Coding bootcamps like Flatiron School have emerged as an intensive but quick way to get your foot into the tech industry. One wonders, however. While going through a coding bootcamp can land you a tech job, is it enough to build you a career?
The Rise of Career Services
In 2020, Forbes predicted that career services will soon be front and center of the college experience. In its words: “Historically located in the literal basements and physical fringes of campus, career services is poised to become a core facet of the student experience–as central to student success as the curriculum.”
There’s nothing new about this statement. In fact, many have long advocated for an overhaul of the traditional idea of career services so it can better prepare students for what they actually need: employment. Perhaps most memorable among these advocates was Andy Chan, a career development professional who said: “Career services [as it now exists] must die.”
His dramatic declaration was rooted in the seeming dissatisfaction that college graduates feel when they enter the workforce.
“When we talk to high school seniors and we try to convince them to come [to college], what do we say? We say, ‘You’re going to come and get a great education. You’re going to learn how to think critically and creatively… And all that sounds fantastic. But to the students, they’re thinking, ‘I hope a good job comes with that, too.’”
The problem is, it sometimes doesn’t. And when it does, it’s not exactly the job that they expected.
Data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York revealed that recent college graduates and young workers are more likely to be unemployed or underemployed when compared to overall workers. In fact, by the end of December 2019, 41 percent of recent college graduates were working in jobs that didn’t require a college degree.
Circumstances have been even more difficult for 45 percent of Class of 2020 graduates who, according to job site Monster, are still looking for a job a year after they received their degrees.
To mitigate this, Andy proposed redefining career services. That is, rather than the traditional brick-and-mortar career centers that few visit or even notice on campus, career services must be integrated into the student’s learning experience.
While this remains a suggestion in the traditional learning space, this has long been the reality at coding bootcamp Flatiron School. At Flatiron School, career services are not an afterthought nor an overlooked fixture. It’s built-in and part and parcel of a student’s entire bootcamp experience.
Flatiron School’s Career Services: What’s In It For Me?
Career success for Flatiron School students is not just something that ‘maybe’ happens. It’s deliberate and a collaborative effort between the students and Flatiron School’s Career Coaching and Employer Partnerships Teams.
Meet Flatiron School’s Career Coaching Team
Flatiron School’s Career Coaching Team is made up of dedicated career counselors whose mission is to help set you up for long-term success. To get you there, they provide three-pronged support designed to keep you on track of both your professional and personal development goals.
1. Individualized Support
Diversity is a common facet at Flatiron School. Because the bootcamp is open to students of all backgrounds, it has become a melting pot for upskilling tech professionals, career changers, novices, parents, and members of underrepresented communities in tech.
For this reason, support at Flatiron School is built as one-size-fits-one. “Our team of Career Coaches will meet you where you’re at—whether [you’re looking to land your] first “real job” or [make] a career pivot after a 25-year career [elsewhere],” says Lindsey Williams, Senior Manager of Career Coaching at Flatiron School.
“If it’s the idea of networking that makes you nervous, how you speak about a gap in your resume, or how to build credibility for yourself in a new industry, we’ll tailor our support to exactly where you need it most,” she adds.
This personalized support starts as you approach graduation and lasts for 180 days or until you get a job offer. “We also offer coaching support to our alumni who are in the midst of a second or third career change, and continue to celebrate their career progression years later,” says Lindsey.
2. Career Prep Curriculum
At Flatiron School, you don’t just pray for the perfect job to land on your lap. You work for it. In particular, your career coach shows you how to work it to succeed. This requires a final stretch of effort and commitment post-graduation.
Part of Flatiron School’s curriculum is a comprehensive guide on how to become a great job candidate, which is offered as the last module of every course. This is combined with dedicated weekly one-on-one career coaching that lasts up to six months after graduation for maximum impact.
It’s important to take advantage of this as it’s included with tuition. It’s an essential part of the secret sauce the school offers, but you have to put in the effort.
The Career Prep Curriculum is a mini-program of its own designed to equip you with the critical job search skills you’ll need to optimize your job hunt. The program is packed with more than 50 lessons that teach you the following job search strategies:
- Bridging your previous experiences with newer opportunities
- Refining your resume and cover letters
- Communicating with your potential employer via phone, email, or in-person
- Demonstrating your skills during the job interview
- Building your network and credibility through your online brand presence; and
- Negotiating your salary
As with every program at Flatiron School, the content of the Career Prep Curriculum is constantly updated to match what works in the job market. For instance, because of the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, graduates have been limited to building a network in a remote setting.
“Whereas one could meet someone in person for a networking event or coffee, people are now finding creative ways to stand out online,” says Lindsey. Flatiron School students do so by leveraging virtual tools and technologies at their disposal and saying yes, yes, yes to relevant online events.
“With the world increasingly connected, our graduates are able to meet people from all over through online meetups, conferences, virtual hackathons, Slack, Discord, LinkedIn, and regular ol’ email,” says Lindsey.
Despite the shift in the virtual space, she notes that the key to successful networking remains the same: “[It’s] standing out in your authentic way and following up afterward.”
“Perhaps you’d stand out by offer[ing] to help in a hackathon, being friendly in a chat, asking good questions, or helping someone solve a problem,” says Lindsey. “[You may even] follow-up after the event [by] sending a thoughtful thank-you note with a request to connect for 15 minutes to learn more about something that piqued your curiosity.”
Whatever you decide to do, you will have the skills from the Career Prep Curriculum to do it. “In addition, we offer a post-work curriculum to students in each discipline to continue developing their technical skills while job-seeking,” says Lindsey.
3. Job Search Framework
If your job hunt can be summed up as “Find a tech job, apply, wait. Rinse and repeat,” then you’ll be on the hunt for much longer. For a job search to succeed, it must be deliberate. This means that as you start, you must already have the end in mind and commit to working your way towards it.
Don’t know how to begin? Collaborate with your Career Coach and come up with a job search framework. “[Think of it as] a specific game plan to provide structure to your job search and ensure consistent forward progress,” says Lindsey.
Note that the job search framework is not a wishlist. Rather, it’s a realistic game plan that’s tailored to your goals, interests, and your strengths.
Meet Flatiron School’s Employer Partnerships Team
While your Career Coach helps you work out your professional goals and how to get there, the Employer Partnerships Team works behind the scenes to connect you to employers whose goals align with yours.
The way the Employer Partnerships Team works can be summarized in five simple steps.
- An employer reaches out to the team and presents the ideal profile of the candidate they’re seeking.
- The team puts together a ‘resume book’, which contains a list of Flatiron School graduates whose skills fit the profile.
- If the employer selects one of the graduates, the team introduces the graduate to the employer.
- The graduate proceeds to the job interview process.
- Assuming the graduate passes, the employer welcomes the graduate into the company.
By the end of the process, you get a win-win-win situation for all. The employer adds qualified talent to their team. The graduate gets a job. And the school gets to have another success story. Since its inception, Flatiron School has racked up a list of employer partners that include household names like IBM, Citi, Meetup, Liberty Mutual, Wunderkind, Chubb, Justworks, and FuboTV.
So with Flatiron School’s comprehensive career services, it’s only fair to ask: What concrete results have such services accomplished?
Flatiron School’s Success by the Numbers
Our review of Flatiron School’s 2020 Job Outcomes revealed that out of 1,293 graduates, 86 percent of those who were job-seeking secured qualifying jobs within the reporting period.* “The average starting salary for graduates who landed full-time was $69,895.**
*For job-seeking students who accepted full-time salaried jobs during the reporting period and disclosed their compensation. The average starting salary for students who took full-time contract, internship, apprenticeship, or freelance roles and disclosed compensation was $32/hr. Average pay for a part-time role was $26/hr (see full Jobs Report here).
*For job-seeking on-campus and online graduates included in the 2020 Jobs Report including full-time salaried roles, full-time contract, internship, apprenticeship, and freelance roles, and part-time roles during the reporting period (see full Jobs Report here).
“As a woman, I’m particularly proud of the fact that women achieved a 90 percent overall placement rate versus 83 percent of the male graduates and represented 33 percent of our graduates versus the 21 percent for comparable four-year degree programs,*” notes Lindsey.
“The numbers tell the story: we’re literally changing the face of tech and creating a more equitable society in our wake.” We have other insightful Flatiron School reviews that can help you make up your mind if you are still on the fence.
Beyond the Bootcamp: Where Are Flatiron School Graduates Now?
While the high placement rates prove that Flatiron School students are capable of getting a job in the tech industry, there’s still something to be said on whether long-term career success is possible for bootcamp graduates. The four Flatiron School graduates below prove that it is.
1. Aderemi Odufuye
- Flatiron School Program Attended: Software Engineering
- Attended: 2019-2020
Where is he now? Before even heading into the bootcamp, Remi was already working as a freelance web developer. Wanting to switch to software engineering, he enrolled in Flatiron School.
Of his bootcamp experience, Remi had this to say: “If I say it was easy, I just won’t be telling you the truth. It was hard—not just the concepts but with where I was in life. With everything that’s been going on…the family, the kids, it was hard to pull it off. But I’m glad I did.”
“In a bootcamp, you have mentors, you have classmates who will be in the same cohort with you…and you have a coach who will guide you and hold your hand.”
A few months after Flatiron School, Remi secured a job as a software engineer at NASA. A year into the job, he co-founded Cliqki Technologies, a social networking platform “that rewards users for sharing content.”
2. Olivia Auzenne
- Flatiron School Program Attended: Software Engineering
- Attended: 2019
Where is she now? Before coming into Flatiron School, Olivia was a single parent who was living with her parents. To change her situation, she went to Flatiron School. And just a week before graduating from the bootcamp, Olivia landed a job as a junior software engineer for biotech company Baylor Genetics.
A year and a half later, Olivia bought her dream house—a complete turnaround from where she was before the bootcamp. Having reached one of her goals, Olivia made another career pivot to front end development.
“During my program at Flatiron, people would come to me for design help, and I knew that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to be the girl that made things pretty,” said Olivia. So, she went on to work as a UX/UI Developer at the electricity company, Energy Ogre.
Inspired by her journey to success, Olivia founded Manifest Codex, an exclusive club committed to empowering women with the training they’ll need to achieve their goals in life.
3. Remmy Clay
- Flatiron School Program Attended: Online Software Engineering
- Attended: 2017-2018
Where is she now? After quitting her job as a litigation lawyer in Australia, Remmy enrolled in Flatiron School with the hope of moving into a more dynamic industry.
“I hoped to find a profession that provided the same constant challenges and continued learning that I had experienced in commercial litigation, in an industry that was more responsive to change,” she wrote.
Within a few weeks in the job hunt, Remmy accepted an offer for a full stack software developer role at Sawatch Labs, a fleet electrification analytics firm. “Throughout the interview process, it was made clear that I’d most probably feel out of my depth most of the time. And, as crazy as it sounds, that was exactly what I was after,” said Remmy.
Nearly three years since, Remmy’s still building and programming at the company.
4. Chris Remmel
- Flatiron School Program Attended: Online Data Science
- Attended: 2018-2019
Where is he now? Chris was singing operas when coding caught his eye. So, he left the stage and enrolled in Flatiron School. After the program, Chris built his network by volunteering his data analytics skills to help organizations like a local newspaper and an opera company.
He used every opportunity to demonstrate the skills he learned and the projects he did at Flatiron School.
“I was at a party with a bunch of bioengineers and was chatting with one of the senior researchers. On the way out, I told her about the deep learning project I finished as a part of the curriculum,” said Chris.
“The next week she arranged a time to call me and asked if I would like to build some experience working with some of their datasets. I said yes and that was that.”
Chris landed a six-month contract as a research assistant at Dartmouth College. From there, he moved up to a full-time role as a data scientist, which he did for a year. Now, Chris is a data engineer at Boston’s Children’s Hospital.
Not Just a Job, But a Career
Adam Enbar, co-founder and CEO of Flatiron School, wrote: “[A]s far as the education itself goes, the single most important thing we need to be teaching is critical thinking. And most of what we do drives towards that in different ways from writing to math.
“But coding gives us the opportunity to impart critical thinking skills while engaging students in entirely new and compelling ways.”
Years after completing their training at Flatiron School, graduates like Chris, Olivia, Remmy, and Aderemi are a living example of what the school has envisioned: to produce not just any tech professional, but critical thinkers and lifelong learners.
Be the Next Flatiron School Success Story
This month, Flatiron School celebrated the success of one of its students Marissa Nolan, the 5,000th Flatiron School graduate to secure a job post-program. Be among the next thousand. Set up a call with the Flatiron School admissions team 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.