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The Tech Academy is Joining CIRR!

Posted By: Lindsey Young

The Tech Academy is very excited to announce its provisional membership in the Council on Integrity in Results Reporting (CIRR)! The CIRR is an organization dedicated to "clear, simple, validated reporting" to ensure students have accurate knowledge to make a decision on their education. "CIRR's standards prevent deceptive graduation and job placement marketing practices and ensure a student can trust what a school advertises." We are preparing to release our outcomes data in the CIRR format, which we're committed to doing by January 1st, 2018. We're joining CIRR because we believe in providing our prospective students with all the information they need to make an informed decision about whether The Tech Academy is right for them. The CIRR standard goes beyond a single "placement rate" percentage and provides a simple table to report all of the different outcomes our graduates have, including full-time employment, part-time and contract, entrepreneurs, and so on. It also goes beyond a single average salary statistic and gives us a format to report income brackets for our graduates, as well as common job titles. CIRR is different from most other reporting formats because it reports on every student who enrolled in our classes, making it completely transparent. Joining CIRR is a process that takes time, because every single outcome we report must be backed up by rigorous documentation and a yearly third-party audit. The Tech Academy is working hard to gather that documentation so that we can make sure we report accurate numbers. To the best of our knowledge, CIRR is the first time that any group of schools ever has come together and agreed upon a transparent, comparable set of outcomes reporting standards. While we can't compare our outcomes directly to any other schools outside of the coding school industry, we can compare it to data available on two- and four-year institutions as a whole, where 55% of first-time students graduate within 6 years; 35.7% of returning college attendees ever finish; and 27.3% of graduates work in a field related to their major. We're hopeful that the CIRR standards pave the way for all higher education institutions to eventually begin reporting their outcomes data in a transparent, comparable format.


05 Dec 2017
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The Metrics Society: The IoT and its Role in Marketing Automation

Posted By: Davis Van Luven

Gartner predicts 26 billion devices will be connected to the IoT by 2020. ABI predicts 30 billion devices will be connected wirelessly. The 2015 UK budget puts aside £40,000,000 for research into the Internet of Things. The completed scenario calls for people, animals, and products to be tagged with a unique IP address. New versions of IP are under development to answer to the Big Data issues involved with the IoT. The Internet of Things is no more an endgame then the internet itself, but it is a foreseeable future. It may lead to the interconnection of every card-carrying human on the planet. It may lead to civilization and everything it produces locking into a quantifiable, accessible network and perhaps, an over reliance on a complex automation. The IoT will lend to breaches in security and compromised personal privacy. It is science fiction becoming a reality. The only sure bet is that it will be extremely beneficial to marketing practices and the generation of quality leads through the use of socio-environmental analytics. The primary benefit will be the perfection of marketing automation. An example: Watchmaster is a hypothetical company that manufactures middle to high-shelf wrist watches. The product is integrated with smart technology, powered by a low-functioning OS. It displays the weather, time, and other personalized information. It is a fitness tracker and a heart rate monitor. But most importantly, it is connected to the internet. The information recorded by the watch is stored online. The records are then viewed by the watch-wearer through an application that presents the results as easy-to-read schematics, it logs times into a calendar, it recommends new routines, and so on and so forth. But what other information could it be sending and to whom? The most practical application is automated troubleshooting solutions. The watch malfunctions and the error is automatically reported to the manufacturer’s server. The error is then processed and measured against other errors sent from other watches. That specific class of error is then reported, filed, and quantified so that the problem can be easily analyzed by the programmers who would then mend the program and remotely fix the broken watch. The patch would be in place and any future errors of that class would be automatically mended. An apology message would be sent to the watch wearer. Feedback would be instantaneous. Excellent. But it doesn’t end there. Because of the nature of smart technology and its close proximity to the user, the list of quantifiable observations is endless. Therefore, the marketing response is limitless. The watch isn’t working and the watch wearer has realized this. The wearer is responding. Where is the wearer? Where does the wearer go? What is the wearer’s heart rate? Is the watch removed? How often does the wearer check the watch to see if it’s working again? Then, once the problem is fixed, all of same questions can be asked and the answers can be compared and analyzed. Eventually, the analytic model will be completely automated: •Information is collected from tangibles •Statistical analytics •Energy usage and practical usage •Marketing analytics •Feedback This cycle would repeat for every unit sold. Every car, head of cattle, light bulb, and door knob. Perhaps, every child born. A complete picture is formed. The results are filtered and repetitive task are fully automated to drastically reduce the chances of human error. Will it become a dystopian nightmare or a marketers dream? Or does one hand lead the other?


06 Dec 2017
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Tech Talk: Garrett Guevara

Posted By: Lindsey Young

Garrett Guevara is a software developer at Zapproved, a Portland based legal software company. In this Tech Talk Garrett talks about his transition from teaching into tech, the process of finding a developer job, what the day-to-day life of a software developer looks like, how he keeps improving his skills after graduation and so much more!


08 Dec 2017
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Finding, Landing & Negotiating Your First Dev Job — Pt. 1

Posted By: Lindsey Young

This article’s purpose is to illustrate to you the experience of a strenuous application, interview and negotiation process for the junior software developer position I obtained recently. This is a detailed description of the experience but it is to the point and full of practical as well as applicable information. My goal is for you to understand the process and the persistence it takes to get a junior developer job. Step 1: I decided on what type of company in which I wanted to work. The company’s goals, mission and vision needed to be aligned with mine. For example, I wanted to work for a company where I could help spread the word of God. This helped me identify the company I would apply with when a position it came to me in a job alert. Step 2: I set up daily alerts for Junior developer positions in the cities in which I wanted to work. I did this on Indeed, Monster, Career builder, etc. There are numerous companies looking for junior developers so when I received an alert I would research the company to see if it was in alignment with step 1. Step 3: I used Glassdoor, Indeed, Google reviews and the company’s website to research the company’s values, mission, vision, benefits and culture to see if it was a fit for me. If the company and I were aligned, I applied for the position. I applied via the company website as well as on the job search websites. This sent my resume and application to the company in multiple ways. It also showed I was very interested in the position. Below are supplemental questions asked in the online application with my responses. Since the company and I were aligned I was easily able to provide my motivation and why I would be a good fit. Why did you decide to study software development? Software development is a great way to reach millions of people. It allows me to use creativity and technical skills which are some of my strengths. You can help change many peoples' lives with computer software and I would like to change their lives in a Godly and positive way. What was your favorite Computer Science course in school? My favorite was probably my most challenging course which was Python. This course really taught me how to be neat and organized with my code. It taught me how to use modules to my benefit. I had several "ah ha!" moments in this course and I feel I developed as a developer the most. What is the hardest project you worked on while in school? What role did you play in it? What was the outcome? I participated in a coding challenge at my school. I worked on a two-man team. It was in a sprint type of task. The task was to develop a webpage that allowed the user to encrypt and decrypt data typed into a text box on the webpage. We had a time constraint of one hour and had to work together to create a functioning website that had some style to it. Communication was key and we quickly divided up the project into our strengths. I took the style side of the webpage using HTML and CSS. We successfully created a functioning webpage that looked nice and ended up winning the challenge. What is your favorite programming language? Why? My favorite language is C# since its versatility can be used for a number of types of applications and web projects. Using it with .NET helps it become multi-platform compatible which allows me to make a variety of apps for a variety of operating systems. I like the fact that I can use ASP.NET with it to help create dynamic webpages as well as creating a nicely organized project file using Visual Studio. Visual Studio is the best IDE I have used and C# is easily accessible in Visual Studio. Step 4: After I sent in my applications I went to the company’s website to find an email address and phone number to the customer service department. I also searched for the HR department’s email but couldn’t find it. I used the format of the customer service’s email to blindly email the HR department. For example, I sent the email to customerserver@companyname.com as well as hr@companyname.com and humanresources@companyname.com. The email I used is below. I considered this email my cover letter/follow up letter. Subject Line: Position Title on job post Hello, I hope you had a nice Christmas! I recently applied for the (job title) position at (company name) and wanted to follow up with you. Ever since I set a goal to become a software developer I wanted to use the skills as a means to reach people who were in need of God. I believe that the technology (company name) offers is a unique avenue to reach out to believers and non-believers. (Company name) is looking for someone like me who is a passionate developer without a lot of experience. I have worked in the IT world for almost 2 years and have learned several programming languages in the last 8 months while attending The Tech Academy. I love the team environment and can also work independently. I experience both in my current position. I currently work for a great insurance software company, however, (company name) offers a way to reach the public in a Godly way. When I saw this opportunity through (Company Name) I felt it was God connecting me with (company name) to use my talents, aspirations and skills to help advance His kingdom on earth. If there is any additional information you need please feel free to contact me by phone or email. I truly look forward to the opportunity to speak with you about the Junior Software Developer position and hope you have a blessed day! Thanks, Name Phone Number Email Address I also called customer service, told them I recently applied for this position and would like to speak to the hiring manager. They transferred me to HR’s voicemail. I left a message stating my name, contact information, the position I recently applied for as well as my motivation to work for the company. Step 5: I received an email from the HR department with a request to complete an online assessment. It was to “help us ensure that this position will fit your personality, attributes and strengths.” The assessment was multiple choice and the answers provided where: Strongly agree, Somewhat agree, Neutral, Somewhat disagree, Strongly disagree. Whatever I answered I made sure to answer the questions using the Strongly agree or Strongly disagree. This tactic shows you are able to confidently make a concrete decision. After I completed the assessment I called customer service again and asked to speak with HR to follow up on the next steps. They transferred me to HR’s voicemail. Again, I left a message telling them I completed the assessment, provided my name, contact information, the position as well as my excitement to work for the company. Step 6: I was then contacted by the Lead Developer of the company. He wanted to setup an in-person interview and for me to take an assessment at the company to make sure it was me completing the assessment. Below is my email to the Lead Developer: Hi (Lead developer’s name), I hope all is well. This is great news! Does sometime in the afternoon on Tuesday (date) work for you? I look forward to hearing from you. Have a blessed day. Thanks, My Name Phone Number Email Step 7: I met with the Lead developer. I first took the additional in-person assessment then was interviewed by the Lead developer. Some of the questions he asked are below: Why do you want this position? Why do you want to work for this company? What are 7-10 strengths? What are 5-7 weaknesses? Who was your favorite boss? Why? Who was your worst boss? Why? How would my last 5 bosses rate me on a scale from 1-10? In software development, is it better to be a jack of all trades or master of one?- I chose Jack of all trades which was what the lead developer agreed with. We had a good conversation. I asked him what were the next steps and he said he would like me to continue in the interview process. The next interview was a technical interview. We coordinated a time and date for the technical interview. Once I got home from this interview I sent him the following email: Hi (Lead developer’s name), It was nice meeting you today. Thanks for considering me for the Junior Developer position! I'm looking forward to the next step. If you need any additional info call, text or email me. Have a nice evening. Thanks, My Name Phone number Email Step 8: I wanted to know what to study for my technical interview so I sent the following email to the Lead developer: Hi (Lead developer’s name), Good morning! I'm looking forward to tomorrow's practical assignment and want to be as prepared as possible. Do you have any insight to the language(s) or what I will be doing that you would share with me? If not, I completely understand. I want to be able to display my skills as best as possible for you tomorrow so any info is much appreciated! Thanks for your time. Thanks, My Name Phone number Email He sent the following email: Corey, The practical will be building a web application using asp.net and C#. Thanks, Step 9: Practical Assignment/Technical Interview I was given a set of requirements that I was to use to create a web application that would provide a user a car insurance quote based on the personal information the user provided in the web app. The lead developer stated he didn’t expect me to complete all requirements and to do the best I could in the 1 hour 45 minutes allotted. Once time was up we would review the web app I created. I actually didn’t get the web app to display a quote but was able to show the lead developer my thought process, pseudo code, actual code and my intentions on completing the web app. I was able to come up with a car insurance quote formula that would divide the year of the car by the driver’s age. This allowed for the younger the driver the higher the quote. He asked me what would be my next steps so I explained that in a real life scenario I would first get the app to display the quote value. Second, I would like to gather more info from the user to provide a more accurate quote. All of this led to the lead developer telling me I passed and we would be moving on to the next step. We set up a day and time for the department manager, lead developer and I to meet. Step 10: I had a very in-depth interview with the department manager and lead developer. This was called a “top grading“ interview and consisted of situational and behavioral interview questions. Some of the interview questions are below: Tell us about a time you disagreed with a management decision. What was the most difficult course in school and why? What books did you use in your courses? Why are you looking for a job? What do you know about this company? Tell us about a time when you had to work with a team member to accomplish a task. Tell us about a time when you helped your team improve. What was your biggest career/academic accomplishment? There were additional questions as well. This interview lasted about 1.5 hours. They really wanted to know about my school and professional background as well as how I worked in a team. I asked them what the next steps were and they said if we decide to move on they will contact me. I didn’t have a good feeling after this interview because it seemed like they were on the fence about hiring me and wanted someone with a 4 year degree in Computer Science (I had a 4 year Business degree and a programming bootcamp education). After the interview I went home and sent the following email to both interviewers: (Names of both interviewers), I wanted to thank you again for your time and consideration for the Junior Web Developer position at (name of company). I know you stated you are going to take a deeper look at my resume so if there is additional information you need please feel free to contact me via phone or email. Since I couldn't remember the titles of the JavaScript books I used in school I looked them up and wanted to provide you with the titles and links: · Murach's JavaScript and jQuery · Thinking in JavaScript I look forward to hearing from you and hope you have a nice weekend! Thanks, My Name Phone number Email — Written by Corey D., The Tech Academy Graduate


13 Dec 2017
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Finding, Landing & Negotiating Your First Dev Job — Pt. 2

Posted By: Lindsey Young

This is part 2 our step-by-step look at the process of finding and landing a junior developer position with Tech Academy graduate Corey D. In part one Corey covered the application and follow-up process, his initial interview, and the following technical interview. We're picking up where we left off, on Step 11 after Corey's technical interview. Step 11: I received the following email from the lead developer a few days later: Corey, Both (name of interviewers) have reflected on our time together with you last week, and the possibility of moving forward. I feel like your enthusiasm and attitude would be great additions to the team, and you did quite well on the practical assignment. However, there were a few areas of concern that warrant further discussion, so we’d like have you back. How would Friday @3 pm work for you? Thanks, In response, I sent the following email: (Name of interviewers), Good morning! I hope all is well. I apologize for not addressing all of your concerns in our last interview. Any details regarding your concerns would be much appreciated. I will see you both on Friday at 3pm. Have a nice day! Thanks, Step 12: Since the interviewers were on the fence about hiring me I wanted to make sure I left them with no doubt that I was the best fit for this position. I contacted several instructors from my school, past bosses and co-workers to ask them for recommendation letters. I thought that with proof of my experience and success in school and in the workplace I could persuade the interviewers. I received recommendation letters from a couple of instructors and a past boss. I also asked these people to add their recommendations on my LinkedIn profile. I brought the recommendation letters with me to the follow up interview. Step 13: Follow up interview: I met with the same two interviewers and they wanted more detail on the programming boot camp I attended as well as why I wanted to be a junior developer at their company instead of being one at the IT company at which I currently worked. I was able to better describe the programming boot camp and that I learned several languages as well as the researching skills needed to find solutions to coding issues/tasks. I reiterated that the best thing I learned at the boot camp was how to become self-sufficient in finding solutions. This is when I provided the recommendation letters and told the interviewers there were more on my LinkedIn page. I also explained that I felt this company was more aligned with my goals of helping people find God than the company I currently worked for. *Also, I asked them more questions about their team, company culture, my role as their junior developer. The last question I asked was, “is there anything else you wanted to know about me in greater detail or did you have any additional hang-ups that needed to be addressed in order to avoid having another follow-up interview?” I wanted to make sure they had everything they need to hire me and felt good about it. The department manager asked me, “How do you overcome struggles?” I told them about a story in my life where I struggled and persisted and overcame life’s obstacles at the time. This answer as well as the letters of recommendation are what closed the deal for me in my opinion. I think it really helped them to make the decision to move me on to the next interview. I asked them again if they needed any additional information and they said, “No, we are ready to move you on to the next interview!” Below is the email I sent the two interviewers after this follow up interview. They requested professional and education references so I emailed them a list of 6-7 educational and professional references with names, phone numbers and email addresses (make sure to notify and confirm your references first!). (Names of the interviewers), Good morning. It was great meeting with you on Friday. I hope you're feeling better (Department manager’s name)! I am excited to move forward in the process and look forward to meeting with (co-founder’s name). I have attached a list of references for you to review. As for the meeting with (co-founder’s name), is there a time this Wednesday before or after the lunch hour that works for her? I look forward to your response. Thanks, My Name Phone Number Email Step 14: I had another situation/behavior/cultural interview with one of the co-founders of the company. This was another very in-depth interview about my education and professional experience as well as some personal questions. The interviewer wanted to know if I would fit in with the culture of the company. Below are some of the questions she asked: What do you know about our company? Tell me about a time when you had to overcome adversity. Tell me about a time your integrity was challenged. Tell me about a time where you had to help a co-worker overcome an obstacle. What does your desk at work look like right now? — I told them it was clutter free because clutter on my desk clutters up my mind and I like to think clearly. I asked her, “What’s the culture of the company like in addition to what is on the company website?” I also asked her, “What are the next steps?” She described the offer process and that HR would be in contact with me regardless if they wanted to offer me the position or not. Below is the email I received from the department manager after this interview: Hi Corey, I spoke with (co-founder’s name) yesterday and she was very enthusiastic at the prospect of you joining the (company name) team. So congratulations on that! I'll be calling your references over the next few days and should have an offer letter ready to present near the end of the week. Cheers, Below is my response: Hi (department manager), This is great news! I look forward to hearing from you in the near future. Please let me know if you have any questions or need additional information. Have a great evening. Thanks, My Name Phone number Step 15: The department manager contacted my references and sent me the email below: Hey Corey, I made contact with several of your references today, and they all spoke very highly of you, and not just in the way you would expect. So I'm pleased to let you know we'll be extending an offer of employment, either today or Monday (depends on the workload of our HR folks). Additionally, can you email me your preferred start date so I can include it in your offer letter? Feel free to call or email me if you have any questions. Cheers, Below is my response: Hi (Department manager’s name), Happy Friday. This is awesome! I've been fortunate to work with some great people. I just completed the background check authorization online. My preferred start date would be (date). I have a planned vacation to see my sister and new nephew that next week (the week of (date)). Would that work? Thanks, My Name Step 16: Once we coordinated a start date that worked for both them and I, I received their offer letter. I had some questions about the offer as well as the overall package/benefits so I replied to the offer letter email. An important side-note here is that up until this point I made NO mention of money in the interview process. Hi (HR director’s name), I hope you had a nice weekend! Thank for the information you have included in the offer letter. I have some questions that I hope you can answer. The offer letter states, “If you accept our offer, we suggest that you do not give notice of resignation to your current employer until we have notified you that all components of our pre-employment screening process have been satisfactorily completed.” Have we completed all components of the pre-employment screening process? I have read the (Company’s online benefit page with hyperlink) page online which states the information online is a “brief overview.” Will you provide me with the official benefit package information, please? I particularly have questions regarding: ∙ Is this an hourly or salary paid position? o If hourly, how does overtime at (company name) work? ∙ What is the schedule for this position? o Monday- Friday 8am-5pm with 1-hour lunch? o 8am-4pm no lunch? o Flexible schedule as long as a minimum of 40 hours are contributed? o Etc. ∙ What is the typical rate of (company name) profit sharing disbursement? ∙ Will you provide more information on the vacation buy-up plan, please? ∙ What date will I be eligible to receive health, dental and vision benefits? ∙ How does sick time accrue? Is it included in PTO time accrual or is it separate? ∙ How do bonuses/raises/reviews work at (company name)? ∙ What type of tuition reimbursement does (company name) provide? Any information is very much appreciated. I look forward to your response. Feel free to call or email at your earliest convenience. Thanks, Name Phone number Email The HR director answered the questions he could and directed the questions he couldn’t to the department manager. Step 17: Counter offer. Once I received and reviewed their answers I sent them the following email in the morning: Hi (HR director’s name), Good morning. Thanks for the additional information you provided yesterday. I am very excited to start on (date) and look forward to working for (company name) for many years! I researched salaries for (title of position in offer letter) positions in (city of company) and found the range for similar positions to be around (range in which I found). Can we meet somewhere in the middle? I look forward to hearing from you. Please call or email me at your convenience. Thanks, Name Phone Number Email After waiting all day to hear back from the company I started to regret my decision to send the email above. The initial offer I received from them was a fair offer and was more than I was currently making. Since I didn’t hear from them all day I figured they decided to hire someone else or withdraw their offer to me. The whole day I was a nervous wreck and very regretful. However, I decided to be patient and wait for their response. I received the email below at 10:30pm that same night from the department manager: Hey Corey, I received your counter and will give you a call tomorrow. I think we can get where you'd like to be, but I have a few items I'd like to discuss before revising the offer and sending it your way. Cheers, The department manager and I spoke on the phone the next day for about 15 minutes. He increased the offer to middle of the range I provided in my counter offer. I was very pleased with this amount and very thankful they still wanted me for the position. The department manager was very excited for me to be a member of his team and was very encouraging. I received a revised offer with the new agreed upon salary and I signed it the next day! This is the most involved and strenuous interview I have ever had in my life or ever heard of! The entire process took 2 months. The biggest takeaways for me are below: Know what type of company you want to work for and what values that company must have in order for you to be willing to go through the entire application/interview/negotiation process. Or you can have several companies you know you would like to work for and search their job boards daily. Setup daily alerts for various position titles with various job boards Junior developer Junior Software engineer Junior web developer Entry level developer Entry level web developer Entry level software developer Research the company thoroughly so you are prepared to speak about it in your interviews. Follow up with HR or hiring manager after you submit your resume/application. Have several stories/examples of your past education and professional experiences. Organize these stories/examples using Situation/Action/Result format Mock interview with Job Placement personnel, family or friends. This will really help you with interview confidence. It’s much better to go to the interview already having said your stories/examples. Research the salary range of the position in which you are applying. Make sure to research salaries in the town/city of the position, not nationwide. Be polite with your counter offer and be patient. If you do counter their offer be flexible with their counter offers and consider the benefits you are receiving along with the salary. Separation is in the preparation. Most likely you will not have to go through the entire process listed above, however, if you are prepared you will separate yourself from your competition. Good luck and God bless! *If you read any part of this article read this paragraph! — Written by Corey D., The Tech Academy Graduate


15 Dec 2017
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