A man walks into a bar and engages in a conversation with the bartender. The bartender, intrigued, listens to the man with full concentration. The next day, the bartender hits the books to prepare for a new career.
The bartender is Roman Emmons.
“One night at the bar, I had a guest come in and sit in front of me,” he said. The guest, in Roman’s words, seemed ‘just a regular dude.’ Yet it was this regular conversation with this “regular dude” that ultimately changed his life.
“[He] told me about the alternative learning programs that have been getting popular. He said Hack Reactor was considered the Duke [University] of coding bootcamps essentially,” said Roman. “I was intrigued at that point.”
At the time, Roman had already hit his 10-year career itch. After having worked for a decade in the service industry, he was more than ready to shake up his career.
“I was looking for a way to grow because I [had already] reached as high as I was going to get as far as bartending went,” he said. “I was making really good money for what I was doing, but there wasn’t anywhere else for me to go at that point.”
It was that night in late 2019, said Roman, that led him to attend the Hack Reactor Part-time Remote Software Engineering Course offered by Denver-based coding bootcamp, Galvanize. A year later, he secured the role of Software Engineering Manager.
Making the Most of Limited Time
A credential and a paycheck traditionally existed in different timelines. To get paid, you first had to get educated. While this process worked out for many, it failed to meet the needs of a growing body of students in the United States: non-traditional learners.
The quintessential postsecondary student is an 18-year-old who lives in a dorm, learns full-time, and receives financial support from their parents. Today, that image is shifting as more non-traditional learners enter the learning space.
As The Atlantic described, they are “not bright-eyed coeds fresh from high school but rather adults, who are financially independent, working to support themselves, and often a child or relative.” They are learners who typically go back to school not out of a recreational pursuit but out of an economic necessity.
Adding to this necessity is the COVID-19 pandemic, which underlined the need for working professionals to upskill to more relevant skills and careers.
Interestingly, a 2020 report from Eduventures said that while there’s been an increase in the interest in education and training among adult learners, “[they] may not be going to higher education in this recession as they have in the past.”
Instead, a growing number of them are opting for nontraditional providers that advance more affordable and accessible training that closely aligns with the demands of the workforce. And meeting the non-traditional learner’s nontraditional needs is Galvanize.
Galvanize Part-Time Remote Courses: The Student Experience
Learning and earning is not an either/or. This was the underlying motivation of Galvanize when they created their part-time remote programs in software engineering and data science.
Overview: Here’s What You Need to Know
The Galvanize Part-Time Remote Courses were designed with parents and working adults in mind. By giving them a chance to upskill at night and on the weekends, they no longer have to put their work or other obligations on hold.
Both programs also offer the same curriculum as their full-time software engineering and data science counterparts. This means that while the programs grant you more room for flexibility, you won’t be shortchanged in the quality and depth of education that you’ll get.
The scope of hands-on training that both programs offer also cannot be overstated. They each come with three capstone projects—built individually and in teams—and job readiness preparation, thus preparing you for the grueling experience of the job search.
- Duration: 36 weeks (three hours for two weeknights per week; five hours every Saturday)
- Cost: $17,980 (financing options available)
Why take this program? The Hack Reactor Part-Time Remote Immersive Course is one of the very few coding bootcamp programs that discuss the first principles of computer science before delving deeper into programming.
Your mastery of these concepts will be put to test through the capstone projects. These projects were built to assess how well you can apply the skills and theories you acquired from the program into practice. They’re also designed to hone your technical communication skills as you learn to collaborate with your peers.
Is the Hack Reactor Part-Time Remote Software Engineering Course Worth Taking?
“The program started extremely painful,” shared Roman when asked about his experience with taking Hack Reactor’s Part-Time Remote Software Engineering Course.
“In the beginning, it was like I was working two jobs or more. My job [as a lead bartender] was already very physical[ly] demanding and challenging. I would work some 10 hours at an extremely stressful bar and go home knowing that I would have to work three hours of coding that night.”
“But as I went on, it just became cathartic to a certain extent where I just accepted it as part of my routine,” said Roman. “I just knew what I had to do when I got home and kind of used [my classes] as a way to unwind after work.”
Two factors made Roman’s Hack Reactor experience easier than it could’ve been. First, the slower pace of the part-time program gave him more room to space out his learning. “I think two days in the full-time program equaled one week in the part-time program,” he said.
“That structure really helped me because it gave me an extra five days to absorb the material.” This, he said, aligned with his learning pace. “I could understand [software] but other times, it just took me a little bit longer to absorb it.”
Second, Roman noted the great support he received from the Galvanize faculty. “Leslie, my instructor, had scheduled open office hours but was always available whenever we reached out,” he said.
“Maisie was sort of like our counselor and she always helped us handle the stress that came with taking the program. Even my outcomes coordinator, Tiffany, was great.”
At the end of the program, Roman had a software engineering certificate and a portfolio of projects to show for.
“My favorite was an application [I built] called the ‘chonky cat’,” he shared. “Basically, you could go in and [type] your zip code into an input in the browser. And then, it would [generate a list] of all the cats within a 25-mile radius that were overweight and available for adoption.”
- Duration: 30 weeks
- Cost: $17,980
Why take this course? The Galvanize Part-Time Remote Data Science Immersive Course covers two areas known to be the foundation of data science and analytics: probability and statistics. It also walks you through data science and software engineering best practices to help improve your performance.
Moving further into the program, you’ll learn how to navigate Spark and Amazon Web Services, both of which are vital to processing data and building data pipelines. Other topics covered include machine learning, natural language processing, neural networks, and recommender systems.
Is the Galvanize Part-Time Remote Data Science Course Worth Taking?
“The way that the Data Science Program is structured is very intuitive,” said Cecilia Zheng, one of the first graduates of the program. “We started with pretty basic Python… which I think is useful for anyone coming into the program without any background.”
“We moved to statistics. And then, we moved to machine learning, which is built on Python programming and statistics. After that, we did more advanced topics like deep learning, graph networks, and recommendation systems,” she said. “It was like learning from the ground up.”
“I also really loved the pair-programming experience where two or more people in the cohort work together. That’s something that I also brought up in my job interview, and I think they loved that I had experience in [working closely with others].”
Among the projects that Cecilia built during the program was a text generation model using long short-term memory recurrent neural networks in Python. The model, which was trained on Lana del Rey’s songs, was built to produce its own lyrics.
Another project involved using natural language processing and classification modeling to classify posts from the subreddit r/AmItheAsshole. “So, how [the subreddit] worked was someone would post an experience and the readers would give a judgment on whether the poster was [the] asshole,” explained Cecilia.
“So I used machine learning to decide if, based on the text description from a post, the person who wrote it was the asshole. It was definitely the most fun [project] I did [with Galvanize].”
“I liked what Galvanize offered me in terms of learning experience and the topics covered. The staff and instructors were also very friendly and helpful,” said Cecilia when asked about her overall experience with Galvanize.
That said, Cecilia was quick to note one thing about the program. While it offered more flexibility than its full-time counterpart, Cecilia said that the part-time program nevertheless demanded a significant degree of commitment and focus.
“What you put into the program is what you get out of it,” she said. “It doesn’t matter how good the resources that you have are. It’s still a trade-off. If you’re not putting in the time and effort, you’re not going to get anything out of [the program].”
Where Are They Now?
After completing his training with Galvanize, Roman faced a grim job market. “I graduated in April 2020, which was right at the beginning of the pandemic, so I wasn’t super hopeful about getting a job right away.”
With the same drive that he had juggling work and study at the same time, Roman applied to companies nonstop. Less than two months later, he landed a junior software engineer role at startup company Plena Data.
Fast forward to a year, Roman is now the company’s software engineering manager. “We have three different teams [of software engineers]. I essentially kick them off to different implementations, answer their questions, and debug their code when they run into issues.”
“I don’t miss bartending that much,” he added.
Cecilia, meanwhile, secured a job as a clinical data scientist for the machine learning diagnostic algorithm company, Dascena. “I just accepted their offer,” she said, “but I also agreed to an extended stay at my [current] company so I’m just going to have two jobs for a while.”
Her experience of juggling work and Galvanize certainly trained her for what was to come next. “[My current company] asked me to do five hours a week,” said Cecilia, “but compared to what I was doing at Galvanize, that’s nothing.”
Part-Time Learning, Full-Time Growing with Galvanize
Learning eight hours a day is a luxury that not every learner can afford. For parents and working adults, this sentiment rings louder. The Galvanize Part-Time Remote Courses give them a chance to go back to school without having to give up their paycheck.
“I think it would have been possible for me to learn machine learning and everything by myself,” said Cecilia. “But I wouldn’t be able to land this job if I didn’t have the training I had with Galvanize.”
“[Galvanize] definitely offers more than just knowledge. It’s the experience of working with people. It’s the support from the staff and that push to complete something. It’s the structured coursework. Yes, you can learn anything online if you try hard enough,” she said, “but Galvanize offers a lot more than just content.”
“If you can get into Galvanize, then you have what it takes to finish the program as well,” added Roman. “You don’t have to have a degree to do it. What you need are persistence and drive. You don’t even need to have a passion for coding. What you do need is a passion for self-improvement.”
Certificate or paycheck? With Galvanize, you can go back to school without going broke. You might even get a better paycheck. Ready to take on the challenge? Visit Galvanize and start learning while you’re earning.
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.