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HackerYou's Marketing Manager. Focused on growing the HackerYou community and making it even more awesome, and finding new ways to fill my home with as many plants as possible.

Year In Review: Our First Year as a Registered Private Career College

A year ago today, HackerYou became a registered Private Career College. It’s been a big year, not just for our team, but for the entire HackerYou community.

When we submitted our application to register as a Private Career College last year, we were excited about what it meant for HackerYou and for our students, alumni, instructors, mentors, and broader community. In a blog post about the application announcement, our CEO Heather Payne said that becoming registered “brings a legitimacy to what we’re doing at HackerYou that we just couldn’t provide before.” We’re thrilled to report that our first year as a Private Career College has been even better than we had hoped it would be.

In addition to becoming registered, we’ve made some big changes in the past year (as we always do) to continue to make the HackerYou student experience even better. Here are some of the changes we’re most excited about:

Making Bootcamp More Accessible to More Students

Our bootcamp (and HackerYou in general) has always had an outstanding reputation. This year, HackerYou was named to both Course Report and Switch Up‘s “Best Bootcamps of 2017” lists. Our alumni have taken to review sites like Facebook, Google, Course Report, SwitchUp, and Yelp to share their experiences, which has been instrumental in spreading the word and providing students considering a bootcamp with third-party information that they can use to make an informed decision.

Becoming a Private Career College has helped to legitimize what our alumni have known about us for years, and has opened doors to students who might not have considered a bootcamp before. Since our first registered vocational program began in January, we’ve had 101 students complete HackerYou’s Web Development Immersive Bootcamp (with another 32 graduating in a few short weeks). Out of our Winter 2017 and Spring 2017 cohorts, 94% are now employed, and out of our Summer 2017 cohort which graduated September 22nd (10 weeks ago), 71% are employed so far. (Any students not yet employed are working closely with HackerYou’s CEO, Heather, to ensure the transition happens as soon as possible! We’re with them until it happens, no matter how long it takes!)

Our registration as a Private Career College also means that bootcamp students now receive a certificate upon graduation. Being successful in this industry has always been more about skills than certification, but it’s still nice to have. More importantly, our new status means that tuition for our bootcamp is HST exempt and that graduates receive a tax receipt, which helps make the cost more manageable and improves the ROI to students.

We’ve also started offering financing options to help qualified students pay for their bootcamp tuition. HackerYou has always been deeply passionate about making the tech industry more diverse and accessible, and this is part of that ongoing mission. As new sources of funding open up to us and our potential students, we’ll continue to explore them and make them available to students as soon as possible.

A New and Improved Admissions Process

We’ve seen an increase in applications to all of HackerYou’s programs every year since we were founded in 2012, but in the past year applications to our Bootcamp increased drastically, which created an opportunity for us to make some exciting changes to our bootcamp admissions process. For starters, there’s now a hard deadline for applying to each bootcamp (the Spring 2018 deadline is February 16, 2018!). The first step is still to submit an application, and the updated process also involves a video interview and technical assessment so that we can get an idea of who you are and what you can do. Finally, selected applicants are invited to a group interview with the entire HackerYou team (all 15 of us!), and acceptances are sent out the following week. We always aim to give students about six weeks notice that they’ve been accepted to our bootcamp, so that they have time to get things in order before the program begins.  

The most important thing about the new process is that it makes admissions to HackerYou’s bootcamp more fair and allows us to attract students who are looking to learn with the best and brightest. The new process makes things more efficient for our Admissions team, and involves everyone at HackerYou in selecting our next cohort, which is exciting and also a lot of fun.

You can learn more about how the new process works and what to expect here.

Changes to the Bootcamp Curriculum

Our bootcamp is designed to equip students with the skills and tools they need to succeed as front-end developers, so we’re always updating our curriculum to ensure that it’s as relevant as possible. This year, that’s meant shifting the program to focus more heavily on JavaScript, and integrating in-demand skills like React, Firebase, and CSS Grids. We challenge each cohort just a little bit more than the last. For example, for most of 2017, bootcamp students created one project using React during their nine weeks in our bootcamp. For our Fall 2017 cohort, we pushed the number of React projects to two, including one completed as a group of three. 

“My goal, and the goal of our entire HackerYou team, is to educate students and help them to become as successful as possible,” said HackerYou CTO Ryan Christiani in a blog post last year about the curriculum changes. “Our dedicated full-time staff of instructors and developers enables us to keep shaping and tweaking our content to fit the needs of the Toronto tech industry, and the industry as a whole.”

As of January 2018, our full-time instructor and developer team will total seven amazingly talented individuals, led by CTO Ryan Christiani. That means almost half our staff at HackerYou are dedicated to what we do best: teaching.

Looking Forward

Becoming a Private Career College this year has helped take what we’re doing at HackerYou to a new level, but who we are hasn’t changed. We’ve maintained our core values (and even went through an exercise to define them specifically!) We continue to focus on delivering an amazing student experience and offering the best courses in Canada for people who want to learn to code. Most importantly, we’ve grown our thriving community to include even more smart, passionate, creative developers and digital creators from a wide range of diverse backgrounds.

We couldn’t be more excited for what the future holds for HackerYou, and we’re so grateful to be able to share it with all of you. Here’s to many more excellent years doing work that matters and having fun while we’re at it!

The end of the year is a great time for reflection. As you’re reflecting on YOUR year, maybe it’s time to consider enhancing your skills through a part-time course at HackerYou, or even making plans for a career change? Learn more about all of HackerYou’s programs here, and if you’re not sure where to start, send us an email at info [at] hackeryou.com. We’d be happy to set up a time for you to come by for a tour of our campus and a chat with someone on our team. 🙂

Categories: Bootcamp.