Coding has been gaining popularity lately, prompting an eruption of classes and programs that promise to transform students into agile programmers. But none of them compare with a new coding boot camp — one that not only pays students to learn, but also offers them a job after completion.
The Virginia-based company, Revature, which has been setting up classrooms at college campuses nationwide offers this unique 12-week crash course.
The best part of the program: There’s no student debt and no post-grad job-hunting frenzy. Those who are accepted are paid an hourly wage of $11, and are later employed by one of Revature’s partner companies — which range from Capital One to the Department of Labor.
“Coming out of college, I read tons of job listings asking for years, sometimes even decades worth of experience, using tools I was unfamiliar with,” 23-year-old recent Revature grad, Travis Pierre recounts.
It was during the course of the program, that he learned everything he would need to obtain his current role as a software developer for a federal agency.
“What differentiates us from normal coding boot camps is that we’re teaching students the specific skills that our clients — where they’re going to work — have said they want these individuals to have,” says Joe Vacca, the company’s CMO.
If a student is looking to start working for American Express, that means they’ll begin with a thorough training in a financial institution related system, says Vacca. “That way, when you get there, you’ll realize, that 70 percent of the tech work is done with the skill set that you have, so your ability to move ahead in that organization is much easier.”
It’s in Revature’s best interest to get its students properly trained for a particular organization. The company operates on an employer-paid model. “We only make money once the software engineer is deployed at our client location,” explains Vacca.
He says with minor exceptions, almost all of the individuals who complete the program go to work on a client project, and 85 percent of those go on to work for our client as full-time employee.
Feedback from corporate clients informs that employers want workers who are more than just technologically competent, says Vacca.
“One thing we’ve heard loud and clear was: We need better communication skills,” he explains. “There’s always going to be the stereotype of the software developer sitting in a backroom and coding for 48 hours straight, but that’s not a reality.”
Instead, coders are often speaking to different units throughout the company, so they need to understand how businesses work and how to communicate effectively, says Vacca.
To prepare for this, students are tasked with completing a series of “soft-skill” exercises, which include going out to Starbucks and sparking up a conversation with a complete stranger. They also run through mock interviews, prepare for serious business meetings, and are even prepped on how to dress professionally.
For Pierre, that means heading off to work each day with confidence.
“It feels amazing being able to hold your own in a room full of mid- to-senior level developers,” he says.