8 Feb 2018
Coding bootcamps are a laser-focused way for many individuals to discover and learn the art of software engineering at any point in their career.
Ours at Xccelerate is not only extremely accessible with our “Zero Tuition Until Hired” model, but the “Until Hired” part means that it’s also a gateway into a brand-new career in the magnificent tech industry.
While coding bootcamps are not for everyone, the same could be said for other avenues of learning, like spending lots of cash to go back to university or attempting the long, lonely path of self-study.
Whichever method you choose is up to you-- the important part is that you keep a growth mindset and never stop pursuing knowledge-- but we would like to shed light on one aspect of the learning experience that bootcamps DO provide:
Unlike the cold, impassive screen of the computer or a pre-recorded voice of an instructor when you’re trying to teach yourself how to code online, when you come across a technical problem here at Xccelerate, you are surrounded by a group who are tackling the same material as you.
Our teaching style has a heavy focus on peer-to-peer learning, simplifying difficult concepts for struggling students and reinforcing concepts for those who do, via explaining them!
We won’t pretend that learning coding or machine learning is not very challenging. It is. But where difficulty or lack of guidance would kill motivation when learning online, the challenges you experience when learning at Xccelerate with an ambitious, supportive group only make you stronger and more resilient. Our small cohorts of 20 facilitate bonding at a whole new level.
When you share space from 9 am to 6 pm every day for 4 consecutive months, and even some weekends, 20 strangers turn into family real quick!
To make sure our students are able to learn at peak performance, we offer them plenty of ways to recharge. The break room, or as we’ve cheekily deemed it “The < br/> Room”, is the home of many naps on our beloved giant bean bags, heated FIFA and Mario Kart rivalries on the Nintendo Switch and adrenaline fueled all-nighters pulled by students who have a project due the next day.
When you first step into our lobby, you may encounter a lone coder zooming around on a hover board or a small group of students passing a football around. Don’t be alarmed… loads of work gets done each day at Xccelerate, but a bit of time spent on leisure and socializing helps students recharge their batteries now and again.
We strive to cultivate a strong work life balance because we understand the reality of working in a buzzing city like Hong Kong. Work hours are long, and stress often accompanies you home after a day’s work.
At Xccelerate, we want our students to succeed in all aspects of their lives, and we know that developing de-stressing skills here will not only help them to excel in their future careers, but also enjoy and make the most of their lives when they can.
## 3. Diversity
Our students come from all walks of life. Some come to Xccelerate to upskill themselves by adding data science, artificial intelligence or programming to their skill set, while others are here because they have decided that the engineering, marketing or finance world is just not for them.
Students have ranged from fresh graduates, both the college and high school variety, to the nearly retired looking for a new passion. Our student's diverse background make our focus on group work and collaboration all the more valuable. Group projects, including web and app design, have immensely benefited from team members specialized knowledge in different areas. Skills and knowledge are pooled together to create something truly exceptional.
Not only do students learn how to work together with people different than them, they learn from one another, grow together and stay inspired.
## 4. Electives
We strongly believe in lifelong learning. In today’s world, learning doesn’t stop after an undergrad, postgrad or even our illustrious coding bootcamp. For our own personal growth and to compete in the rapidly changing global economy, we believe that our skills must constantly be updated to adapt and succeed in this ever changing world.
To foster the spirit of continual learning, we offer all our full time bootcamp students a chance to take electives at community pricing. Our students can any one of our part time courses, from Digital Marketing and Growth Hacking to our up and coming Blockchain course. These electives - for those who choose to complete them - add flavour to the intense technical skills they build in the bootcamp, allowing them to further customise their knowledge base to best complement their interests.
We train our students primarily in technical skills, however, we know that if they want to land the career of their dreams, other skills need to be sharpened as well. Our students stellar knowledge of Angular or amazing proficiency in building SQL databases won’t be useful if they can’t demonstrate work culture fit in an interview.
We hold a variety of workshops on topics such as self-branding, invite certified coaches in to teach about learning optimization, spend one-on-one time to clean up CVs and perform mock interview after mock interview until our students crush it.
Data science, AI and programming are fairly new fields. While universities and online courses teach you how to code, they don’t teach you how to actually get the job or necessarily how to get the job done. Universities, for all the value that they do bring in life development, tend to focus heavily on theory and often teach languages and frameworks that are no longer industry relevant, while online courses are often not deemed credible or immersive enough by potential employers. Neither offers connections or open doors into the job world.
One of the major benefits of learning through a program like Xccelerate is that we can. Our ever-growing network of alumni, mentors, instructors and staff are yours for life. You’ll always be connected via Rocket Chat (our alternative to Slack), invited back for events, and we do quite often check in to see how you’re faring in your new career.
Is a sense of community that a coding bootcamp provides important to you? Perhaps you prefer a more traditional university environment or the lone-wolf ways of the self studier… each one has its merits.
The important part is we, like the computers we learn to use, must always be developing our minds and advancing our processing power. One thing we have that computers don’t is community…right? We’ll leave that one up to you to decide.
A big shout-out goes to our fabulous intern Hershikka Tourani for her big contributions to this post!