In 2018, a LinkedIn survey identified professional development as the main driver of workplace satisfaction. In other words, if employees feel stagnant in their careers, they’re more likely to find a job elsewhere. This was in step with being satisfied with the job itself and ahead of other reasons which you might think would have been the first choice, such as getting a raise or a promotion. As the author put it: “The learning curve is the earning curve.”
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In the past, higher learning was seen as a prerequisite for launching a career. You had to first enroll at a university—where you’ll spend much of your adolescence and savings—before you can enter the workforce. Now, both go hand-in-hand. Learning is no longer a stepping stone to a career; it’s its lifeline. To sustain a competitive edge in the workforce, continuous learning and development is a must.
But why the sudden fanfare for learning?
The past few months have seen a growing imbalance in the job market. As the pandemic shuttered industries, two things happened simultaneously. First, a huge section of the workforce was laid off, especially from service-oriented industries.
Second, industries that managed to avoid acute contractions saw unprecedented growth. With it came an increasing demand for a skilled workforce. Put two and two together and we’re left with a high demand for talent and a great supply of such. The obvious caveat: they require training. So, while the call for continuous learning has always been there, the need for it rings truer than it did before.
If that isn’t enough of a catalyst, research says the half-life of any job skill is about five years. Spelled another way, the skills you have now will, in five years, only be half as useful as they were. In 10, they will be nothing short of obsolete.
The Upskilling Imperative
It’s not news that the tech industry is one of the understaffed sectors of the economy. Last year, the number of unfulfilled IT jobs in the US reached close to a million, according to The Wall Street Journal. The staggering figure was befitting of its headline: “America’s Got Talent, Just Not Enough in IT”.
Despite the abundance of job openings within the industry, a report from recruitment software provider iCIMS said that there’s no shortage of applicants in tech. This begs the question: what’s causing the gap? For employers, it’s the increasing difficulty of finding qualified tech talents.
There are two ways to tackle this skills shortage. Companies could either look outward through recruiting new talent or mobilize from within through the upskilling of existing talent. Of course, both options have their fair share of risks.
Firstly, the former has already been an ongoing concern for employers. While the market currently has a surplus in candidates, it’s uncertain whether they’ll have the skills to get the job done. The latter approach, on the other hand, runs the risk of being time-consuming and ineffective if the proper method and targets are not identified.
Enter Galvanize, a Denver-based program that advances tech education. As a tech vanguard, Galvanize has created avenues that face up to the inefficiencies of each approach. In doing so, it has become a hybrid sweet spot that integrates both hiring and training methods and improves them.
The Three Pillars of Galvanize
In an industry where economic and digital disruptions are occurring at a breakneck pace, platforms that place a greater onus on learning and development are pivotal. In this aspect, some organizations are ahead of their peers. Among these is Galvanize. Its defining pillars? The three C’s: Coding Bootcamps, Corporate Training, and Co-working Space.
Galvanize’s coding programs are perhaps what it’s most known for. After all, its programs have received consistent praise and recognition from independent review companies. At present, Galvanize offers nine bootcamps. These can be classified in a host of ways—whether by duration (full-time or part-time), depth (preparatory or immersive), or access (remote or on-campus). For this article, we’ll focus on the fields.
1. Hack Reactor Software Engineering Immersive Bootcamps
In 2018, Galvanize made headlines for its acquisition of Hack Reactor, another top operator of immersive coding bootcamps. The move positioned Galvanize as one of the leading providers of high-quality software engineering education.
Currently, its software engineering immersive (SEI) bootcamps range from 12 weeks (for full-time remote and onsite) to 36 weeks (for remote part-time). The core of these programs lies in honing three key skills that are crucial to a software engineering career. These are autonomy, technical competency, and excellent communication skills.
The flexibility of Galvanize’s SEI bootcamps is consistent with Deloitte’s study which found that the lifespan of software engineering skills is getting shorter due to the whiplash speed by which digital innovations occur. At the moment, reskilling in software engineering must be done every 12 to 18 months.
Beyond the framework and languages, the Hack Reactor programs were also built to mimic the day-to-day tasks of software engineers. As such, sections of the bootcamps will involve students pair programming their way through projects, bug fixing, and developing applications at scale, all while receiving support from the industry’s leading instructors.
2. Data Science Immersive Bootcamps
The data science immersive (DSI) bootcamps last anywhere between 13 weeks (full-time remote and onsite) and 30 weeks (part-time remote). No matter the duration, DSI programs are generally divided into three sections: lessons, case studies, and capstone projects.
Galvanize’s Python-based curriculum offers an in-depth discussion of the core fundamentals of data science, machine learning and prediction, and natural language processors and recommenders. Just like the SEI bootcamps, DSIs rely heavily on hands-on learning. Throughout the program, students will be tasked to work on projects independently as well as in pairs to prepare them for a data scientist job.
The second half of the bootcamps will consist of students working on team-based software development case studies. In this phase, students will examine live data sets from which they’ll build models to deliver actionable insights.
Lastly, students will work independently on capstone projects. Here, students are expected to showcase their mastery of the full spectrum of data science operations. These include creating a project plan, collecting and analyzing data, deriving insights, and creating a model through which they can present these conclusions.
Capstone projects are more than just schoolwork. As Galvanize CEO Harsh Patel said: “Capstones are the biggest artifact for display for employers when students are job searching.” In other words, the outputs serve as a portfolio, demonstrating the capacities of students as data scientists.
Both software engineering and data science bootcamps are accompanied by career service support. Prior to graduation, students will be paired with career coaches who will help them create a job-search strategy. This will range from building their brand and networking to knowing which jobs to look for and participating in simulated job interviews.
So, going back to the problem: how do these bootcamps solve the skills shortage? It’s quite obvious. Galvanize bootcamps offer high-quality and low-cost content to those who aspire to break into the tech industry. From another perspective, the bootcamps may serve as entry points for low-skilled and laid-off workers looking to turn the tide.
At the same time, employers are met with qualified professionals to fill their talent pipeline. Galvanize’s short yet intensive bootcamps also help tech employers shorten the hiring period which last year stood at 66 days, three weeks longer than the hiring period for all other occupations.
For a company to thrive, it isn’t enough to rely heavily on new talent. Upskilling the company’s existing talents is likewise crucial. This is where Galvanize’s corporate training comes in. It’s an approach that advances development in a way that’s sustainable for the company and satisfactory to employees.
So, how does the training process work?
- Identify. Before starting with the training itself, it’s imperative to determine where the corporate team stands in terms of skills. Galvanize’s industry specialists take care of this skills inventory process. By the end of it, a lesson plan customized according to the team’s needs is created. The plan could vary from a 180-degree transformation into extreme programming principles to equipping the team with new language tools.
- Measurable ROI. Like any learning program, the team will work on projects throughout the delivery of the training solution. These will serve as the measuring stick for how fast the employees are learning and progressing. By the end of the program, they’re expected to implement the skills they acquired into daily practice and improve workplace productivity.
Co-working and Networking Space
Continuous learning is not limited to rigorous bootcamps and training programs. As the phrase connotes, learning must continue beyond the four corners of a classroom. While its coding bootcamps are what thrust Galvanize into the limelight, it was the goal of building a diverse tech community that served as the impetus for its creation.
This vision was conceived in 2012 due to the apparent disconnect between tech talent and entrepreneurs, both of whom were operating in silos. To bridge the gap, Galvanize founded its first co-working space in Denver and later established its presence in eight other locations in the US.
Galvanize’s hubs offer the same amenities that you would find in a typical co-working space. But unlike the latter, Galvanize’s shared office spaces give entrepreneurs, students, and enterprise companies the chance to interact and grow their businesses or careers. That is, by connecting them with the relationships and resources they need. These include unparalleled access to a mentor network, workshops, and talent.
Perhaps the best way to distinguish Galvanize’s workspaces is to describe them as something akin to a “melting pot”. In this case, of the tech industry’s main players.
Tech Takes Lifelong Learning
The speed and frequency by which economic and digital shifts are transforming the workforce have reduced the lifespan of job skills to only a decade. At most. This means that in the span of a 50-year career, you would need to either upskill or reskill four times to remain relevant in the market.
Put simply, learning is no longer recommended; it’s imperative. And the responsibility no longer rests on employees solely. On this note, Galvanize offers clear pathways for talents and companies alike. So, take stock of your skills. How much longer before they are rendered useless? Stay current. Earn that competitive edge with Galvanize.
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.