TL; DR: Fullstack Academy, one of the top coding bootcamps in New York and Chicago, arms students with the high-quality education and personal connections they need for successful careers in software development. The innovative school employs a student-first approach focused on immersive curriculum to ensure high job-placement rates. With the announcement of its first university partnership, Fullstack Academy is making coding education even more accessible for future developers.
Professionally speaking, David Yang and Nimit Maru had it all. They were both successful software engineers with experience working at Yahoo!, one of the most frequented search engines in the world. They had built popular ecommerce apps, an educational games company with more than 6 million players, and enterprise healthcare software.
But, with each software update they released and marketing initiative they pursued, the pair grappled with a nagging question: Were they making a significant impact on anyone’s lives?
“They struggled with the concept of having a small impact on a large number of people, rather than a huge impact on a potentially smaller number of people,” said Emily Rose Prats, Content Marketing Lead at Fullstack Academy.
At the same time, David and Nimit’s peers began to contact them for help on various coding projects. “This started happening more and more regularly, so they started holding basic group study sessions on weekends,” Emily Rose said. “It just kept growing until they realized they should monetize it.”
The pair visited local universities, offering to hold paid coding workshops on weekends. Not only were their offers accepted, but the workshops sold out quickly. “At some point, they asked each other whether they should make a living out of it, realizing that it would resolve the concern they shared about making an impact on the world,” Emily Rose said.
One of the Top Coding Bootcamps in New York and Chicago
David and Nimit were risk-takers. When Fullstack opened its doors in 2013, it was part of the first real wave of coding bootcamps. “They were willing to take a chance,” Emily Rose said. “At the time, employers weren’t very familiar with bootcamps and were even dismissive of them.”
“Employers big and small are now not only comfortable hiring bootcamp grads — they seek out bootcamp grads,” she said. “And companies like Google are publicly stating that they’re removing the requirement that you must have a four-year degree for employment.”
And, because many prospective students are looking for the opportunity to further their current careers — or switch jobs altogether — Fullstack Academy offers flexible program schedules. The school’s Software Engineering Immersive program, for example, is a concentrated, 17-week career accelerator offered in New York City and Chicago. And the Flex Immersive plan, offered as a part-time, 24-week course, allows students to combine on-campus education with remote learning.
“We want to make the curriculum that we have, the instructors that we have, accessible to more people,” Emily Rose said.
CIRR-Compliant Job Placement Rates and Built-In Industry Connections
Fullstack Academy is a member of the Council on Integrity in Results Reporting (CIRR), a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating transparent standards that coding bootcamps must abide by when reporting outcome data. The system, intended to prevent deceptive marketing practices, ensures that prospective students can make data-driven enrollment decisions.
“Essentially, it’s a regulatory agency that enables us to standardize our reporting on graduates,” Emily Rose said. “Before CIRR, schools could claim anything — for example, you could state that 98% of your graduates receive a job within 30 days and add a little asterisk reading ‘Only 10% of graduates are included in this sample.’”
CIRR, in contrast, requires schools to file student outcome data in a straightforward report that includes graduation requirements, graduation data, employment results, the median annual base salary of graduates, and common job titles of graduates. Schools must have their numbers verified by an independent auditor before publishing the final report online.
“We don’t offer a job guarantee, but we give you the skills to get a job,” Emily Rose said. “If you do what we encourage you to do, work with our career success team, and internalize all of the curricula that we offer, we’re confident that you’re going to get a job.”
It also doesn’t hurt that students graduate equipped with a polished résumé, a portfolio of apps, a strong Github profile, a LinkedIn profile featuring demo videos of applications, and a robust network of hiring partners at top technology firms. “Our students graduate with a built-in network of 40-70 industry connections,” Emily Rose said. “If you were building that network organically, the process would take years.”
A Student-First Approach Backed by an Uplifting Community
Since its inception, Fullstack Academy has defined its own course, which Emily Rose said is firmly student-oriented. “With us, there’s authenticity,” she said. “We genuinely care about our students.”
The school goes above and beyond a cutting-edge curriculum and vast networking opportunities in the way it responds to student needs. “For example, if several students are struggling with a certain concept, the instructor will simply add a lecture with more information, sort of impromptu, at lunch or in the morning,” Emily Rose said. “I think that commitment to our specific cohorts really sets us apart from schools that try to offer some magic bullet.”
Students at Fullstack Academy also receive the support of a strong peer community — which Emily Rose said is especially hard to come by in big cities like Chicago and New York. “But when you’re in the trenches with the same people all day long for three months, struggling with the same things, celebrating the same things, those are bonds that you have from then on,” she said.
It’s not uncommon for students from the same cohort to meet for dinner or other social events on a regular basis. Recently, a graduate on an alum panel said a meeting with her peers gave her the courage to request — and receive — a bump in pay. “She met her cohort mates for dinner, and a few of them mentioned asking for a raise,” Emily Rose said. “It hadn’t occurred to her to ask for one, but with the support of the group, she asked for a raise and got it.”
Making Coding Education Accessible Through University Partnerships
In January, Fullstack Academy announced that it will form a public-private partnership with the Extended Education program at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) to offer a part-time tech program known as the Cal Poly Extended Education Coding Bootcamp. The online coding bootcamp, supported by the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education, offers an accessible option to adults who wish to pursue additional education.
“There are a couple of coding boot camps that set up partnerships with Ivy League universities, and that’s awesome,” Emily Rose said. “Right now, we’re focusing on creating amazing opportunities for people who may not already have them.”