Frequently Asked Questions
What is AlbanyCanCode?
We are a not-for-profit organization founded in June 2016, dedicated to the vision of a talent-fueled pipeline for our region’s software sector. To build this pipeline, we work with employers, educators, and community organizations to identify, train, and advocate employment of people with the skills to work in software and IT jobs.
The goal is to remove the economic and cultural barriers to working in technology. We want our region to have an inclusive, vibrant, and expert pipeline of technologists. Part of that mission involves changing mindset in our region about who can be a technologist, and how to evaluate candidates for technology jobs.
There are free online coding courses. Why would I take an AlbanyCanCode course?
FreeCodeCamp, CodeCademy, Kahn Academy, Udemy, Lynda.com, the Odin Project, StackOverflow, YouTube, the New Boston….the list of online code instruction providers is extensive. Whether your career direction is toward being a tester, a coder, a developer, an engineer, a database programmer, or another flavor of technologist, your ability to use online resources to keep your skills up to date is key.
AlbanyCanCode gives students a structure to learn a well-rounded set of skills that are relevant to local employers. The curriculum uses online materials, books, and labs to ensure hands-on practice in depth. Software developers working in the Cap Region give frequent guest lectures, labs, and workshops to mentor students in applying the hard skills and soft skills needed in local workplaces. Students are encouraged to use the projects assigned in the courses in a portfolio on a repo (using Github or bitbucket)to show prospective employers and collaborators.)
Do I get college credit for AlbanyCanCode classes?
Our classes are offered through the non-credit side of SCCC.
Do I get a certificate when I complete an AlbanyCanCode class?
Students who complete coursework and projects will receive a certificate of course completion. Note, however that hiring in the software industry is typically based on demonstrated competency rather than certification.
Will I get a job after completing a course?
AlbanyCanCode courses are designed to equip students as candidates to be interviewed and hired into internships or entry level positions. Some of our employer advisory council members are able to arrange internships and interviews for graduates who can demonstrate strong technical and workplace skills.
In our classes, students establish the basic kit for seeking employment in the tech sector; a set of foundational and relevant hard skills; the soft skills to work as part of a team in a development environment; understanding of the resources and need for continued learning of important and new technologies; a portfolio of projects to showcase; guidance on building a resume; opportunities to meet and work with local mentors and employers; introductions to local tech recruiters.
How much do the classes cost?
Tuition for Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 tuition was $1,500 per student. Expanded programs will have a somewhat higher tuition/program fee.
Through our partnership with SCCC, students can be connected with sources of financial assistance. There may be federal or state tuition grant programs for low-income, underemployed or unemployed persons, veterans, and people with disabilities.
When and where are the classes offered? What do I need to know about the classes?
Each class meets 6 hours per week, in the evening; typical schedule is twice a week for 3 hours per class. 5:45-8:45 PM. Outside of class hours, students have readings and assignments, resulting in a commitment of about 10 hours per week. The classes run for 12 weeks, and are offered in Spring and Fall.
Each class is a combination of lecture – usually an hour – followed by a to-hour period of challenge and lab in which students solve a problem using the technology being studied. Labs are often led by mentors from area software companies.
Can I really be hired into a software job without a degree in computer science?
If you have the aptitude, the passion for code, the willingness to practice, and the communication and teamwork skills to be part of a team – absolutely. Yes.
On the topic of employment, some but not all of our students seek full time employment, or a total career change. Some want to work as freelance web developers. Others use their upgraded skills as technologists to advance their existing careers. Among our students are computer science majors who lack real world project experience, IT professionals who have hit a ceiling in their job advancement, entrepreneurs who want to be comfortable with web and mobile app development, artists, musicians, hackers, game designers, teachers.
What kind of jobs will AlbanyCanCode prepare me for?
Junior front-end web developer; interactive marketing, advertising, and communications; full stack web application developer are some job descriptions most closely aligned with our Front End Web dev and Back End Web Dev course content.
Graduates of AlbanyCanCode’s Front End course will, in addition, have a foundational understanding of the software development process: aspects including user experience design, data modelling, basic server side setup and version control. They will have the tools; resources; and habits of research and practice to allow continuous learning of client-side – and potentially, server-side development skills.
Graduates of AlbanyCanCode’s back end course will, in addition, have a foundational understanding of key server side development scripting languages; tools; resources; and habits of research and practice that are necessary for jobs in database programming; cybersecurity; QA and testing; game development.
What is the application process?
The initial application screens for basic reading comprehension and math aptitude as well as level of past experience with technology, area of interest, and motivation. Solid applicants will be invited to complete a qualifying exercise, as a means to ensure that all students are in a position to benefit from and succeed in the class. Based on the qualifying exercise, AlbanyCanCode will accept applicants. Accepted students are directed to SCCC to register and self-pay, or to apply for financial assistance.
Why does this program exist?
In many way, it’s pure workforce development: offering a practical course of training for local people with aptitude, to skill up for local jobs in the software and tech sector.
At the same time, we are passionate about reducing the economic and cultural barriers to a more diverse software and technology sector. We’re not specifically targeting women, people of color, or low-income. We are keenly aware that while aptitude is distributed evenly, opportunity is not. AlbanyCanCode seeks to provide pathways to empowerment for everyone who has the ability and interest to become a technologist.