Home Bootcamps Virtual Learning in a Time of Increased Demand: How DC Area Bootcamps Now Teach Coding Skills

Virtual Learning in a Time of Increased Demand: How DC Area Bootcamps Now Teach Coding Skills

Technology is an area that lends itself easily to continuous skill enhancement.

But amid the coronavirus pandemic, there’s more interest in technology education programs than ever, as today’s technologists find themselves with more free time to focus on skills development – and those aspiring to join the industry see a more urgent need to move into a stable profession.

Earlier this fall, Technically released a list of coding programs in the region for beginner or expert developers looking to spruce up their resumes during the pandemic. Local bootcamp leaders tell us that the demand for a wider variety of online programs continues to grow as tech professionals prepare for another impending shutdown.

Coding Dojo and Flatiron School suspended in-person instruction at their local campuses, but organizations continued to serve students virtually. Here’s how the region’s two leading coding bootcamps have responded to the high demand for online coding courses.

Coding Dojo

This bootcamp, which has locations across the country and a local campus in Arlington, teaches three different stack tracks in its curriculum — Python, .NET Core, and MERN — as well as an online curriculum to introduce developers to the science. Datas. The company has always offered online courses, but when the pandemic hit, Coding Dojo trained all of its on-site staff in online teaching within days in March, co-founder and CEO Richard Wang says Technical.ly. In April, Coding Dojo launched four new online programs and relaunched its full-time online program to meet increased demand.

“It was a difficult adjustment for some at the start of COVID with the rapid shift from onsite to online, but overall our students are handling it well and approaching the program as they normally would,” Wang said.

An online Coding Dojo course in action. (Courtesy picture)

Coding Dojo uses Zoom for online conferences and a combination of Most important, Discord and workplace for chat communication. Walkabout Workplace is virtual office space software that the coding bootcamp uses to digitally deliver part of their on-premises experience.

“Each student has a desk and can collaborate with their classmates, walk into their instructor’s office for questions or one-on-ones, and even play games like ping-pong like they would on our physical campuses,” Wang said.

Since its curriculum was already formatted for distance learning, Coding Dojo’s primary focus initially was to train staff in online teaching to better serve students virtually. Although Wang declined to share specific enrollment numbers, he said Coding Dojo has seen “tremendous growth” with its part-time online program.

“I can reveal that we hit all-time highs in monthly signups and applications multiple times throughout 2020,” he said.

Richard Wang. (Photo via LinkedIn)

Coding Dojo programs normally last about three and a half months each with tuition starting at $14,995. Wang said the coding bootcamp hasn’t cut any of its programs during the pandemic, but has launched new offerings to meet the needs of students of all experience levels and those who want to work on their own. pace. Coding Dojo now also offers self-study programs for developers looking to add a stack to their portfolio and flexible part-time programs that include 10 hours of classes per week for 28 weeks.

For beginner coders, Coding Dojo always suggests learning Python once you have the basics down, as this language is in high demand among employers. Wang said the coding bootcamp constantly tracks the rise and fall in popularity and demand for given technologies using the TIOBE index and other internal resources.

Importantly, Coding Dojo is fully equipped to continue teaching online students for the long term, Wang said.

“We have a plan in place, but we do not plan to return to on-site operations and instruction in the foreseeable future,” the CEO said. “The logistics of keeping students and staff safe and adhering to social distancing guidelines on a busy campus with lots of students is a huge challenge.”

The Flatiron School

“The root of our challenges are the same that many organizations and individuals are facing right now: we are navigating an unprecedented scenario driven by circumstances beyond our control,” Su Kim, The director of the Flatiron School DC campus, told Technical.ly.

The Flatiron School also quickly transitioned to virtual teaching in March. Kim said students often seek out the coding school because it has created a strong sense of community, an important aspect of the Flatiron learning experience that can still be found online.

“We are fortunate to have years of experience building collaborative learning communities for students in our online programs,” she said. “Our campus staff and students have demonstrated a willingness and commitment to invest in the community while virtual, and it has been remarkable to see cohorts graduating with the strong connections we are used to seeing from cohorts who work together in person for months.”

Su Kim. (Photo via LinkedIn)

Flatiron has always used Soft for quick communication and Zoom for virtual conferences, where the coding school was able to replicate curriculum-related tasks and activities. Flatiron made no adjustments to its standard curriculum or tuition prices and continued to offer all of its programs during the pandemic.

“Our tuition has remained the same because our program content and support staff have not changed,” Kim said. “We are a results-driven organization and compete on value, not price.”

To contribute to the costs of its programs, which LendingTree Student Loan Hero put between $9,600 and $15,000 for online courses starting in May, the coding school has expanded its NextTech 100 Scholarshipa comprehensive scholarship program sponsored by the Cognizant American Foundation. Flatiron is also partnering with the Arlington-based company Excella still to offer a full scholarship for the third consecutive year. Applications are already closed for this opportunity for women or underrepresented people who want to study software engineering or data science at Flatiron’s DC campus.

Since going virtual, the coding school has received an increased number of applications and admissions across the country, and specifically in DC, Flatiron has seen increased interest in its software engineering program. In his Employment Report 2019, Flatiron School reported that 100% of graduates who studied at the DC site in 2018 landed jobs after completing one of their programs, with an average starting salary of around $72,000. This includes graduates who landed full-time salaried positions, full-time contract positions, apprenticeships, freelance positions and part-time positions during the reporting period, Kim said.

Flatiron plans to continue distance learning until at least May 17, 2021.

“Navigating 2020 in general has been extremely challenging, and adding a career-changing educational experience is no small feat,” she said. “I have been impressed with our students’ successes in the virtual program and in their job searches after graduation.”