You Got Skills

Skill Up With Skills Fund

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Looking for a hands-on mobile development education? TurnToTech is a mobile-only coding school that offers an Individualized Learning Plan (ILP) for each of their students. They recently created an infographic that contains some quick facts about their organization - take a look below!

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This question gets asked all the time, but let's be honest: there's no right answer. There is no "best" language to learn when it comes to programming because all programmers should have experience in more than one language so they can pick and choose what works best in what scenario. Languages often coexist and work together, and you'll find yourself needing to learn one in order to use the other.

The easiest way to answer this question is to first decide what you want to build, and what framework you want to build them in. Let's get started.

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Skills Fund is committed to providing our partners with useful information about our lending programs. We've decided to provide our community with a collection of resources that will help bridge the gaps and eliminate complications.

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Skills Fund is excited to welcome our newest partner, GrowthX Academy!

GrowthX Academy offers immersive in-person programs on Sales & Business Development, Growth Marketing, and UX Design. Each course is offered as both a 12-week Full-Time Immersive Daytime Program and a 20-week Part-Time Nights & Weekends Program. The courses are taught onsite at the Galvanize campus in San Francisco, California.

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The productivity of humanity has shifted into high-gear. Everything we do is accelerated, expeditious, and can change at a moment's notice. This change is directly noticeable in the tech industry, where new designs and new intelligent products are emerging into the marketplace. As a response, new programming initiatives and languages have come into play, and people need a fast and effective way of learning those skills.

Enter the innovative bootcamp model. Rather than spending four years in a traditional educational setting, bootcamps and accelerated learning programs give you the knowledge you need at a faster pace. Programs are available to teach you so many skills: from broad, all-encompassing concepts (Growth Marketing), all the way down to specific languages (Full Stack Python).

If you put in the dedication, you'll succeed, but you shouldn't be blind to the amount of work that a bootcamp is accompanied by. It's not easy. Bootcamps are designed to teach you multiple years' worth of skills in a matter of months. It takes a certain mindset and level of commitment to...

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Skills Fund is excited to welcome our newest bootcamp partner, Eleven Fifty Academy!

Eleven Fifty Academy offers in-person courses on JavaScript, Java and .NET. Each course is 12 weeks in duration. All students begin with the same three-week Foundation course and then branch off into language-specific immersion courses.

Eleven Fifty Academy is a non-profit organization based in Carmel, Indiana, in a 30,000-sq. ft. property owned by entrepreneur and inventor Scott A. Jones. Off-site seminars are hosted in beautiful spaces such as theaters and co-working spaces. The typical cohort size is 15 students.

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Skills Fund is unlike any other student financing platform due to our driving mission: We believe in positive Return on Education (RoE), so we don't finance students to attend crappy bootcamps. The value of a partnership with Skills Fund is fueled by a number of factors.

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IT'S ABOUT TRUST

When a coding school advertises a job placement rate of 65% or 80% or 95%, what does that mean? Does that number include every student who graduated? Is it only students hired in full-time coding jobs for which they went to school, or does it include part-time gigs and full-time waiter positions?

Having examined the quality of nearly 200 bootcamps in our quest to ensure we don’t finance students to attend crappy programs, Skills Fund has seen nearly every permutation on outcomes reporting. While there have been a few (very few, thankfully) reported instances of deceptive practices, many schools have sought to be transparent by publishing their own outcomes reports.

The problem with the coding industry’s transparency push is that yes, the various methodologies are transparent in being documented, but they are also complicated, rely on footnotes for disclosure, and make apples-to-apples comparisons among schools virtually impossible.

But today, that model changes.

Leading bootcamps...

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DaVinci Coders was founded by DaVinci Institute, a 501(c) non-profit, education based, futurist think-tank that has spent the last 17 years innovating in the education space. DaVinci Coders noticed that technology was progressing so quickly that traditional four-year colleges couldn’t meet the demand of the growing workforce. They also saw that students who went the traditional higher-ed route had outdated skill sets by the time they graduated.

Their class sizes never exceed 14 students, so students build excellent relationships with mentors and become a part of a tight-knit community of students and developers upon graduation.

You can learn more about DaVinci Coders here, and start funding your education here.

DaVinci Coders at a glance;

  • Location: Westminster, Colorado

  • Length of program: 16 weeks

  • Typical cohort size: 14 students

  • Skills Taught: Ruby on Rails, Javascript, Python, Video Game Development
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YOUR HIGH-QUALITY BOOTCAMP

Hack Reactor was founded in 2012 by brothers Marcus and Tony Phillips to provide students a life-altering educational experience with an outcomes-focused approach. In addition to the original San Fransisco-based Hack Reactor campus, they have now unified their network of schools, including Telegraph Academy and MakerSquare, all under the prestigious Hack Reactor brand.

Recognizing the shared values, curriculum and quality throughout every location and program in the network, the schools will now be rebranded as Hack Reactor Austin, Hack Reactor Los Angeles, Hack Reactor San Francisco, Hack Reactor New York City, and Hack Reactor Remote - all of which Skills Fund has performed due diligence on and will finance student's educational journey.

The Hack Reactor Software Engineering program is focused on building autonomous, fully capable software engineers. By the end of the program, you will be an autonomous engineer, capable of tackling unique, unfamiliar problems and building complex applications.

Telegraph Academy’s curriculum has been integrated into Hack...

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Skills Fund is proud to welcome our newest bootcamp partner, NYC and Boston-based Startup Institute!

Startup Institute’s program provides people with the skills, mindset, and network to find a job they love, doing work that matters.

Their program helps people build the technical skills, culture skills, and network that will launch them into the innovation industry in the areas of web development, web design, digital marketing, or sales and account management.

Uniquely positioned at the center of tech ecosystems in Boston and New York, Startup Institute is designed to open new doors for students. In addition to expert training in the most in-demand skills, they also offer personalized career mentorship and connections to the people and companies that advance students’ careers.

Skills Fund Digest -

Startup Institute is a program to launch your career into the innovation economy:

Full-time Program features preparatory skills support, an in-class immersive experience, and two...

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Rethinking College

JUDY WOODRUFF: And, tonight, we wrap up our week-long series Rethinking College with a look at students who are choosing cheaper and shorter computer coding training as an alternative to a college degree.

Hari Sreenivasan has our report.

WES REID, Galvanize Instructor: We’re going to just be taking notes.

HARI SREENIVASAN: It’s called a high-tech boot camp, six months of intense work that turns a beginner computer coder into a software engineer.

WES REID: I’m going to show guys a tool. If it stresses you out, don’t use it.

HARI SREENIVASAN: The academics are difficult, but the camps all but promise jobs that pay more than double the median income in America.

WES REID: It’s an immersive program. It’s incredibly tough.

HARI SREENIVASAN: So tough, only 20 percent of those who apply get accepted.

Instructor Wes Reid:

WES REID: The things that...

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It's time to transform your life & career. All partner bootcamps are vetted for quality of curriculum & student outcomes, so dive in to find the right program for you.

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Skills up to build the next big thing. All partner bootcamps are Skills Fund approved for quality outcomes

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From coast-to-coast: regardless as to where you call home, there's a transformative skills training at your doorstep.

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Skills up to build the next big thing. All partner bootcamps are Skills Fund approved for quality outcomes

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Bootcamps have shattered many barriers that once stood between a student and a high-quality skills education, particularly geographic barriers. Originally a major obstacle, the location of a program is now less of a concern for many students thanks to new programs across the country and online.

The growth has greatly expanded access, as students no longer need to face the cost and consequences of moving cities to attend a bootcamp. Programs are now available in a growing number of smaller metros such as Cleveland, Raleigh, and Fort Lauderdale in addition to large cities like New York and San Francisco. High-quality online programs provide access anywhere, giving students even more opportunity to transform their lives.

Skills Fund partners with only the best bootcamps to ensure students from all backgrounds have access to a high-quality skills training. Learn more about how we’re increasing access for every student across the country:

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Epicodus is the newest Skills Fund partner bootcamp!

Founder Michael Kaiser started Epicodus in 2012 in response to a growing talent gap in the Software Industry. Kaiser found it difficult to hire qualified programmers for his software company, and as he talked with other employers he discovered he wasn't alone. At the same time, many people in the greater Portland area were struggling to find work. Epicodus was created to teach practical software developer skills so that people could get great jobs and companies could hire the staff they needed.

Today, Epicodus aims to provide a place where people from all walks of life can come together to learn web and mobile development. The program teaches high-demand programming skills and is driven by the core values of Care, Diversity, Student Success, and Honesty.

Epicodus further sets itself apart through its innovative "flipped" classroom. There are no lectures in class; instead, students learn new content from videos and text that they review as homework. All class time is spent...

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Announcing the latest Skills Fund partner bootcamp, V School.

Founded on the belief that "better humans make better companies," V School aims to improve the human experience by continuing to modernize career education, accelerating career readiness and increasing community engagement.

V School bridges the gap between online and immersive programs through an innovative hybrid model. All classes can be completed online, and students in the classroom use the school's interactive learning program to work in "paired sessions" with students online.

At V School, all content is taught through live-streaming, so that faculty and staff interact as they would in a typical on-campus setting. Approximately 20% of students are enrolled in the online version of the course in a given cohort.

V School prides itself on quality of curriculum and a strong focus on employability. The teachers in the Full Stack Immersive Javascript course are industry professionals-turned-mentors with years of software engineering experience and expertise. V School also provides a variety of...

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A big welcome to our newest bootcamp partner, NYC Data Science Academy!

NYCDSA brings seasoned expertise to the world of Data Science education. The program grew out of SupStat Inc., a team of data science and big data professionals with more than 30 years of combined experience. Today, NYCDSA brings together some of the most renowned data scientists in the industry as instructors and mentors.

NYCDSA enables students to master skills through a series of real-world projects. The program arms graduates with a solid understanding of the entire data analytics process - including retrieving, transforming, exploring and modeling data as well as interpreting and communicating results in a compelling way.

Graduates of NYCDSA are able to do useful real data science work with the R and Python programming languages, and employ state-of-the-art visualization programs such as ggplot2, Shiny and Matplotlib.

Learn more about NYCDSA here, and start funding your education...

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Transparency is the new authenticity. And rightfully so. In direct response to a traditional higher ed system that lacks attention to student skills training and post-graduation outcomes, the bootcamp model has expanded rapidly with more than 36,000 graduates since 2012 (according to Course Report’s 2016 Market Sizing Report).

The industry agrees that it’s time to seize and secure a common path forward to provide increased transparency and outcomes reporting. The debate is well underway, and a number of bootcamp leaders have publicly weighed into the conversation.

Jon Stowe, President of Dev Bootcamp, offered a cautionary tale, while Darrell Silver, co-founder and CEO of...

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We're extending a big welcome to Ironhack, the latest Skills Fund partner bootcamp!

The first web development and mobile bootcamp established in Spain, Ironhack recently opened their inaugural U.S.-based campus in Miami. All students at the Miami campus are now eligible for Skills Fund financing.

The faculty at Ironhack are big advocates of the bootcamp format, believing it to be the best path to launch a career as a junior developer. The school uses a disruptive education model to teach Ruby, Rails, Javascript, HTML, and CSS, and offers both full-time and part-time courses.

Students can expect a very personal approach to learning software development at Ironhack, thanks to the school's low instructor-to-student ratio. The curriculum emphasizes hands-on collaboration, encouraging students to work together and team up for certain projects.

Ironhack offers many opportunities for students to connect with employers and build a job-ready portfolio. The students complete a final project under the supervision of industry...

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We're pleased to introduce Flatiron School as the latest bootcamp in the growing Skills Fund network.

Known for being the first programming school in the world to independently audit student outcomes, Flatiron's dedication to students has earned them recognition as one of the top coding bootcamps.

Skills Fund financing is available to students enrolled at Flatiron's online campus Learn.co, which teaches Full Stack Web Development.

Flatiron School highlights include:

Thorough Curriculum: Tested, verified, and adapted for each campus

Professional Workflows: Write code using Git, Bash, and a test-driven approach

Certification: Pass the final exam to certify mastery of the robust curriculum

Job Guarantee: After certification, a...

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Skills Fund is excited to introduce Codesmith as our newest partner bootcamp!

Codesmith strongly believes in combining immersive independent learning and mentorship to develop exceptional software engineers. For Codesmith, a model software engineer is “technically brilliant, an incredible collaborator, passionate about building, and supportive of community.”

The curriculum at Codesmith is primarily project-based, and instructors use pair programming to create a unique environment of “guided problem solving.” This allows students to learn quickly and build projects that go deeper into core concepts.

The Codesmith program is based in Los Angeles and spans 12 weeks. The course covers Computer Science, Full-Stack Javascript (notably React and Node) and Software Architecture.

Learn more about Codesmith here, and start funding your education here.

Codesmith At A Glance:

Locations: Los Angeles

Length of Program: 12 weeks

Typical Cohort...

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But how do you know what’s crappy or not?

Skills Fund takes our informal motto very seriously: “We don’t finance students to attend crappy programs.” In the last five months, we’ve looked at dozens of bootcamps to determine the high-quality ones from the, well, crappy ones.

We’ve chosen not to partner with about 25% of the schools we’ve looked at. What did we learn as we conducted due diligence and underwrote bootcamp quality?

The reasons bootcamps failed to meet our standards fall in two buckets: (1) Not ready for prime time and (2) low ROI for students.

We evaluate schools fairly comprehensively. Outcomes matter, greatly. Completion rates, job placement rates, starting salaries of graduates, etc. are just a starting point. Strong outcomes that meet our bright line standards are necessary, but not sufficient for us to deem a school high quality.

The level of employer engagement in curriculum design; how relevant the curriculum is to local labor demands (...

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One of the most common questions we get here at Bloc is: “Don’t I need a Computer Science Degree to become a developer?”

The answer, in our opinion, is no. Last year President Obama pointed to bootcamps –saying “It turns out it doesn’t matter where you learned code, it just matters how good you are at writing code.” He was referring to an economic shift from a credential-based economy to a skill-based economy. Employers and hiring managers care less about where you went to school and more about your ability to deliver high quality work as a dedicated contributor to a team.

“It turns out it doesn’t matter where you learned code, it just matters how good you are at writing code.”

Recently, our friends over at Stack Overflow published some data that actually shows that this shift happening.

Stack Overflow (Quora for Developers) just released their 2016 industry wide survey of over...

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After conversations with dozens of coding school founders and their students over the last several months, Tip O’Neill’s famous line that “all politics is local” keeps coming back to me, but in the form of “all coding is local.”

Regularly, I see public figures and news stories proclaiming a “tech talent shortage” or by “2020, there will be 1.4 million computer specialist job openings” in the U.S. In the aggregate across the country, these statements may be true. When I see maps of the coding school industry, such as this one put together by GSV, they categorize programs by “web development” or “data science,” which is a fine categorization — at a high level.

What’s missing in all this, however, is that labor markets tend to be quite specialized. Any student planning to enroll in a bootcamp needs to be sure,...

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Introducing our newest high-quality accelerated learning programs; spanning from coast to coast and enabling skills-training throughout the country. To learn more about each partner program, click on the links below:

  • RefactorU (Boulder, Colorado): Full Stack Java Training. First and only bootcamp in the country to accept the GI Bill
  • We Can Code IT (Cleveland, Ohio): Front end development and back-end programming on .NET framework
  • Thinkful (online): Web Development Career Path with one-on-one mentorship from industry leadership. Employment guarantees
  • Wyncode (Fort Lauderdale, Miami): Ruby and JavaScript coding training with a focus on industry networking for all students
  • Coder Camps (Houston, Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle and Tulsa): Specialized web development training based upon local job...
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Overview

The long established system of educating new software engineers is seriously broken. Software engineers need to be able to build large, scalable, flexible and responsive applications quickly and effectively with a team of developers. Build and deliver. If you can do that, any sensible hiring manager, on the planet, will hire you. If you can’t do that, good luck.

This is what colleges and universities should be doing when they develop their computer science programs; however, they are not currently completing this basic task. If the developer bootcamp you are considering is essentially replicating the old way of training developers, run. If, instead, you are looking to identify an educational partner that will help you prepare for the world of software engineering, and plan on spending thousands of dollars on such an endeavor, then you should keep reading.

Sabio created this guide with your best interest in mind. Why, since it is highly unlikely that we have never met? At Sabio we are dedicated to cultivating and nurturing exceptional...

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Skills Fund is proud to welcome our newest high-quality partner programs:

What does "high-quality" mean? High-quality translates to Skills Fund performing extensive due diligence on quality of curriculum and student outcomes prior to partnering with, and underwriting, the program. Essentially, this means that each bootcamp and vetted program has received the Skills Fund "stamp of approval."

To learn more about the details of our partnerships, please click on the links within each...

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I’m ready to make a bet. At some point in your recent history, you and your credit score collided. Whether in applying for a credit card, seeking a federal student loan, purchasing a home, buying a car, or leasing an apartment, you’ve most likely had that sneaky little number influence your next step.

Anytime you seek out financing, someone will run what is referred to as a “hard check” on your credit score. It is well worth your time and effort to research your score, correct any discrepancies, and work towards building a better score. A good credit score can be that last hurdle in securing financing to reserve your spot at a high-quality bootcamp and jump-starting your professional future.

What is a Credit Score?

Very generally speaking, your credit score is a number that evaluates how likely you are to repay your financial commitments. The higher your score, the higher the chance that you will repay your borrowed funds. The most commonly used FICO credit score has a scale of 350-850 with the average credit score...

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Built In Austin: As we reported last week, 2015 was another year of healthy growth for Austin's digital technology sector. Many young companies matured through new investments or exited in larger deals, making room for new startups to test new products and ideas.

We've carefully selected 50 of them we expect to succeed in the near future and listed them below. They're all less than five years old, and while some of them are already well on their way to success, many are still in their infancy.

Expect to hear more of these 50 names in the year to come. Read more here.

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APR vs. INTEREST RATE

What’s the difference? In a nutshell - transparency. The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) provides you the full view on the total cost of your loan, and includes your interest rate and relevant fees. The interest rate only includes the percentage you are charged to borrow money, and unlike APR, leaves out other finance charges incurred as part of the loan.

INTEREST RATE

Your interest rate is the base cost of borrowing money for the duration of your loan, and is a percentage of the principal loan amount. It can be fixed (it will not change) or variable (it could change over time). All Skills Fund loans are fixed – your rate will not go up. An interest rate is shown as a percentage, but does not include additional finance charges that will also be incurred. It gets tricky because some lenders try to add lots of fees that increase the cost of the loan even if the interest rate is low.

APR

The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is the big picture on...

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You've taken an important stride towards altering your professional future; you have been accepted to a high-quality coding, data science, or entrepreneurial bootcamp. But what's the best way to pay for it?

Whether it’s your first time to attend a coding, data science, cyber security, or entrepreneurial bootcamp, or you’ve gone down this path before, leaving your job behind to dive into an immersive and intensive program takes financial gusto.

Skills Fund partner bootcamps are vetted for quality of curriculum and successful student outcomes, so with professional opportunity at the end of the tunnel ahead, let our handy checklist help you pick the right lane to finance your bootcamp education.

WEIGH THE OPTIONS

How to pay for your bootcamp program? Most programs require payment in full prior to your start date, so look for:

  • Scholarships: most bootcamps offer scholarships to females, minorities, and/or veterans
  • Payment Plans: the total sum of your coding education could be easier to digest if the...
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