Not everyone follows the traditional career path of high school – > college – > job. Some folks go straight into the workforce, but later feel unsatisfied with their career options. Others get a degree in, say, advanced puppetry and mime, only to realize they have performance anxiety and need to rethink their choice of vocation.
Whatever the case, a lot of us realize at some point we want a career do-over, but don’t want to invest the time or money in a four-year degree. So what do you do?
What if we told you that you could embark on a brand-new career in IT in as little as three months? There are scores of accelerated programs popping up in cities everywhere (and online) that can teach you the basics of coding and prepare you for a job in IT in as little as 12 weeks.
Accelerate Your Studies with General Assembly
With 15 campuses worldwide, including 10 in the United States, General Assembly offers accelerated courses to teach students in-demand skills, such as…
- Mobile development.
- Digital marketing.
- Data analytics.
While many students take part-time classes to brush up or learn new skills on their employer’s dime, there are also 10- and 12-week immersive programs for students who want to make a career transition to IT.
"Our Web Development Immersive is meant to take somebody with little or no experience and give them the skills necessary to be a candidate for junior-level development jobs," says
Marissa Arnold (@nitWitty),
senior director of communications and public relations for
General Assembly (@GA).
Students in the program learn…
- Programming fundamentals.
- Product development.
- Front-end web development.
- Back-end web development.
General Assembly also offers immersive programs in:
In addition, General Assembly partnered exclusively with Google to design the curriculum for its Android Development program.
Upon graduation, unless you have the interviewing skills of a rock, you can pretty much expect to land a job.
"At least once a week, there’ll be some kind of career coaching element as part of the immersive program,” says Arnold. “We have career coaches and provide support in job placement. We work with thousands of employers and of our job-seeking graduates – 99 percent find a job within six months of graduating."
Want to learn more? Browse the list of full- and part-time courses.
Get on the Fast Track with Achievement House Cyber Charter School
You don’t even need to wait for your high school diploma to start your path to IT domination. Pennsylvania students in grades 7 through 12 who want to pursue a career in tech can take tuition-free classes online at Achievement House Cyber Charter School (AHCCS).
“Our goal is that students who are interested in entering the IT field immediately upon graduation will be able to do so, especially if a four-year college is not a part of their educational journey,” says
CEO of AHCCS (@AHCCS).
Courses and workshops include:
- Software Development.
- App Development.
- Graphic Design.
- AP Computer Science.
"Early exposure to computer science at the seventh- and eighth-grade level allows AHCCS to introduce concepts such as coding to students before they even begin to think about their careers, reinforcing the importance of technology through our curriculum," says Asplen.
AHCCS also offers Microsoft IT Academy courses and certifications in Digital Literacy, Word, and all Microsoft Office programs. It also has a guidance and mentoring department dedicated to assisting students with educational and career goals. Upon graduating from AHCCS, students are ready to enter the workforce as IT professionals.
Get Certified with Wichita Technical Institute
Students who prefer the certification route should check out the Wichita Technical Institute, where they can choose from certifications in:
- CompTIA A+.
- Microsoft Server 2012R2.
- CompTIA Linux+.
At the end of a particular course, students sit for a national exam to receive their certification. We chatted with
Jeremy Bays (@jbays), an
advanced IT instructor at the
Wichita Technical Institute
(@WTI_Training) about how these programs prepare a student for an IT career in only three months.
"I would recommend anyone looking to start a career in the IT field seek out a school or program that offers the CompTIA A+ certification," says Bays. "The student should then seek to match their preferred learning style with the school’s method of teaching. I teach many students in a very hands-on way. We offer virtual labs, lectures, videos, and textbooks, but the most popular things we do in class are hands-on computer tear downs, rebuilds, and fixes. By using the IT skills they just learned in a safe lab environment, the concepts are cemented in their heads very quickly."
Learn Faster with The Software Guild
The Software Guild grew out of the frustration of its founder to find skilled IT workers at the insurance company he worked for. After teaching database query writing to some of the company’s call center employees out of desperation,
founder and chief academic officer at The Software Guild
(@softwareguild), says he had an epiphany.
"Coding is vocational in nature, and if somebody has the aptitude and interest, you can teach them to code pretty quickly," says Wise. "I got to thinking there are a lot of people in the world who were stuck in a lousy career and wanted to make a change, and we could teach them how to code."
The Software Guild is structured much like a craftsmen guild of medieval Europe, with instructors acting as masters and students as apprentices. After completing the Guild’s 12-week program, graduates are ready to fill entry-level junior IT positions.
But getting to that point is pretty intensive. First, students must pass an aptitude test, which includes…
- Logic and reasoning.
- Abstract thinking.
Next, prospective students must answer a series of essay questions.
"We’re looking for motivation and fit, as well as their grammar and their ability to communicate well," says Wise. "If you can’t express yourself well in written language, chances are you aren’t going to be a very good programmer."
Wise says the program is very fast-paced, and only students who are fully dedicated will thrive and graduate. The program even boasts a 95 percent job placement rate.
For students who aren’t able to attend classes at one of the three campuses in Cleveland, Louisville, or Minneapolis, there is also a 10-month online program.
Already schooled up in IT but want to continue working on your professional development? Check out some of our articles on the best ways to keep your skills sharp, including:
About the Contributors
Marissa Arnold is the senior director of PR and communications at General Assembly, a global educational company that specializes in the most in-demand skills.
Don Asplen served as the chief information and technology officer at Achievement House Cyber Charter School for four years before being asked to step into the chief executive officer role in July 2014. He received his Bachelor of Science in Computer Science / Business Information from West Chester University. He serves on the Leaders Council for the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools advocating for legislation to promote effective, high-quality charter schools.
Jeremy Bays has been a professional educator for over 20 years. He holds over 12 IT-related certifications and currently teaches at Wichita Technical Institute in Topeka, Kansas. He is the author of You Are a Professional: Now Act Like One, which can be found on Amazon. He has taught courses in basic and advanced computer applications, operating systems, and hardware. He enjoys a nicely configured Linux system and a good book.
Eric Wise, founder and chief academic officer at The Software Guild, has been a professional software developer and architect for more than 13 years, working with companies as large as Microsoft and as small as early-stage startups. In 2013, frustrated with the difficulty of finding talent for his team, Eric decided to launch The Software Guild to train people with interest in and aptitude for software development in a mentorship environment. Under his leadership, the Guild has grown with locations in Akron, Minneapolis, and Louisville. Graduates of the Guild experience a 95 percent job placement rate.