This is likely one of the best times to launch a career in tech. Several credible reports like LinkedIn’s Jobs on the Rise in 2021 seconded this notion, forecasting that the next five years will see an addition of over 150 million technology-related jobs globally. The same report added that: “The demand for digital skills is increasing, with no signs of slowing down.”
However, the general misconception is that you’d need to be able to code in order to have a successful tech career. While that may be true for those aspiring to explore more in-depth areas of the industry, there is another option that requires little to zero programming proficiency; tech sales.
According to Flockjay, tech sales is one of the industry’s best-kept secrets and the two-year-old online academy may be onto something. Sales professionals in tech are not only compensated well—earning a national average of $56,544 annually—but they also share most of the same perks as their peers like autonomy over daily tasks, flexible working conditions, growth potentials, and job security.
One of the best parts about this career path is that it is open to everyone, regardless of background. In fact, its accessibility and potentials are the very foundation that Flockjay was built on back in 2018.
Founder and CEO Shaan Hatharamani has always had a passion for improving the accessibility of education. After the recession in 2008, he spent a decade working in finance while simultaneously helping build non-profits focusing on financial literacy all across the country. When he left his day job to work for startups in Silicon Valley, he soon learned that even the best companies had difficulty hiring and retaining top sales talent with the necessary digital fluency.
“There was no credential, no certification that told companies what made a good tech salesperson. No one teaches sales, no one knows how to hire for it, and there’s no correlation between where you went to school, or if you went at all, and how well you’ll do,” he said.
“Over 50% of roles in top tech companies are ‘non-technical’ and sales reps are often among the highest-paid employees in tech. That led me to a larger conclusion: You don’t have to learn code to build a future-proof career in tech. You don’t even need a college degree.”
Flockjay Bridges the Talent Gap in the Tech Industry
That was how Flockjay came to its inception in 2018, with the mission to train jobseekers from non-traditional and underrepresented backgrounds for future-proof jobs in tech sales. Today, the online academy has helped hundreds of graduates to reach an average salary increase of 250% and it is far from done; Flockjay aims to train 1,000 people over the course of 2021.
“We’ve had all types of students, from people who have literally launched rockets for NASA and SpaceX to a grandmother from Lithonia, Georgia, who stopped running the family Bojangles and became a top-performing sales development rep at Gusto.
“It’s not just about providing pathways into sales organizations. It is rooting future leaders at companies so that when you’re making decisions with your technology that impacts millions of users, you have a different perspective in the room that actually can move the needle and create a better economic outcome,” Mr. Hatharamani said.
Diversity and inclusion are cornerstones of the school’s mission, too. This is reflected in its own team, culture, community, and even investors.
Here’s how the team at Flockjay stands: when it comes to race/ethnicity the team is 75% BIPOC. When it comes to gender the team is 51% Female and 2% Non-binary. 48% of Flockjay staff are First Gen or Immigrant, 12% of Flockjay staff are Alumni who went through the program, and 20% identify as LGBTQ+.
Flockjay has previously raised close to $3 million from investors—50% of whom are female and 50% are people of color—which includes Coatue, Serena Williams, Will Smith, Y Combinator, F7, and others.
Earlier this month, the school announced its $11 million Series A, led by e.ventures, and with participation from Lightspeed, Salesforce Ventures, Impact America, Cleo Capital, Gabrielle Union, and other lighthouses for economic and social justice.
It also announced its shared goal with non-profit Opportunity@Work to enable over one million Skilled Through Alternative Routes (STARs) —individuals with the proven skill sets but do not have a four-year-degree—to translate learning into $20 billion in higher earnings by 2030.
“We believe diversity and equity matter everywhere, not just for ourselves but in the companies we work for, lead, and invest in,” Mr. Hatharamani said.
How Flockjay Is Making Tech Sales More Accessible
To help you decide if Flockjay is a good fit for you, let’s delve deeper into its offerings:
A learning model designed to suit your schedule
Flockjay offers a 10-week course that will teach students everything they need to know to launch a sales tech career. Classes are held online from Monday to Thursday, 5 pm to 8 pm PT.
The reason behind this part-time learning model is so that students do not need to put their lives on pause while pursuing a new skill. The flexibility of this program is in tandem with the school’s overall goal to improve access to technical education.
An alumnus who is now a Customer Success Advisor at Gusto, Elise Cox, was one of the students who were juggling several responsibilities during the course. On top of a full-time job as a Training/Opening manager at a quick-service restaurant, she was also taking four accelerated classes at Georgia State—in which she excelled with a 4.0 that semester.
Ms. Cox was able to go through her classes at Flockjay without neglecting her duties while at the same time managing three children and two grandchildren. At the end of it all, she said the result was well worth the effort.
“I’m glad I did not put it off, as Flockjay changed the trajectory of my life in three months. From April 2019 to July 2019, each late-night proved to be worth it!” Ms. Cox said.
Additionally, students have the option to pay $0 tuition until they have a job earning more than $40,000. Flockjay also offers flexible payment options so that students can launch a career debt-free.
Preparing students for remote-readiness
At the moment, 75% of the classes at Flockjay are conducted through Zoom while the rest is in an asynchronous format, which means that there is pre-recorded content that students can take advantage of whenever, and wherever. The school also maintains active communication with students, trainers, and staff through its Slack channel.
“Our students learn to sell 100% online, so they’re prepared for remote challenges in ways that previously in-person SDRs might be struggling with,” the school said.
The virtual classrooms are led by trainers who are real industry professionals with years of real-life tech sales experience. Some have had experience working for Envoy, IBM, LaunchDarkly, Stripe, Box, and Shopkeep, among others.
According to Flockjay, the trainers relate to the school’s vision because they understand that their own tech careers were propelled by great mentorship and support.
“Our approach to teaching is to be as real as possible. Sales are hard so we don’t sugar coat it. We hold high expectations of our students and we try to think of them as our direct reports. We also set the example by demonstrating what it looks like to be prepared, energetic, and optimistic. More importantly, we create a fun environment and strong bonds.”
Students also have access to office hours for one-on-one training, support, and feedback with the trainers. While the hours are based on the trainer’s availability, there is no limit to office hours that students can book—weekends included.
“As long as students show up prepared, we can block the time out. We also have general support office hours where students can coordinate with success advisors to make sure they are on track and figure out how to balance the class with other commitments,” the school said.
Connecting students with potential employers
“Our community and hiring pool is large, and we ensure that you’ll succeed—students not only get job-ready skills and actual interviews at top tech companies, but you learn from industry leaders, build a real network with colleagues and alums, and get support well after you’re hired,” Mr. Hatharamani said.
After graduation, Flockjay will match students with the right company and make warm introductions so they can ‘cut the queue’ and head straight into a job. In fact, one-third of Flockjay’s staff are dedicated to finding hiring partners and placing students at these companies.
“We try our best to work with companies that share the same values and prioritize placing our graduates in companies that we know have a good support system in place.”
Some of Flockjay’s hiring partners include Gong, Gusto, Airtable, Zoom, Slack, Rippling, Confluent, and PatientPop. Growing companies like this are leaning into hiring sales reps from Flockjay because:
- Flockjay grads ramp faster (1.5 months compared to the industry average of 3.1 months)
- Flockjay grads outlast their peers (98% of Flockjay grads retain beyond 6 months, vs. 61% industry average)
- 63% of Flockjay grads are promoted within the first year
“This says a lot about our graduates,” the school said.
Creating community beyond the classroom
“Community is at the heart of everything we do at Flockjay, right down to our name itself: we fly farther and faster, together.”
The school has fostered a supportive, vibrant community through outlets for connection dubbed Flockjay Identity Groups (FIGs). These FIGs act as a safe space where students who share common grounds can band together and celebrate their unique experiences inside the tech landscape, among others. These groups also offer opportunities for collaborative dialogue and solutions to any issue or topic they might have.
At the moment, there are FIGs for: Womxn, LGBTQ+, Allies, Parents, Blacks, Faith-based, First-generation, Indian American, and Asian American flockmates.
“Some of our students became best friends, moved to a new city together, and those who work in the same company became each other’s support system. To keep the bond going, we put on regular programs like monthly gatherings or networking events for our alumni. Interview coaches are also available to help them negotiate even after they have found a job.”
What Can You Learn At Flockjay?
In essence, students will learn everything from sales techniques to software tools and get actual sales practice. In the first two weeks, they will tackle the Art and Science of Sales and what it means to be a Sales Development Representative. The following two weeks will see students learning about Inbound Sales and how to qualify prospective leads.
In Week 4 to Week 6, students will be exposed to Outbound Sales and the Art of Research and Finding the Right Buyers before jumping into mastering modern technical sales software in Week 7 and Week 8.
The final two weeks are all about live sales practice and job search preparation. Students are taught how to optimize their search process, tell their unique stories (sell yourself), and run through vigorous mock interview sessions.
Flexible Tuition Options
To provide flexibility, students can choose between upfront tuition or deferred tuition plans, with the latter allowing students to learn for $0 upfront cost. Here we break down the options available to US residents. If you live outside of the US, you can still join Flockjay’s program if you plan to move to the US and have US work authorization.
- Upfront Payment
Tuition for Flockjay’s course costs $7,650. However, for applicants in every state except California (due to state regulations), paying upfront means getting a 20% discount for a tuition cost of $6,000.
- Deferred Tuition
With Flockjay’s Deferred Tuition option you can start for $0 upfront. After you graduate and start making more than $40k a year, you pay $425/month for 18 months.
Kickstart Your Tech Sales Career With Flockjay Today
If you felt like you don’t have the ideal background to launch a successful tech career, Flockjay may prove you wrong. With its 10-week training, you stand a chance to learn everything there is to know to make it as a top-tier sales development representative. But more than just training, Flockjay’s team works to help you land a tech sales role and start a successful career.
With an online, part-time learning model, you can learn on your schedule—keeping your day job, managing your family, and more while upskilling yourself. The school also offers flexible tuition options to help mitigate the risks on your end.
Learn more by heading over to Flockjay’s website or click here to begin your admission process.
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.