They say we spend an average of 90,000 hours, roughly ⅓, of our lives working. It’s hard to really imagine what this actually looks like or means. If you already have a job, you’re used to working a 12-hour shift or a 9-5 grind. If you have a job you don’t like, then you know how the days can crawl by.
If you’re ready to make a career change, you might look at tech. You’ve heard the tech industry is expanding for years now, but is it still true? The short answer is yes. The US department of labor anticipates an 11% growth in the tech industry between 2019 and 2029.
With a strong curriculum grounded in real world skills and knowledge that there is a high demand for specific skills, App Academy works with students and employers to meet everyone’s needs.
How It Works
When talking about the App Academy experience, 2019 grad John Steen said “I have a built-in confidence from the experience of starting from scratch at week one in App Academy with no coding skills and then building a full-stack app I was proud of just 5-6 months later.” John is now a Software Engineer at Microsoft. This is one of many similar stories from App Academy graduates. If you’re worried you can’t do it; think again.”
In addition to confidence in your skills, App Academy makes sure their curriculum translates directly to work in the tech industry. Another grad, Noah L said, “Not only do we use much of the same stack as what I learned at App Academy, but I also know that the experience I got at App Academy in learning new tools and diving right into the documentation has been really helpful as well.” Both grads are confident there’s a direct connection between the work you do in class and the work you do on the job.
Throughout the program, you’ll be working with partners and in small groups. This is an effective learning tool and it mimics the way programmers work on a regular basis. Having the skills to work effectively with your team members is critical to a successful career in tech. Additionally, you will be asked to articulate ideas about coding in job interviews, so daily practice in class helps you hone your speaking skills.
In addition to mastering the skills required for your new career, you’ll begin building your portfolio. App Academy graduates are guaranteed the following projects: React JS, Python, Full Stack Python/JS, and a Full Stack Capstone Project. These projects allow future employers to see your approach and style, as well as demonstrate your ability to work in the languages mentioned above.
John Steen stated he referred to his portfolio throughout all his interviews, “It gave me things to talk about when interviewers asked about my past experience. In my interviews at Microsoft, I talked about the projects I did in a/A in almost every interview.” John’s take on this drives home the idea that your portfolio is more than just homework, it’s the beginning of your job experience.
Armed with your portfolio and your mastery of various coding languages, you’ll begin focusing on your job search in week 21 at App Academy. At the beginning of this week, you’ll be introduced to your career coach, who will guide you through your search process. This will be the focus of your final weeks at App Academy.
In week 21, career coaches hold daily standing meetings to discuss and review different aspects of the job search process. In weeks 22-24, the curriculum shifts to focus exclusively on your job search and you’ll be assigned your personal career coach.
Early in this phase, your career coach will help you fine tune your resume, portfolio, cover letter options, and online presence. Essentially, they’ll help you master the basics of the job search. Each career coach approaches their work slightly differently, so you may experience different methods of job prep.
Once you’ve completed the foundations of your job search prep, you’ll begin preparing for more nuanced aspects of the job search. This phase includes: interview prep, mock interviews, negotiation, and continued project review. There will still be some lectures, but they’ll focus on skills to build your future career such as networking and creative outreach to potential employers.
If lectures aren’t your preferred learning style, don’t worry. App Academy builds in corresponding peer workshops throughout the job prep process. Many of these topics include peer review and feedback processes that keep you engaged and offer you multiple perspectives.
Throughout your final weeks with App Academy, you’ll meet with your career coach individually on a weekly basis. Your career coach will get to know you, your strengths, and your opportunities for improvement when it comes to interviewing. You can work with your coach for up to a year, if necessary.
The Job Search
Once you’re in the process, and it’s definitely a process, your coach will still be there for you. They will help you manage expectations, prepare for specific skills tests, interview styles, and help you maintain a positive mindset. This dedicated support system is one of the ways App Academy sets itself apart from more conventional college or job training programs. When talking about his search process Noah said, “the structure of App Academy’s job search, access to a kind and knowledgeable career coach, and the support of a community of like-minded job-seekers.”
Career coaches really go above and beyond. We’ve all spent hours rewriting and editing and stressing over an email response before. The pressure is really on when you’re going through a job search, trying to advocate for yourself, and still land the job. Steen shared, “There were times I was unsure about when and how to follow-up with a recruiter about an application, and my coach was always available to give me advice on how to phrase my email or how long to wait before reaching out to them.”
As mentioned before, App Academy coaches can help you with your salary negotiation as well. This is a critical part of any job search because where you start can determine merit increases and bonuses (often based on a percentage of your current salary) down the line. The average salary for App Academy grads based in San Francisco is roughly $103k a year. This is about $10k above the average starting salary according to GlassDoor.
The focus on real world skills and interview preparedness helps App Academy grads land jobs they love. There is a strong network of alumni at companies of various sizes including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and more. When asked about the AA network, Noah L said, “Whenever I was preparing to apply for a position, I always started by contacting a/A alumni at the company to find out how they liked their work and what advice they could offer.”
When asked which App Academy experience provided the most job search support, John S said, “For me, the biggest asset was just having a coach I could go to when I was lacking confidence or not sure what to do with my approach or a specific opportunity…It would have been a lot harder if I was just going through that on my own.”
Starting Your New Career
Once you start work, hopefully at a place you love, you’re still in the beginning stages of your new career. With many folks working into their 60s or 70s, you probably have a lot of time ahead of you. So how can you maximize your new job?
Second, you’ll continue to build your network. With paired programming, your job lends itself to building professional and personal relationships. And depending on the culture at your new office, there will be other ways to get to know your colleagues. Your peers from App Academy are also a part of your network. Stay in touch and continue to rely on one another as you move forward in your career.
Finally, utilize your resources. Whether that’s a career coach, a former instructor, a peer, or a supervisor, it’s important that you talk about your career and your goals. Maybe you went into the job thinking you loved full stack development, but are finding it’s not quite right for you. What options do you like more? Do you want to supervise or to teach new employees? These are the questions that will help you think about your next step.
If you’re ready to work hard and you think working in tech sounds interesting, it’s probably time to apply to a bootcamp. App Academy sets itself apart with an industry based curriculum and guided career prep for all their students. Apply to App Academy here.