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We Can Code IT

Cleveland, Columbus

We Can Code IT

Avg Rating:4.68 ( 47 reviews )

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Recent We Can Code IT Reviews: Rating 4.68

all (47) reviews for We Can Code IT →

2 Campuses

Cleveland

50 Public Square, Suite 200, Cleveland, OH 44114

Evening coding bootcamp for working adults.

Course Details

Financing
Skills Fund, Climb
Payment Plan
We offer several payment plans, including in-house financing options, loans through Skillsfund and Climb, as well as grants through multiple organizations.
Scholarship
$1,000 off if 1) You are a woman 2) You are African American 3) You are Hispanic 4) You are Native American 5) You earn less than $47,500 USD Annually.
Interview
Yes
Minimum Skill Level
Must know computer basics like typing, using the internet, etc.. Must pass entrance assessments and interviews.
Placement Test
Yes
Prep Work
We recommend trying out codecademy.com to see if programming is right for you prior to enrolling.
JavaScript, .NET, HTML, Git, C#, SQL, jQuery, CSSIn PersonFull Time30 Hours/week26 Seats

Course Details

Financing
Skills Fund, Climb
Payment Plan
We offer several payment plans, including in-house financing options, loans through Skillsfund and Climb, as well as grants through multiple organizations.
Scholarship
$1000 discount if you are a woman, African American, Hispanic, Native American, or have a household income below $47,000.
Interview
Yes
Minimum Skill Level
Must know computer basics like typing, using the internet, etc. Must pass entrance assessments and interviews.
Placement Test
Yes
Prep Work
We suggest all students try programming out for free prior to joining us. Codecademy.com is a great place to start.

Columbus

2645 North High Street, Columbus, OH 43202
JavaScript, HTML, Git, Java, SQL, jQuery, CSSIn PersonFull Time30 Hours/week26 Seats

Course Details

Financing
Skills Fund, Climb, in-house
Payment Plan
We offer affordable payment plans and multiple financing options.
Scholarship
$1000 Diversity grant to women, people of color, and anyone earning $47,500 or less annually.
Interview
Yes
Minimum Skill Level
You should have tried out coding -- our free learn to code events, online (codecademy.com), etc. Must pass our assessments and interviews.
Placement Test
Yes
Prep Work
We ask that you get at least a taste of coding prior to starting class. Codecademy.com is a great resource.

Same as our full-time course, but Monday - Thursday evenings for 22 weeks. This option is for busy adults.

Course Details

Financing
Skills Fund, Climb, in-house
Payment Plan
We offer affordable payment plans and multiple financing options.
Scholarship
$1000 Diversity grant to women, people of color, and anyone earning $47,500 or less annually.
Interview
Yes
Minimum Skill Level
You should have tried out coding -- our free learn to code events, online (codecademy.com), etc. Must pass our assessments and interviews.
Placement Test
Yes
Prep Work
We ask that you get at least a taste of coding prior to starting class. Codecademy.com is a great resource.

Course Details

Financing
Skills Fund, Climb
Payment Plan
We offer several payment plans, including in-house financing options, loans through Skillsfund and Climb, as well as grants through multiple organizations.
Scholarship
$1000 discount if you are a woman, African American, Hispanic, Native American, or have a household income below $47,000.
Interview
Yes
Minimum Skill Level
Must know computer basics like typing, using the internet, etc. Must pass entrance assessments and interviews.
Placement Test
Yes
Prep Work
We suggest all students try programming out for free prior to joining us. Codecademy.com is a great place to start.

Review Guidelines

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3/10/2017
RICHARD JONES • Student
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11/30/2016
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Response From: Leslie Evans of We Can Code IT
Title: President
Thursday, Dec 22 2016

Dear Anonymous,  We Can Code IT is intentional about equipping our students and preparing them to strategically navigate the job search process.  We are pleased to provide professional resume services, professional headshots for LInkedin, & a dedicated Chief Career Strategist who is available to meet with every student on a regular basis and who provides in-classroom content in addition to daily web check-ins.  You are correct that coding bootcamps "can't get everyone coding jobs".  Coding bootcamps can not force students to avail themselves of all of the career services provided.  We Can Code IT has an extensive employer network and our employers are eager to interview our students.  Our stated placement rates are accurate. Students are advised to follow the recommendations offered throughout bootcamp in order to secure their desired position.  We encourage you to contact us directly so that we may be of assistance to help you find the job in tech you were trained to perform.  We do offer a MONEY BACK GUARANTEE and are eager to work with you to determine how we can be of assistance.  Please reach out to me directly at Leslie@wecancodeit.org 

10/18/2016
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Our latest on We Can Code IT

  • Alumni Spotlight: Carrie Ryan of We Can Code IT

    Lauren Stewart7/31/2017

    After finding she was the only woman in her Computer Science undergrad courses, Carrie decided to switch paths and pursue a career in Education. But she found herself drawn to software development, looking for the opportunity to learn and grow. Carrie knew that she needed to continue working while she made the career switch, so when she found We Can Code IT’s Evening Coding Bootcamp in Cleveland, she took the plunge. We hear from Carrie (on her third day of her new internship!) about her experience learning to code and how she landed her internship at United Consumer Financial Services. Oh, and We Can Code IT’s next Evening Coding Bootcamp starts August 14th in Cleveland and Columbus. Apply here!

    Q&A

    What were you up to before We Can Code IT?

    I earned my bachelor’s degree in English and my master’s degree in Education. I was kind of panicking about my English degree, thinking to myself, “what the heck am I going to do?” I realized that I didn’t really want to be a teacher, so tried roles in education administration, working for a charter school and in operations – I was mostly managing clubs, planning field trips, and working with the dean of curriculum.

    Why did you want to change career paths and do a coding bootcamp?

    I was very bored doing the same thing every day and I wasn’t learning any new skills. I also felt like my career wasn’t growing, which was very nerve-racking because I was just starting out in my career. I wanted a career where I would be constantly learning and have room to grow. My brothers are both software developers, so I started thinking about software development.

    Did you try to learn on your own before you thought about a coding bootcamp?

    I did take a little bit of coursework in computer science and took a couple of Java courses during my undergrad. I originally thought I would be a computer science major – I liked the classes but I didn’t like being the only girl there. And in my free time, I was learning Python from Codecademy.

    Did you research other coding bootcamps or did you have your heart set on We Can Code Code IT?

    I was torn between going back to school for a computer science degree or attending a coding bootcamp. When you take out a bootcamp loan, you can only get enough funding to cover the tuition for the school and not your living expenses. I’m living on my own and I did not want to move back home, so I needed to find an option where I could continue to work. Full-time programs were not an option for me. When I saw that We Can Code IT had a part-time option, that really stood out to me.

    I have a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree, so it didn’t really make any sense for me to go back to school for a 4-year degree. At a bootcamp, I could spend 20 weeks learning to code, instead of 4 years.

    Can you share any creative tips for paying for a bootcamp?

    I did use a financing partner of We Can Code IT’s to receive a coding bootcamp loan. It had a super low-interest rate and they have been really great to work with.

    What was the We Can Code IT application and interview process like for you?

    The process was pretty easy– I applied 1-2 weeks before the program started, took a logic test online, and then I went to an in-person information session and enrolled. You really don’t need any coding background before applying because they mainly test you on your logical reasoning skills.

    How many people were in your cohort? Is your class diverse in terms of gender, race, life and career backgrounds?

    Our cohort was very friendly and connected. That friendliness really blew me away because I was a commuter in undergrad, so I never really had that feeling of camaraderie in the classroom. There was a diverse range of ages– I think I was the youngest in the class at 24. There were a lot of people who were parents, and people from different economic and ethnic backgrounds. I graduated with 14 students and about half of my cohort was women.

    You chose against being a CS major in college – how has your perspective changed now as a woman in tech?

    I don’t have a full perspective on being a woman in tech because I am still new to the space, but I do feel confident and empowered after finishing We Can Code IT. There were women in the classroom who were teaching us, and I feel that was super important to see role models in tech.

    After graduating, I’m working at a company with a relatively small IT department, but half of the developers are women. I was scared about working with all men and being the only woman so I’m glad that hasn’t been the case.

    What was the learning experience like at your bootcamp – did it fit your learning style?

    I did the part-time program in Cleveland, which was Monday to Thursday from 5:30pm to 9pm while I was still working full-time at the charter school. We would start the day with a check in, in a circle. We passed around a ball, and everyone would say their name, how they were feeling, and what their goal was for the day. At the end of each day, we would do a check out and talk about what we were able to accomplish that day. Towards the beginning of the program, the teaching style was very lecture based, but it transitioned to being more project-based as we progressed. During class time, we would hang out and learn in our groups and code our final project.

    What is your favorite project that you built at We Can Code IT?

    My final project was my favorite. It was complex and our first opportunity to work in teams. There were 5 people on our team and we built an MVC.NET application for a guitar shop in downtown Cleveland. It was cool to work on this project because one of my team members owned the shop, so we got to build a real application for a real client. He wanted to create a system where the customer would log in and fill out a form for a repair. We also created a notification system for the app to help streamline the process for customers and the shop. We’re still working on some bugs but he should be able to put it live eventually.

    What are you up to now? Tell us about your new job!

    I am currently a full-time Junior Developer Intern at United Consumer Financial Services in Cleveland. (It’s my third day!)  It’s hard for me to call this an internship because this full-time internship allows me to make a lot more money than in my full-time role in education!

    The company is still doing pen and paper loan applications, and they have just recently moved their entire process online. I’m helping them move everything over into the digital realm.

    How did the bootcamp prepare you for job hunting?

    We Can Code IT’s career preparation was phenomenal. I cannot get over how good it was – it’s another reason why I’m so glad I went to We Can Code IT. We had someone on staff who was completely dedicated to helping us network, helping with Career Day, and improving our resumes, etc. I don’t think I would’ve gotten the position I have now without Cynthia Trotta’s help. She gave us the advice to connect with people online on LinkedIn and then trying to meet with them in person. I started networking on LinkedIn and connected with the Vice President of the company I work for now. He messaged me and told me that he was looking to build up his IT department and that they really wanted to bring an intern on with the possibility to grow with the company. We had a good conversation about my skills and what I could learn. I started that conversation in April and I wasn’t even close to graduating. I had an offer from this company when I went to Career Day.

    Are you using the stack/programming language you learned at bootcamp or a new one?

    I was told this will be a 3-month internship, and depending on my performance, I can grow in the role. They are throwing me into everything! I’m working with their databases and I’m helping them build their web application – so I get to work on the front-end and back-end. I’m also going to learn about the networking of their computers. We didn’t cover networking during We Can Code IT but I’m interested to learn more about how all of the computers are connected here.

    I’m working with our Senior Developer who has been developing for about 17 years and he’s been a helpful mentor throughout the whole process.

    How has your previous background been useful in your new job?

    I know that one of the reasons the VP wanted to bring me on board was because I had an education background. At Career Day, I got a lot of interest in that education background from other companies too, because they knew I had useful communication skills.

    What’s been the biggest challenge or roadblock in your journey to learn to code?

    I would say– not enough time! Now that I’m in my new role, I’ve been thinking that even though I did this 20-week program, there is still so much to learn! I think my biggest struggle has been that there’s not enough time to learn.

    But I’m continuing to learn and network. Last month I went to a startup networking event in Cleveland and I still stay connected with my cohort. We are actually planning a monthly study group to keep the connections going.

    What advice do you have for people making a career change through a coding bootcamp?

    Do at least some coding beforehand. Yes, every person has the capability to learn to code – but I feel that it is important to try it out because it may not be everyone's cup of tea. I lucked out because I found something that I’m really interested in and really motivated to learn. I had an advantage in the program because I went in knowing the terms and some of the best practices from my past CS classes. That really helped me succeed at We Can Code IT.

    To learn more read We Can Code IT reviews and check out the We Can Code IT 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.

  • Alumni Spotlight: Diane & Megan Korpics of We Can Code IT

    Imogen Crispe6/30/2017

    Like many bootcampers, Megan Korpics was first encouraged to try programming by her mom, Diane Korpics. And when Megan fell in love with coding and applied to We Can Code IT in Cleveland, her mom decided to learn alongside her! Diane was a former chemical engineer before taking 10 years to homeschool her children, so she had some experience with older programming languages but wanted to update her technical skills. We asked this mother and daughter duo what it was like learning to code together at We Can Code IT, what they worked on for their final projects, and their plans for the future!

    Q&A

    What were your education and career backgrounds before you decided to go to We Can Code IT?

    Diane: I have a Bachelors in Chemical Engineering from Texas A&M University, and worked as an engineer for an oil company in Texas. As an engineer, I used coding languages like Fortran, which was probably my favorite part of my job.  

    After eight years, I decided to stay home and raise my three daughters. When Megan was in third grade, I started homeschooling her while running payroll and taxes for my father's business. Since then, I’ve been teaching math and science at a small private school for homeschoolers for the past 10 years.

    Megan: After being homeschooled with my mom, I went to Hillsdale College, a small liberal arts college where I double-majored in English and German. I was always fascinated with literature and languages and everything about them. When I graduated, I decided I didn't want to work inside all day, so I went out West to train horses, while simultaneously substitute teaching in the school district.

    How did you each come to the decision to want to learn to code and go to a coding bootcamp?

    Megan: Mom had been after me to start coding for years.

    Diane: I just knew Megan had a really good aptitude for coding. When she was young, she was always getting 99% in her standardized math tests without studying. Even when her interest shifted to reading and literature, her math scores never dropped. But she never had any interest in math.

    I explained that coding is really unique because it uses more logic than math. It's also very much like learning a new language, which is Megan’s specialty. She's learned Latin, Spanish, and German and loves all of that. I convinced her to at least take a class and see how she felt about it; there is something so unique about coding and I knew she was built for it.

    Megan, did your mom eventually convince you?

    Megan: Even though mom had been encouraging me since high school, I thought that there was no way coding would be the right fit for me. That was my mindset for many years until I ran into a good friend (who also had a literature background) at the airport and she told me she had just graduated from We Can Code IT. She thought it was perfect for me, so I decided I actually needed to try it out. I was really missing the academic world and I tried out some free resources online, and immediately thought, "This is everything I was ever looking for!"

    I started looking into coding bootcamps. I decided to go to one here in Cleveland so I could live at home. We Can Code IT made sense because my friend had really loved it and got a job afterwards.

    Diane, how did you decide to go to We Can Code IT with your daughter?

    Diane: It wasn't a hard decision. My coding experience was ancient and I knew I eventually needed to decide on a different future. I wasn’t earning a lot of money working for a private school. I had a lot of options, but programming was the part of engineering that I loved. I didn't feel confident at this stage of life to get back into engineering without updating my skills. Since Megan was going to do it, I thought why don't I do it?

    I'm so glad I did this. I just love it. I could go from morning until night and not even look up from the computer and just be happy.

    What did your class at We Can Code It look like? How diverse was your class?

    Diane: It was very diverse. Almost half of our class was African-American and half Caucasian; and probably about half women and half men. I think We Can Code IT usually has women like me who are reentering careers after raising children, but in this particular class, I was the only older person and everyone else was around 25 to 35.

    Megan: And there were a lot of different backgrounds. There were people with military backgrounds, someone in neuroscience, and a mechanical engineer. Most people in the class really didn't have any coding exposure at all, and many did not have college educations.

    Diane, with your teaching background, what did you think of the teaching style at We Can Code IT?

    Diane: I thought it was awesome. Our two instructors were just amazing and very skilled. Being a teacher, I know how difficult it is to teach a diverse group in terms of experience, ability, and aptitude – We Can Code IT did that very, very well. They tailored the course so they wouldn't lose anybody who couldn’t keep up. With coding, you have to learn a lot on your own, doing a lot of Googling, so the instructor could stretch the advanced students, but move slow enough so that everybody could keep up. I'm very impressed.

    How much does We Can Code IT encourage collaboration? Did you do a lot of group projects, and were you working together on those projects?

    Diane: For the first two months, we did independent weekend projects. But the instructors don’t mind if you collaborate with other classmates, as long as you're writing the code and learning it. In a real job, you’ve got to figure out where to get help.

    We just turned in our last project, which is a group project that takes the last three weeks. We split into groups of four, and Megan and I were in different groups.

    Megan: We did the independent projects so that we were all individually getting the same exposure to coding, and all equally learning because we had to write all the code ourselves. But they definitely encouraged collaboration, and doing pair programming each day, from day one. We were always encouraged to ask each other for help and help each other out before asking an instructor. They want us all to be writing our own code.

    What were your favorite projects that you worked on at We Can Code IT?

    Diane: My favorite project was the final project, because I got to do a little bit of everything: the back end, databases, and also the front end. Our project, Ready Recruit, was a realistic idea that could be deployed in the real world. Users who are thinking about joining the military can use Ready Recruit, to aggregate information from the Army, Marines, and Navy websites. They can see a schedule and a checklist to decide if the military is right for them. It was a cool project and fun to work on.

    Megan: My favorite project was also the final project because I got to put everything together that I had been learning, and was thrown into the deep end to some degree. You’ve been learning the foundations at We Can Code IT, but the project lets you use new technologies that you didn't actually learn in class. It was incredibly challenging but so wonderfully rewarding to confront technologies that you knew nothing about, and then to actually see it start to work and come together.

    And honestly, I had the best team ever. It was so much fun. Our project is a site that helps people with dietary restrictions find restaurants. Two of my teammates are vegetarians, and I’m wheat-free, so we can all relate to the adventure of finding lunchtime options. Users can write reviews and look at restaurants to see which ones fit their requirements.

    What has We Can Code IT been doing to help prepare you for the job search?

    Megan: They've been absolutely wonderful. In Week One, Cynthia started introducing us to Career Services. She's just been absolutely amazing. She taught us about the interview process, how to write five-star stories, how to prepare for interview questions, and helped us write our resumes.

    We’re also able to schedule meetings and appointments with Cynthia and she is always more than happy to meet with students. She walked us through everything from connecting with people on LinkedIn, to emailing employers, to how to network. From start to finish she's been there guiding us through step by step.

    Diane: And for those of us who are lazy when it comes to networking and putting ourselves out there, We Can Code IT brings employers in at lunchtime to talk about their companies, and it’s helpful to make those connections. We also have a career day where we not only present our projects to our classmates, but also to real employers who get to see our projects. That’s a great feature that We Can Code It organizes.

    Do you both plan to apply for developer jobs now that you've just graduated?

    Megan: I’m happy to do any job that involves programming. I tend to prefer the back end so I want to look for a job where I can continue learning back end. But I definitely want to work in software development, writing code. I’m interviewing with a great company here in Ohio right now, and would accept a job offer from them hands down. If not, then I'll head to Seattle and see what opportunities are there. As long as it's coding I'll be happy working anywhere.

    Diane: I'm in a strange situation in that I am one of the few in my class who isn’t looking for a full-time job. As such, I want to find a little more flexibIlity in my career. However, I'm torn between trying to find a flexible, part-time, remote role, or going into a company and getting the training I really need to be a better programmer. That's my current dilemma, but there's no doubt that I just need to keep coding after graduation. I will continue to code whether I'm coding for a career, because coding really is my passion.

    How do you both feel about entering the tech world as women? Is We Can Code IT approaching that topic with your class?

    Megan: We talk about diversity in tech. Mel, the founder of We Can Code IT, who is amazing, gave an awesome presentation as part of Women Who Code about being a woman in the coding field. They’re encouraging more women to start participating in programming.

    Personally, I'm really excited to enter the tech field. I can't really say that the presence or lack of women in tech has been much of a consideration for me. Who knows, maybe I’ll feel differently once I get in the job. But right now it's just a non-issue.

    Diane: Being an engineer in a different generation, I was one of the few women in my field. And at my company, I was the only woman in my whole engineering department. I never even stopped to think about it.

    At Course Report we get a lot of questions from late career changers, like moms trying to reenter the workforce. Diane, do you have advice for them?

    Diane: It’s been a great experience so I absolutely recommend it. I think that part of the challenge is generational. Technology has come a long way between the young people of today and when I was their age. These kids grew up playing video games and using computers.

    So for me, it's hard because we didn't have computers until much later in my life. I can get in the back end and code very comfortably, but my challenge comes when we have to transfer files around and deploy to GitHub, then digital studio, then SQL Management Studio, then Slack, and Twitter and Facebook. It just blows my mind, and is a little daunting! I can do it, but I'm just so much slower, so it can make me feel like I'm behind. But when I’m actually coding, I'm fine.

    Megan, what’s your advice for other people who are considering a coding bootcamp?

    Megan: Having a few months of exposure to code, prior to starting We Can Code IT, was helpful. It didn’t give me any actual experience, but it introduced me to some of the basic syntax and logic I saw during the bootcamp – that was immensely helpful.

    Also, exposing yourself to code mentally prepares you, and shows you whether you like to code enough to commit to a coding bootcamp. It’s also important to be aware of how much time, effort, and energy a coding bootcamp is going to take, and being able to account for that time in your life.

    Diane: I knew it was called a coding bootcamp, and that we were going to be coding for three months, but I didn't expect as much emphasis on careers. After the first month, the career services started to get more intense, and that really is a huge commitment. It was pretty stressful, but learning new coding languages was fun. My advice is to know what you are getting into because you’re making a financial commitment, and sometimes putting aside your career for a short period of time.

    In general, would you recommend going through a bootcamp with a friend or a family member?

    Megan: You should know your own learning style. I was always a very independent learner, and I can't say that our dynamic shifted that much at coding bootcamp because we both pretty much worked on our own. There were only a few moments when one of us was particularly stuck on something and needed to bounce an idea off of each other. I would say we probably work together about as much as anybody else in the class did, even though we're living in the same house.

    But as long as you’re not inclined to rely on the other person really heavily, I think it’s a great idea. You have someone to carpool with and depend on. And you always have someone right there who can look at your code when you’re working on homework and need a second set of eyes. So little things like that are just really nice and super convenient. And it's also just fun to have a shared experience with my mom.

    Find out more and read We Can Code IT reviews on Course Report. Check out the We Can Code IT 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.

  • How to Keep Learning After a Coding Bootcamp

    Lauren Stewart4/26/2017

    Learning to code at an intensive bootcamp takes dedication and focus. And even though you’ll reach that finish line (we promise you will!), it’s important to remember that the learning doesn’t end at graduation! Whether you’re acclimating to a new technology stack on the job, or you’ve decided to add to your skillset through online resources, there’s always room to grow. A great developer's job is never done, and the learning will continue. So how do you stay on top of the ever-evolving tech scene? We’ve collected advice from bootcamp alumni and employers in our 8 steps to keep learning after a Coding Bootcamp.

    Continue Reading →
  • Instructor Spotlight: Jarryd Huntley of We Can Code IT

    Imogen Crispe1/24/2017

    Despite having a computer science degree, and almost 10 years of industry experience, when Jarryd Huntley heard about coding bootcamps, he was sold on their efficiency and relevancy. He joined We Can Code IT coding bootcamp in Cleveland, Ohio as an instructor because of their emphasis on diversity and his passion for helping others break into the tech industry. Jarryd tells us about teaching with first-hand examples, helping We Can Code IT students stay on track, and his computer game side project.

    Q&A

    Tell me about your background and experience before you joined We Can Code IT.

    I majored in computer science at the University of Akron. Throughout my college career I did internships at a small company, a medium sized company, and then at a large enterprise. Once I graduated, I was hired at that last company I was interning with which was Sherwin-Williams. From then until I started at We Can Code IT, I worked for a number of different technology companies around the Greater Cleveland area.

    How did you actually learn to code? Did you learn before you did your CS degree or during?

    It was a bit of both. I taught myself a bit of Javascript and HTML before majoring in computer science. But learning hands-on programming was in the CS program. There, I was exposed to a number of different languages, environments, and tool sets.

    How did you first become aware of the coding bootcamp model? With your CS background, what did you think of it?

    I first found bootcamps through GitHub. I was working on a project on GitHub, and I noticed one of the contributors to the project was an instructor at a coding bootcamp, and I looked into it from there.

    When I first saw the coding bootcamp model, I thought it was awesome. Sometimes they don't cover as much theory or how things work behind the scenes as a CS degree. Yet in my CS degree program, there were extra program requirements, like taking two years of a foreign language, that didn't really correlate with my career goals. Whereas a bootcamp is streamlined, efficient, and designed to teach you the most relevant information.

    How did you get in touch with We Can Code IT and start working there?

    I met Mel, the founder of We Can Code IT, at a number of different networking events around Cleveland. She suggested I come teach at We Can Code IT, and I said yes.

    I started out as a part-time substitute teacher. I still had my full-time software engineering job at a large enterprise and was teaching in the evenings. I was working a full eight hour day, then teaching for three or four hours in the evening, which was exhausting. I realized I really enjoyed this teaching thing, and decided to make the jump into teaching full-time.

    Was there something in particular about We Can Code IT that made you interested in working there? I know there are other bootcamps around Cleveland as well.

    Yes. We Can Code IT has a strong emphasis on diversity. They focus on getting women, people of color, and minorities into coding because typically those demographics are very underrepresented in IT. Having worked in a number of different technology roles myself, I've seen that first hand. I've been the only person of color in a team or a department, or the only programmer of color.

    Being able to help other people start a career in this way, even just getting the idea out there that this is a viable career path, this is something you can pursue, was always something I was a big fan of. Even before I started teaching here, I was a big fan of We Can Code IT’s mission and their focus and emphasis on diversity. That was a big draw for me.

    Did you have any mentoring or teaching experience before you started teaching at We Can Code IT?

    In high school and early college, I taught private music lessons for six or seven years. Then in my first full-time job at the Sherwin-Williams Company, I took part in a Professional Apprentice Program where I mentored computer science students. I was working with a small team of interns, mentoring them and giving them projects.

    What does your role involve as lead instructor?

    I wear a lot of hats as a lead instructor at We Can Code IT. My primary responsibility is leading a cohort. I'm in the classroom with that cohort from day one, and teaching until they graduate. Every lead instructor is teamed with an associate instructor, who is responsible for helping out the students. Aside from that, I'll occasionally run info sessions where I answer any questions that potential students might have.

    I’m also responsible for the curriculum. Every time I start a cohort I have a running document of notes that come up. For example, a student might find a slide that doesn’t quite make sense, so I’ll make a note of it. Sometimes the proposed changes are big enough that the education team will need to meet together as a group and work out how to implement them. Other times it's just little tweaks, like a different way of explaining something. If there's anything that needs changing, or any new technologies, we want to integrate those into the program. We don't just write the curriculum and then it's set in stone. We're always adjusting it. There is always something new we can integrate.

    What have you found is your personal teaching style?

    I like to tie things back into real world examples. Having worked in IT for close to a decade, I've seen real situations which make great examples for the students. I then enhance that with, "This is why we do x. I've seen when people don't do x and it turns out bad.” Or, “This will save you a lot of time and energy in the long run.”

    Another thing I like to do is, if there's a student who is on the cusp of getting a concept and I've explained it, but they don’t quite get it, I tell the other students, "If you have a different way of explaining something, feel free to speak up." Everybody learns a little bit differently and somebody might have a different way of explaining it. And that helps people understand, plus reinforces that knowledge for the students who speak up.

    That's such a cool idea. How else do students learn from each other?

    We do a lot of pair programming. Students work on exercises in pairs where one student does the typing, and the other does the talking and the driving. That's another way of reinforcing that knowledge. They're verbalizing it, hearing it, then applying that knowledge.

    What is the structure of the full-time program?

    The first nine weeks are guided instruction. It’s like a traditional classroom, with the instructor up at the front, the students work through exercises, we do group exercises and pair programming. Then the last three weeks of the bootcamp are project-based where we have the students brainstorm projects they want to create.

    What is your ideal student/teacher ratio? How many instructors do you normally have with how many students?

    It varies. Right now I think we're at 12 to 1 including instructors and TA's.

    Now you've been at We Can Code IT a little while, do you have a sense of the ideal student for the bootcamp? Is there a certain type of student who will do well?

    We obviously have our entrance criteria. We have a logic puzzle which people work through when they come to open house sessions, then we have an online assessment. It's not a pass or fail assessment, but it gives instructors an idea of the student's background.

    Some of the soft skills that we emphasize are making sure that students have a lot of support. When you're focused on a full-time bootcamp, that's your full-time job for 12 weeks. So students who have the support of their families, or have people to help pick up where they might need to commit more time, that goes a long way.

    Students need to be focused on the end goal of learning the material, completing a final project, and graduating from the bootcamp. We want our students to know upfront that they'll have high highs and low lows. You'll feel like, "Oh, I'm totally getting this," and the next day you're like, "this is too much information," and you're freaking out. All of our students go through that. Students need to be ready to really push themselves. But on the other hand, we don't want someone freaking out or feeling uncomfortable the whole 12 weeks.

    How many hours per week do you expect those full-time students to commit to the program?

    We're in the classroom with instruction from 9:30am to 3:30pm. Then we recommend studying, reviewing the material every night. And then they have projects every weekend that they work on based on that previous week's worth of material. We tell the students to expect to spend one to two hours a night during the weekdays to study, and five to seven hours over the weekends for working on projects.

    How do you assess the student progress and make sure they are keeping up with the material? Do you give assessments or tests?

    For every concept we're delivering we do “thumb checks.” I'll stop and say, "How's everybody feeling on this? Thumbs up? Thumbs down? Thumbs middle?" That gives me a gauge of how people are absorbing the information. If it's mostly thumbs up, people are feeling good. If it's thumbs wavering, maybe let's review this concept. If it's thumbs down, maybe people need a five-minute break to reset and come back to review this. We have optional homework that students can work on to refine those concepts. We also have roundtable tutoring twice a week led by associate instructors. If everybody has a ton of questions about the same material during tutoring, we know that there's something we can adjust.

    Our primary means of assessment are the projects. Every Friday during the first nine weeks, we assign a project for the weekend. It's basically the student's opportunity to apply all those concepts that we've given them during the week. Then the last three weeks of the bootcamp, the students are working solely on projects, making web applications from the ground up. Those projects are a really good gauge as to what the students' affinities are and gives them a chance to explore their skills and something that they want to produce.

    If a student is falling behind, how do you help them keep up with the class?

    They need to keep their grades above a certain point. If grades drop, we have different resources like tutoring and additional work to help the student get back on track. Sometimes it's just talking with the students and figuring out one-on-one what they're struggling with. We always make an effort to touch base with that student and figure out how we can help them.

    Are you involved in career services or giving students job advice?

    At We Can Code IT, we have a career coach who is focused on teaching students how to look for a job, how to present themselves in an interview, how to respond to an email, how to network, and how to figure out what they’re worth. It’s not just finding a job for them and saying, "Oh, you're well on your way."

    As an instructor, I'll give a lot of practical advice like, "This is what you might expect in a tech interview." I conducted a number of job interviews at the companies I've worked at, so I know what an interviewer might be looking for. I also provide real world examples of what your first day might look like or what your role in a team might be, and answer questions about tech positions. A lot of our students don’t have a background in tech and are wondering what a typical day in the life of a programmer looks like.

    We also do a lot of whiteboarding during tutoring and encourage students to practice whiteboarding a question in pairs. You might feel perfectly comfortable solving a problem on a keyboard, but even if you know the information well, it's a completely different process writing on a whiteboard. Being familiar with that process can help somebody avoid becoming overwhelmed in an interview.

    What is your goal for a student that graduates from We Can Code IT?

    We are preparing our students for jobs as junior developers. We emphasize that we're equipping them with these skills, but this is really the start of their career. We don't say, "Oh, you're mostly equipped for a job in banking." We've had students placed in all kinds of companies, all types of roles, all centered around a junior developer position.

    We Can Code IT mentioned that you're involved with a game developers meetup. Can you tell me about that?

    I help run a group in Cleveland called the Cleveland Game Developers. I do game development on the side. It's a large meetup group of artists, writers, programmers, and anyone interested in game development. We have a lot of members who work at large enterprises, or as programmers, and do game development on the side. It's a cool way to apply their skills as programmers to a different type of project. I also travel around the country to give different talks at game development conferences.

    Do you have a game or project that you're working on right now?

    The game I'm working on is a mobile game called Art Club Challenge, which teaches people to make minimalist art and then lets them share said art with their friends. I'm also co-authoring an introductory programming book for game development.

    I speak about game development at various universities and expos around the country, including this year's Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco.

    Do you ever work on game projects with your We Can Code IT students?

    Yeah. We teach C# in our bootcamp here in Cleveland, and there's a game programming language called Unity which is based on C#. So if we have time, we'll do a half a day or a full day teaching the students the basics of Unity. The students are learning C# concepts mainly in terms of business applications, and web applications, so this is an example of how they can apply it to something completely different. That's a really fun class for the students.

    As well as the Game Developers meetup, do you know of other meetups around Cleveland that would be good for aspiring beginner coders?

    In Cleveland, we actually have a number of different meetups groups. There is the Cleveland Ruby Brigade which holds hack nights where it doesn't matter if you have experience in Ruby or not, they're an open group of super friendly people, and they'll show you the basics of Ruby, and maybe you'll pair with somebody to learn about Ruby. There's a .NET meetup and a JavaScript meetup; both good places to talk with people, and learn about those things.

    We also do something in Cleveland called GiveCamp. It's like a hackathon over a whole weekend where you put a project together to meet the technological needs of nonprofits in the area. Rather than donating our money, we're donating our skills as developers and making real world changes for these nonprofits, which is pretty awesome.

    GiveCamp does a really great job of putting the teams together, making sure people are either equipped for the project, or they have people that they can learn from. It's a great experience to learn a new technology and hit the ground running. The best way of learning things is to just do them.

    Is there anything else you'd like to add to make sure our readers know what they need to know about We Can Code IT?

    As an instructor, one of the things I emphasize to all of our students is that our goal is to see them succeed. Sometimes they have a really good job and want to move to the next level, so they take a bootcamp. Sometimes they're unemployed, or an empty nester, and want to get back in the workforce. Other times, they're ready for a career change. We are ready to work with each student individually and see them succeed to the best of their abilities.

    Find out more and read We Can Code IT reviews on Course Report. Check out the We Can Code IT 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.

  • Your 2017 #LearnToCode New Year’s Resolution

    Lauren Stewart7/21/2017

    It’s that time again! A time to reflect on the year that is coming to an end, and a time to plan for what the New Year has in store. While it may be easy to beat yourself up about certain unmet goals, one thing is for sure: you made it through another year! And we bet you accomplished more than you think. Maybe you finished your first Codecademy class, made a 30-day Github commit streak, or maybe you even took a bootcamp prep course – so let’s cheers to that! But if learning to code is still at the top of your Resolutions List, then taking the plunge into a coding bootcamp may be the best way to officially cross it off. We’ve compiled a list of stellar schools offering full-time, part-time, and online courses with start dates at the top of the year. Five of these bootcamps even have scholarship money ready to dish out to aspiring coders like you.

    Continue Reading →
  • Alumni Spotlight: Lexus of We Can Code IT

    Lauren Stewart11/29/2016

    Lexus Davis specialized in technology engineering and innovation management before jumping into the tech scene. Not satisfied in her construction management position, and realizing most of the new positions she was interested in required some type of programming language, she decided to learn to code. Find out about Lexus’ experience learning full stack web development at We Can Code IT in Cleveland, why she enjoyed the bootcamp teaching style more than college, and her new application developer role at JPMorgan Chase!

    Q&A

    What was your career and educational background before attending We Can Code IT?

    I graduated from Ohio University in 2015 with a specialized studies bachelor’s degree in technology engineering and innovation management. I was doing an engineering major with a couple of different disciplines, so I combined all of that together, while also taking some marketing and management courses. After that, I came back home to Cleveland and got a job as a project manager for a 3D technology company. I was only there for a short while because it wasn’t a great fit with the intended role and what they actually had me doing. I then tried to find manufacturing or engineering jobs in the area. Everything I kept coming across had some type of technology, coding, or programming aspect to it.

    I was able to get a job at a company called Construction Resources where I was a field observer for a couple of months. I took pictures of roofers, making sure they followed specs and stayed on course with the project. I did that up until the new year and then again I was unemployed.

    How did you decide to attend a coding bootcamp?

    I kept searching and thinking, "okay, everything is related to technology. Technology is going to keep growing.” In college I took coding, and I didn't like it. I took a C# class, and I didn't like it because it was just a very bad learning environment. I originally thought I was bad at coding, but I started looking at bootcamps, and the one that kept coming up was We Can Code IT. I thought to myself, "I might as well just apply," because nobody was trying to hire me at the time.

    Looking at some of the jobs I was applying to, they wanted someone who had three to five years of experience because in a lot of the manufacturing jobs, you're working with different programs. So if you have a background in the language that their program is written in, it’s much more beneficial. I had an internship in college where the programs for the big machines we worked on were written in C++. So if you had that background and you saw these error codes come up, it would help you know what was going on. Engineering connects right into technology, so engineers have to have some type of knowledge about programming. And that's what all the employers were asking for, "Oh, do you know C++ or C# or Java?" and I would always say, "No." I started seeing that trend of needing to learn coding even if you’re not a developer, as it's overlapping a lot more within engineering.

    You mentioned taking coding classes in college. Did you use any other coding resources before you decided to go to We Can Code It?

    I tried Coursera but I wasn't good at keeping up with it. When I'm learning something brand new, I need direction, and then after I know it, I can explore it further without help.Trying to pick it up fresh, while learning online, was not working for me. I also did W3Schools to look at some HTML stuff, and that was helpful. I was able to learn HTML online because my creative side was able to do really crazy stuff. I really liked the HTML course which is one of the things that drew me to We Can Code IT – they teach the front end as well as back end, and databases.

    Did you tailor your bootcamp search for a specific language, instructor type, location or price?

    I was looking more so at location. I did C# in school, so I was familiar with some of the syntax and wanted to stick with that just because at the time, Java was completely foreign to me compared to some of the C# that I was looking at.

    What was the We Can Code It interview and application process like for you?

    First, you take an assessment test that’s about 13 questions. I think We Can Code IT is trying to see how you think. The last question, you have to write a poem. Most of the questions were basic questions involving math and your resume/ background. It wasn't too difficult.

    After that, I was told I did well on the assessment and was asked by the We Can Code IT team to come in for an interview. The initial interview is We Can Code IT trying to see why you’re interested in coding and bootcamps. We Can Code It has this focus on trying to get women and minorities into computer science. After the initial interview, if you need financial assistance, you can have a conversation about that.

    I don't know how other people went through it, but they really liked me and thought I would do great, so they held a spot for me and I came up with some cash to pay the down payment. My process was also a lot more rushed because their intro course was starting that week. So I was on a time crunch.

    What’s the We Can Code IT Intro Day like?

    You come in, you pick up your laptop, and you meet everyone in your cohort. You go over your syllabus and go through a team building game. You have to work together, so it's about 20 people coming together, who have never met each working on team building activities. Then the next week you start the bootcamp.

    How many people were in your cohort and was it diverse in terms of gender, race and career backgrounds?

    We started with 20, and then, one woman left because she knew she didn't really want to learn back end. She was really good with front end, so she decided to leave early on. We ended up with 18 people and it was very diverse. I think the youngest person was 22, and then the oldest was in their mid 50's. We had women, men, black, white, and Asian students from all over. One guy came from California, and another from Miami. Cleveland was also very well represented.

    What was the learning experience like at We Can Code IT? How does it compare to when you were learning to code in undergrad?

    At We Can Code It, it was never expected for you to know something. Between Mel the CEO and Lauren the National Director of Educational & Culture, they never jumped into a lesson thinking any of us knew what we were doing. Whereas when I was a school, it was expected that you already know some of the information that was being taught, which to me did not make sense.

    It was also a lot more sexist when I was in school because I was one of two women in a classroom of about 25 guys. So to me, our instructor, if I raised my hand, my instructor would take his time to call on me and answer my questions, but when my male friends raised their hand, he'd come right over. It just felt very cold. So when I was in undergrad, I didn't ask questions because I would feel stupid. At We Can Code IT, there wasn't ever this moment where I felt like I was stupid if I asked a question. With Mel and Lauren at We Can Code IT, it felt like a family.

    Describe a typical day at We Can Code IT.

    You come in at 9am for stand up and students would go around saying how we were doing, our expectations for the day and our goals. Then we would start with a lecture. We had two instructors, but by the end of the course we had four. One thing about We Can Code is that we had all of our slides sent out to us weekly. There would be exercises that you can build upon as the instructor is going through the slides. It wasn't listening to a lecture and then getting to work. It was more so as the lecture went along, you could build.

    I have all my notes in the programs that we basically built as the lecture went along. That was a one really, really good thing because you're able to compile information as you were reading. It is one thing to read something on a slide, but it's completely different when you type it in, and then you see it do what you need it to do. And if it didn't, you can figure out how to fix it.

    On Fridays we had a project. There were a couple of times where we had peer projects where we would work with another partner. They'd put you with someone who maybe needed a little extra help just to keep it balanced because they didn't want all the people who were super advanced working with each other. They had people who were struggling a little bit, but our group was really good at helping out each other. For pair programming, I had a great group of people that I worked with on a regular basis which was really helpful. We were all at different levels, but collaborated really well together.

    What was a favorite project that you built during your time at We Can Code It?

    Oh, I had two favorites. One of them was a banking account that I worked on with a partner. Neither one of us was the greatest at coding, but we battled through, and we got it done. I was very proud of that one because that was my turning point, especially because I think at that point, I might have had my job already, so I was getting lazy. I was really proud of it because I got everything that I needed to get on the sheet that they wanted. I got it done and that just made me know I could do this. It's going to take a lot of hard work, but I can really do it.

    The other project I had a load of fun on was a fortune teller app. For some reason, Mel the CEO really likes fortune tellers. I really don't know where that comes from, but it taught me how to use inheritance and interfaces. At first, I just did not understand those, but I got it to work the way I wanted it to by the time I presented my final project. That was probably the one I'm most proud of. You can check it out here.

    Congratulations on your new job! Tell me about your role! What was the process like in terms of actually getting the role?

    I went through a couple of different interviews – behavioral and technical, and I had to do a presentation that I thought went really well. Two weeks later, on April 1st, I received my offer from JPMorgan Chase as an application developer. I thought it was very ironic to hear the news on April 1st as I probably would not have believed my recruiter if I didn't receive the email!

    In your role now, what programming languages are you using? Are they the same as what you learned at We Can Code It?

    We use Java at my job now. One thing that We Can Code IT did help with was teaching me how to work with databases. We use MySQL, MVC, HTML and CSS because my team now, we're all full stack developers, so we do it all. There's some syntax and the naming of things that's a little different, but otherwise they're pretty similar. So it was very helpful that it wasn't a completely brand new language that I had to learn.

    Tell me about the first month at JPMorgan Chase and that ramp up period. How did it feel being in this new type of developer role?

    I feel good mainly because I came in with no expectations. The only thing they wanted was for me to get comfortable working. I'm in Corporate America now so I had to transition from the university lifestyle. It was all about getting comfortable, learning your team, learning what Agile means. I learned how to operate in an Agile team, and then got comfortable learning and understanding Java because they knew I was coming from TechConnect and TAP.

    They didn't just throw me into the woods with, "All right, this is what we're doing. This what I need you to do and I need it done by Friday." It was none of that. It was really "Take your time. Get it accumulated. Just ride up on somebody, shadow them for the next couple of days. I'm not going to be sitting right here next to you. If you have questions, ask." That's how my team is. It’s been really, really useful and I appreciate that because I was nervous coming in. At first I thought, "Oh, man. They're going to expect me to know so much." but really my company knows, "No, I know you're analysts. We get it."

    How was your transition from a student to an employee? Did you participate in additional coding networks to grow your tech knowledge?

    I applied for my position at JPMorgan Chase in December 2015 but didn’t start until September 2016. It was one of those times where I got tired of holding myself back on applications. A lot of times women will see a job and I say, "Oh, I'm not qualified for this." I told myself, "I'm not doing that anymore. I'm just going to apply. Whether they're going to say yes, whether they're going to say, no, but I'm going to apply for everything that I think I should do."

    So I applied to the Tap Technology Analyst Program (TAP) in June 2016 and some of the requirements were that they were looking for electrical engineers, and computer science graduating seniors, with a 3.2 GPA. I didn't have any of that, but it still sounded like something I was interested in. I also applied to TechConnect, which is a 4-week HTML and CSS bridge program created to help more women get into the computer science field. So this was specifically for women who maybe did not have a technology background as far as their major, but were interested in transitioning into technology field. And again they still wanted that 3.2 GPA, but I just applied and I sent it off. A week before I started at We Can Code IT, I got the first initial call from TechConnect. They were really excited because I had already taken the initiative to attend We Can Code IT.

    What would be the biggest challenge or roadblock for you on your journey to learning how to code?

    Getting out of my own way. I think a lot of times people have a lot of pride. When they don't know something, they don't want to ask for help. Especially where you have people telling you, "Oh, you're doing so great, and you're so good." You're just thinking, "Oh, I don't know what you're talking about. I really don't understand this stuff. I'm like faking it till I make it." My biggest challenge was getting out of my own way to realize that I was making progress and learning.

    I was also hard for me to stay at tutoring and say, "This is where I need help on. Can you help me explain it." I started to take what they explained and put it in my own words to make it a little bit more personal to me. Once I started doing that, once I started asking for help, C# wasn't super scary anymore. It started to feel like, "Okay, I can do this."

    Do you still stay involved with We Can Code It?

    Yeah, I can't get away. I talked to about a group of 10 or 12 students last cohort and then I've had various students reach out to me on our slack channel or through LinkedIn asking about my experience, and advice for interviews. I know they have a bootcamp down here in Columbus so one day when I have some time, I'll go check that out or go to a meetup. I try to stay involved.

    What advice do you have for people thinking about making a career change and thinking about going to a coding bootcamp?

    Just do it like Nike. No, but really if you're thinking about it, do it. It's not going to hurt. Technology is constantly changing and one thing about this field is that there's two million jobs that they need people in by 2020, and there's not enough people for it. The more, the merrier. It pays really, really well and there are some great perks.

    I'm not a hardware person, but now that I'm doing software programming, I look at websites and software completely different. I can now say, "Oh, I can do this better." It's just fun. Even if you're not working on super cool stuff, there is always something that you can learn that you can do on the side. I definitely have many pet projects that I'm working on that have absolutely nothing to do with my job, or with the financial industry at all, but it's stuff that I'm interested in learning more about. So even if there is nothing out there for me, I'm going to create it. There's always something to do. I think if someone is interested, they should go for it. If you find that you don't like it, it's okay. Coding isn't for everybody but at least try it.

    Find out more and read We Can Code IT reviews on Course Report. Check out the We Can Code IT 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.

  • Campus Spotlight: We Can Code IT Columbus

    Lauren Stewart11/2/2016

    Q&A

    We Can Code IT has recently expanded and now offers its full-time and part-time full stack coding bootcamps in Columbus, Ohio, as well as at the original campus in Cleveland. We sat down with Lauren Holloway, the National Director of Education and Culture to learn more about the bootcamps’ focus on changing the ratio in tech to include more underrepresented groups, such as women and people of color. We also learned about Lauren’s experience as a student of We Can Code IT, the reasons why the school is focusing on Java at the new Columbus campus, and how the bootcamp creates community and truly cares about their students.

    What was your career and educational background before entering the coding bootcamp industry?

    I studied sociology at Spelman College for undergrad. I got into tech after serving in AmeriCorps in Douglasville, Georgia. I had a position lined up in New York, but started to reconsider when I was in Cleveland to see family before starting my new job. My parents basically said, "You've always been interested in coding, and if you want to give it a shot, we'll let you stay here for free while you test the waters." I figured I may not have that opportunity when I'm 30, so I might as well take it now– so I ended up staying.

    How did you get connected to We Can Code IT?

    At that time, I was looking for an organization where I could volunteer consistently. I knew I wanted to be in the tech space and I knew I wanted it to work with diversity within the tech space. I went on Google and We Can Code IT came up as the very first search result, so I always joke around with our CEO Mel for having great SEO!

    I reached out just to be a volunteer because at that time, I didn't know any coding at all. I was brand new to the whole thing, but I thought, "I have a DSLR camera. I can come and take photos at the events." At the time, We Can Code IT was more of a community outreach organization, so there was no coding bootcamp.

    When did We Can Code IT switch to become a coding bootcamp and how was that transition?

    We Can Code IT started in 2013, and it started as community outreach trying to get women and people who are underrepresented involved in tech. I will have been with the team two years in February. Shortly after I started volunteering with them, the model switched and we started moving towards the coding bootcamp. I ended up going through the very first bootcamp in 2015, and I've been teaching it ever since. Now my primary job is to ensure that the education and the culture of the program is being upheld, and opening up new locations as the National Director of Education and Culture.

    It’s great that you were able to experience We Can Code IT as a student first and now as a staff member. How does it feel to now be on the other side, and what kind of perspective has it given you?

    It feels amazing. When I first had the opportunity to learn how to code, my goal was to be a software engineer at a company. Making that transition into staying with We Can Code IT wasn't what I was expecting to do, but it's what I was supposed to be doing. Now every single day, I get to say to the students, "Hey, I really understand the struggle you are going through right now. I've been on the other side of that before and I'm going to pull you over to my side." Being able to do that over and over and over again for all these different students has been an amazing experience.

    That’s great to hear! Okay, tell me about We Can Code IT’s new Columbus, Ohio campus.

    It's been a whirlwind. The first cohort started on October 11th. We were not expecting to open in Columbus this early but we were pulled down to Columbus because of our employer partners, who were essentially saying they needed us now. One of our biggest partners in Columbus is a large financial company, and they were actually traveling up to Cleveland to recruit from our Cleveland campus. So they told us, "The quicker we can get We Can Code IT in Columbus, the better."

    It has been exciting. We have our first cohort learning now, and we have an amazing group of people with great personalities, and the desire to learn. A big part of our culture is being collaborative, and being part of the team. From the beginning we tell our students, "You're going to make it through, but you're all going to make it through together. This is no longer just about you." This group has really grasped that idea. We have a great location, great people, and great instructors who have a lot of experience in the field.

    Tell us about how the We Can Code IT team approached expanding to Columbus.

    When we were first thinking about expanding, Columbus was definitely a clear choice, so the location was sealed. At that point, we didn't have a partnership with the aforementioned financial company, but once they came into the picture, it pulled us in even faster. Now that we have started the Columbus cohort, we are already looking at where our next location is going to be. Employer partners and other outside organizations are starting to pull us into these different cities.  

    What’s the tech scene like in Columbus, OH?

    Columbus feels amazing right now. I recently spoke at the Women in Tech conference  here and it was a great experience, as it's so rare to see that many women together talking about tech.

    One thing I'm loving about Columbus is the diversity of the tech meetups. There's diversity amongst the actual technologies that the meetups are focusing on, but then there's also diversity that fits our We Can Code IT mold. For instance, there's a meetup called BlackHack, which is specifically for people of color. In a lot of cities, it's a lot harder to find these different types of meetups that are also going to fit our students. There's an upcoming meetup hosted by CrossChx, which is a pretty sweet company down here. Our students are already signed up to go to that meetup. They're definitely getting involved in the Columbus tech community – it's part of our program.

    What do you think is going to make We Can Code IT stand out in Columbus?

    I think what makes We Can Code IT stand out, and what will make us stand out as we're expanding across the country, is our focus. Our bootcamp is different because we're not just about training people. We are really focused on changing the face of technology, which the majority of bootcamps aren't doing. The fact that we are targeting women and people of color specifically, that we're graduating cohorts of on average 80% or more women and people of color – you're not getting that in other coding bootcamps.

    What is student life like at We Can Code IT?

    We're creating a space that feels inclusive, that feels like home, and we're building communities. Even after our students graduate; once they're part of We Can Code IT, they're always part of We Can Code IT. We have a "houses system" where our students are randomly sorted into one of the four different houses which are named after iconic people in tech. We have Hopper House, Turing House, Easely House, and Lawson House, and even within our houses, we're showing diversity. We have people of color and we have women. These houses allow our students to have a community so that once they're part of that house, once they graduate, they have this spirit that will maintain throughout.

    So even if they're at these various companies, they're always part of something really special. They always have a home base. The other piece is that we have a career pathways program with an amazing chief career strategist. She's getting our students training and jobs, and also teaching them skills that they can take away. It's that idea of teaching a man to fish.

    Within that career pathways program, our focus is understanding we're not all going to hit the same wall. There are certain walls that people of color, women, or people without bachelor’s degrees are going to hit when they're searching for a job and transitioning into the tech industry. So we're making sure that we are focusing our career pathways so that all the information we're giving is specific to the people who are in our program.

    What is the new Columbus campus like? Are you in a coworking space? 

    We're in a historical building in Clintonville in the North Ohio State campus area. We're with Launch Labs and the team here is the nicest ever. They've actually renovated this place themselves by hand, so it's gorgeous with exposed brick, and tons of natural light. We looked at several locations in Columbus, and this was actually my number one pick. We're not in a co-working space as we have our own space that's separate from the Launch Labs Space.

    The space really felt like the energy that I'd want our students to feel at We Can Code IT. Having this natural light, and this lightness to it, was really important to me.

    How is the new Columbus campus cohort?

    This cohort actually is a little bit different in the sense that we have quite a few students who weren't born in the United States. Actually, the majority were born in East Africa, which is quite a bit different. We're still having a mixture of people. I’ve really enjoyed the way they're able to bring in different perspectives.

    For all of our cohorts, the very first day is all about breaking them down, breaking down barriers and rebuilding them back up as one team. We start off with three specific, interactive problems that they have to solve. For instance, how do you get through a maze with your entire team? We do breakdowns of what did you guys do well as a team? Where can you improve after every activity? They start to get it and it starts to click. This cohort is so strong.

    Does the Columbus campus of We Can Code IT have the same curriculum as Cleveland?

    We're doing something a little bit different actually. We take a very project-based approach to our curriculum and our delivery of it. In Columbus, we're going even more project-based than we ever have. The way these students are picking up the material, and the amount of material they're picking up is ridiculous. It's unheard of the way they're doing this! The fact that we can move into object-oriented programming within the second week with them is crazy, especially starting from zero.

    What technologies are you teaching at the Columbus campus versus in Cleveland?

    We focus on Java in Columbus which is a big difference versus C# in Cleveland. Both programs are full stack programs, so they're going to learn the front end and the back end. Both programs cover HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. You'll learn about GitHub/Git, and Version Control, as well as learning other CSS frameworks like Bootstrap. As far as other technologies that are specific, down here we're looking at Hibernate and Spring. Gradle is another tool as well, but again, these are all based on what the employers are looking for our students to be exposed to.

    Where do you anticipate your student finding jobs in Columbus?

    It's going to mirror Cleveland quite a bit as far as types of jobs that our students are going to be getting. One of the big differences between Cleveland and Columbus is really the tech stacks that the cities are looking for. We build our curriculum in-house, so it's all original– we test it out, and we're always coming up with new iterations for continuous improvement.

    The curriculum is based on the market– the skills, the tools, and the languages that the industry is using within that city. So that’s why our students are going to be coming out with Java skills in particular here, versus C# up in Cleveland.

    We also have our employer partners checking up on our curriculum. They'll say, "This looks good for what we need." We want the transition to be smooth for our students, so we don't see the point in training them in technologies that are cool to learn but not helpful for job placement. So we make sure we're teaching and creating simulation experiences, as far as development goes, so that they know what they’re getting into, and they'll be prepared for our employers.

    What is We Can Code IT’s mission when it comes to students?

    We genuinely care about our students, and they will never be just numbers. That's not who we are at all. We also understand that our students are often coming from situations that they're trying to get out of. They need more money. They hate their job. They can't support their family – and there is some vulnerability that comes along with that.

    When you have people who have not been invited to the tech party before, you have all of these other things on top of the basic needs of life. There’s the imposter syndrome, the feeling of, "I don't see myself in this field. I’d never seen myself in this field, am I going to be able to do this?" All of these inferior feelings are happening, and we really take those into account. It's a big part of why we build students up as team, because they need each other for support.

    But the other piece is, we realized they are trusting us with a very valuable time in their life. They're trusting us with money, and for a lot of our students, compared to college it doesn’t seem as expensive, and in college they don't even really help you get a job. But $10,000 is still a lot of money and we take that very seriously. We want our students to be taken care of because we really care about their lives. We care about who they are, and we understand that there's a very special trust relationship that's happening.

    How many instructors and mentors are in the Columbus campus? Is it the same as Cleveland?

    We’ve started with one cohort, and then in January we’ll start our second full-time cohort, and our part-time cohort starts on February 6th. There are two instructors per cohort. So it'll be some combination of an associate instructor and a lead instructor. We offer the same great, practical, innovative classroom instruction in both campuses. We also provide free tutoring, and special topics to our students.

    How is the admissions process for the Columbus campus?

    Admission is the same. Our administrative tasks go through Cleveland.

    Has your prospective student’s profile changed at all now that We Can Code IT is in a new city?

    What we're looking for is pretty similar. We're looking for women and people of color, and that's not going to change. So far we are getting a different type of diversity within those two things, but we're still getting the same basic student profile. The average age is about 31, the majority of them have a bachelor's degree in something that's not computer science related. Once in awhile, we'll have students with master's degrees in business or some form of engineering who want to switch to software. It just looks a little bit different as far as the type of diversity that we're getting within our diversities. Otherwise, what we look for is about the same.

    Does the 180-day job guarantee still apply for the Columbus campus?

    To clarify about the guarantee, you cannot guarantee people jobs. You can't do it. What we do guarantee is – if you don't get a job offer in tech and you're going through all of our steps, we're working together and you're still not getting employed, then we did something wrong. And at that point, we give students their tuition back, but it's not something that we're running into.

    Our students are getting placed; the money-back guarantee is a security. We want students to know this is how serious we are about transitioning them into a new career. So we'll give them all their money back if they want to get placed, but don't. However, we don't see that happening.

    Students need to put the work in too though. They have to work with our career services. They need to check in, do the homework, pass class. We’re taking this very seriously, and if a student doesn’t show up to an interview, for example, they aren’t going to get a job offer, so it’s a combined effort. We strongly facilitate the process, but there is work to do on the students’ end. It’s all spelled out clearly in our money-back guarantee agreement. Students need to sign the agreement and do their part of it in order to qualify.

    What types of jobs have you been seeing your students receive in Cleveland? Are they relocating?

    The jobs we're seeing usually depends on the company, but it'll be software developer, junior developer, or software engineer. We’ve had a couple of students who chose quality assurance (QA) jobs, or experienced students who have taken business analyst and managerial or executive roles. The majority though are still junior developers, or software developers.

    As far as location, in Cleveland the majority of students are staying in Cleveland. We have had a few who planned to leave, a recent student from New Jersey just received a job offer in Seattle from Microsoft, but for the most part they stay in the area. I expect to see about the same thing in Columbus. But no matter where students go, We Can Code IT will help.

    Any final thoughts about the launch of the new We Can Code IT Columbus campus?

    If prospective students are looking to do something different with their lives, transition their career, and want an environment that's not going to be the traditional "I'm going to sit in front of my computer by myself and go through the struggle by myself," then we're your people. We Can Code IT is here to take care of you and we take it very seriously. It's really close to our hearts.

    The fact that people on our team have gone through something similar speaks volumes. Our CEO is a woman, and she studied anthropology and psychology in undergrad and didn't transition to tech until after she graduated. We have instructors who have gone the same route as well, who maybe studied computer science in college, but have felt some of those same walls or boundaries because they are people of color. We're a community. So if you're looking for something that's more than just learning to code, if you're looking for a community, and a bootcamp that's really going to take care of you, that you can trust – we have your back.

    Read We Can Code IT reviews on Course Report and check out the We Can Code IT 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.

  • 16 Coding Bootcamps with Free or Affordable Housing

    Imogen Crispe8/1/2017

     

    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.

    Continue Reading →
  • September Coding Bootcamp News Roundup

    Liz Eggleston10/7/2015

    Welcome to the September 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!

     

    This Week on Course Report:

     

    Aquisitions, Fundraises & Regulation

     

    New Campuses + Courses:

     

    September Must-Reads

     

    Have a great October!

  • Alumni Spotlight: Kacy Ebel, We Can Code It

    Liz Eggleston9/25/2015

    Kacy Ebel had a Bachelors and Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering, but was never able to find work that truly excited her. She was unemployed and living in Ohio, so when her dad saw an article about the We Can Code It bootcamp in Cleveland, she decided to go for it. Now having graduated from We Can Code It’s bootcamp, Kacy talks to us about instructor (and founder of We Can Code IT) Mel McGee’s impressive teaching ability, We Can Code It’s commitment to diversity, and her new job at software and web development firm, ImageNation.

    Tell us what you were up to before you started at We Can Code It.

    I have a bachelors and a masters degree in mechanical engineering. I never found anything that really interested me as far as work. Right before the bootcamp I was unemployed, so I figured I’d give it a whirl.

    Had you worked as a mechanical engineer before?

    Yeah, I worked for a couple of engineering firms in their H-VAC departments. It didn’t really interest me, and I got pigeonholed so I wanted to make a complete change and that’s when I started looking into software engineering.

    Did you take Computer Science classes during your undergraduate and graduate degrees?

    I had two programming classes in undergrad but they weren’t something I paid enough attention to at the time.

    Those classes were mostly theory, with a little bit of practice. Actually, one of the classes was over the summer so it was five weeks long- I don’t even remember which language that one was taught in!

    Once you decided to pursue software engineering did you try Codecademy, online platforms, or books? How did you introduce yourself to coding?

    I looked at Code.org before starting to research bootcamps. Then my dad actually saw an article about the We Can Code It bootcamp, and that prompted me to look into bootcamps.

    Does Mechanical Engineering ever overlap with Web Development?

    As far as tasks go, no. But I think being an engineer, I have a problem-solving mind and that helps a lot in programming.  

    What was your goal in doing a bootcamp?

    My main goal was to change careers and get a job as a developer, with the intention of also using my new knowledge to build something on my own.

    Why did you choose We Can Code It?

    I’m from Cleveland and I was looking for a local option. I liked We Can Code IT right away, so I applied.

    For me personally, I like that We Can Code IT is focusing on diversity. Because of my engineering background, I’m used to being around men more in a work setting. We had a cohort of all women. It was a different type of environment for me.  We developed as pairs and in teams using Agile and Scrum. The collaborative atmosphere leant itself to better learning and better projects.

    What was the application like for you? Did you have to do a coding challenge?

    I didn’t have a coding challenge. There was an assessment which asked questions about sequences, which number comes next, some logic questions, and a couple of questions that asked us to write out algorithms: ‘how to tie a shoe’ or something like that.

    Then I had an in-person interview with one of the employees, which was more of a culture interview.

    Was there a scholarship available to you during the women-only cohort?

    Yeah, I had a full scholarship. It was all part of the application process; the scholarship was need-based and merit-based.

    How many people were in your cohort that graduated in May?

    It was the first cohort, and they were piloting it, so we were fortunate to have a small group of  five. They are on their  third cohort now and still keep small groups of 16.  Everyone came from very different backgrounds and had different reasons for doing the bootcamp. We were also at different stages of our lives. It was very diverse - no one else had an engineering background.

    Who was the instructor for your class?

    Mel McGee. She’s also the founder and really runs the boot camp.

    What was her teaching style like?

    Somehow she managed to make a relaxed atmosphere that was also very intense. With the full time boot camp we were 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, which can be a lot when you’re learning something new. But Mel was able to keep it relaxed and was very flexible with what students needed and keeping everyone engaged, even with the differences in technical abilities.  

    Was there lecture every day or was We Can Code It more project-based?

    On a typical day, in the morning we would review what we had done the day before and then move into a lecture on a new topic. Then we moved on to work on that topic and actually program. We were in front of our computers the whole time. It wasn’t like a standard lecture where you sit and take notes and then go home and work. We worked while we were in class as well.

    You did a lot of school: an undergraduate degree and then a masters degree. Was the learning environment different than that traditional 4-year master’s degree education?

    Yeah, very different. I’ve had a lot of classes before but it’s still been an hour or two at a time. For Mel to get up in front of people 8 hours a day and present the information, that’s pretty outstanding. And to keep everyone engaged and learning and interested, it’s impressive.

    What were the actual technologies that you learned in the class?

    We learned JavaScript, HTML, CSS, Bootstrap, jQuery, C#, and .NET.

    Did you have exams?

    Nope, we had midterm and final projects.

    What did you build for your projects?

    We worked on Midterm projects after we had finished JavaScript and HTML; I used the web audio API to play a song and then did a canvas animation based on the frequencies that I pulled from the song. I worked on that one alone.

    Our final project was a group project. We actually had two group projects and I worked on both teams. They were both really good. One of them was pair mentoring for 6th graders and high schoolers, trying to keep younger kids interested in education; with the idea that the high schoolers were focused on moving to college.

    Can you tell us about a challenge that you faced technically or collaboratively?

    My biggest obstacle with the projects was waiting for it to be my turn to do something. There’s a lot of setup early on and figuring out what the layout was going to be and what features should be included. I just tried to learn as much as I could on my own. For example, I knew I was going to be working with databases, so I looked at documentation about that as much as I could on my own.

    We used Scrum to manage the project, so I just kept going up to the board and seeing what tasks I could do, bouncing back and forth between the two.

    Had you ever used Scrum before?

    No, we learned it as part of Agile development during the bootcamp.

    What was the feedback loop like between the students and the instructors/admin?

    We all knew going in that this was the first bootcamp offered, so there were going to be bumps along the way. Feedback was very encouraged and when it was possible, it was implemented immediately. And then bigger changes have been implemented for the current bootcamps. For example, they’ve switched the order of the curriculum. We learned JavaScript first and then C#; they’re now doing C# first.

    Did We Can Code It do a lot of job prep with your class?

    Yes; towards the end we really started ramping up to prep for interviews. We ended with a career day where we met with employer partners and interviewed with them. Leading up to that day, we worked on our resumes and had some mock interviews.

    At that Career Day, we each had our own table with our computer and the employers rotated around it and interviewed us, and we were able to show our projects and what we worked on.

    What are you doing now? Tell us about your new job.

    I am a PHP software developer at Imagenation (founder Mel McGee's software development company). We make e-commerce websites and web applications.

    How did you ramp up to learning PHP after the bootcamp?

    It’s been part of my training here but I feel if you can learn one programming language, you can learn any of them. It’s more in the way you think and then just being able to translate that into a specific language.

    Are there more senior developers that are helping you ramp up?

    Yeah. There are several people on the dev team here, and one of my coworkers in particular has been helping me along the way. Sometimes I sit with another developer and we walk through what’s going on but there’s also a lot of, “Here, this thing needs to be done; figure out how to do it.”

    When did you get that job?

    Mid-June.

    How did you get that job? Was it through your own networking? Was it through someone you met at that career day?

    It was through the bootcamp.

    Did you have to do a technical interview for that job?

    No, I didn’t.

    Oh, really? What was the interview process like?

    I met with the lead developer.

    You said that the mechanical engineering career was not for you; do you think that web development is the career for you?

    I knew the first week of bootcamp that this is what I’ve wanted to do.

    Have you stayed involved with We Can Code It?

    Yes, We Can Code IT has alumni meetups, so graduates, meet up every couple of weeks. I also come in and volunteer on the weekends with the part-time boot camp.

    What advice do you have for future coding bootcampers?

    I would say if anyone’s thinking about doing this, go find a class to sit in on. It’s an easy way to spend a couple of hours and see what it would be like. I believe anybody can do this; anybody who has the determination and the desire to would be able to learn this.

    Want to learn more about We Can Code It? Check out their School Page on Course Report or the We Can Code It website!

  • June Coding Bootcamp News Roundup

    Harry Hantel7/1/2015

    Welcome to the June News Roundup, your monthly news digest full of the most interesting articles and announcements in the bootcamp space. Do you want something considered for the next News Roundup? Submit announcements of new courses, scholarships, or open jobs at your school!

    Continue Reading →
  • March Coding Bootcamp News Roundup

    Harry Hantel12/15/2016

    Welcome to the March News Roundup, your monthly news digest full of the most interesting articles and announcements in the bootcamp space. Want your bootcamp's news to be included in the next News Roundup? Submit announcements of new courses, scholarships, or open jobs at your school!

    Continue Reading →
  • Learn Web Development at these 10 Part-Time Bootcamps

    Harry Hantel6/20/2017

    (updated August 2016)

    Continue Reading →
  • Employee Spotlight: Lauren Holloway, We Can Code IT

    Liz Eggleston3/19/2015

    Lauren Holloway is a Teaching Assistant and Digital Marketing Specialist at We Can Code IT, a 3-month full-stack (Javascript, HTML, CSS, C#/.NET and SQL) bootcamp in Cleveland with a focus on socioeconomic and gender diversity. In today’s Employee Spotlight, Lauren tells us about her journey in education and technology, and why it’s important to get women from diverse backgrounds coding!

     

    I first learned of We Can Code IT when I moved back to Ohio after completing an AmeriCorps service term at Youth Villages in Douglasville, Georgia. My service term as a math and literacy tutor was a spirit awakening experience that lit a spark in me I had inadvertently stifled. I spent my ten and a half months of service trying to inspire youth with severe emotional and behavioral issues to find the stifled spark within themselves and to feed it and to let it become the guiding light of their paths. I did not realize that over the course of those ten and a half months, I was simultaneously feeding my own fire.

     

    Tucked far away, my passions for technology were not a priority to me. My fond memories of childhood technological curiosity and exploration were forced to the backmost region of my mind, so much that I studied sociology in college without consideration of a STEM career. But why?  Despite my early passion for technology, why was a career in the tech industry such a disregarded thought? Why is it that a decreasing number of women are pursuing computer science occupations? Of the women who choose an occupation in computing, why do African American, Asian, and Latina women only make up a combined 6.8% of professionals in the field--despite the fact that women in STEM careers, like software engineering, have a higher salary than their non-STEM counterparts by an average of 33%?

     

    Working at We Can Code IT--a coding bootcamp and organization committed to education and programming skills development for women, diverse, and low- to moderate-income populations--has awarded me the opportunity to not only explore my own reasons for shying away from computer science, but also the national trend of women, especially women of color, shying away from computer science and other STEM fields. Working within an organization that not only understands the diversity deficit and plight of women within the tech industry, but spends every day getting things done to do something about it, has been empowering.

     

    We Can Code IT’s educational philosophy is that all students have the ability to learn programming and that it is the organization’s responsibility to help students feed their spark and light their paths. It is our mission to not only change the landscape of the tech industry, but to help other women and diverse populations change the trajectory of their lives.

     

    Want to learn more about We Can Code IT? Check out their School Page on Course Report or visit http://Bootcamp.WeCanCodeIT.org and apply today! Classes fill up quickly.

  • February Coding Bootcamp News Roundup

    Harry Hantel12/15/2016

    Welcome to the February News Roundup, your monthly news digest full of the most interesting articles and announcements in the bootcamp space. Want your bootcamp's news to be included in the next News Roundup? 

    Submit announcements of new courses, scholarships, or open jobs at your school!

    Continue Reading →

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