be completely online. The students will take it at their leisure and can sign up at any time as there are no specific start and end dates. Eventually, I will be both teaching and writing curriculum. After I finish writing this Android program, I'll teach it for a bit until we bring on another teacher. Then I'll move on to writing the iOS curriculum.

    Why did you decide to offer the Android program before the iOS program?

    When I was hired, I actually had a lot more iOS experience. I had worked with Android, but I was nowhere near as proficient as I was with iOS. In May 2016, Apple announced that Swift 3 was coming out and there were a lot of breaking changes, so I didn't want to start designing the iOS course and then have to change everything when Swift 3 came out. It made more sense to wait for those things to iron themselves out, then come back and teach iOS.

    How has your experience in e-learning and developing online material for high school and college students been useful for writing this Android curriculum?

    Throughout my whole career, I keep falling into education, even though it was never intentional. Education is such a big industry, there's so much opportunity, and it just keeps drawing me back. When I first started in e-learning it was to teach employees, then I taught high school and college students, and now that experience is proving valuable in developing a course that is going to teach a wide range of students.

    Why does The Software Guild want to introduce a mobile development curriculum?

    We see mobile development as an important skill. The Software Guild started out with core curricula like .NET/C# and Java because they knew graduates could easily get jobs working in one of those two languages. Now, mobile development is big enough that there are a lot of jobs out there. The demand for mobile developers is getting closer to that for .NET/C# or Java developers.

    This Android program is also more of a supplemental course, because it’s really targeted towards people who already have experience developing in Java.

    Tell us about the prerequisites to join the Android program.

    You have to pass a basic Java test. Maybe you are an experienced programmer– you know other languages than Java, so you can take our introductory courses to prepare for the Android course. The Android program is also intended for people who are graduating from The Software Guild Java cohort. A Java graduate who wants to learn mobile development would be the perfect student for this Android course.

    Would you ever accept beginner-level programmers into the Android course?

    If somebody had a lot of experience in a couple of other languages and they didn't know Java yet, they'd probably be able to get up to speed and start the Android course. However, it would be way too hard and confusing to teach yourself the entire Java language while you learn the Android framework. I'm not going to go over things like multithreading in Java. You have to know that already. There are certain things we expect students to know already before they come in. That way, the course isn't gigantic and overwhelming.

    What is your workflow or process for putting this Android curriculum together?

    First, I spent a couple of months researching; reading as much as I could on the Android documentation, and on the Android developers’ site, until I felt I was a master at Android. Then I built five or six different Android projects, and decided which of those projects I would use as part of the course. I picked the two that covered the most material, but wouldn’t be so complex that the course was too huge.

    Then I started to write the curriculum outline. I started by asking myself, "What do students need to know before they can actually build these two Android projects?" Then I started developing high-level lessons about the topics needed in order to build the applications. From there, I started making all the lessons, including step-by-step lessons to build layers of a final application.

    The main goal of this Android course is to take an application from a concept all the way through to production, and being ready to put it on the Google Play Store.

    What technologies are you going to be including in the curriculum?

    We’re using Git for our version control for software, and Bitbucket as a remote Git repository. I'm making a ton of different version control branches for every single lesson and video. That way a student can check out a branch, see what code we've added, then I explain the code that was added in that branch. Then students learn to write that code on their own, use it in their own app, and move forward. When students go to the next branch, we talk about what's been done in that branch.

    As far as the technologies for actually building the apps, we’re using Android Studio which is Google's recommended IDE (integrated development environment). The Android framework is really powerful, so we don't have to incorporate a lot of other libraries, although I do have a few select Android-specific libraries that I'm teaching

    How long is this Android program going to be?

    This course is delivered online, at a student’s own pace, so it could be anywhere from 12 to 18 weeks if they devote 10 hours per week. There are deadlines, but one student could finish more quickly than another student, based on how much time they spend working on it.

    What sort of interactions will these online students have with instructors and staff? Are you going to be delivering live lectures or pre-recorded videos?

    Students will be taking the course through an online learning management system (LMS), and there will be detailed write-ups accompanied by screencast videos. Students will be watching me code, watching me explain the code, running the app using the IDE, and then students can see a detailed write-up that goes along with that video. You can choose to either read the write-up and watch the videos, or just read the write-up.

    What is your own personal teaching style? Do you like to let students struggle on their own, or do you like to be more hands-on and walk them through concepts?

    I'm an obsessive person, so when I learn something, I tend to go a little deeper than I probably should, so my teaching style is very detailed. Developing this course, I know that “less is more,” but I still want the student to get a foundational understanding of how the Android operating system works and how to use specific APIs in it.

    I will also direct students to great research material that talks about the task that they're trying to accomplish. Students are encouraged to read through that material, see if they can apply it to their own app, and then I will physically walk them through and show them how to set it up.

    When you just show a student something, they don't go through that struggle of making mistakes, having to fix those mistakes and then understanding what went wrong. I like to point students to a good resource to figure it out, and to learn a concept.

    When you start teaching this course, will you have TAs or mentors working with you in case students need assistance or guidance?

    Yes we will have TAs/Developer Mentors but right now I'm the only mobile development brain here.

    How are you going to assess student progress as they go through the Android course?

    First, students need to check the code into the repository that we've set up for them, so we know that they're writing their code and they're building their own project. And secondly, students have to correctly answer questions at the end of each lesson about what they’ve just learned, before they can move forward.

    Will there be a final project that you will assess to see if students are going to graduate from the program?

    Students get to build their own final project. It's going to be similar to the projects that they create during the course, but they have a little more leeway in designing it. The students are going to end up with three to four apps by the time they graduate the course, including one they designed and built themselves.

    If students want to find jobs as Android developers afterwards, is there any job placement or career advice included?

    Students can always ask me about career advice. I'm always willing to help out a good developer. However, Software Guild isn’t putting as much stress on job placement on this course as they are with the full-time .NET/C# and Java coding bootcamps.There is no guaranteed job placement with this course. The course is targeted less towards job seekers, and more towards developers with experience who want to upskill. So you're probably already in the field, working and doing Java right now. You just want to learn Android.

    What is the career goal for a student who completes the Android program? What sort of jobs will they be prepared for?

    After this course, students could get at least a junior-level position with Android, if not mid-to-senior level, if you have some previous experience.

    You’ll also be prepared to take the Google Android Developer Certification. My goal for this course is to cover everything in that certification, so at the end of this course you should be confident that you can pass that test. It costs about $150 to take the test online. They give you a couple of apps, and ask you to implement features or find errors in the apps and fix them.

    Do you think there is as much demand for Android developers as iOS or vice versa?

    It depends on who you hear it from, because I hear it both ways. I decided to focus more on iOS work early on. Google didn't review the apps going in the Google Play Store as much as Apple did, and I was turned off by that. Early on, iOS had all the market share, but now if you look at worldwide market share, Android has 80% of the mobile market, so it's definitely changing. Android is offering things that iOS isn't, like being able to write apps for cars.

    From an employment perspective, I’m approached 50/50 by iOS job recruiters and Android job recruiters. I feel like it's harder for people to fill those Android jobs because iOS is more appealing to developers. Especially with the new Swift language, it's a much more pleasant experience to develop apps than Java. I feel like the demand is the same, but there's less Android talent. So if you're deciding to learn iOS or Android first– and this is coming from a guy that loves iOS– I would consider learning Android first.

    Do you have any suggestions of resources where people can find out what Android development is like?

    Yes. Androiddevelopers.com. They have a lot of training guides. That's where a lot of the documentation for Android is too; and that's where I go when I have a question.

    Is there anything else that prospective students should know about this Android course?

    If you still consider yourself a beginner in programming, or maybe you've been programming for a couple of years and you're thinking about getting more into mobile; I would warn developers that mobile is very specific, and if you decide to learn mobile too early on, you're almost limiting yourself.

    If you haven't done something like Java, Spring, used .NET/C# before, or haven't done much JavaScript web development, I would learn those things first and then move into mobile development. If you're already a Java developer, and you already know Java, it's going to be a lot easier for you to go in and learn the parts of Android that you need to learn.

    Find out more and read The Software Guild reviews on Course Report. Check out The Software Guild Mobile Development programs.

    About The Author

    Imogen crispe headshot

    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.

  • December 2016 Coding Bootcamp News Roundup

    Imogen Crispe12/29/2016

    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 →
  • Cracking the Coding Bootcamp Interview: Software Guild

    Imogen Crispe12/5/2016

    The Software Guild recently decided to offer their pre-work course for free to anyone who is interested in applying to the coding bootcamp. We asked the Software Guild admissions team to explain the new pre-work offering, and give us some tips and hints for getting through Software Guild’s unique admissions and interview process. Find out about the written part of the process, the coding audition, and the Software Guild interview. Plus try out a mini aptitude quiz to see if coding is for you!

    Application

    How long does the Software Guild application typically take? What are the general steps that an applicant should expect?

    The initial application only takes a few minutes to complete. After we receive the application, we will contact the applicant to set a time for the interview over the phone. The next step after that would be to complete an aptitude test. After the aptitude test, the applicant will submit an essay. After we receive the essay, the applicant's file will be considered complete, and we will forward it on for review.

    What goes into the written application? What types of questions do students answer?

    The application itself is quite short. However, the essay portion of the application process involves answering the following questions/prompts:

    • Why have you chosen to learn programming?
    • Why have you chosen the bootcamp approach over other educational options?
    • What kind of learner are you?
    • Tell us more about yourself.

    We recommend a minimum of two paragraphs per question. The essay is a formal essay, so grammar and spelling are important. We also encourage applicants to let their personalities shine through the essay. It is their first opportunity to make an impression on the instructors.
     

    Does the admissions process involve a technical challenge, or any type of aptitude test?

    Yes, the Software Guild requires a quiz as part of the admissions process. Check out our small sample aptitude quiz.

    The aptitude quiz is an online quiz with a time limit of 60 minutes. Once the applicant begins the test, they will have exactly one hour to complete it. The questions relate to problem solving, attention to detail, pattern recognition, spatial awareness, and basic algebra. There are a total of 29 questions, and applicants must correctly answer a minimum of 16 in order to move forward in the process.

    We will also be conducting an audition before final acceptance is granted.  This will consist of a code-along with an instructor, utilizing skills the apprentice will have learned in the Introduction to Web Development course.

    Audition & Interview

    What happens in the “audition” part of the application process? Why is this better than the typical bootcamp application process?

    The audition is a live, but virtual, sit-down with one of our master instructors where students will be asked to work on a code-along applying knowledge from the Introduction to Web Development course.  This is not only a chance for us to see someone code live, which eliminates the ability to Google the code and submit it as their own, but is also a chance for our instructors to get a read on the individual.

    Can you give us some sample questions from the interview?

    Some sample questions from the interview are:

    • Why are you interested in doing our program at this point in your life
    • Do you have any previous coding experience?
    • Are you willing to make the time commitment?
    • How would you describe your learning style?
    • Do you consider yourself to be more of a leader or a follower?


    How can beginners get ready for the Software Guild interview?

    Beginners can prepare by doing some preliminary research about which coding language they would like. They should be ready to talk about their employment and education backgrounds, their personalities, their goals, and how the Software Guild fits into those overall goals. It is important for applicants to remain professional during their phone interview and to honor the times they set up with their enrollment counselors, just as they would an interview for a job.

    Pre-Work

    Tell us about the new pre-work. Why open up pre-work to everyone?

    Our pre-work, or Introduction to Web Development course, has been an invaluable tool for students to determine if coding and development is right for them before they have the monetary and time commitment of the full bootcamp. Our plan is to move the pre-work to the beginning of the process, before someone even applies, to allow them to get their feet wet and decide if coding is right for them before they go through the entire application process.  This will be free and available to anyone because you never know who will have an aptitude for coding!

    What does the pre-work curriculum cover and how long should it take?

    The pre-work includes HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Git, and it helps students form a strong foundation before beginning the program. It should take between two to eight weeks depending on how much time the student can dedicate weekly.

    Can someone be a complete beginner before starting the pre-work? If not, what are a few resources that you suggest applicants use before Day 1 of pre-work?

    Yes, it is possible, but it requires focus, dedication, and determination. One resource we suggest for complete beginners is Codecademy.com. There are free courses available, and it is a user-friendly site. It is important for students to understand the type of work they will be doing in the program before they begin it.

    How well does the pre-work prepare students for the application/audition process? How likely are they to be accepted to Software Guild after completing the pre-work?

    The Introduction to Web Development course should provide all of the knowledge a student would need to pass the audition and start the bootcamp.  We do not know how the acceptance rates will be for this new process, but if they complete the Intro to Web Dev course and are ready to do the code-along, they are likely to be accepted unless any other red-flags are present.

    Getting Accepted

    How does your team evaluate an applicant’s future potential? What qualities are you looking for?

    We evaluate based on motivations, past experiences, and professionalism. We look for students who are ready to dedicate the necessary time and focus to completing the program and are not just interested in coding because they heard it can be a lucrative career option. We want students who are passionate and enthusiastic. Students who enjoy working in groups and solving problems tend to do well in the program. Prior exposure to coding and technology is also helpful.

    What types of backgrounds have successful Software Guild students had? Does everyone come from a technical background?

    We have had students from all backgrounds and age ranges excel in the program. Many of our students have not come from a technical background but have been interested in getting started or turning a hobby into a career.

    What is the current acceptance rate at Software Guild?

    Currently we are at a 25% acceptance rate from students that interviewed.

    Are students accepted on a rolling basis?

    Yes

    Does Software Guild accept international students? Can Software Guild help international students get student visas/tourist visas to do the program?

    Yes, we have had several successful international students. However, we do not assist with the visa process. It is up to individual students to make their own arrangements for visas.

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

    About The Author

    Imogen crispe headshot

    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.

  • Am I the Right Candidate for a Coding Bootcamp?

    Imogen Crispe10/11/2016

    Should I do a coding bootcamp? This is a question we hear all the time, and for good reason. As more coding bootcamps launch (not to mention the rising media coverage), you’re probably wondering, “should I jump on the bandwagon and learn to code?” A recent TechCrunch article implored you not to learn to code unless you’re ready to put in the work to be great, whereas President Obama wants every student to learn computer science in high school. So what types of people are opting for coding bootcamps? And should you be one of them?

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  • Instructor Spotlight: Corbin March of The Software Guild

    Imogen Crispe9/28/2016

    Corbin found his passion for coding in his late 20s and has worked as a developer in Minneapolis since before the dotcom crash. He always loved mentoring and with all his experience at startups and consulting, he was a great fit to become an instructor at The Software Guild’s Minneapolis campus. Corbin tells us about how he learned key coding skills on the job, why he wants to be flexible with his teaching style, and how quickly his students are getting hired with the high demand for developers in Minneapolis.

    Tell us about your background and experience before you started teaching at Software Guild.

    I’ve been in Minneapolis my whole tech career. My first jobs were startups back in the day, before the whole .com crash. I survived that and the last startup I worked on was acquired by SAP, so I became an SAP employee for a while. After that, I went on to do consulting. I’ve had a lot of different challenges, different projects. I started teaching at The Software Guild in April 2016. I finished my first cohort a week ago. It was amazing, I feel very lucky.

    How did you originally get into coding?

    I was actually a sous chef at a restaurant in my mid-to-late 20s but I knew I needed a change. I went to Japan and Southeast Asia, and tried to figure out what it was I needed to do. I came back, took some classes, and one of them happened to be an introduction to programming. I met a wonderful instructor, Mike B., who was very supportive. He helped me realize that coding was what I needed.

    How did you go on and learn how to be a professional software developer?

    I did get a Bachelor of Science degree, but I got a job first. I started at the University of Minnesota and graduated from Metro State University. In one of my classes with Mike, I asked him, “Do I need to wait until I have a degree or can I start programming right away?” He introduced me to one of his friends, and that’s how I got involved in the first startup. I worked and took classes at the same time.

    How did you become aware of the bootcamp model and what did you think of it at first?

    An old friend of mine saw that I really enjoyed mentoring and presenting. He knew Dave Clinefelter at The Software Guild. As I was transitioning from a gig, he recommended I check the school out. I sat in on a class, and before you knew it, I was teaching.

    I’d definitely heard about bootcamps on Hacker News, and people had a lot of strong opinions. I was optimistically skeptical, because having worked while I was going to school, I certainly learned more about programming from my job, than I did from my academic classes. The only way you’re going to learn to program is by programming. You have to do the work. Bootcamps are fantastic in that they make you do the work. We write a lot of code, and students get to see it in action.

    Did you have teaching or mentoring experience prior to teaching at the bootcamp?

    I had mostly mentoring experience. Once I transitioned into a senior role, one of the things I really enjoyed was working with other developers, learning and teaching new technologies, improving coding techniques, and improving the development process. As a consultant, a lot of times a client would say, “hey we’ve got a good team and we know we can do something really great but we’re not firing on all our cylinders – what do we do?” Then and now, my job is mostly helping people get out of their own way.

    What’s your background in C# and .NET specifically?

    The Microsoft stack is what I’ve been using primarily for the last 10 to 12 years. But, I’ve also used Java, Python, and PHP. So I’m technology agnostic. For the next cohort I’ll be doing some teaching in the Java classroom as well.

    What have you found is your personal teaching style?

    I’m still learning for sure, but I really want to focus on the fact that everyone is coming at coding from different angles, and to have some rigid way of doing things can really hinder people. So I try to be flexible. If I feel like you’re going a different route than I would go, but you’re making progress, then I want to encourage that and I don't want to tell you what I would do it because maybe that’s going to confuse you in the long run. I try to be flexible, give a lot of feedback early, and make sure we’re headed in the right direction.

    What’s the learning structure at Software Guild?

    We really focus on learning by doing. There are structured lectures that serve as scaffolding. That’s very important because it gives us a place to start and build from. But then ultimately, to learn that material, you’re going to have to do the work, write some code, try some things out, maybe bloody your nose on a topic or two, and just keep working at it.

    Have you contributed to the bootcamp curriculum? If so, what was your role?

    We’re pretty agile with the curriculum, so as we go through the cohort we’re noting things that aren’t working great or are working really well. Sometimes we’re able to take ideas from something that’s working well and use it somewhere else. Right now, we’re reworking our Intro to Web Development course. It’s a free online course for prospective students that will be open to the public by the end of the year.

    How many instructors, TAs and/or mentors are there? What is the student:teacher ratio?

    We have two .NET instructors, a Java instructor and a TA who goes back and forth between the two classes. In this next cohort, I’ll also float between the classrooms a little bit, so we’ll have lots of support. In the last .NET group, we had 13 grads and that was with two instructors. There were 10 students in the Java classroom so that was 10 to 1, but then you also have the TA support.

    We also have a system where anyone can book remote time with instructors or TAs outside of classroom hours. So we have TAs that are remote, and some instructors in Akron and Louisville who are available too. We’re hoping people take advantage of it because especially in the  evening when you’re at home struggling with a problem, it would be nice to have a little nudge in the right direction.

    How do you assess student progress? Do you give assessments or tests at the bootcamp? Why or why not?

    We mainly do weekly code reviews – there are assignments emphasizing  certain goals every week. Then students submit assignments via a crucible code review, and present their code to the class. Instructors go through the code as much as we can, line by line, and try to find issues early. As we’re building up in complexity, we can nip bad habits in the bud.

    Feedback also happens throughout the day. If we have a new topic, we’ll talk about it, and then work on a little lab and make sure everyone is moving forward. There are also optional quizzes. Students can take the quiz to self-assess, and instructors can determine if anyone is having a hard time. If you complete all of the assignments and have a professional attitude, you graduate.

    What happens when someone is really struggling to keep up with the class and falls behind?

    It’s definitely person by person, but right away we try to dig into the problem. If there’s a conceptual misunderstanding, we find exercises that emphasize that concept, and work on those. We book time with a TA or instructor outside regular class hours so you’re getting a little more attention. We have this idea that some big concepts just take a couple weeks for people to understand. So we keep plowing ahead as much as we can. Sometimes we find that a week later, all of a sudden that lightbulb will come on and students get it. It comes down to extra practice, extra time with the instructors, and patience. The final option would be to wait a little longer. Maybe a student needs a little more background before they’re ready for the bootcamp pace. If so, they’re welcome to study up and repeat the course.

    How many hours a week do you expect your students to commit to Software Guild?

    They are in class officially from 9am to 4pm. Most of my students were in the space between 8am and 8:30am, and then didn’t leave until 5pm; some stick around even longer. Most students are committing, depending on the week and the projects, a couple of hours a night and coding on the weekend as well. I had a group that booked a room at the library and they would get together every Saturday, which was a really nice peer support group.

    What’s the goal for a student who completes the bootcamp? What kind of roles can they get?

    We are shooting for a junior developer, someone who has been writing code for a year. There is enough experience in this program that you could safely apply for a job which requires a year’s experience with .NET or Java. But it’s a junior position, someone who knows the fundamentals, but who hasn’t used them in too many projects. Not only are employers looking for the technical expertise, they’re also looking for enthusiasm, and professionalism. Our graduates are going to be great team members as well as technical contributors.

    Do you have a hand in job placement at all?

    There is a dedicated person, Kipp, who makes contacts with employers, and tries to decide which jobs will be the best fit for students. Instructors are brought in to offer feedback on whether a student is a good fit, and if we think they have the skills for this position. I’ve had a few students use me as a professional reference, so I have employers calling, asking me about their background, and what I think of their work.

    What’s the tech scene like in Minneapolis? What sort of jobs are students getting?

    It’s an exciting time because Amazon just opened a development shop, and they are going to hire 100 developers. They recently had a meet and greet for software developers, with no press or recruiters; they just wanted to talk to software developers directly. So that was  exciting. Then there are a lot of other tech firms, health firms, like United Health Group, Medica, and HealthPartners. There’s also 3M, General Mills, Best Buy, and other companies which have all been hiring. There are many cool small startups coming, so it’s pretty fun.

    Tell us about your biggest student success story!

    One of my students went to school in Madison and decided it wasn’t the right fit. He joined the Guild and before the cohort was over, had already interviewed and found a job. We have our own employer event, where employers come in and do quick interviews with all of our students, but this was outside of that process, he had taken initiative and found a job on his own.

    About half of my recent cohort has already found jobs. Some students wanted to wait until they were completely done with their course work to look for jobs. For the others, since they had already met employers, there was an opportunity to accept positions in the last week of the cohort. A lot of people actually started the Monday or Tuesday after the cohort finished. The tech scene is out of whack right now, there’s more demand than supply.

    For our readers who are beginners, what resources or meetups do you recommend for aspiring bootcampers in Minneapolis?

    There are a lot of meetups, but they tend to focus more on the practicing professional. Off the top of my head, the only local group I know that really is beginner friendly is Girl Develop It. They have a mix of meetups, some focused on professionals with some intro to development.

    There are a ton of free online resources like Khan Academy, Codecademy, and Coursera. They all differ a bit in what they teach and how they teach it. Depending on your learning style, they can be a great place to start.

    Before the end of the year, The Software Guild will offer an online Introduction to Web Development with no assumed prior knowledge. It’s a good way to test the waters. We have an open classroom, so when potential students want to take a look, they are welcome to sit in for as long as they want to see what we do and how we do it. We want to be very open and let people get a feel for how we work.

    Is there anything else that you want to make sure our readers know about the bootcamp?

    I was very surprised by how dynamic the classroom could be, and how everyone learns from one another. It’s a very different experience than online learning. You can interrupt a lecture with a question. If an instructor sees a couple people struggling with the same material, they can pull an impromptu group together and hash it out. It’s hard to put your life on hold for 12 weeks, but if you can, I think a lot of people would enjoy the eye contact and how fast you learn when you can remove obstacles in real time.

    Find out more and read The Software Guild reviews on Course Report. Check out The Software Guild website.

    About The Author

    Imogen crispe headshot

    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.

  • Alumni Spotlight: Emma of The Software Guild

    Lauren Stewart8/4/2016

    Emma’s love for linguistics and solving puzzles led her to The Software Guild in Minneapolis. Her background in analyzing language processing tasks using a program written in Python got her curious about learning code. A former member of the Conservation Corp and former English teacher in South Korea, see how this programmer utilized her past skills to transform her career and land a junior developer role at Best Buy!

    What is your pre-bootcamp story? What were you doing before Software Guild?

    I was kind of a free spirit before enrolling in the Software Guild. I grew up in the Twin Cities area, moved away for college at the University of Wisconsin -- Madison. I majored in Classics and Psychology. Because I was studying Greek, Latin, and Psychology, my path was to go to graduate school, and I wasn't ready to do that. I came back home to Minnesota after college and, like everyone else who graduated during the recession, ended up taking an office job, which I really hated.

    So I quit, and ended up doing a lot of different things for awhile; mostly to try something new and challenging. I joined the Minnesota Conservation Corps, taught English in South Korea, and worked in a school as an AmeriCorps Promise Fellow. As a Promise Fellow, my job was providing additional support to students who were struggling and tracking that data to figure out what interventions were successful. I found that I liked analyzing the data more than doing the actual interventions.

    Did that data analytics work inspire you to learn to code?

    I found the website Quora and started reading about ways to become a data scientist, and ended up taking an R programming course on Coursera. I found both really interesting and really difficult. Around this time, through a family friend, I got a part-time internship at Pearson Vue working on a natural language processing task.

    Did your background in Classic languages prepare you for that internship with Natural Language Processing?

    For me, what I was most passionate about in college was studying linguistics and understanding how people understand language. In the internship I acted like the business analyst, so I helped to propose the model that we wanted to analyze with my experience in linguistics. Then I worked with a researcher who wrote a program in Python to analyze data using those requirements. After doing this I saw the power of programming, and knew I wanted to learn how to do that.

    How were you introduced to Software Guild?

    I had started looking at Python coding bootcamps, but I would have had to move to San Francisco, which was really expensive. I was researching bootcamps in general, and I heard about the Software Guild from some other people I served with as an Americorps Promise Fellow. Actually, in my cohort of ~200 Fellows, there were two people who had already found Software Guild. They were going to enroll in the Software Guild after graduating, and it matched my own ideas about what I should do with my future.

    What were some of the other factors that you were specifically looking for when you were researching these bootcamps?

    I knew I was initially interested in Python, and that I didn’t want to exclusively learn Javascript or Ruby. I wasn't really interested in just making websites; I was more interested in analysis or in backend work. Also, I had already moved around alot and I didn't want to do that again. I found Software Guild in the Twin Cities; and it offered two courses. One primarily Java focused and the other focused on the Microsoft .NET framework, so learning C#.

    I knew I didn’t really want to go the Microsoft route, Java was more appealing and I actually had taken a Java class in college, although it didn’t really click with me then. Also something that appealed to me about  the Java track at the Software Guild is that you use a Linux machine. I was excited about learning Linux a little bit more and diving into another totally new thing. Getting outside of my comfort zone is a big theme my life.

    Did you think about doing a CS degree?  

    I had looked into getting another four-year degree either in computer science, math or statistics. But then I thought about it, already I have two undergraduate degrees and I don’t really use either. Why should I get another one and maybe not use it? It's a lot of time and money. Going back to traditional school didn't seem like a good fit. Especially after finding the Software Guild which wasn't a crazy time or cash commitment. And at that time they had a partnership with Concordia and there was also an opportunity to transition into a four-year computer degree at the end of my bootcamp if I wanted to.

    How did you finance your tuition at Software Guild?

    I had some AmeriCorps education award money built up (If you serve one year as an AmeriCorps volunteer, you get around $5,500 to use towards education), so I used that to pay for the boot camp. Since Software Guild was affiliated with Concordia University, they were able to accept that.

    What did you actually learn at Software Guild? Tell us about the teaching style.

    One of the huge benefits to me about attending a boot camp is the accountability that you have by being present in the classroom. I don't think you're learning anything you couldn't pick up on your own through online courses, but working in the classroom, we did a lot of teamwork and pair programming. It was beneficial to growing as developer because tech is a collaborative field. I really appreciated that.

    The Software Guild is a 12-week course. You spend the first half of your time learning your core language fundamentals. For me, it was six weeks of straight up Java; no graphics, no UI, no frontend. That was a really good grounding in logic and computer science. After the first six weeks, you move on to making full-stack applications. You learn how to use a database, how to develop the front end website, and how to develop the Java program that ties it all up together.

    The hardest part of the class, for me, was tying it all together. Making these different languages work together, for example Java, SQL, and JavaScript- was tough, but it's really exciting to make it work and see the final product.  

    When you worked through certain challenges, did you have enough support from your peers or instructors?

    I was super lucky that my cohort was an amazing group of motivated people. Everyone struggled, it’s a lot of information to absorb in a short time. But I believe that the outcome that you have in a bootcamp depends on the amount of effort you put into it, and how willing are you to ask for help. I noticed in my peer group, the people who didn't fight for their own education weren’t as successful. Parts of it, especially because we were the first Java cohort in Minneapolis, were frustrating at times. But I think it worked out in the end.

    Was there a favorite project that you worked on at Software Guild?

    During the last two weeks, we separated into groups of three or four to make a capstone project. I really liked the capstone project that we did because we tried to simulate a real world problem. There were four people in our group, and we worked like a little agile development team; with our instructor as our client. We had to ask questions about their requirements, and collaborate as a team to get it done. It was fun because it wasn't structured, so it was whatever we wanted to make of it.

    What was your job search like after graduating? How did Software Guild help in that search?

    It was stressful. I invested $10,000 and I knew there wasn’t a job guarantee. Software Guild alumni are lucky because a huge benefit of attending that bootcamp is the employer network. Although since we were the first Java cohort, there wasn’t a ton of history with new employers who were looking for people with Java experience.

    I really got pretty lucky. Best Buy is headquartered in the Twin Cities, and they heard about The Software Guild, and were interested in the bootcamp model. Our entire class did a 15 minute interviews with some Best Buy staff, then the staff invited a few people for second round interviews, and I was one of them. Best Buy created two new positions for our cohort.

    Wow, that's great. Were those interviews hard?

    They were more like behavioral interviews and personality fit, focusing on soft skills. There were some technical questions. I didn't know what to expect and neither did they, so we were both feeling each other out. I know not everybody who goes into software development wants to work in a corporate setting, and Best Buy is a little corporate, so I wanted to ensure it would work for me. After the interview they ended up offering me one of the positions.

    Describe your current position at Best Buy!

    I have been with Best Buy for about seven months. The team that I am on is the Search Product team, which means we power the search bar- it’s actually very exciting. Because it was an experimental position, my position was a contract to hire position as a trial test. After about six months, just recently actually , I got converted to a full time employee.

    Tell me about your day-to-day as a developer. Are you using the skills you learned at Software Guild?

    Definitely. My job is more complicated than what we learned at Software Guild, but it's the same structure. We were using Spring MVC at Software Guild, and we use Spring MVC at Best Buy. It’s a way more complicated Spring MVC. Additionally, at my job we use an Oracle database which is similar to but way more complicated than database we used at the Software Guild. But in the end making a table is making a table. It’s the same stuff, just different complexity levels.

    I’ve been comparing the two experiences as I’ve worked at Best Buy. The first six weeks of boot camp was Java. When we moved on to learning web applications, it was like the world opened up. There was so much to learn. But we got used to it. It’s the same experience when you start your first job. You feel like, "Oh my gosh. There is so much to learn. I'll never figure it out." But you will. If you can make the first hurdle, you can make the second hurdle, and you can make the next hurdle. It's just about learning and experience.

    What was the ramp up period like at your current position?

    There was a lot of pair programming and shadowing people, which was helpful because we use a pretty complicated tech stack. It took a full day to set up all the applications that we used on my laptop. We are an agile team so every week we do a planning meeting about what stories are on deck and how many points they will take to get done. Everybody has a point capacity and they get assigned stories based on that capacity. For the first couple of meetings I had a smaller capacity, which meant I would do like three points each week, while everybody else would do eight. As time went on, I was assigned more responsibility. It was the same process as other new hires on our team go through.

    Describe your current development team at Best Buy. Do you have a lot of support?

    We have about eight developers and about eight business people. Out of the business people there’s about half women, but I am the only female developer. Everyone is extremely supportive, and our team is awesome. We are pretty conscious about creating a culture of collaboration and mentorship.

    What was your experience as a female developer at Software Guild? Any advice for other women interested in coding?

    I was really lucky in the boot camp because there were four women in our cohort, which was about a third of my classmates. And they were trying to increase those numbers. Actually, the only people that I still talk to from Software Guild are other women. They are some of my closest friends.

    I think the bootcamp was pretty egalitarian because everyone started the class saying the same thing: "I don't know anything." You realize that it’s important to just pair up and attack the problem. I think for women, you have to be very assertive, especially in a field where you are the only woman in the room. Sometimes, men and women don’t speak the same language, and you just have to figure it out; which is sometimes hard and terrible, but it's worth it in the end.

    How is your experience as a female developer now that you are in the work force?

    I think it's hard to say if being a woman in the tech industry has really changed my experience. My personality has changed; I’ve grown as a person, and become more assertive than when I first graduated college, and that has shaped my experience. Before Software Guild, I worked in the natural resource field, which is also extremely male-dominated, so I learned some of those skills earlier. Now, I'm on a team that's really amazing, and my supervisors are already empowering. I don't feel like I'm treated any differently.

    Do you have advice for prospective students thinking about making that career change into technology and coding?  

    It's been the best choice I've ever made. I was a volunteer before this job, so by moving into this career, my salary multiplied by six! It’s a crazy jump when you think about it in a purely financial way, but you shouldn't just change careers for the financial reasons. You should get into tech because it's something that speaks to you.

    My advice is to take an online course and to figure out if you must have the personal drive and interest to learn coding on your own. It's definitely not a field where people give you all the answers. You have to fight to teach yourself a lot of information. In general, I’d say if you are the kind of person who really likes solving puzzles or if you’ve ever been obsessed with Sudoku, then you probably will fit in the technology world. It's not necessarily about how intelligent you are or how “book smart” you are. It's about having drive and liking solving things.

    Read more Software Guild Reviews on Course Report. Check out Software Guild Website.

    About The Author

    Laurenstewartimage

    Lauren is a communications and operations strategist who loves to help others find their idea of success. She is passionate about techonology education, career development, startups, and the arts. Her background includes youth/career development, public affairs, and philanthropy. She is from Richmond, VA and now currently resides in Brooklyn, NY.

  • Student Spotlight: Kathy of The Software Guild

    Imogen Crispe8/1/2016

    Kathy has worked in software testing for 15 years, but realized she needed to update her skills and learn web development, so she enrolled in The Software Guild Online Program, a part-time option ideal for students who aren’t ready to quit their jobs. Kathy shares her tips for learning to code online and why she appreciates the motto, “Once a Guildy, always a Guildy.” Plus, Kathy gives us a live video demonstration of The Software Guild learning platform!

    Q&A

    Tell us about your pre-Software Guild story. What were you up to?

    I've been testing software for the last 15 years, and as development has changed and become more agile, there's a need for automation. If you want to stay in the testing industry, you need to know how to code. So I started looking at different options. I already have a four-year degree, so I didn't really want to go back to traditional school. I was looking for an online option, and The Software Guild actually worked out really well for me. I work full-time and commit about 20 hours a week to The Software Guild.

    Did you try to teach yourself to code first?

    I have. I have done proto site training and I actually did another online webinar-based class with exercises. I was able to learn the basics of C# enough that I could use some automation. The drawback to webinars is that you don’t always learn best practices.

    The company I work for does .NET stack development and I was looking specifically for something like that.

    Did you ever consider doing an in-person coding bootcamp? Did you research other online bootcamps?

    There aren’t in-person bootcamps in my city, the St. Cloud Minnesota area. The closest bootcamp would be an hour’s drive, so I would have to take a three-month leave of absence from work. The cost was also way more than I was willing to spend.

    Once I started researching online bootcamps, I realized that it can be tough to know if they’re worthwhile and valid. When I found out about The Software Guild, I found that they were associated with Concordia College, which is here in Minneapolis. Concordia actually will give credits to bootcamp students. That showed me that this is obviously a good program, so I started going through the application process. The application process convinced me even more that it was a good program.

    What was the application and interview process like for The Software Guild Online?

    When I started, I had to do a phone interview. The questions were geared towards figuring out my goals. I also had to take a test to see if I had the analytical abilities to code, and then I had to answer four questions in an essay format. It was pretty intense, but that convinced me that The Software Guild was serious about making sure that students can do the work to get into the program. They're going to make sure that we succeed.

    Once I was accepted, we were given a lot of pre-work, which was really helpful. They're going to eventually make the pre-work available to the public and applicants will have to complete all of this pre-work before they can start. They do an interview with people to make sure that they are actually ready to do the program. I can tell that they really want people who can do it. They don't want somebody to sign up, pay the money, and then not be able to actually do the work.

    What has the overall learning experience at The Software Guild been like for you? Perhaps you can give me an example of a typical day?

    When we started, The Software Guild said that they expected us to put in 20 hours per week. I made the goal to work on The Software Guild 20 hours a week at a minimum. I spend three hours a night during the week and then the rest of the time on the weekends to get the work done. There are reading materials, webinars, and coding exercises to complete.

    When I applied, they also sent me pre-work that was pretty intense; sometimes it was even intimidating. What I really like about The Software Guild is that the experience is the same as having real-world development work.

    There are times I would throw my arms up and be so frustrated because I couldn't figure something out that I spent two days on. I would go to my day job, where one of our developers would throw his arms up behind me and say the exact same thing: "Oh, I've been working on this for two whole days." It’s really encouraging to see that we’re getting a similar experience. If you don’t like The Software Guild, you’re probably not going to like being a developer.

    With your background in testing and QA, do you feel like you have an advantage or already know some of the information?

    Sort of. One of the things that I didn't expect is that you have to love living in ambiguity. My friends laughed at me because I don't typically like living in ambiguity. I'm learning to appreciate it because when you're doing development work, things change so much and you're not going to know everything. You have to learn how to find the answers. I'm learning how to develop really good skills that help me to weed through all ambiguity to get to the answers.

    How often do you interact with mentors or instructors?

    I'm meeting with a teacher's assistant twice a week, for half an hour, but they're also available almost 24/7. We use HipChat, so I sign into HipChat with other students and an instructor or teacher's assistant. If you have questions, or you get stuck on something, you can ask questions in the chat.

    Do you have one instructor who teaches you?

    When we're on HipChat, we can talk to whoever is available, but for my weekly meetings, I'm meeting with a specific teacher's assistant. That's mostly because his hours were the ones that were best suited to my schedule.

    Do you learn from the other students in The Software Guild online cohort?

    We do but there are students from Florida, Seattle, etc, so it just depends on when you're online. When I'm online in the evenings, there are maybe three or four other people on. We have classes twice a week and then the teachers and the teachers’ assistants go through the questions that we have to help us understand things.

    When do you expect to graduate?

    I'm nine weeks through, and I'm expecting to be done in December. It is pretty intense, but it's going well for me so I would like to stay with this level of intensity.

    Is The Software Guild’s online program self-paced?

    Yes and no. We have three-week units for each topic, and we have a curriculum that we have to get done by the deadline. If we finish that work before that time period, then they have additional work that they'll give us (instead of going on to the next level).

    We’re in the first cohort of this online program, so they're in a state of flux. The Software Guild team is always reevaluating and changing their approach. That’s one thing that I like about this program: they pay attention and they want this to be successful for you.  

    Okay, Kathy! Would you share your screen with us now and show us what The Software Guild Online platform is like?

    We use a program called Acatar, so I log in and see my dashboard and it shows you which instructors you can access. When you go into the class, you see navigation on the left-hand side, and within that, each topic that will be covered in the section. For example, right now we're in Section 5: Intermediate C#.

    Then there’s a section with our exercises. There we can download exercises and see required readings. And when I'm done, I can mark it as “complete,” which is nice because then I can keep track in the UI.

    We do two weekly classroom sessions, and then those classroom sessions are posted on the platform. I like that I have access to past classroom sessions.

    The Task List shows all of the lessons and readings, which I can read online or print as a PDF. I'm old school, so I still print. I can also see if I need to take any quizzes. I like this because when I start my section, I know all the work that I need to get done by the due date, can track that by checking off tasks with a green check mark, and make sure I get it done in the time period that they have allowed.

    Could you show us one of the videos that you would watch in Lesson 5?

    Sure, here’s an example of a video. Some of the videos are interviews, others are like roleplay, and others are designed for us to code along with it.

    Could you show us a quiz?

    Sure, we have quizzes that ask you questions like, "What's the proper way to create anonymous type in the code?" This keeps track of the scores, and you can review your questions and answers later.

    You meet for live training online twice a week- how does that work in Acatar?

    We get an email with a link to a live training and an instructor runs the classroom session. We can ask questions either through HipChat or we can ask questions directly in the classroom, and then they record it so that we can see it later. Then they put the recordings here in the Acatar platform.

    What does it look like to communicate through HipChat?

    All these people in green are online, and you can search through all the history. This school is called The Software Guild and they look at it as an apprenticeship. They say, "Once a Guildy, always a Guildy" so we will have access to this network forever. We can communicate with people and ask questions even once we're done with the class and they'll give us access to even more groups once we're done. I thought that was really nice because when you're doing development, it's always helpful to be able to communicate with people online and know how to ask questions and get good responses.

    When you're working on projects or assignments, do you work on them through the Acatar platform?

    We're actually using Visual Studio to do our coding work, and then once we have our coding work completed, we're using Git Bash and Bitbucket. Then we use Jira to track issues, and Crucible to submit code reviews.

    That process is the same process that you use when you're actually in a development environment. At my current company, we use Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server. It's really nice. They're teaching us the process that we would be experiencing once we get out into the real world.

    Do you have a favorite project or assignment that you've worked on at The Software Guild?

    I don't know if I would say it's a favorite, but it was challenging! This is another thing, for the first set of assignments they gave us, they had us create the logic for 100 methods. They had written unit tests for each of these methods. We used these to validate our code was working. When they passed, we knew we had succeeded. This was to teach us the basics of C#.

    The Software Guild had created a battleship program where they created the business logic behind the UI and had completed unit tests. Then we had to create the UI portion to make the game work. That seems like the real world – you're never going to go into the world and start from scratch. You're going to be using someone else's code. They were teaching us how to learn how existing code works and then how to work with it.

    How long did you have to do this project?

    We had three weeks to do this project, to get it initially submitted for code review and then another three weeks to have it completely done and considered meeting their expectations.  It's a lot to get done in that period of time that they've given us, but it is doable. It's just a lot of work.

    What's been your biggest challenge so far at The Software Guild Online?

    I think the biggest challenge is getting overwhelmed but not letting the overwhelmed feeling stop you. We were warned that this feeling would be one of our own worst enemies; but that really encouraged me to start coding something at the point when I felt overwhelmed.

    The other challenge for me is working full time and doing The Software Guild. I have to be really dedicated to making sure I'm putting in the time that I need to get the work done. I saved all of my PTO for the year so that I could do this. If I need extra time for school, I take time off of work, but one of my biggest challenges is still learning new things and making sure that I'm putting in the same effort at work.

    What are your plans after you graduate. Are you hoping to stay with the same company in a different role?

    I am hoping that I'll be able to stay with my current company. We do web and software development, so I would love to start more development work and software testing projects. I have talked with my managers and they're pretty excited about it- they think it’s a great idea.

    What advice do you have for people who are considering taking an online coding bootcamp like The Software Guild?

    I think that the most important thing is to understand what you're committing to and make sure you can commit time to this. The program works better if you spread your learning over a week instead of trying to cram it all into one or two days.

    Also, when the school gives you work to do ahead of time, make sure you do it! Pre-work will only help you. And try to make connections with people within your program. My best advice is to be dedicated to getting the work done because being online, you really have to push yourself. I really, really like the program, and it is hard work, but it's worth it.

    Find out more and read The Software Guild reviews on Course Report. Check out The Software Guild website.

    About The Author

    Imogen crispe headshot

    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.

  • July 2016 Coding Bootcamp News Roundup + Podcast

    Imogen Crispe8/1/2016

    Welcome to the July 2016 Course Report monthly coding bootcamp news roundup! Each month we look at all the happenings from the coding bootcamp world from new bootcamps to big fundraising announcements, to interesting trends. This month the biggest trends this month are initiatives to increase the diversity in tech, some huge investments in various bootcamps, and more tech giants launching their own coding classes. Read below or listen to our latest Coding Bootcamp News Roundup Podcast!

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  • Instructor Spotlight: Austyn Hill of The Software Guild

    Imogen Crispe7/20/2016

    Austyn graduated from MIT and worked for Microsoft for three years before joining the Software Guild as a Java instructor in Louisville. She is now dedicated to enhancing the tech scene in her hometown, and loves passing on her passion for coding. Austyn tells us about the different coding skills you gain at college versus a coding bootcamp, why she uses llamas as examples in her teaching, and how the Software Guild continually iterates on the curriculum.

    Q&A

    What is your background and experience before you started working at the Software Guild?  

    I was at MIT from 2001 to about 2006 and graduated with a computer science degree. It was a pretty awesome experience. I got into computers because that's what I really enjoyed the most there. When I graduated I got a job as a software developer engineer at Microsoft on the PlayReady Team and moved to Seattle. I did a bunch of test and architecture design for their DRM manager Playready, stuff that worked in Silverlight and Xbox.

    I worked at Microsoft for about three years, when my mom got sick, so I decided to come back home to Louisville. She's doing great now, but at the time it was a fairly scary diagnosis. When I got back, I was self-employed for a while. Then I got a job at a shipping tracking company called SMC3 where I worked on their Java web services and applications.  

    I also started to get very involved in the Louisville tech community. I worked with local meet-up groups, I helped found Louisville Makes Games, I volunteered at CodepaLOUsa, and worked with Girl Develop It Louisville.

    I had started looking into mentoring with Code Louisville, but they weren’t interested in server-side/back-end mentors at the time. Then I heard that the Software Guild was looking for Java people, and I love Java. I was not entirely sure about switching to full-time teaching because I love development, but I really wanted to help grow our local tech industry. So we started talking, and they made a good case, so I started there in August 2015.

    Did you already know how to code before you went to MIT? Had you taught yourself?

    Yes. I knew some HTML, and I had fiddled around on my TI83 as a kid – I used to program choose your own adventure games. But I didn't know Java or anything like that. When I got to MIT I was a little intimidated at first because you get all these people who've been coding since they fell out of diapers. But most of them were always very interested and happy to share their knowledge so that was good.  

    Having done a computer science degree, did you feel you needed to be convinced of the effectiveness of coding bootcamps when you first heard about Software Guild?

    Not exactly. I've met people who are threatened by coding bootcamps, which I find strange because we're in an industry that also loves the stories of the self-made coders who have taught themselves.

    It's a different approach from college, and doesn’t produce exactly the same result. While I love my breadth of knowledge from MIT, as a junior developer, I didn't have as many job-ready skills. We didn't really cover source control, or MVC models. We spent a lot more time on algorithms, how to build an operating system, and fundamental architecture. That gives you a nice understanding of how the pieces fit together and the problem-solving attitude. But at the same time, you don't use any algorithms research for at least the first five years of your career.

    What’s your specific background in Java?

    I worked in Java WebServices at my last place, some of my own personal projects have been in Java, and then we also covered Java at college. I’ve worked in a few other different languages too. We used mostly C at Microsoft, with some .Net and SQL Server, and then I used SQL Server when I was self-employed, and SpringMVC and MySQL Server at SMC3.

    In your role as the Lead Java Instructor, how do you contribute to the bootcamp curriculum and how do you iterate and improve on it?

    We're constantly going back and forth on what the new things are coming out because there is almost always new tech. We ask ourselves “is this something that we want to include into our curriculum?” Because we only have 12 weeks, we know if we introduce something new, we will have to take something out.

    We also always talk about what are good examples that have worked in one class that we want to incorporate permanently into the curriculum. We have our curriculum director who is the main manager for all that, then we work with Learning House to finalize everything. But we constantly read over, edit, write, and can always propose new ideas.

    Do you ever come across situations where you noticed something about the curriculum while you're teaching and feel that you have to alter or change something on the fly?

    While presenting the curriculum itself, we always have slides and notes that are set in stone regardless. Every once in awhile, we'll change it up a bit. We have personal discretion as to what examples we give. The long-term goal for the bootcamp is to develop full-stack web applications with MVC and a CRUD application. I generally talk a lot about llamas because my family has a farm with a small llama herd. Those come into a lot of my personal examples which is a bit different from the other instructors! But the general trajectory stays the same.

    What’s your personal teaching style? Do you prefer to do more lectures or let people get stuck and then help them?

    I like to do lectures just because I want to make sure we have a visual representation that we can refer back to. I like to get students involved, get them up in front of the class, draw on the whiteboard, and make sure they're talking to each other. We have warm-ups most mornings, then depending on how much trouble the cohort is having with a concept, I might go back and do more on that concept. In the warm-ups we do some pair programming, pair design, and individual implementation.

    The hardest thing when I first started teaching was getting used to leading students down the hard path first, before showing them the easy way – because you really want to make sure they understand how something works. If you can't understand why it's working, then when it breaks, you're not going to understand how to fix it.

    We also want them to learn how to ask the right questions. We have a question template which says "Tell me what you expected to do, what you're actually doing and how that's different from what you expected it to do.” You don't have time to sit there and get stuck on a problem for hours.

    Are you the only instructor teaching Java or you have TAs who help you as well?

    I'm the only Java instructor here in Louisville. And then we have one other .NET instructor here. We're only two cohorts here. Akron has a few more instructors each and the Minneapolis campus has three main instructors – two .NET and one Java.

    How many students do you usually have in the class or cohort that you're teaching at one time? Where do they come from?

    Here in Louisville our average is between five to eight people at this point. We've not crossed the double digits. It's always really good. Unfortunately for me, because Java is not the most popular language here in Louisville, most of them end up going back to where they came from. It's always a bit sad. We have a lot more local students taking .NET but we have a slightly higher .NET job percentage here in town, so most locals end up going .NET side.

    What hours do students usually put in each day and each week?

    Class time is from 9am to 4pm or 4:30pm every day except for weekends. Typically I see students put in at least 15 to 25 hours during the week.

    Do you guys give assessments or tests to see how students are progressing through the course material?  

    Yes we have several. We have a mastery project in week 5 where students show us that they've mastered a lot of the language specifics, structure breakdown, problem-solving techniques, and how to develop a console application for that. Then we move into web, and work on individual mastery projects for the MVC breakdown, where students can demonstrate their front end skills, and make websites interactive between the server side and client side. Then there is also a database modeling project to show they understand how to structure and connect databases.

    The last portion of the bootcamp is a team capstone project where they design and build a full stack application from scratch in teams. They have to use Agile development methods, set up sprints, have an iteration plan with their user stories, and get that approved.

    What happens if students do the mastery project, but they're not getting the material?

    It depends. We've had some students who just aren't interested in doing the work in which case we have to talk to them. Students must pass a professionalism and a communication component to be able to graduate. As long as they are in good standing in that respect, we will continue to work with them – so they can come back and repeat certain aspects of the course. Students can work with me or one of the other instructors to make a structured plan of what they need to work on in order to graduate, and perhaps work on an individual capstone project. As long as students do that and continue to be professional, continue to communicate, and ask questions effectively, then we'll work with them on campus until they are ready to graduate.  

    How are you are approaching job placement at Software Guild?

    For the first eight weeks we encourage students to just concentrate on the code – if you learn it, jobs will come. Then once they have a certain amount of mastery, and can verbalize their understanding about what's going on, we have employment network managers who specialize in helping the students judge their job trajectory. If they love front end more, let's look for those kind of opportunities. If you're loving backend more, we’ll help you find that kind of job.

    We also have a job fair in week 10 where companies and recruiters come on site to talk to the current students. Last time we had some employers come in to help students with mock interviews. In the last few weeks, I start asking students more technical interview questions, because knowing the tech and being able to explain the tech, are two separate skills.

    We keep in touch with students as they start looking at different jobs. I try to make sure they know, especially in the first couple of years, that while money is great, a mentor and a great junior development program in a company is worth its weight in gold. That's going to be the best payoff for them.

    What’s the tech scene like in Louisville? What sorts of companies are hiring developers?

    We have several. UPS, Zirmed, Papa John's, Humana are our big ones. There's a growing startup scene. SMC3, where I worked previously, ended up hiring one of my first graduates and loved him. We have our fingers crossed because Google Fiber is looking at our city, so we’re really hoping that will open in the next 18 months

    What sort of roles are students prepared for when they come out of Software Guild?

    We aim for Junior level web developer type roles. Depending on their passion about certain things, we'll also counsel them and have them work towards specific jobs like front end. But our main thing is to get them job-ready for junior level web development, which provides them a larger versatility. With most juniors, you're hiring them for their passion and quick learning skills, not for their backlog of experience.

    Who is the ideal student for Software Guild? Are you looking for people with a bit of experience or what kind of attributes?

    A little experience helps, because the more understanding you have coming in, the more likely that you can concentrate on higher level concepts and learn new languages. The main skills needed are problem-solving, pattern matching, identifying common elements, being able to break down large problems into smaller problems, then being able to solve those. Being able to put in a lot of effort but also knowing when to ask for help. Being able to understand your own pace requirements, and being able to take care of yourself. I have a lot of people burn at the candle at both ends. You can only do that for three or four weeks before you just hit a rock wall.

    I don't think experience is necessary. I've had people who come in with next to no experience, but they're really passionate, so they've done great. That's the other thing – being excited enough to identify new tools and then going, "What else can I do with this?” You don't want to just follow a pattern. You want to sit there, identify the pieces and figure out different ways to use these tools.

    How does the application and the interview process work to make sure that these kind of students are going to get through the program?

    First of all our enrollment team starts talking to people. We have a test for applicants which tests pattern matching and problem-solving skills, and some basic math-based stuff. That’s just to indicate aptitude, it’s not necessarily a cutoff. After that they have to write an essay which is graded by all of the instructors. Then there is a phone interview if we really want to talk about what the applicant’s motivation is and why they want to do this program.

    After that, there is the intro to web development pre-work that they have to complete before they can actually come to the in-person cohort. It’s good because it gives them an introduction to what coding is like, problem-solving and hitting deadlines. Throughout the pre-work they have access to a chat room with all the instructors and TAs. After the pre-work, some of them come and do the full program, but others realize they don't like sitting in front of the computer all day. And it's good to have that happen before they get in person because that's awful to have people hate it once they get here.

    What resources or meetups do you recommend for aspiring bootcampers in Louisville?

    We actually have a whole bunch. The one I help co-organize is our Java User Group, which meets about once a month. We have a .NET group which is pretty great and also meets once a month. Our Indie Game Development group is also pretty cool, and they do game jams quarterly and meet every other Sunday. There's also a Haskell meetup, the Software Engineering Group, and the JavaScript night at Louisville Makes Games’ co-working space WarpZone.

    Everybody here in Louisville is pretty excited about anybody who shows up to a meetup. It's okay to go and meet people and ask questions because if anything, people here in Louisville love to talk about tech. Even if you've never coded you can just meet really passionate people.

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

    About The Author

    Imogen crispe headshot

    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.

  • Which Coding Bootcamps Have Been Acquired?

    Liz Eggleston5/13/2016

    Since the first bootcamp acquisition in June 2014, we’ve seen several bootcamps acquired by for-profit universities and even other schools. These acquisitions and consolidations should come as no surprise. With rapid market growth in the bootcamp industry, for-profit education companies are beginning to take note. And as existing coding bootcamps think about expansion, consolidation through acquisition is certainly on the horizon. We’ll keep this chronologically-ordered list updated as bootcamps announce future acquisitions.

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  • 16 Coding Bootcamps with Free or Affordable Housing

    Imogen Crispe2/15/2017

     

    A coding bootcamp can propel your career in tech to new heights, but that often means quitting a job, uprooting your life, or moving to a new city. Maybe you’re moving to a new city to become a developer and need a short-term housing option. Or perhaps you’re an international student without credit history. Regardless of your background, funds can become tight when committing to a full-time, intensive bootcamp, and suddenly expenses like rent and food can be stressful. Luckily, there are coding bootcamps that make housing easy.

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  • August Coding Bootcamp News Roundup

    Harry Hantel9/3/2015

    Welcome to the August 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!

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  • August Bootcamp News Roundup

    Liz Eggleston8/29/2014

    Welcome to the August 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!

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  • Meet David, a software development manager who LOVES hiring junior devs from bootcamps.

    Liz Eggleston2/20/2014

    David Basarab is a hiring manager at Cinemassive in Atlanta who works with the Software Craftsmanship Guild to hire talented .NET developers. Find out what he's looking for in a junior developer, how his relationship with SWCG is structured, and why he sees bootcamp-grads better prepared for his workforce than even recent college grads. 

     

    Tell us about Cinemassive. What does your company do?

    Cinemassive is a visual solution company that primarily sells video walls to corporate and government agencies so they can visualize their data better. Our primary use cases are conference rooms or if you think about NASA’s command and control center. Each problem is slightly different for each of our customers- we have software that we customize to their needs.

     

    What is your role at Cinemassive?

    I’m the software development manager, and as a result, I’m a direct hiring manager.

     

    When did you hear about SWCG? What attracted you to them?

    I knew their founder, Eric, before he started the guild. Eric was an ex-director of software development and I’ve been a software development lead, so we both knew the problems with college graduates- they don’t learn the right lessons. The bootcamps, and the Guild in particular,  teaches the right lessons. The proof is in our hires- We actually hired someone from SWCG, Anna, and she’d worked out tremendously. She came in right off the bat and was starting to contribute very quickly. She’s been very valuable to our team.

    If you can write code in a maintainable way, then you’re extremely valuable to me. One of the biggest problems is that a lot of people can write code, but you get to a curve where you can’t ship anymore because you’ve written code in an un-ideal way. The Guild teaches the right way from the beginning, so students don’t have those bad habits.

     

    On your site, I noticed that Cinemassive is generally looking for CS degrees, or even a masters in CS. How do bootcamp applicants compare to others from a CS background?

    In my opinion, I think they’re equivalent. I’ll actually put applicants who went to a bootcamp higher than someone potentially coming out of college. I know that Eric tests intelligence to make sure the students have the capability to write software. Also, it’s an intensive 13 week course which is similar to working for 12 weeks- I’m a believe that you learn more from working than sitting in a classroom all day. They’re not just committed from 8-5, they’re committed afterwards as well. You have to put in those extra twenty hours a week, or else you’ll stay stagnant. Someone with a nice degree from a nice university may not have the right attitude to write software in the way it needs to be written and agile enough to support our business.

     

    Do the bootcamp graduates that you hire start as interns with Cinemassive?

    They’re full on in the team, we call them Junior Developers. I don’t believe you have to work for X number of years to be promoted. Once you’re doing the skills of the job, I’ll give you that job and the money that goes with it. We have five levels of developers. The woman, Anna, who we hired from the Guild, came in after Christmas Break, then went into full-blown testing. She’s done a better job at QA than our other full-time QA person. She has a very methodical point of view; she doesn’t let anything slip by. And she’s only been in the software world for 13 weeks- before that, she was teaching English in China and nowhere near the software world. Eric also teaches the students communication skills, which is something that college graduates may lack, and teaches them to conduct themselves professionally.

     

    What is the starting salary for a junior developer?

    For junior developers, they start at $50,000. The next tier is $60,000. Then mid-level engineers will be paid around $80,000, and seniors are $100,000. We’re taking a little bit of a risk on junior developers, but we quickly move them up if they’re working out, within 6-12 months.

     

    What is the hiring process like? Is there any interaction with students throughout the camp?

    In the Guild, you pay to be a member, so you get first choice in hiring. Eric will usually give you a quick assessment of the student- he’s a very good judge of talent. A good bootcamp will have an instructor who interacts with the hiring partners, because you don’t want students in a role that’s not right for them. I was looking for a QA person and software engineer- a bridged role. 2 or 3 weeks from the end of the program, we interviewed Anna over Skype.

     

    Do you recruit from any other bootcamps?

    No, there aren’t any other .NET in the Atlanta area. Actually, the owner of our company is looking into getting Eric space to open a SWCG here in Atlanta. His methodology is better than some other bootcamps and he teaches .NET and Java, which is unique. He gives students rockstar fundamentals.

     

    In addition to paying the membership fee to the Guild, did you also pay a recruiting fee when you hired Anna?

    We paid an additional $5,000 that went back to the student.

     

    What are your new hires working on now?

    They’re mostly writing automated tests right now. It’s a really important job, but it’s also a great way for someone without a ton of experience to cut their teeth without becoming too overwhelmed.

     

    Does it make a difference to you as a hiring manager that SWCG is accredited in Ohio?

    Nope, not a huge difference. I’m looking more at the student- are they smart and can they get things done? I can teach certain things, and I know that I’ll have to teach someone from the Guild some things, but I’m willing to make that investment. You can find some really good talent that makes your software and business sing, just by teaching a little bit. Too often, companies get caught up in years of experience rather than noticing that a person is really bright. You can’t teach smart. And anyone coming from the Guild is smart. Once we have room for a next junior developer, the first place we’ll go is to the Guild.

     

  • Eric Wise of Software Craftsmanship Guild on Accrediting Coding Schools

    Liz Eggleston2/14/2014

    With the recent attention on coding bootcamps in California and pressure to comply with the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education, we wondered if any coding schools in the US had gone through this accreditation process and what it meant to them. Turns out, the Software Craftsmanship Guild took the steps to become regulated by the Ohio State Board, and they think it's important that other schools comply as well. 

    We talk with Eric Wise, founder of the SWCG in Akron, Ohio, about his .NET bootcamp that's helping to fill open tech jobs in the Midwest, the importance of working with your state's regulatory agencies, and exactly what it means to be a "compliant" coding school. 

     

    Tell us about Software Craftsmanship Guild and how you got into the coding school space.

    I was a Microsoft .NET developer for many years, and had worked my way up to being a director of application development for an insurance company. When we went to hire, it didn’t matter what was going on in the economy, people who knew what they were doing were impossible to find. In Ohio, we have Ohio State, Akron U, and other big colleges, so we were trying to hire college students, but they never learned how to hook everything up together in their undergrad. Talking to these college students, I realized that they were teaching the same things they taught 20 years ago. A lot of companies were responding to this by not hiring junior level developers anymore. So when the market started heating up, the only option for those companies is to poach each other’s employees, which ends up driving salaries way up. Small businesses can’t afford to hire senior people anymore, but no junior people were being trained, so a lot of companies were stuck. With all of these problems and people not being properly trained, we had to start training employees ourselves. I successfully trained and placed several non-technical staff members at my company into technical roles. Between that and having worked with people in my career without CS degrees, I realized that the degree isn't necessary and that I enjoyed teaching people more than I enjoyed doing the work myself.

     

    Do you recruit for your school from universities in Ohio?

    Nope, that was most shocking to me. About half of our students come from out of state. In this cohort we’ve got Idaho, Michigan, Texas, Chicago, and one from San Diego. That was a hard thing to manage when we were getting started- we started getting out-of-state interest, so we started subletting apartments for out-of-state visitors. Finding a short term lease is difficult! Now that we have local partnerships with nice apartments nearby, it’s a smooth experience for out-of-state learners.

     

    When was your first cohort?

    June of 2013.

     

    And when did you decide to start working with the regulatory agency in Ohio?

    In June, we started filling out the paperwork right away. We were in the process during our first cohort. We were working with the Akron Global Business Accelerator, a tech incubator. And they suggested we get an accreditation, so when we talked to the state of Ohio (the Ohio State Career and Colleges Board), they said we could continue operating the school while we were filing (although they would have preferred the filing be done in advance) and start teaching, because the accelerator gave us credibility. The state was really good at working with us, and saying that as long as we were in the process, we could open up.

     

    What does it mean to be compliant (logistically) in Ohio?  

    There were a lot of things we had to do for consumer protections. They reviewed all of our policies, especially around tuition payments and refunds.  We have to comply with their refund policy- originally we had a $1000 non-refundable deposit. The regulatory agency said that everything must be refundable if the student doesn’t start the class- things like that. They review marketing literature; you can’t promise someone a job. Which we weren’t doing anyways.

    We had to submit biographies for all of our instructors, to ensure that our instructors were qualified to teach the material. You have to create a course catalog. For that, they’re not really interested in the content of the catalog, but they want to make sure that whatever you tell students you’re teaching, you’re actually going to teach.

    We had to put up a surety bond to reimburse students if we happened to go out of business in the middle of the cohort. If we make any major changes in the curriculum, we’re required to file that change with the state. Most of this is about consumer protection. The things they asked us to do, in the age of diploma mills and fly-by-night cosmetology schools, was logical.

     

    Do your instructors have to have education degrees?

    No, but they have to be qualified in their field. This is a place that I’ve been really aggressive on the forums. I know that a lot of the bootcamps hire students as their TAs- we do not. We have a policy that you must have at least 10 years of experience in the field, or you’re not allowed to teach here. If you’re paying that amount of money for a bootcamp, you want a professional teaching the class. We have two and a half teachers. I’m the .NET instructor, Eric Ward runs the Java cohort, and Sarah Dutkiewicz is a generalist instructor.

     

    Why do you think it’s important that other schools become accredited or compliant in the US? What do you think about the tension between the regulatory agencies and the fear of “stifling innovation?”

    I think being compliant outweighs that fear. When I talk to potential students and employers about this program, the first thing I get is: “Twelve weeks? That sounds too good to be true.” I feel that regulatory bodies actually help us with our legitimacy. Anything that protects the consumer, I’m all for. I see new bootcamps popping up every week- some are popping up that are a lot of money for part-time instruction for 9 weeks.  In my experience, there’s no way you’re going to become a professional developer in that amount of time. I think oversight is good and will shake out pretenders from legitimate businesses.

     

    How long did it take to become compliant with the Ohio State Board and how much did it cost?

    It took 60 days. We did have our lawyers involved, and with the cost of the surety bond, the process cost about $25,000 here in Ohio.

     

    The Guild does not guarantee jobs, but have you found that you’re able to place your graduates more easily because you’re compliant?

    To be honest, our companies don’t even care. The biggest selling point is that we put a junior developer in front of them and they can actually do things. There’s such a demand for people who can actually do the work. A lot of companies tell me that when they hire out of college, it takes months to ramp them up. The companies hiring our graduates are not really looking at college grads anymore, they’d rather hire our graduates because they’re productive in the first 30 days and it’s less risky.

     

    Do you place students mostly in Ohio?

    We are, but we have a hiring network around the country. Because most of our hiring network is built through our professional network, so most of our companies are in the Ohio region. We’ll work with anyone- we just want to get people employed.

     

    Tell us about the Ohio tech scene!

    It’s exploding. The Midwest has a problem, because for so many years here when companies weren’t hiring Junior Developers, all of the talent was going out to the Coasts. So now that there’s an explosion of demand, we don’t have people to fill the roles. I don’t think Ohio is alone- if you talk to people in St. Louis or Detroit, you’ll hear the same thing. There’s been a big brain drain to the coast. Plus the standard of living is great. We place students from Chicago who are working in Ohio- every one of them comes back to me a week later and they’ve found an apartment in the center of the city for $600/month, which would be a $2000/month in Chicago.

     

    Why .NET and Java instead of Ruby?

    If Ruby becomes the #1 desired language, we’ll start teaching Ruby. But if you look at job sites, .NET and Java combined are so much more in demand than Ruby jobs.

     

    Want more information about the Software Craftsmanship Guild? Check out their school page on Course Report!