Technology is impacting our lives in ways that we once thought were impossible. Today, there are self-driving cars, flying taxis, blockchain, telehealth, and digital twin technology, among several other inventions. Beyond the fancy innovations, the tech industry also transforms people’s lives by hosting several high-paying career paths━like software development.
A career in software development puts people at the heart of emerging technologies predicted to shape the future. They include artificial intelligence, IoT, quantum computing, augmented analysis, and digital twins, among several others. That also assures them of a potentially lucrative job market.
Despite the vast opportunities in tech, a wide diversity gap within the workforce is still prevalent. In Europe, for example, Atomico reports that less than one percent of tech entrepreneurs identified as Black, African, or Caribbean. Little progress was also observed on the American front between 2014 to 2020, according to CNBC.
Recognizing this, Pursuit was established to help close the said gap. Its mission is to provide quality and affordable education to members of underrepresented groups in tech. Among them are the unemployed, people from low-income backgrounds, those without college degrees, women, and BIPOC.
Pursuit offers a four-year Fellowship that provides intensive software development training. The first year of the program covers in-depth full stack development, while the next three years are dedicated to extensive career preparation. Fellows are not alone in this journey. Pursuit’s career team helps them through the portfolio-building process, job search, and interview preparation.
This article breaks down Pursuit’s admission process into six simple steps. It also provides some tips on how to ace the admission interviews and screening.
Pursuit’s admissions team selects talented applicants for the Fellowship by examining their problem-solving skills, growth mindset, and teamwork.Enroll in the Pursuit Fellowship today.
Six Steps to Get into Pursuit
Pursuit aims to empower members of the underserved communities in tech by giving them the training they need to make it in the industry. As such, its admission process is quite rigorous. For the May 2021 cohort, over 600 people applied and only 118 fellows were selected.
Step 1: Check Your Eligibility
Pursuit has several criteria that govern its selection process. Prospects must ensure that they meet these requirements before filing an application form.
To qualify for the Pursuit Fellowship, applicants must:
- Be 18 years or older by the time the program starts
- Be proficient in writing and speaking English
- Have proof of eligibility to work in the US
- Not earn more than $45,000 a year
- Reside in the New York Metro Area, including Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania
- Show a strong zest for learning how to code and a wholehearted commitment to becoming a software engineer
Candidates that intend to pursue another full-time program alongside the Pursuit Fellowship are not recommended to apply. Likewise, prospects that have the financial means to sponsor the tuition may not be considered for admission.
Step 2: Submit Your Pursuit Application Form
Qualified applicants can submit the application form. Pursuit uses this process to collect their data and sieve out ineligible candidates. The application form will require information on your personal, academic, and work background. You will also be required to upload a copy of your resume.
Applicants must ensure that they provide accurate information during this stage. Note that not having a bachelor’s degree or work background does not affect your chances of being selected.
The next task will be to write several short essays—a maximum of 250 words each—answering the following questions:
- What impact would being a Pursuit Fellow have on your life, and why do you think the Pursuit Fellowship is right for you?
- Why do you want to pursue a tech career?
- Describe a time when you experienced failure and narrate what you learned from it?
- Describe an experience where you learned something new and what you learned about yourself in the process?
You will also be required to write about your educational and work background in detail. With these questions, Pursuit aims to get to know the applicant better as they share the story of their backgrounds, challenges, and successes, plus how the Fellowship would transform their lives.
Step 3: Sit for the Aptitude Test
Pursuit delivers an aptitude test to examine the applicant’s natural inclination to succeed as a software engineer. It also evaluates their problem-solving and critical thinking skills alongside their readiness for the rigor of software engineering.
The assessment contains 50 questions which are divided into two parts. The first section tests candidates on Mathematics, Logic, and Reading Comprehension. The second segment examines their knowledge of computing basics. Candidates will also answer five questions on the Pursuit Bond funding model.
Proper practice is key to acing the aptitude tests, which is why Pursuit provides practice questions for applicants. Successful candidates from this stage are then invited to attend a full-day online workshop. This exposes them to the rigor they can expect from the Fellowship.
Step 4: Ace the Workshop and Coding Challenge
In the Workshop stage, one of Pursuit’s instructors teaches candidates some fundamentals of software engineering. During the event, candidates complete a team challenge with other candidates. They are then assigned a take-home challenge to complete within 24 hours. This stage of the application aims to examine a candidate’s ability to:
- Pay attention to detail and work with a team
- Grasp concepts quickly and apply them in solving problems
Showing great team spirit, ability to comprehend concepts quickly, and problem-solving skills will also increase your chances of being selected.
Up next, successful candidates will receive an invite for a virtual interview.
Step 5: Attend the Virtual Interview
The interview is an avenue for candidates to discuss their motivations for pursuing a career in software development. It is another opportunity for them to introduce themselves and discuss their background and experiences before applying to Pursuit.
The interview typically lasts 45 minutes to an hour, during which the interviewer will test the candidate’s communication skills by examining their ability to express their thought process. The examiner will also test the candidate’s passion for learning and motivation to become a software developer.
While preparing for the interview, do your research about Pursuit, its mission, and dive deep into your interest in software engineering. Practice with several mock interview questions. Lastly, remember to show up on time as punctuality indicates credibility and the ability to keep to schedule during the Fellowship.
Step 6: Wait for the Final Decision
After candidates run through the entire screening process, the Admissions team will review their performances and make the final selections. Admission is based on merit, and only top performers in the workshop, assessments and interviews would scale through.
Selected candidates will then sign their agreements, officially making them a part of the new class of Fellows.
Pursuit’s admission process is designed to get the best set of candidates into the Fellowship. The ideal candidates that the admissions process aims to select typically have:
- A defined goal that stretches beyond acquiring coding skills and receiving technical education through the Pursuit Fellowship
- A proactive mind that can articulate the steps for tackling problems directly based on the training received during the program
- The unwavering determination to break into tech and use learning experience to develop functional and solution-driven applications
Eight Tips to Ace Pursuit’s Tests and Screening
If you want to stand out during the admissions process and claim a spot in the fellowship, here are some helpful tips for your application.
- Strengthen your reading comprehension as well as your logic and math skills in preparation for the aptitude assessment.
- Prepare a solid resume. Candidates without one can build a resume using a guide from Pursuit.
- Structure your essays to carry key points accurately and sequentially, making sure to fully answer each question and all its parts
- Rehearse your talking points thoroughly before the interview.
- Express your passion and enthusiasm during your presentation.
- Research about Pursuit’s mission. See how it resonates with you and how you can make impactful contributions.
- Discuss how you can utilize soft skills such as communication and teamwork in group projects and coding challenges.
- Finally, answer all questions thoroughly, accurately, and sincerely. Stay on top of admissions deadlines and check your emails for updates regularly.
Become a Pursuit Fellow Today
Research shows that women filled only 25 percent of IT jobs as of April 2021. Tech Domains further reveals that Asian women hold six percent of these jobs while Black and Hispanic women make up five percent. Such reports underline the lack of diversity in the tech industry.
On June 25, 2021, the White House released an executive order on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce to serve as a model for other sectors. This order enforced all government agencies to advance equity through the coordinated government-wide initiative, providing consistent merits systems that advance diversity and promoting paid internships to develop individual talent among members of underrepresented communities.
In its unique way, Pursuit offers life-transforming opportunities to women, POC, non-degree holders, and other members belonging to underrepresented groups in tech. Its community provides quality and affordable training in software development and career preparation.
Registration into the Pursuit Fellowship Spring 2022 cohort is now open till December 15, 2021. Begin your application for Pursuit 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.