For adult, non-traditional learners, changing one’s career is no easy feat. Switching from a non-tech career to a tech career is even harder. There are numerous challenges these types of learners need to overcome before they can even consider reskilling or upskilling themselves. Some of these obstacles may include the need to maintain a full-time job, caring for their families, and the financial strain of pursuing further education.
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Flatiron School understands that there is a need to give more people access to education and learning opportunities. Because of this, it now offers its top-rated immersive courses in a Flex format that allows students to study at their own pace. It also offers several scholarships to give more people the opportunity to attend its programs.
Flatiron School now offers its top-rated tech courses as Flex programs that students can complete in 20, 40, or 60 weeks.Find the course for you at Flatiron School.
Flatiron School Flex Programs Review: A Look into the Learning Experience
Flatiron School’s Flex programs are ideal for non-traditional students, such as full-time employees, working parents, and single parents, whose many responsibilities often deter them from dedicating 15 weeks of their life solely to a tech bootcamp. With the flex programs, students can now spread their time for learning over 20, 40, or 60 weeks.
Why the Flex Programs?
David Jordan, senior director of Flex programs at Flatiron School, explains how the Flex program came to be. “During the pandemic, we came to realize that many individuals’ lives were unpredictable and could benefit from additional flexibility that didn’t depend on a synchronous experience.”
“On the other hand, a lot of online programs that go for the asynchronous model fall short when it comes to student support. We wanted to provide a highly flexible experience that allowed students to lead busy or changing lives. At the same time, [we wanted] to give them the same level of attention, support, and awareness that our synchronous programming offers. We saw this as a real need in the market,” David said.
Flatiron School’s Flex programs were designed to offer high flexibility coupled with high accountability. These meet the needs of people whose lives are unpredictable or changing rapidly, possibly due to multiple responsibilities such as a full-time job, family care, or child care.
What Does a Flex Student Learn?
Whether a student decides to take a 15-week live program or chooses a 20, 40, or 60-week Flex program, Flatiron School aims to deliver the same outcomes. “You’re learning the same material on either path, and you’re equipped for the same outcomes. The way we make this work in the Flex model is a mixture of intentional tooling that supports the model, as well as a world-class instructional team,” David shared.
At the moment, the Flex option is available for Flatiron School’s Software Engineering, Data Science, Cybersecurity Engineering, and Product Design programs. Flex program students have access to the same curriculum as full-time students.
This means that whichever pace the students choose, they work through the same material. The difference lies in the amount of time given to meet milestones. Instructor feedback is available throughout the program to help bring a student’s project concept to life.
What Pace Should a Flex Student Choose?
As mentioned above, the Flex program offers three paces—20, 40, and 60 weeks. But, how does a student know which one works best with their life?
“For full-time employees, we really encourage the 60-week program. That program takes, on average, around 15 hours a week. This is a rough average because learners are unique individuals. Your instructor will work with you to help you with time management and keeping on pace,” David said.
For students who work standard 9am to 6pm jobs, most of the training happens asynchronously. Live lectures, one-on-one sessions with instructors, and group study sessions are held during business hours.
However, Flex students are able to view recorded lectures when convenient and as Flatiron School has teams based across the four time zones of the US, offering flexibility as to when events are scheduled.
How Does a Flex Student Stay on Track?
Students have regular check-ins with an instructor who serves as their dedicated guide throughout their program. Flex program students have a minimum of 10 one-on-one sessions with their instructor throughout the program and can have as many as 20. The instructor is aware of the student’s pace, desired graduation date, and helps students reach their goals.
Aside from closely working with an instructor, Flex students are also part of the vibrant Flatiron School community, which helps them keep up with program requirements.
“They may have access to live central lectures if they want to attend more experiences synchronously. If they’re unable to attend synchronously, they’re able to access that content via recordings. There are also optional structured study sessions and other opportunities for them to connect with other students in a similar location going through the same curriculum,” David said.
The Flex programs allow students to switch paces depending on their needs. If they start missing deadlines, they can work with an instructor on adjusting their pace. For example, they can move from the 20-week pace to the 40-week pace. This format uses a student-centered approach that allows discussion between the school and the student on what works best for them.
“If they start on the 20-week program, and then life happens, a family member falls ill, or they acquire a job and need to change the pace of which they’re learning, they can do that. All it requires is a discussion with their instructor, and they can lay out milestones over the new time horizon.
“Flatiron School has a product that does this automatically. It reshuffles the itinerary to the finish line. The student will then discuss it with their instructor and make sure that they both have a clear idea of what it will take to get to that endpoint, which circles back to high accountability,” David continued.
“Another thing I appreciate about Flatiron School is that it doesn’t just teach technical knowledge. It also teaches students how to learn, how to be self-aware, and habits of how to overcome obstacles. Both our technical staff and our non-technical staff can provide education coaching support to students. We’ve been in this business for a long time, and we’ve supported students who had a variety of challenges,” David further shared.
What Tools Are Available to Flatiron School’s Flex Students?
Flatiron School ensures that students are equipped with all the tools they need to complete the program successfully. “We use Canvas as our home base for all curriculum. Base is another platform that lives on top of Canvas, which shows the milestones and how they are spread over time. Classes are conducted on Zoom. We use Slack for a vibrant asynchronous community,” said David.
“How that looks is that there are different channels for each phase of our program. Our program has five phases. As a Flex student, you are put into a Slack channel with students in the same phase as you. There are rich discussions of Q&A, things that they discovered, things they’re learning, invitations to join a breakout study group.
“There’s a lot of student-to-student community happening, as well as the student-to-instructor community. Both are important because what we want to prepare students for is job readiness. This type of a collaborative community is something that really prepares them for the workforce,” continued David.
How Do Flex Students Take Part in the Flatiron School Community?
The impact Flatiron School has on its alumni is often traced back to the Flatiron School community. In Live programs, the community is often formed with the cohort. Students are together for 15 weeks and learn together.
Flatiron School seeks to replicate versions of this in a more flexible format in the Flex program through avenues like Slack channels. Students may be part of various channels with different people. For example, a student can be part of a Slack channel with other students who started at the same time and another channel of students who are at the same point in the program.
These channels become part of the student’s community and networks. Students on the 60-week pace can expect to meet a large number of students with whom they can network. These students become study mates and friends in the short term. In the long run, they become professional contacts from tech companies around the world.
“Community is the lifeblood of Flatiron School. It’s what brings folks into this kind of work, they’re passionate about changing lives, connecting authentically with students, and helping students see something in themselves that maybe they didn’t think they had. Maybe the student thinks there are not enough people in the industry that come from a similar background as them or they think it’s too late to break into a new sector, ” said David.
“We want to equip students with the confidence and skills to do it. Our faculty is passionate about that and they bring the technical know-how. We also have an entire non-technical community team that is solely focused on creating different events to create a vibrant learning community.”
“They connect passionate career changers and allow them to meet people different from them, similar to them, meet people who are also insecure, meet folks who might be farther in the program and can give them words of wisdom. We are really focused on doing everything in our power to make students know that they are in a community and have folks cheering them on and giving them support,” continued David.
The Flex programs deliver the same top-rated Live course curriculum that has guided hundreds of students towards successful tech careers. The flexible format gives more students from all backgrounds access to this learning opportunity.
Flatiron School Scholarships
Flatiron School doesn’t just extend access to non-traditional students. It also opens its doors to members of underrepresented communities in the tech industry.
In the 2021 Equality in Tech report, a survey of tech workers revealed significant perception gaps on workplace bias and discrimination between demographic groups. Around 80 percent of Black tech workers say they have experienced discrimination at work. Over 30 percent reported that racial inequity occurs “very frequently”. On the other hand, less than 15 percent of white tech workers reported seeing racial inequality happening as often in the workplace.
A Harvard Business Report article also recently used Google to illustrate this problem. Only 5.5 percent of Google employees identify as Black or Black and another race while only 6.6 percent identify as Latinx or Latinx and any other race. Unfortunately, these types of statistics are typical in the tech industry. Both reports offer further evidence of what some people already see as fact: a lack of diversity and inclusion in tech.
Flatiron School encourages diversity and equality in the tech industry by offering several scholarships and diversity initiatives.
The Access Scholarship offers students the opportunity to start learning for $0 upfront with a partial scholarship of up to $3,000. Access Scholarship candidates must identify as a member of one of the following:
- Underrepresented minorities
- People with disabilities
- Veterans or British Armed Forces Services Learners
- Low Income
Candidates must not have prior experience working in the technical role they’re being trained for.
Flatiron School works tirelessly to empower women in tech and help them start new careers. Eligible women can apply for this scholarship that grants partial scholarships of up to $3,000.
NCWIT’s Alabama & Michigan Digital Skills Initiative
Flatiron School has partnered with National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), which offers full-tuition technical training to women in Alabama and Michigan. Individuals in Michigan and Alabama who self-identify as women, genderqueer, or non-binary are eligible to apply.
They may be granted a full scholarship to technical training opportunities through NCWIT’s Digital Skills Initiative. This can be applied to Software Engineering, Data Science or Cybersecurity Engineering courses available through Flatiron School.
Essential Workers Scholarship
Flatiron School’s new Essential Workers Scholarship allows essential workers to start learning for $0 upfront with a partial scholarship of between $1,000 and $1,500. It provides opportunities for individuals with passion and dedication.
Students must meet academic and award criteria to be granted the scholarship. The Essential Workers Scholarship is limited to seven students per month across all campuses and online.
Flatiron School: A More Accessible Path to Tech
With the Flex programs and scholarships, Flatiron School continues its work of helping diversify the industry by making tech careers accessible to more people. If this sounds interesting to you, take a look at Flatiron School’s courses here and sign up for Flatiron School today.
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