keyboard cat

I started to gain confidence that yes, making a career transition to computer programming IS possible, when I learned about two great organizations here in Seattle.

The first, Ada Developers Academy, is free for admitted applicants and backed by public grants and some of the biggest tech companies in town. It’s a one year full-time training and internship program for women with no previous professional tech experience. I met some of the Ada students last year at a big data conference and was impressed by their presence  and enthusiasm. “These are women,” I thought, “a lot like me.”

Ada hasn’t released information about a 2015 cohort yet, but I’ll be following closely to see if this might be an option for me. The 2014 class began in September. As mentioned, this is a full-time program, free (if selected via application process), and while there’s no guarantee of job placement afterwards, all students participate in a 6 month internship (which should make you immediately more employable than someone with no industry experience). They also report that 100% of the inaugural cohort received job offers before the end of the program. Here’s more info for potential applicants if this sounds like a fit for you: All about Ada.

A second amazing resource right here in Seattle is Code Fellows, which operates an on-going calendar of night classes, bootcamps, and selective “accelerator” programs in Portland and Seattle. My original plan was to take a month-long evening Foundations I class ($500) in February while still working my 9-5 job at the university. By the end of that class, I’d be prepared to take a Foundations II class in a specialization of my choice ($1,500). After completing the two Foundations courses and an individualized work plan, ultimately I’d be able to apply for the 3-month accelerator program.

The Accelerator is key for anyone hoping to land a job at the conclusion of their Code Fellows experience. At $10,000, it requires a substantial investment of time and money, but comes with a money back guarantee if you’re not hired at a starting salary of $60k+ within a year of completing the program.

Code Fellows says:

“If you are new to software development, we recommend first taking as many online tutorials as you can find and then continuing to learn how to code with us. Like learning to write a foreign language, learning how to write code is best done in a community with peers and experts helping you. In fact, this is essential.”

Since learning about Code Fellows, I’ve decided to speed up the process by enrolling full-time in a bootcamp ($5,000) instead of / in addition to the Foundations classes. And, I’ll be following their advice of self-learning followed by group study (I’ll write about the self-learning curriculum, which kicks off in January, in later posts).

One last point: while Code Fellows classes are open to anyone (open-enrollment or by an application process), the organization is led by a woman, and they occasionally offer women-only classes and events aimed to increase gender diversity in tech.

WHY am I starting out by sharing these resources? Because all the self-learning in the world, on its own, wouldn’t make me confident enough to hit the job market in an entirely new field.  These organizations are two of many that can provide a guided path for people willing and able to put in the time, effort, and resources to make a change. Many bootcamps last a period of 1-3 months, so if temporary relocation is possible, that opens up even more options.

Ready to explore? Find a program perfect for you.

Are you a graduate of a coding bootcamp program? Thinking about one? Leave a note about your experience in the comments!