by Nick Such
When we launched Awesome Inc U in 2013, we were spurred on by Lexington-area technology companies looking for, but not finding, the software development talent they need to grow. We could have pursued several possible solutions: consulting firm, recruiting practice, teach at the local universities. But we were inspired by a new wave of “coding bootcamps”, programs designed to train ambitious, local people in a new trade.
After three years of building the foundation, through 1-day Crash Courses, on-site trainings for organizations, and a set of youth class offerings, we were finally able to launch Awesome Inc U’s first Web Developer Bootcamp in August 2016. Now, only six weeks after the completion of our first Bootcamp session, of our 9 graduates, 3 already have full-time jobs, and 2 are working together on a SaaS/consulting startup. And we’re just now moving into the best time of the year to get a job.
As our F16 cohort dives into their new careers, our team at Awesome Inc U is preparing for our 2017 course schedule. In addition to designing the curriculum for a new intermediate-level youth course (the Coding League, for 11-14 year-olds), we’ve finalized the dates for our 2017 Bootcamp sessions:
We reviewed several options, but selected these dates for a few important reasons. First, we looked at companies around the region and their forecasts for hiring software developers over course of the next year, as well as the most popular times of year for making those hires. While our Bootcamp course has 12 weeks of intense, in-person classes, it is preceded by 4 weeks of self-study, and followed by (on average) 8 weeks of job search. This new schedule places a big chunk of those critical 8 weeks during the most ideal times of the year (Jan/Feb and Sept/Oct). Second, we’ve had a significant number of applicants ask for a summer course, to work around the dates for other educational programs in which they’re involved, either as teachers or students. Third, this gives us additional time to implement the feedback from the students and instructors in our first cohort, as well as respond to the latest needs of employers throughout the region. The key point here is the underlying theme to what Awesome Inc U is building: a way to gain new skills, with a tight feedback loop to the workplaces where those skills will actually be used.
We were super impressed with the students in our F16 cohort, and can’t wait to meet our Summer and Fall 2017 students. Like all educational institutions, we have a special opportunity to influence our students, who will in-turn influence the technology community of which they are now members. Awesome Inc exists to help grow the technology and startup communities throughout Kentucky, so we’re particularly excited that Awesome Inc U students have become part of that fabric. Through a mix of curiosity, discipline, teamwork, and persistence, our graduates are now building software that helps local companies grow, which helps our economy grow, and helps make Kentucky a better place to live, work, and play.
For the Summer 2017 cohort, we’ve already matched the number of applicants from our first cohort, but applications remain open through March 17th. Interviews begin in January 2017.