“Software is eating the world.”
In 2011, venture capitalist Marc Andreessen penned a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed declaring such a statement. Behind it was the idea that every industry has grown ripe for or vulnerable to digital disruption. For an industry to survive, therefore, it must embrace technology.
With the whole world running on software, software engineers became some of today’s most in-demand professionals. There is, however, one problem. Companies cannot seem to hire software engineers fast enough, bound by a talent shortage that only grows bigger each day. Ten years and a pandemic later, Andreessen’s statement still rings true, but with an added catch.
Software is eating the world, indeed, but the world is starved for talent.
Offering a menu of solutions is Indianapolis-based coding bootcamp Kenzie Academy. Among its main offerings is the newly-released Software Engineering Program developed jointly with Amazon’s very own Technical Academy.
Upskilling the American Workforce
In 2019, Amazon launched Upskilling 2025, a 700 million-dollar initiative designed to upskill 100,000 Amazon employees for high-demand jobs by 2025. Propelling this project was the recognition of the increasing relevance of technical skills training in today’s labor market. As the latest Amazon Upskilling 2025 Report highlighted:
- One in three American workers, if provided access to relevant skills training, can secure emerging and higher-paying roles.
- Higher-paying roles are twice as likely to require technical skills than any other skills.
- For American workers, scheduling constraints, childcare responsibilities, and limited access to transportation are the biggest barriers to skills training.
To further tackle these trends, Amazon pledged to expand its commitment to upskilling, delivering its market-led curriculum beyond its employees and onto the general public. And so this year, a partnership between Amazon and Kenzie Academy began.
Why Kenzie Academy?
Kenzie Academy runs on one simple philosophy: everyone is trainable, with sufficient access to opportunity. This is why accessibility and diversity remain the hallmarks of a Kenzie Academy education.
In the words of Kenzie Academy founder Chok Ooi, “The only difference between two people—one who comes from privilege and one who doesn’t with both being equally smart and hardworking—is access.” The former has plenty, the latter would be lucky to have any. Kenzie Academy evens the playing field by meeting the needs of the latter.
True to Chok’s words and four years since its inception, Kenzie Academy has become a melting pot for diverse talents. With Amazon looking to tap into talents that typically fall outside its standard application pool, Kenzie Academy’s community of diverse learners serves as a great entry point to reach even the most underserved communities.
Kenzie Academy’s Software Engineering Program with Amazon Technical Academy
Kenzie Academy’s newly released Software Engineering Program borrows its curriculum and rigor from Amazon Technical Academy (ATA), an end-to-end learning and placement program that trains non-technical employees into becoming high-performing software engineers.
The promise of Kenzie Academy’s Software Engineering Program built jointly with Amazon is this: with nine to 12 months of rigorous training, you’ll be well-equipped to transition into full-time, entry-level software engineering roles at Amazon and beyond—regardless of your technical skills and background. Huge, but possible if we look at Amazon’s internal outcomes.
To date, 98 percent of ATA graduates have transitioned into software engineering roles within Amazon. Alongside the career change is an average increase of 93 percent in salary and compensation package, making Amazon an authority in producing qualified talents and bringing about gainful employment.
Standing on ATA’s internal success, Kenzie Academy seeks to see these outcomes translated externally within a wider and much diverse audience. “Kenzie’s new Software Engineering Program is built off of Amazon’s curriculum and standards, and taught in the Kenzie way,” said the school’s Associate VP of Marketing Steven Miller.
The Kenzie Way
Recognizing work, family obligations, and limited transportation as the biggest barriers to skills training, the Kenzie way assumes a fully online, semi-asynchronous course delivery. This means three things.
First, students will no longer have to worry about traveling constraints. With the program delivered fully online, they can now learn from the comfort of their homes. Second, the classes are asynchronous so that students can log in and engage in the course content on their own time. Third, students will have scheduled access to live faculty support.
Kenzie Academy instructors and advisors will also coordinate with the students as the course unfolds to develop a learning plan that accounts for the latter’s availability and learning ability. Put simply, the Kenzie way affords more room for flexibility for working professionals while maintaining that guidance that most beginners need.
The Software Engineering Program begins with a three-month training on backend development foundations. This covers fundamental programming concepts like loops, arrays, functions, and advanced Java.
If you’re already familiar with these skills, Kenzie Academy gives you the option to test out of the three-month foundations phase and jump right into the nine-month immersive training.
The immersive training focuses on cloud architecture and backend programming with Java. Why the particular programming language? Well, there are several reasons to learn Java. But perhaps the most important of these is how Java has remained one of the most consistent, scalable, accessible, and widely used programming languages 25 years since its release.
“The return of Java to the top spot shows that despite the importance of the front end in software development, many companies seek developers who are skilled in backend technologies,” the report said, underlining the relevance of Kenzie Academy’s new Software Engineering Program.
Consistent with Kenzie Academy’s focus on practical training, the Software Engineering Program developed jointly with Amazon hinges on project-based learning. Students are therefore expected to work on real-world projects that focus on creating applications modeled after Amazon products. These include “creating a music service, designing a publishing service, and building an eCommerce fulfillment service.”
By the end of the program, students will have the essential skills to be fully operational software engineers. Verifying these are two certificates of completion: (1) a Software Engineering Foundations Certificate awarded by the third month and (2) a Software Engineering Certificate by the 12th month.
Your experience with Kenzie doesn’t stop at learning technical skills. During your training, you’ll undergo a brief career readiness program designed and led by Kenzie Academy’s Career Placement Team. The program will include mock interviews, resume reviews, and networking opportunities with the school’s employer connections.
Note that completing this Software Engineering Program does not guarantee a job at Amazon. It does, however, increase your chances of getting into the company without a bachelor’s degree or securing a developer role in one of Kenzie Academy’s 250 employer partners.
The new Software Engineering Program costs $20,000, although your total payments may vary by the plan that you choose.
- Upfront payment. Pay one week before enrollment to get a 20 percent tuition discount (equivalent to a $4,000 discount).
- Monthly payment plan. Deposit $500 and then pay $730 per month for two years, free of interest. Your total payments will amount to $18,000.
- Deferred payment plan. Deposit $500 and then pay the rest of your tuition six months after graduation at $812.50 per month. Your plan will take two years to complete and amount to $20,000.
All options are subject to the Kenzie Tuition Refund Guarantee. This means that if you don’t land a qualifying position within six months from your graduation date, Kenzie Academy will refund 100 percent of your paid tuition, provided that you check all the eligibility requirements.
Software Engineering For All
Both Kenzie Academy and Amazon Technical Academy were created with one goal in mind: to give non-technical individuals the chance to benefit from the many opportunities that the tech industry has to offer.
As they join hands to bring software engineering to the public, one can see their initiative as being a win-win effort for all. Employers get their much-needed supply for qualified talent, and graduates get the chance to reinvent their careers and likely work for some of the world’s biggest tech companies today.
If you want to be a part of this winning track, visit Kenzie Academy’s website and be one of the first to experience both Kenzie and Amazon education.
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.