Now that so much of our lives have moved online because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so too has the way that we learn. Remote learning has become the norm, and coding bootcamps are no exception. But how does learning to code and preparing for a job as a web developer translate to an online environment? A lot can be lost in the translation to digital: community spirit, collaboration opportunities, work-life balance, as well as self-care practices that keep students and employees on track. Can coding bootcamp students still feel connected and centered even when learning online?
For those looking for a coding bootcamp but worried about losing all the elements that in-person learning may provide, Makers Academy works to present an exciting opportunity for you.
Makers Academy is a UK-based coding bootcamp that has been providing remote learning for over five years. Though it was also providing in-person classes before the pandemic, Makers Academy has the longest-running remote program in Europe.
Makers Academy offers an alternative approach to the traditional bootcamp. In its 16-week intensive program, the academy is focused on teaching students how to learn, rather than just what to learn. It is invested in preparing a new generation of tech talent for the ever-shifting, collaborative world of technology work.
Community and creativity are at the heart of Makers Academy’s ethos, which is evident from its holistic learning model, self-directed coursework, and opportunities for collaboration at every step.
Learning How To Learn At Makers Academy
Makers Academy has an approach to learning that differs from many other coding bootcamps. Instead of offering courses in all the coding languages it could, Makers instead wants to teach its students how to learn.
Education in the Hands of the Maker
By empowering students and equipping them with the tools to learn, they can take control of their learning and career journey. Makers Academy is not just teaching a language, but how to learn a language so that you can adapt to any new technology in the workplace, hit the ground running at your first job, continue to pick up new languages from scratch, and develop an ever-evolving skill set.
The self-directed program functions so that students set goals for themselves within the 16 weeks that they’re working at Makers Academy. Students will use peers and coaches as support throughout and document their learning in a portfolio that they’ll build through their time there. The portfolio serves as evidence of a set of self-directed learning skills, as well as proof of a solid foundation in software development.
This element of self-direction is something that Makers Academy graduates bring into their careers, allowing them to set goals and plan their own career progressions as they challenge and push themselves with intrinsic motivation. Because of this self-directed motivation that the school implements, 25 percent of its graduates secured mid-level positions just one year after graduating, while 65 percent made the same progress within two years upon graduation.
Holistic Approach to Bootcamp Education
Beyond the self-directed learning approach, Makers Academy is also uniquely invested in a holistic learning approach. General well-being, healthy work habits, and a work-life balance are woven into the course to instill resilience and self-awareness.
Coding bootcamps are often an intensive experience. Students participate in a collaborative learning process up to nine hours a day, five days a week. Sometimes, they end up having additional coding and work challenges to complete over the weekend, too.
In order to support this intensive program, Makers Academy provides students with holistic support. Onsite guided meditation is provided daily and Vinyasa yoga classes are offered twice a week for free. These exercises are not compulsory but students are encouraged to participate to learn how to take responsibility for their own balance
Makers Academy has also designated a unique role dubbed Chief Joy Officer who leads the delivery of its Emotional Intelligence Curriculum. Students are welcome to consult the in-house Chief Joy Officer, Dana Svoboda, or other coaches should they need additional support or someone to talk to. In the team’s words, “It’s crucial to prioritize our wellbeing. Let’s do it together because we’re all in it together” “
Remote Learning That Mimics Real-World Training
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many aspects of our lives have had to quickly shift to the digital realm. This includes coding bootcamps. Though Makers Academy was functioning in person before the pandemic, the school has been offering remote courses for over five years—making it one of the longest-running remote bootcamps in the UK.
Makers Academy, therefore, has a lot of experience carrying over its community and connection-focused learning into online programming. The learning experience is active, not passive, even online.
What this means is that students learn in an environment that simulates real-world settings. The lessons are hands-on and collaborative so that when students are hired for their first job, they are ready to hit the ground running. The programs may be remote, but the collaboration remains—cameras are always turned on to mirror what it’s really like to be a part of today’s distributed workforce.
The coaches at Makers Academy have years of industry backgrounds, with some formerly holding positions with tech giants like Facebook and Google. This means they are able to bring high-level industry knowledge to the collaborative work environment.
Students will also engage in pair programming every day. This provides students with a structure to communicate while programming. It’s another element that illustrates Makers Academy’s commitment to a community-forward learning experience.
Makers Academy Program and Financing
Makers Academy offers a 12-week intensive course that takes place in a peer-to-peer environment, facilitated by expert instructors. The program is structured as follows:
Weeks 1-2: Software Fundamentals: Test-Driven Development and Object Oriented Programming
Weeks 3-4: Introduction to the Web and Data Persistence
Weeks 6-8: Engineering Project II
Weeks 10: Software Craft
Weeks 11-12: Engineering Project III
Students pair-program for the majority of the day, and also complete daily workshops and code reviews led by coaches. There is constant communication with peers and instructors.
Tuition is $13,733 (£8,000). Financing options include a recommended loan option available through Coursebud, as well as a Future Earning Agreement through Stepex, and a Lendwise loan option. There’s also an $858 (£500) discount to women and gender minorities.
The focus of Makers isn’t just to land graduates their first development job. Makers is in it for the long-haul, to help graduates have an exciting long-term career path.
“A year after finishing the course, a quarter of Makers are in mid-level positions at their companies. After two years, 65% are mid-level developers. The average yearly salary of a junior developer out of Makers is $46,000 (£33,000). After 2 years’ experience, the average Maker earns $64,000 (£46,000),” said the school.
The school offers comprehensive job support that includes 1:1 weekly check-ins with coaches, technical support, and interview support and feedback. It also helps students build connections with alumni who are working in the industry.
However, graduates do tend to have success securing a job in the short-term as well. The hiring outcome shortly after graduation was at least 92% before COVID.
What Makes a Makers Academy Student?
Individuals who love to challenge themselves would thrive and perform well at Makers Academy. The school is particularly popular among career changers and others looking to make a new path for themselves. Those with a growth mindset and have a passion for learning will excel in this program.
The school applauds and welcomes those who are not afraid of uncertainty and are ready to take the strategic leaps they need to build an exciting career. If you’re curious, have a strong interest in technology, and are excited by a challenge, Makers Academy may just be the right place for you.
Makers Academy will provide the relevant tools, but in order for students to be successful, they’ll need to be driven and excited about challenging themselves. Being taught how to learn means that you have to meet the school halfway—you have the control, but you also have to have the passion to make it work for you.
If you go into the program with these qualities, Makers Academy will help nurture them as you take the first step toward building a career in tech. New cohorts start each month. If you’re ready for the challenge, apply for the next Makers Academy cohort here.
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.