Announcing Our New Course for Software Engineers

By

sei_courseillustrationssvg-large-email

A note from our CEO and co-founder, Jake Schwartz:

At General Assembly, we’ve been heads down for the past few months on a project I’m super excited about. Today, we are announcing the relaunch of our Web Development Immersive as Software Engineering Immersive (SEI).  

Keeping our courses tightly linked to market demand is at the core of our mission. It’s part of our commitment to ensuring our graduates can secure great jobs and build meaningful careers using their new skills. Over the years we’ve made countless updates, changes, and upgrades to many of our programs, but we’ve never taken the step to officially “relaunch” our programs to reflect all of the exciting updates that have taken shape over time.

Since 2012, General Assembly has trained more than 8000 adults through our Web Development Immersive — a rigorous full-time, three-month program with dedicated job support that prepares graduates for careers in tech. Relaunching this course as Software Engineering Immersive reflects the impactful changes we’ve made to our curriculum to fit the market demands we see.

Learn more about all of the cool changes we’ve made below — and stay tuned, there’s much more to come!

Why We Made the Switch

When General Assembly launched the Web Development Immersive back in 2012, nobody else was doing anything like it. The idea of offering a three-month, intensive experience teaching web development skills was met with skepticism. As Jake told Forbes, “Most people thought we were crazy. We were definitely going to fail. And to think now [this kind of talent development] is on the tip of everybody’s tongues.”

Over the past seven years, we’ve made many changes — big and small — in response to ongoing feedback from, and collaboration with, employers, practitioners, and students. This has included the integration of high-demand languages and frameworks like Ruby on Rails, Python, Django, Angular, and React to meet market needs, as well as the creation of flexible financing and format options to increase access for more individuals.

“Every step along the way, our network of instructors and employer partners have been responding to changes in the market,” says Ariana Dugan, director of Education Product Management. “With the change to a Software Engineering Immersive, we’re embracing and formalizing those changes in response to the reality that the market, and our program, have both evolved quite a bit since we first launched WDI.”

How We Did It

More than 10,000 people in 17 cities have participated in our Immersive training programs, which include our Data Science and User Experience Design Immersives. For those who make a career change, 94.1% of students who participate in our Career Services program secure a job within six months of course completion.

We knew that WDI grads were doing well as they pursued new careers. As Will Phillips, talent scout and graduate experience lead at ThoughtWorks, told us, Over the years we have hired a number of General Assembly students into our business with great levels of success. The Web Development Immersive prepares students for our training program by providing them with a core foundation of technical and practical skills to build upon, enabling them to grow from strength to strength as invaluable employees.”

We also knew there were additional tools that would give our students an edge as the field of web development evolved. To determine how we’d tackle this progression, we looked at a number of factors:

  • What roles are employers in the market looking to hire?
  • What types of jobs are our graduates getting and with what titles?
  • What are broader trends across the industry?
  • And, most importantly, how can we synthesize all of this to ensure our students have the most relevant, in-demand skills they need to be successful?

Our team got to work analyzing the skills and concepts articulated on job postings, reviewing the types of jobs and titles our graduates secured, soliciting input from instructors and hiring managers, and exploring trends in the field.

“As web development has evolved, so have the tools and skills necessary to work in the field,” says Karolina Rafalski, General Assembly instructor lead and chair of our Product Advisory Board. “Companies have gone from desiring a static webpage that can elegantly display information to needing a web application that can respond to their clients’ needs in real time. While web developers used to only need HTML, CSS, and basic JavaScript, many developer positions are now expected to have a full suite of engineering skills in order to create complex, scalable web applications. We want to prepare students for satisfying, meaningful work in any context, which means preparing them with more software engineering skills than ever before.”

What’s Changed and What Hasn’t

The Software Engineering Immersive builds on the Web Development Immersive curriculum and adds in 30 hours of in-class and online instruction in computer science concepts. In the simplest terms, we’re arming our students with the theory behind how computers and applications work. The new content gives them the ability to describe the “why” behind what they’re doing as they create algorithms, data structures, and design patterns — concepts and skills already fundamental to the learning experience in WDI. The ability to understand and demonstrate the “why” is critical for succeeding in technical interviews, and we’ve developed a hands-on approach that digs into theory through mock interview questions and challenges.

In practice, our new content dives into recursion, sorting, search, linked lists, stacks and queues, sets, trees, search trees, graphs, hash tables, and design patterns, among others. With the addition of these baseline skills, students will be able to better contextualize their software knowledge within theoretical computer science frameworks taught in most undergraduate CS programs. Enhanced emphasis on practices such as version control, writing specifications, product development life cycle, design patterns, code refactoring, writing unit tests, and managing dependencies round out the competencies that today’s software engineers need on the job.

All of the core components of the General Assembly Web Development Immersive are staying the same. In addition to our award-winning approach to teaching full-stack development, we continue to equip students with dedicated job support from their first day of class, with opportunities in personal brand building, technical interview prep, exclusive networking events, portfolio development, job search roadmaps, and more. As always, we’re excited to provide students new capabilities to help them succeed in the classroom, throughout the job search, and in their new careers.

What’s Next

Our first official Software Engineering Immersive will launch in all GA markets around the globe on March 12. We’re also inviting current WDI students and recent alumni to access the new curriculum online. Read all about SEI, its new components, and frequently asked questions about the program here. If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with us at admissions@ga.co.

Leave a Reply