This post comes courtesy of Savannah Kunovsky. Savannah is a graduate of Hack Reactor, a software career accelerator in San Francisco. Hack Reactor is a trailblazing program that teaches people at all stages of their career new skills in programming over a 12-week period.
The Unrealistic University Style of Education
College is fun, but overall it is inefficient. The traditional education system serves as a transition period for young people as they leave their comfortable homes and families and enter adult life. But it is no secret that our current education paradigm fails its graduates. 44% are underemployed and many are unprepared to begin working life. Without internships and extra training, college is not a well rounded educational experience.
Most universities do not simulate real working environments or allow students to explore and attain hard skills that are pertinent to their future jobs. School does teach students the basics, but only hands on experience will teach them how to properly use those tools.
Before I began university two years ago, I remember talking to my mom about my options. I knew that going to school was an inefficient way to learn the skills that I wanted, but I felt like I did not have any other choices. Fast forward to the middle of my Sophomore year, sitting in a hundred person computer science lecture hall, texting my older brother to complain about my professor’s droning and telling him how although I liked engineering, our assignments were less than gratifying.
Higher Education Alternatives
Imagine being in an environment where all of these needs are constantly attended to. Your post graduation hiring odds are much higher and you are surrounded by a network of supportive, passionate peers who come from all walks of life. Career accelerators (or coding boot camps) offer you all of this for about 1/4 the price and in 1/12 the time of a university.
Instead of sitting through 2-4 years of lectures and labs, you can take a three month plunge into development and become a software engineer. I understand that there are a few fundamental CS concepts that I will have to teach myself, but with the skills that I gained at a coding boot camp I feel confident that I can do so.
Built for You to Succeed
The most current coding tools are only a fraction of what is to be learned, as being immersed in a software career accelerator serves as a platform for exploration of the tech industry. These academies simulate a realistic working environment, where through pair programming and daily interactions with staff and peers students learn interpersonal skills and have time for self exploration. Individuals leave the program with a concrete understanding of how to interact with others and navigate group dynamics, problem solve and ask questions, and optimize their own workflow for the greatest productivity.
Instructors and guest speakers are more than happy to network with students and share advice and insight into the industry and the endless possibilities inherently linked to technology. Granted your typical social life will be put on hold for a few months, but when you are finished you will be sipping on Goose instead of Burnetts.
Now, even though the statistics are impressive, many people think that the intensity of the program itself is an impossible feat. However, these programs need each student to succeed. In addition to a supportive peer group, there are a multitude of resources available for students both throughout the program and post-graduation. Although these academies are becoming more well established, their alumni are the main proof of their success and they want to ensure that all graduates are properly representing their brand. Therefore, it is in each program’s best interest to invest in creating and maintaining these resources.
If you are up for an adventure, or if a career accelerator sounds like a novel solution to your academic qualms, reach out to their alumni for more information. You will find that awesome alternative to college you’ve been looking for.