In our last article with The Software Guild, you heard how the program’s founders started this organization to give back to the software development community. Though they’ve accomplished their mission by producing 1,400 new developers since the school began in 2013, they’re showing no signs of slowing down.
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According to The Software Guild’s most recent outcomes report, 91.7 percent of its recent apprentices have found full-time jobs within six months of graduation. With a median salary of $60,000, those students are well compensated, making slightly more than the national average of $56,310 across all occupations.
The Software Guild’s experienced instructors, academy experience managers (AEMs), and career services team make this impressive apprentice success possible. We’ve spoken with a member of each team to learn how they help students evolve into working software developers.
What Is The Software Guild?
This program allows apprentices to take each module of the 12-week immersive course separately. Apprentices get rewards for completing each of the four modules in both courses, including a discount on their next module. But whether they choose to immerse themselves in the course to finish quickly or learn at their own pace, apprentices all reap the same benefits.
Those benefits begin with expert instructors.
The Software Guild’s Instructors
The Software Guild looks for a unique combination of skill, experience, and academic background in its seasoned instructors. Every instructor has a tech degree as well as years of teaching experience, so they know how to effectively pass on their knowledge and adapt to different learning styles.
These instructors also have an average of 10 years of experience in the industry. This experience means that they’ve spent years honing their software development skills and knowledge. They can convey the practical application of everything an apprentice is learning during the program, to help apprentices better understand not just the how, but also the why of each lesson.
Data Expert Turned Mentor
Dr. Farah Al-Mahameed is one of The Software Guild’s instructors. She earned her Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. During her program, she went beyond Java, the programming language she teaches at The Software Guild, to accomplish a variety of tasks.
“During my Ph.D. studies, which took a little more than four years, I had to learn several programming languages like R, Python, and MATLAB for my engineering analysis courses,” Dr. Farah said.
Dr. Farah’s expertise lies in qualitative analysis, predictive modeling, machine learning, and data visualization. Her comprehensive skill set also allowed her to work at the Safe and Smart Traffic Laboratory on several state and federal research projects to increase highway safety.
But before she was helping make our interstates safer, she was a high school student teaching herself how to code. Her experiences during that time always stayed at the back of her mind as she continued her Ph.D. program.
“Along the way, I’ve found there’s no fairy dust to be sprinkled on the code that will suddenly make coding easier,” Dr. Farah said. “Learning to code can be really difficult, and most of the time it takes trying, failing, and adjusting. When I first started, I had to put in hours to get better, but there are a few things that I didn’t even know were important, that I wish I had learned earlier.”
Dr. Farah decided to pursue a teaching career at The Software Guild because of the opportunity it presented. The program gives its instructors the chance to pass on knowledge to eager apprentices, who receive many other benefits.
“It was an opportunity to give advice to mentees that are starting a bootcamp with The Software Guild,” Dr. Farah said. “With this program, you have access to a huge network of employers and highly qualified instructors who all want to help mentees get jobs as junior developers.”
And although her job is sometimes challenging, she finds a lot to enjoy about her teaching career.
“I believe that understanding computers and the basics of coding can help people develop an appreciation of how things work,” Dr. Farah said. “It also teaches them how software engineers use math to solve problems in a logical and creative way.”
Her passion for education goes beyond just her students. She thinks that coding can help everyone’s critical thinking skills, no matter their age.
“We’ve all been in elementary school asking why we’re learning math and when we’re going to use it,” said Dr. Farah. “This is why I think coding should be taught in schools. So children can learn logical skills while they’re young. The ability to solve problems is a trait that’s useful in life in general, and I believe that’s why I’m very passionate about it.”
As a parent, Dr. Farah believes that training more young coders can only help make everyone’s lives easier.
“I have children, and I think we all want our children to become excellent problem solvers so that they can overcome any adversity that they face. Learning to code gives you the chance to learn these skills while you’re young, which can help you along the way in your life.”
Speaking of adversity, Dr. Farah sees many students struggle with the course. Whether it’s because of trouble with time management or lack of access to technology, she knows many challenges arise during the course. However, Farah believes that the challenge is part of the experience. She feels that students at The Software Guild have an advantage that she didn’t as a self-taught developer.
“The Software Guild has highly qualified instructors,” she said. “They have one goal: to help students get jobs as junior developers. I have helped myself, but I learned the hard way, and I want them to take the easy path.”
As Dr. Farah’s philosophy and credentials show, she’s a passionate and qualified instructor to bring along the next generation of coders. And her experience and energy are the norms for instructors at The Software Guild. But along with instructors like her, you’ll also have access to a support staff that will try their best to help you launch your new career.
This staff includes The Software Guild’s Academy Experience Managers and its career services team.
The Software Guild’s Academy Experience Managers
The AEMs at The Software Guild are your helpers that go beyond the lessons you get from your instructors and TAs. They have several duties that help apprentices make the most of their time at The Software Guild.
AEMs onboard apprentices, give them weekly performance ratings, and provide non-tech support so that apprentices have someone to talk to about their feelings during the process. They also check in on apprentices more generally throughout the process to make sure their time in the course is going well.
The Software Guild’s Career Services Team
The Software Guild’s Career Services team provides multiple opportunities for apprentices to prepare for their new careers. They help apprentices prepare job hunt materials, work on their portfolios, and put them in touch with alumni and The Software Guild’s network of more than 450 hiring partners.
Along with the duties mentioned above, the career services team also meets with each apprentice personally to get a sense of their career goals. They help them build a high-level profile, learn about career paths, and conduct mock interviews to prepare for their entry into the field.
Apprentices also learn how to write quality follow-up emails to prospective employers after interviews to keep their profiles fresh in the interviewers’ minds. From there, they can attend several events to connect with employers, receive job postings from The Software Guild alumni, and more as they start their job search.
Get to Know The Software Guild’s Learning Network
Everyone in The Software Guild from instructors and AEMs to the career services team is united by the guild’s common purpose: giving back to an industry that’s helped people make amazing changes in their lives.
Much like Dr. Farah, the rest of The Software Guild’s instructors are invested in providing a quality education for apprentices. These professionals are passionate about coding, and they don’t just show up to the job for a paycheck. They want to ensure that everyone who comes into the field after them gets the quality instruction that they deserve.
If you’d like to learn more about the bootcamp, speak with The Software Guild today.
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