In 2011, I was asked “if you had a group of great people who don’t know anything about programming, how long would it take to turn them into successful software developers?” Six years of theories, experiments, and nearly a thousand students have led to clear answers.
The first thing potential students notice about Turing is that our courses run 27 weeks instead of just 10 weeks like our competitors. Why the difference?
The predominant feeling of programming: uncertainty
Most programs started by asking “what’s the minimum time it takes to train someone to get hired?” Instead, we asked when are they “career-ready”? When are they prepared to be radically successful in the industry? We started with five months in 2012, grew the program to six in 2013, and moved to seven months in 2014.
Why? Based on our experiments and observations, 27 weeks is a learning inflection point. Before that, students learn faster and better in a controlled academic setting. After 27 weeks, they learn faster and better by applying the skills on the job.
Some of the most common feedback from grads a month into their new job is that “it’s slower and easier than Turing.” They’re not just surviving, they’re ready.
We’ve been proud to publish outcomes reports and participate in efforts like the Council on Integrity in Results Reporting (CIRR). But here’s the real truth: I am not satisfied by students graduating and getting jobs.
Our mission is to unlock human potential by training a diverse, inclusive student body to succeed in high-fulfillment technical careers.
Graduating is not the finish line; it’s a check-point. Getting a job offer is the next one. But a career is defined in years and decades. It’s just too early to conclude that we’ve been successful. But damn there are some great indicators.
On the keyboard you’re constrained. On paper your ideas can live free.
If you go back to that very first class in 2012, all 24 graduated and started technical careers. A lot has happened in five years.
One grad saved up enough money to quit tech and realize his dream of starting a CrossFit gym. Another returned to her first love: theater. In early 2017 we lost the amazing Travis Valentine to a tragic health condition. Here’s a complete list of the other 21 graduates current job titles and companies:
It was a special group of people. But here’s what’s most exciting: this was our first draft.
In November we’ll kick off the 40th cohort. Thirty-nine times we’ve improved what we’re doing. Thousands of lessons, projects, and evaluations have combined with countless pages of student feedback, employer input, and lessons learned. Our lesson plans and assignments evolve every single day. From my perspective, the program and instruction are at least twice as effective as those early days.
Five years from now, in 2022, we’ll look back at some two thousand graduates. There’ll be CTOs, CEOs, VPs of Engineering, along with some artists, world travelers, and a whole bunch of software engineers.
Then we’ll keep going. Not just because our vision is an industry where the people building the technology represent the people using it, but because we train people to be career-ready. Twenty-seven weeks of preparation for a lifetime of possibilities.
Victoria graduates. Number 400-something of thousands.