In the early 2000s, data science was an emerging field in tech that companies were just beginning to explore. By 2010, it had become one of the fastest-growing areas in technology. Today, Glassdoor reports that data scientist is the second-best job in America for 2021 with more and more companies starting to realize the importance of data science. People looking to change careers or start careers in tech should take a closer look at data science to see if this field is right for them.
One institution that offers comprehensive programs in data science and data engineering is Divergence Academy. “We are building a school that’s going to be the world’s best vocational tech trade school,” stated Sravan Anakaraju, Founder and President of Divergence Academy.
He added, “We don’t take those words lightly. World’s best really means we are staying on top of emerging technologies, especially today’s contemporary technologies. That’s data, cloud, cybersecurity, and blockchain-related activities. Cloud, Data, and AI—those are the three pillars of being contemporary. We are going to keep on top of them forever, hopefully.”
Meet Divergence Academy
Established in 2014, Divergence Academy was the first data science-focused institution in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in Texas. Since its founding, it has catered to hundreds of diverse learners in the area looking to upskill and reskill themselves for a new or better career.
What sets Divergence Academy apart from other schools are three important things. First, ensuring that the curriculum is always evolving and updated to match emerging trends in technology. Second, its strong emphasis on job placement, calling it ‘the key measurement of success.’
“Placement is the number one yardstick. We care about our people getting jobs, and jobs are the key measurements at Divergence. If we are doing a good job training people, they will find jobs. If they are not finding jobs, we have a feedback loop that tells us our programs are not good. That is a critical component of measuring how well we are doing against contemporary technologies,” Sravan explained.
Third, creating programs with non-traditional and transitional learners in mind. “Divergence is about providing a career path, a sustainable path for a lifetime. For people who are in transition, like US military members, or civilians who are in the phase of transition,” Sravan said.
“In our world, transitional individuals are those that have served in the US military or those who had corporate jobs and who are non-traditional learners. They have families, parents, or children to support. They are coming to Divergence to skill up and move into that lifetime, sustainable career. This is where Divergence fits in.”
Focus on Contemporary Technologies
Divergence Academy stays on top of emerging technologies by designing its programs with a strong focus on Cloud, Cybersecurity, and AI.
The constant and consistent drive to stay abreast with the latest technology begins with Sravan himself and trickles down throughout the institution, from programs to the instructors, and ultimately, the learners.
“I’m a technologist. I’ve been a technologist all my life. I was an instructor until early 2019. I was a former Microsoft guy and worked there for 14 years, a total of 21 years in consulting, product development, and technology roles. I was a strategy and innovation director leading 4,000 customers, in a one billion dollar enterprise business for Microsoft, providing leadership into moving those customers into the Cloud,” Sravan shared.
His deep experience and evident passion for technology serve as the guiding force for the institution and its programs. He also closely follows the leading players in technology, such as Google, Amazon, IBM, and Microsoft to understand where the industry is going in terms of contemporary and emerging technologies to ensure that the institution stays ahead of the curve.
Divergence Academy also considers itself as a master at curating content from the latest conferences in technology. “We take those contemporary ideas and technologies, growth curves, maturity cycles, and then flip them back into, ‘Who are the instructors at Divergence that can support those maturity curves?’ We hire those individuals through a wonderful recruiting process, where we look for folks working at those big companies and consulting firms to bring in real-world knowledge into Divergence,” Sravan said.
The results of these are four full-time programs:
- Data Science Immersive
- Cybersecurity Professional Penetration Tester
- Cloud Engineering Immersive
- Security Operations Management Immersive
All programs take 400 hours to complete in a live, hands-on classroom environment, giving students all the necessary tools and concepts used by data practitioners in the industry.
Constant Improvement and Innovation
Divergence Academy is always looking for ways to improve and innovate its programs. If you are familiar with Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, you probably know that the Cheshire Cat plays a significant role in the story. The popular quote, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road can take you there,” is famously attributed to the Cheshire Cat during his conversation with Alice.
This inspired the term “Cheshire pathways”, which is what Divergence Academy calls its two-fold framework:
First, each program is structured in three modules of bundled classes. This model is set for continuity and signature.
Module 1 – F – Foundational
Module 2 – A – Acceleration
Module 3 – T – Transition
Modules get progressively more advanced and are intentionally designed to connect to specific job roles. Each program has 120 to 160 hours of foundational classes, 120 hours of acceleration classes, and 120 to 160 hours of transition classes.
“This allows us to shape each of those foundation, acceleration, and transition classes with the maturity of the industry in mind, the individual in mind, and our teaching methods in mind, and plug that all together to put together a program that is released with improvements every quarter. Every 90 days there’s an improvement to the program,” Sravan explained.
Some of the improvements made in recent months include extending the time for Net+ and Sec+ as needed, shifting to No-code Low-code Power Platform with integrated AI Builder for the Data Science Immersive program, and aligning the full CPPT program to CompTIA, just to name a few. The school believes in continuous improvement and integration and takes concrete steps to get them done in a timely manner.
Second, the Cheshire pathway also points to the topic of “Career Pathway”, one of the primary over-arching conversations done with the students. It’s about having a plan for oneself, from the first steps to the next steps, and being intentional in working towards a job role.
Additionally, the Cheshire Pathway is structured around the NICE (National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education) framework which is the “foundation for increasing the size and capability of the US cybersecurity workforce”. He added it is Divergence Academy’s way of aligning with NICE, which allowed the school to create cyber and data career pathways for its learners.
Made for Non-Traditional and Transitional Learners
Another important feature of Divergence Academy is its focus on providing a career path for non-traditional and transitional learners. Because of this, the school works on making its programs as accessible to as many learners as possible. Each program is 400 hours long and can be taken via a weekday or a weekend schedule.
Learners who choose to go full-time with their program take classes on Monday to Friday, from 8 AM to 6 PM. Other learners, such as those who have to juggle parenting duties, can choose to learn on Monday to Friday, from 9 AM to 1 PM schedule. For those who are working full-time and are only available on weekends, Divergence Academy also offers classes on Saturdays and Sundays, for 10 hours each day. It takes 10 weeks to complete a course full-time and 20 weeks if a student is doing it part-time.
Being in the DFW area, many learners who attend Divergence Academy are from the military. There are various funding options for both active members and vets, such as the GI Bill, VET TEC, and VRRAP. For all learners, Divergence Academy supports a full range of financial aid, scholarship, installment plans, loans, and Income Share Agreements.
Full Career Support
One of the key indicators of success for Divergence Academy is job placement, exemplified by the full career support offered to its graduates. When students opt for the Outcomes Program, the school does everything possible to assist them in launching their new career, empowering the graduate to land the best jobs available.
To accomplish this goal, Divergence Academy asks its learners to commit via the Outcomes Program Participation Agreement (OPPA) and agree that they will genuinely invest their time and energy into the career support activities required. Some of the workshops and presentations provided by the Outcomes Program tackle the following topics: resume building, LinkedIn profile optimization, how to find and work with recruiters, interviewing, and networking.
Students and graduates are also offered opportunities to attend Industry Day Lunch & Learns. These are virtual events hosted by the school and feature a Preferred Employer from the school’s growing network of partners. During this event, the Preferred Employer will give detailed information about their company, such as job openings related to Divergence Academy programs, the hiring process, benefits, veteran hiring programs or preferences, and other useful information. Attendees are also encouraged to ask the Preferred Employer questions throughout the event.
One more service available to learners is Connections-Divergence Career Services Management (CSM) tool powered by Symplicity. This allows Preferred Employers who are searching for and who are ready to hire qualified candidates a means to reach out directly to the Divergence Academy team to add more jobs in Connections.
Divergence Academy has worked directly with 300 employers over the last 11 months and the network of partners continues to grow. Among the list of Preferred Employers are Accenture, Capital One, Cognizant, Honeywell, LinkedIn, Uber, Vimeo, IBM, and many more.
The school also takes pride in its many accreditations and certifications, which translate into more support and opportunities for its learners and graduates. Divergence Academy is an Official Training Provider for ISC2, CompTIA, and EC-Council. It is a Microsoft Gold Partner for Data and AI, and also a TWC-approved vocational trade school.
Your Gateway to a New Career
If you are a transitional and non-traditional learner looking for a clear path towards a new career, Divergence Academy is the place for you. By constantly innovating its programs and staying on top of emerging technological trends, it is on its way to being the “world’s best vocational trade school”, and is ready to give you the skills you need for a fulfilling career in tech.
No matter your background—military vet or non-military, aged 20 or 60—as long as you are open, curious, and love to learn, you’ll get the right start at Divergence Academy. To learn more about the school and its programs, visit the Divergence Academy website today.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.