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How To Find The Best Coding Bootcamp For You In 2019 (and Now) - We Asked Experts

So you're thinking of signing up for a coding bootcamp...but where do you begin? To get some answers, we hosted two coding bootcamp experts - Mary and Erica - from Switchup, "The best resource for tech bootcamps", at a PowerToFly Lunch and Learn (sign up to be a VIP and you can join us at future virtual lunches with women experts). Mary and Erica gave us six tips (plus, a few solid resources) on how to navigate the land of coding bootcamps.

If you simply want to know if bootcamps for beginners even exist, then check out our friends at Skillcrush (they really cater to women - we love them - and they hire candidates through PowerToFly). General Assembly (also a hiring partner on PowerToFly, Thinkful, Bloc and Flatiron School, have intro courses that you can take online.

Otherwise, keep reading to learn the following:

  • How to get a job after a coding bootcamp is finished
  • How to find a flexible or online bootcamp and organize your search
  • How to pay for coding bootcamp - scholarships, deferred payments, ISAs...
  • What basic knowledge do you need before entering a coding bootcamp
  • How to analyze coding camp reviews
  • When to apply
  • Finally... a list of the best bootcamps for 2019 from Erica and Mary at Switchup.org

Will I get a job after I've spent all this time and money on a coding bootcamp? (I talk about scholarships and funding plans in the next item)

The bootcamp space is so competitive (and some programs are so confident that their curriculum matches what employers need) that they work to find you jobs after you've "graduated". Flatiron School, Career Foundry (they'll refund you if you don't get a job!) and Block (they claim a 97% hiring rate) are three coding bootcamps Erica and Mary pointed out as being supremely confident when it comes to students' career outcomes.

Erica and Mary did advise us to keep a close eye on the fine print around each programs. Some programs (like Career Foundry) guarantee placement within six months of graduating the program. Sometimes it's over a longer period, or even, a shorter one. It really depends. Some bootcamps even offer a full or partial refund if you don't get a job. Be aware that other bootcamps don't guarantee jobs, but they offer mentorship or extra career support to help you in your search.

The overall advice is to sign up for a bootcamp that does have somewhat of a guarantee for students to find a job. With a guarantee in place, you'll find that the entire curriculum is programmed and aligned with the results you need.

And of course, sign up for free on PowerToFly. We have over 18,000 jobs on our platform and a lot of them are super bootcamp grad friendly as well as remote, flexible, work-from-home opportunities.

How can I find a coding bootcamp that matches your needs: flexible schedule? Online courses? [There's a list below for you to search through]

Not everyone can throw themselves into a three-month immersive camp. Jobs, kids, long commutes might keep you from sitting down in an actual classroom. That's ok - there are a ton of flexible options on this list of Best Coding Bootcamps for 2019 that allows you to sort by flexibility and whether you can take courses remotely.

To keep yourself organized, build a spreadsheet to break down what you're looking for. Break it down by what's most important to you:

  • Price
  • Experience level needed (if you're a beginner then don't apply to intermediate courses!)
  • Cost
  • Time commitment
  • Will the bootcamp help you get a job? (see above).
  • Do they provide scholarships, deferred funding, ISAs (keep reading to learn about ISAs)?

How do I pay for coding bootcamp? Scholarship opportunities, deferred and ISA payments

Coding bootcamps can cost anywhere from $0 to $17,000 for a six month program. If you're looking to fund the later part of the cost scale, there are a ton of scholarship options out there, or you could enter a deferred payment plan with a coding bootcamp that's called an ISA (Income Share Agreement) where you pay back a portion of your income after you've gotten a job.

Scholarships: The first step is figuring out what kind of scholarship you could apply for since they range from merit scholarships to ones that are focused on LGBTQ candidates. There are also scholarships specific to the women in tech community that are listed here. Grace Hopper funds a number of scholarships too (btw, we wrote a guide to the Grace Hopper Conference, in case you're attending this year).

ISAs: According to Erica, "App Academy, for instance, has an ISA program where after you graduate from their program and you land a job that is $60,000 or more a year, you pay back 17% of your salary for two years."

How do I know if a coding bootcamp is any good? Read the reviews and job outcome reports

A report from CIRR, Council on Integrity in Results Reporting, that Switch.org uses to evaluate bootcamps.

The advice from Maria and Erica on this is pretty simple - check out their list that has reviews for the Best Coding Bootcamps for 2019.

You can also...

1. Ask bootcamps if they have a third party outcomes report to share with you. If they can't report on their success metrics then move on to the next bootcamp.

2. Look at the CIRR website to get a larger collection on bootcamp hiring data.

3. Ask for reviews by posting the question on social platforms like - LinkedIn, Quora, Facebook.

What basic knowledge do I need to join a coding camp [+ tips on where to fill in the gaps]?

Not all coding camps start from the ground up. There are a number of camps out there that require you to have a certain level of understanding when it comes to coding. Not a problem! Mary and Erica suggest checking out intro to bootcamp programs like Flatiron School's free prep course. You can also brush up on your skills by taking single courses on sites like Coursera.

And some camps, like we mentioned at the beginning of this post, are made for people who are just starting out. Check out our friends at Skillcrush (they really cater to women - we love them - and they hire candidates through PowerToFly). General Assembly (also a hiring partner on PowerToFly, Thinkful and Bloc have intro courses that you can take online.

Is there a best time to apply to a coding bootcamp and its funding opportunities?

Yes, make sure you pay attention to whether the scholarship deadline is different than the general application deadline. More importantly, be sure that you can commit to the coding camp once it begins. Unlike applying to a university, coding bootcamps start very quickly after applications are accepted. So the best advice we have is to take the time before you apply to ensure you're going to be able to carve out the time needed to do well in your bootcamp of choice.

Career and Interview Tips

Remote Work vs. Telecommuting: Surefire Ways To Tell The Difference

Quick tips on what to look out for.

As an expat in Buenos Aires, who until very recently was being paid in Argentine pesos, my salary nearly halved when Argentina's currency plummeted this August. Facing my financial reality like the fiscally responsible millennial I am, I was worried I might have to move back to the U.S. and leave the city I've come to love. But then a friend suggested a seemingly perfect solution to my dilemma: working remotely. I could continue living in Argentina while working for an American company… and start getting paid in sweet, stable U.S. dollars.


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As I began searching for my ideal remote gig, I quickly discovered that not all jobs advertised as remote actually are (luckily my new role as a content marketing associate at PowerToFly is). To my frustration, I realized I didn't qualify for many "remote" jobs because I wasn't located in a particular part of the U.S. Why would companies offer the flexibility to work outside the office and then impose these restrictions?

So I did some digging, and discovered that those companies were actually looking for telecommuters. While many people consider telecommuting and remote work to be synonymous (and oftentimes they are used interchangeably, to the confusion of many, myself included), there is actually an important difference in meaning.

Remote Work vs. Telecommuting

*check out this explanation of the Nexus law if you'd like to learn more

Still confused? Let's look at two examples:

Telecommuting Example

Although Dell labels this job as remote, they clarify that you must reside in the DC area. Why? The position is, "Home Office Based with travel in the Washington DC Metro Area."

Dell mentions the location restriction in the headline for the job, but it would be clearer if they labeled the job as telecommuting instead of remote.


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Remote Example

A truly remote gig! No location restrictions are mentioned - actually, the post even mentions that the whole team is remote (a great sign that you'll be well-integrated as a remote team member, and not missing out on any impromptu in-person meetings).


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Whether you're an employer or a job seeker, the key is to know what you're looking for and strategize accordingly.

Employers:

  • Do you want to cast a truly global net in your search? If so, label your job opportunity as remote and make it clear that it doesn't matter where the applicant is based.
  • Alternatively, if you're only looking for workers in certain regions, label your job as telecommuting and specify the exact restrictions in your post!

Job seekers:

  • Do you want a truly remote job that gives you the flexibility to work from the beaches of Thailand or the comfort of your bedroom? If so, be sure you're looking at remote jobs that don't have any listed restrictions.
  • Or would you rather find a job that offers you the flexibility to work from home, with the option to come into the office occasionally and physically interact with your team? If so, you may want to gear your search towards telecommuting gigs.
  • Regardless of whether you're looking for a remote or telecommuting gig, consider using both terms in your search in order to maximize your chances of finding what you're looking for. In spite of the growth of telecommuting itself (FlexJobs' 2017 State of Telecommuting report stated that nine million people work from "home" at least half of the time, a substantial increase from 1.8 million in 2005), a quick Google search reveals that telecommuting jobs returns 19,600,000 results compared to 546,000,000 for remote jobs.This may be due to the fact that the term telecommuting often evokes images of car phones and oversized blazers… which makes sense, given that the term was first popularized in 1980. Many younger workers who technically would be considered telecommuters prefer to use the term remote worker because it sounds more modern, and employers will often categorize jobs as remote to appeal to a wider base of candidates.

So, is telecommuting just an old-fashioned way to say remote work?

Telecommuting might sound like an antiquated term, but its meaning is distinct from that of remote work, and employers as well as job seekers should be aware of the difference.

That said, whatever type of flexible job you're looking for, always do your due-diligence. If you're a job seeker and you're not sure whether the "remote" job you just found will give you the flexibility to work from your current home-base in Vietnam, ask for clarification. After all, the key to success in any out-of-office job is good communication.

How to Improve Company Culture Today

Company culture is more than just a word that sounds nice in HR pamphlets. Today it's a fundamental measure of an organization's success, especially in a tight labor market where employers are having to put in even more effort to attract and retain top talent.

When a company's culture is healthy and positive, you can feel it: employees seem excited about the company and its mission, take a collaborative approach to problem solving, and feel invested in where the company is headed. When company culture is toxic, it tends to breed feelings of distrust, dissatisfaction and a lack of motivation throughout the organization.

With a New Year fast approaching, our friends at Comparably took a look at some of the best ways business leaders can boost company culture right now.

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Check out the full article here.

Dow Jones Company

She Was Hired After Attending A PowerToFly Event - Here Are Her Tips

A Q&A with Rachel Cohen, A Software Engineer At Dow Jones

Rachel is talking to PowerToFly members at 3pm ET Today, Monday November 11th at 3pm ET. Sign up now for free!

Rachel Cohen, a Software Engineer at Dow Jones, spent the first decade of her career in journalism and recently landed the career of her dreams after attending a PowerToFly event! If you're currently pivoting your career, in the trenches of a coding bootcamp, amidst your first technical interview, or have been rejected once or twice, don't be discouraged!

"The letdowns and rejections are experiences that will make you better in every aspect," Rachel says. Keep reading to hear more about Rachel's journey and if you're interested in learning more about careers at Dow Jones? Click here to 'Follow' them on PowerToFly!

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Career and Interview Tips

How The​ ‘Tell Me About Yourself' Question Can Set You Apart

By Carroll Welch - Originally posted on iRelaunch

No matter how it's worded or where you hear it, if you're relaunching, you'll be asked by someone to tell about yourself. It may be at a barbecue, an informational interview, a college reunion, a screening interview or a conference. Depending on the context, this question could be asked as:

  • What should I know about you?
  • What's your background?
  • How can I help you today?
  • Do you work outside the home?
  • Tell me in your own words, who is [your name]?
  • Tell me about yourself.

Whether formally or casually asked, 'Tell me about yourself' is an opportunity. When you have an articulate, confidently delivered response that takes into account what the listener wants to know, you can distinguish yourself and make a positive impression.

Here are three points to help you prepare. (For convenience sake, all forms of Tell Me About Yourself will be referred to as TMAY.)

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1. Prepare. Don't wing this. Your response to TMAY is an important part of how you market yourself, just as your resume and Linked In profile are. It's hard to come up with a good response to this deceptively difficult question on the fly. By preparing bullet points in advance that you've committed to memory and can tweak and integrate into conversations as appropriate, you'll be ready.

2. Consider Your Audience. What a prospective employer wants to know about you is not the same as what your best friend's spouse wants to know at the neighborhood holiday party. Don't reflexively tell the person what you want to tell them. Instead, think about what they might want to know and make it part of your response.

  • Strengths. For job interviews, make sure that the beginning of your response includes 2-3 key features about you that would be compelling to that employer. Here's an example:

Q. Tell me about yourself.

A. I'm a career relauncher and project manager with 10 years of experience in pharmaceutical marketing. I've always loved project management work because I can use my excellent organizational and technological skills to make sure that all the moving parts of a project sync. During my 7 year career break, I became a trustee for my local public library and chaired our technology committee so I've been able to continue to use and hone those skills. Also, I was a four year DI college athlete, and when I worked at Rose & Whitney as a project manager, I was consistently recognized for my strong team orientation, and how I coordinated and communicated well with all team members, regardless of seniority.

  • Relauncher Status. It may be okay in some circumstances to explain that you're exploring, researching or considering more than one relaunch career path. Usually, this will likely be in a social or casual situation or in informational interviews, but not in job interviews. An example of how to explain your 'undecided' status as part of a TMAY response to a networking or social contact who might be able to help you is:

I'm a relauncher and before my 10 year career break, I practiced as a health law attorney at a large law firm for 5 years. I'm planning to return to work as a practicing attorney. I'm currently exploring either a path to a hospital legal department position or practicing elder law at a small firm. I've always been interested in health care and was pre-med in college. I became interested in elder law when I helped my parents navigate some challenging long term care, Medicare and estate planning issues.

  • No Chronologies. Your response to TMAY should never be a chronological story that starts with where you were born or what you did after grad school. Instead, it should highlight who you are now and what your strengths, 'value adds' and/or career relaunch plans are.
  • Mind the Time. Your TMAY response should be between 30 seconds and 90 seconds long -- at the most. You'll lose your listener's interest and attention after that.
  • Fluid Not Static. Your TMAY response will change over time, as your goals and targets do. Check in on your TMAY response periodically to be sure that it's still doing the job of conveying an accurate picture of you.

3. Practice Delivering with Confidence. Your listener in some cases may remember how you delivered your TMAY response more than what you've actually said! Practice with a friend, in front of a mirror and/or with the recording feature on your phone. If you're not feeling particularly confident about your TMAY response at first, pretend! With repeated delivery, you'll get better.

Many job searchers and relaunchers flounder when asked to tell about themselves. By nailing this question and making it a positive part of how you market yourself, you'll become more memorable and compelling as a relaunch candidate.

This article originally appeared on the iRelaunch blog. iRelaunch is the pioneering company in the career re-entry space with a global community of over 65,000 individuals who are in all stages of returning to work after a career break. We also work directly with more than 55 blue chip companies to create career re-entry programs. Sign up to learn more about how we can help you return to a rewarding career.

Career and Interview Tips

Diversity In The Workplace Benefits: 5 Studies To Take To Your Boss

Recently, a recruiting manager at one of the world's largest companies told my team he was struggling to build a case for investing in more diversity-focused initiatives. His employees were questioning why their company would be spending money on diversity recruiting campaigns, including events, where women and people of color could hear why the company should be considered an inclusive place to work.

I was shocked. It's 2018. Homogeneous teams are not only bad for business and the economy as a whole, but diverse teams literally strengthen profits and innovation within workplaces.

Study after study has proven this.

Then it dawned on me that so many people are ill-equipped to make a case for the benefits of diversity in the workplace.

Don't worry. What follows is a quick guide for how to make the case. It includes research from Harvard, McKinsey, Gallup, and peer reviewed studies for you to lay out how your business could be reaching new levels of productivity, profitability, and long-term enhanced recruiting outcomes if diversity were to become a priority. Take this to your boss, skeptical colleagues, and even your uncle who argues that his male-dominated workplace doesn't need to change.

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1. Diverse Teams Produce Financial Returns 33% Higher Than The Industry Mean  

A 2017 McKinsey Study used a data set of 1,000 companies to determine that profitability and long-term valuation increased dramatically when teams were diverse.

Say this to your boss and team members:

  • This McKinsey study proves that returns rise when you have people working at your company who represent the vast array of customers you're trying to reach.

2. Gender Diversity Could Grow The US Economy By 5%. 

Source: Building Inclusive Economies

The IMF showed that closing the gender gap in labor force participation in the United States could boost GDP by an estimated 5 percent.

Say this to your boss or team members:

  • When women have higher paying jobs, they create multiplier effects for their communities because they reinvest more than men do (look at the studies) into the health, nutrition, and education of their children.
  • It's called "womenomics" and instituting it literally saved Japan from a recession when its workforce was aging out.

3. Harvard: When There Are More Women On A Team, Collective Intelligence Rises 

Giphy

This Harvard Business Review study says it all:

"There's little correlation between a group's collective intelligence and the IQs of its individual members. But if a group includes more women, its collective intelligence rises."

Say this to your boss or team members:

  • Many studies show women score higher on social sensitivity tests. That means they share feedback and learn from customer cues, creating stronger products and financial returns.

4. Gender Diverse Teams Are Radically More Innovative Over A Two-Year Period  

Giphy

"In a study published in Innovation: Management, Policy & Practice, the authors analyzed levels of gender diversity in research and development teams from 4,277 companies in Spain. Using statistical models, they found that companies with more women were more likely to introduce radical new innovations into the market over a two-year period."

Say this to your boss or team members:

  • There's a reason why women, immigrants and people of color have propelled American innovation and started our most successful companies. They see windows of opportunity and products to modify that traditionally white all-male groups don't see.

5. Diverse Team Members Bring In More Diverse Team Members 

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Stacy Brown-Philpot, the CEO of TaskRabbit, spoke about the problem of not recruiting early for diversity at Google. When she joined Google they had about 1,000 employees. "It took me two and a half years to look around and realize there weren't a lot of people like me. So [my colleague] David Drummond and I…put together a group. It was really late. I think that's part of the challenge [at Google]." Brown-Philpot's story is backed up by a study that shows the cumulative effects of having the same people interact with each other over time.

Say this to your boss or team members:

  • Investing in diversity recruiting now will pay dividends. Diverse team members will help draw in more candidates from personal networks and we can speak truthfully that we cared about diversity - and all of its benefits - from day one.

How To Actually Diversify Your Workplace 

As made clear by the Google example, if you've waited years to make diversity in your workplace a priority, then you have a challenge ahead of you. It gets harder to diversify teams if you wait too long. But don't fret, you can still turn it around.

Here are a few quick tips:

  • Ensure you have an environment diverse candidates want to join. Survey your workplace anonymously to ask what needs to be done to make it more inclusive.
  • Throw an event, and partner with a diversity-focused organization like PowerToFly to run the invite list, programming, and follow-up so people feel engaged and heard.
  • Set goals that are realistic and look at how you're getting there. Often the simple things matter most: are you responding to diversity candidates and are you making sure they are interviewed by panels that aren't all white and male?

For more tips, check out this piece I wrote for The New York Times that highlights simple ways to ultimately employ more women and diverse candidates

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