Pursuit is a unique four-year job training program that enables adults from low-income backgrounds to learn to code and transform their careers.
Pursuit’s mission has always involved offering coding education and close support to those from underserved backgrounds. These include women, people of color, those earning less than $45,000 per year, those living in low-income housing, those without college degrees, and those who are unemployed.
With its long-term model, supportive community, and professional network, Pursuit is not just a coding bootcamp. In this deep dive, let’s take a look at who Pursuit is and what it has to offer.
Pursuit’s 4-year program is designed to help people from low-income backgrounds transform their lives through in-demand job training.Apply to Pursuit today.
What Is the Pursuit Fellowship?
The Pursuit Fellowship is a four-year program, one year of which is dedicated to in-depth, full stack web development training, and three subsequent years of career support. Pursuit focuses closely on career training so that their students—or “Fellows” as Pursuit calls them—can create an economic impact, earn family-sustaining wages, and give back to the Pursuit community.
When Fellows go through Pursuit, they gain the skills needed to forge new careers and make life-changing salaries. Pursuit Fellows reportedly make approximately five times more than what they were making before undergoing job training with Pursuit.
The program seeks to mend the pitfall of other traditional bootcamp experiences that are short-term, lack a strong, supportive community, and the necessary mentoring and guidance that Fellows receive along the way through Pursuit. Additionally, their Fellows are diverse and come from all backgrounds.
With all that said, how do you get into Pursuit?
81% of participants stated they felt more confident about their tech job prospects after attending a bootcamp. Get matched to a bootcamp today.
The average bootcamp grad spent less than six months in career transition, from starting a bootcamp to finding their first job.
Pursuit’s Admissions Process
Pursuit’s admissions process is rigorous as it’s designed to “identify qualified candidates who can thrive in the Fellowship”. However, well-rounded support is available to applicants every step of the way.
For example, if the admissions team notices that an applicant is missing a resume, they’ll reach out to the potential Fellow and ask if they have one. If they don’t, Pursuit offers some resources to help them build a resume and also hosts drop-in info and work sessions to assist applicants.
Along with the initial application, Pursuit also assesses various technical skills like basic math, logic, reading comprehension, and computer basics, among others. There is no need to worry because the school has prepared a guide to help potential Fellows ace the aptitude assessment.
Selected applicants will be invited to an HTML and development workshop that simulates the Pursuit learning environment. Since many applicants haven’t coded before, this is also an opportunity to learn more about the industry and see what coding is like firsthand. This exercise connects applicants to coding from day one, keeping them engaged with the lessons. From there, participants take home a coding challenge to complete and submit.
Once applicants have completed the workshop, they’re invited to get to know the Pursuit community a bit better. In return, the community gets to know their newcomers. Community is a critical component of the Fellowship.
Applicants are invited to an interview and a problem-solving session. Interviewers include not just Pursuit staff but also volunteers and industry leaders from the tech industry. This process may appear elaborate but it offers an excellent insight into how Pursuit works. It strives to provide the necessary resources and work with the skills that potential Fellows already have.
Who’s the Ideal Pursuit Fellow?
Pursuit is different from many other programs because of their target audience. They are designed to serve those who traditionally have not had access to opportunities in tech. Their Fellows are representative of the tech industry they want to build: all Fellows come from low-income backgrounds, 70% are Black or Hispanic, 50% are women or non-binary, 40% are immigrants, and 55% do not have college degrees.
Applicants must be at least 18 years old, make no more than $45,000, and have the eligibility to work in the US. They must also:
- Live in the New York Metro Area or have the ability to participate remotely
- Be dedicated to bringing a team to success through working together, not just on an individual basis
- Be committed to growing the Pursuit community
- Be excited about tackling complex problems and be able to stand in the face of challenges, a perspective on coding as collaborative
Pursuit looks for applicants with the desire and the drive to substantially transform their lives and careers. In addition, potential Fellows must also be committed to staying the length of the Fellowship.
Pursuit Course Offerings and Educational Approach
The Pursuit Fellowship starts with Pursuit Core. Fellows can opt for the weekday or weekend/evening classes. The schedules are as follows:
- Weekday Schedule:
- Monday to Wednesday (10am to 1pm)
- Thursday and Friday (10am to 6pm)
- Weekend/Evening Schedule:
- Monday to Wednesday (7pm to 10pm)
- Saturday and Sunday (10am to 6pm)
This first year of working with Pursuit is divided into three distinct “threads”: Technical Mastery, Industry Readiness, and Leadership and Personal Development.
Thread One: Technical Mastery
The goal of the first 12 months of training is to secure your first tech job. Fellows begin with the basics of coding and the difficulty increases as they progress.
Thread Two: Industry Readiness
This thread of Pursuit Core focuses on the non-coding skills required to break into a new tech job. Fellows work with mentors through any issues or roadblocks that come up. They collaborate with their mentors and one another on the job-specific side of things in this final thread of Pursuit Core.
Finally, they construct resumes, create LinkedIn profiles, conduct interviews, and work on professional development—all in preparation for the job market and the networking that lies ahead.
Speaking of networking, Pursuit wouldn’t be the same without its volunteers. These volunteers often have strong connections that can help Fellows find networking opportunities and secure their first jobs. During this second thread of the program, Fellows prepare presentations, design additional projects, and learn through whiteboarding sessions. “It’s not just about getting the skills but also getting the job,” Pursuit says.
Volunteer-run networking opportunities are everywhere at Pursuit. Pursuit holds regular community events such as Fireside Chats with CEOs and founders of leading companies like Thumbtack and Players’ Lounge. Other events include technical showcases, Demo Days, and more.
Thread Three: Leadership and Personal Development
This thread of the Pursuit curriculum consists mainly of team-building and the development of “values and competencies” required to contribute to Pursuit’s team and their future employers. The threads of Pursuit Core run more or less parallel so that lessons, values, and gained knowledge can come up throughout various contexts.
This thread, as the name suggests, is all about leadership and personal development. Fellows work hard, seek out challenges, face failure, and challenges head-on, as well as step into the perspective of others.
Pursuit Advance is a 36-month intensive training that places a heavy emphasis on career development. It ensures Fellows have what they need to thrive in their new careers. This three-year program covers job coaching, individual support and training, and additional tech education.
A unique feature about Pursuit is its long-term commitment to its Fellows, who in turn take on a four-year program like Pursuit. Again, those who succeed the most at Pursuit are committed to this long-term setup and, ideally, will remain so throughout its duration.
Pursuit Payment and Financing Options
Pursuit doesn’t explicitly require upfront payment, which is good for Fellows who want to focus on their training as opposed to how they’ll begin to pay for it. Rather, Pursuit advances a unique and sustainable Pursuit Bond payment model.
From there, payments back to Pursuit begin once Fellows get their first jobs. They pay a percentage of their salary and payments pause if, for any reason, Fellows are not working. If Fellows are not hired or do not reach the expected salary minimum of $50,000, they pay nothing.
Pursuit’s payment is a cyclical operation—their investors pay for the cost of training, Fellows pay Pursuit, and Pursuit pays back their investors. To make the process even easier, Pursuit has illustrated the six steps of its Pursuit Bond methods, so that applicants can see how the payment cycle works.
With the Pursuit Bond in place, Pursuit’s like-minded and mission-aligned social impact investors are the ones covering the costs of training Fellows. “If you aren’t successful, it’s our responsibility—not yours—to make sure our investors get their money back,” says Pursuit.
“Taking on the financial risk demonstrates our belief in you and drives us to help you build a successful career. If you’re not successful, then we’re not successful. Our success is your success.”
What Sets the Pursuit Community Apart?
Pursuit has so many unique internal features, but what’s also worth mentioning is its one-of-a-kind community and the ways that they commemorate milestones and achievements. Pursuit is designed not only to enact change in the lives of their Fellows but to hold space for that change, too.
A particularly iconic, Pursuit-style celebration is the Gong Ceremony. Fellows sound a gong when they accept a job offer, acknowledging not only their recent milestones but the challenges they’ve surpassed to get where they stand in front of the gong.
“Every day I entered Pursuit, it felt like a playground where the possibilities were endless,” Henry Nunez, one of Pursuit’s 6.4 full stack cohort alumni, says. In his Gong Ceremony speech, Nunez acknowledged all the ups and downs that brought him through three years of college before he dropped out, to feeling like “a hamster on a wheel” at several jobs, and then finally going through the Pursuit experience and landing a job at Labs as a web apprentice.
Of the Pursuit community itself, Henry Nunez noted that it’s a diverse and supportive group. “We were such an eclectic group,” he said. “But as time passed by, it turned out we were more similar than we were different. One thing was common: we were here because we wanted a big change in our lives. Oh, and most of us lacked sleep. We were running on coffee, and some of us were running out of patience. But ultimately, we were there for one another.”
Pursuit recognizes that so many Americans lack college degrees and the necessary job experience and qualifications to break down the wall of working countless dead-end jobs, and that’s what Pursuit seeks to remedy, too.
Alum Erika worked as a cashier, a waitress, a receptionist, and more before she saw an advertisement for Pursuit. She went for it. On the day of her entrance exam, her father passed away, but Erika knew this was an opportunity that she shouldn’t pass up. “This is what he wanted for us. He wanted us to be the best versions of ourselves, to keep on going, to have faith,” says Erika.
She powered through Pursuit and within months, Erika was offered a position as a software engineer for Spotify. As she looks back on Pursuit and her Gong Ceremony, Erika says, “I still have to pinch myself. This is real. This is no longer a dream. I have so much to look forward to—for my kids, my family, and my future.”
Want to Know More about Pursuit?
Pursuit is home to inspiring and empowering stories, as well as guidance to help people pave a new and rewarding career path. If you’re beginning to see yourself as a Fellow and ready to take on the Pursuit challenge, start your application here.
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