Part II - Will I really get a job? - Checking in with our students

Will you really get a job? Yes! There's no guarantee, but as you'll see, the odds are good. Why? Because coders are in very high demand. StartFast Code has enrolled 13 very diverse students. In this post, we'll take a quick look at how and what they're doing, even before the end of their StartFast Code bootcamp. We'll be highlighting their stories on video here. Check back often for new videos.

Back in June, 2016, Dave, Wanda, Ethan, John, Zach, Conor, Ryan, Chris, Kseniya, Zoe, Lauren and Kent entered the first ever StartFast Code (SFC) bootcamp. Dan joined them in August. We took the opportunity to check in with these pioneering students and see what impact SFC has had, so far, on their lives and their careers. Keep in mind that they haven't even finished the course yet!

Back in June, Zoe was keen on helping SFC get going, and was sure it would change her life. The startup she worked for as a marketer was failing and she needed a job. Besides helping SFC get started, Zoe got hired by StartFast Venture Accelerator part-time. In the mean time, she began doing paid web development projects for a number of clients. When we checked in with her yesterday, she was very busy finishing the SFC bootcamp while also doing work for multiple clients,  and starting a digital agency with SFC classmate Kseniya and two other developers from the Upstate New York developer community. Kseniya has already found enough security and confidence in her new career as a web developer to quit her old job. "This is something I don't think I would have had the confidence to do without the skills I've learned through StartFast Code."

Dan began SFC in August, but he too has already found paid work as a web developer, working part time for a startup. Dan's passion is writing, and his old job was focused on corporate communications. Now he's able to translate that passion into his work as a developer, by writing the copy and building the website in which it is displayed.

John was already a pro in the computer industry, working for many years as a systems administrator working remotely under contract to a major government contractor. Although he has a technical background, web development is vastly different from what he's used to doing. Even prior to finishing StartFast Code, he's updated his resume and has gone on multiple interviews for a new career as a web developer. Kent has already been hired, right out of StartFast Code, as an entry-level developer. His new employer wants him to finish SFC, but is also training him in their procedures and mentoring him to become a long-term productive member of their team.

When Wanda joined SFC, she was not familiar with HTML, CSS, Javascript and other web development technologies. She's been a reference librarian for many years and is motivated to find a next chapter in her career that will be potentially more lucrative and more creative. Wanda has found resources within herself to learn, persevere and overcome every challenge. We're confident she'll develop the new career she's looking for.

Other SFC students aren't looking for a new employer, so much as they're interested in advancing with their current one. Lauren was able to get support from her current employer to enroll in SFC and her new knowledge has already led to new opportunities for her to spread her wings at work. Dave works for a huge technology company that has tons of opportunity for people with the right skill set. He's aiming for advancement through the knowledge he's gaining at SFC. For Ethan, it's all about the ability to create. He's already a highly trained engineer. The web development skills he's honing through SFC are giving him the gratification of being a "maker" - someone who creates something of beauty and value from his or her own intellectual effort. Likewise Conor used SFC to teach him what he needed to know to build his own project and apply it in his career as a financial planner.

Zach left he StartFast Code class early to take a job in Albany. We hope he can finish the course in the future, especially if we get a bootcamp going in the Capital District sometime soon. We'll hope to check in with Ryan and Chris is a future update. We're very proud of all our SFC students. They are truly pioneers, helping pave the way for future cohorts of coders-in-the-making. I often tell them that I think that they're all heroes...to take a big step toward self-determination, through commitment and hard work. To me, they are emblematic of what makes America great.