A program designed to teach women essential skills in coding and web development is expanding to D.C.
Launch Academy, a Boston-based immersive bootcamp, recently introduced Prism Shift, a full-stack coding bootcamp just for women. The goal of this program is to reduce the barriers and gender-based challenges that women face when starting their careers in technology. Enrollment started on July 10, and the two-pronged experience officially begins on Oct. 2 with The Ignition Program, an off-campus, online portion that will serve as a refresher in basic programming skills for new students. The 10-week bootcamp begins on Dec. 4 and will take place in DuPont Circle.
Technicall.ly D.C. sat down with Tamara Monroe, Launch Academy’s marketing manager, to learn more about their plans for Prism Shift, how they plan on collaborate with some of D.C.’s most notable women in tech organizations, and what future students will gain from the bootcamp.
Technical.ly DC: What inspired Launch Academy’s expansion to Washington, D.C.?
Tamara Monroe: Our primary locations are in Boston and Philadelphia, and we were looking for a new city to test this particular women’s only program. We chose Washington, D.C. for two reasons: it’s a forward thinking and progressive city in many ways and there wasn’t a full-stack program for women technologists.
TDC: Tuition for the bootcamp is an estimated $16,000. Who is the ideal student for Prism Shift, and how does Launch Academy plan on attracting them to the program?
TM: Because it is our first time launching this program in this area, the type of student we attract will vary. Our student body is typically represented by mid-career shifters who are looking to advance their careers. They want to dive in, do the work and pivot their career in a short period of time and for a lower cost. An additional offering that we’ve added to the program here in D.C. is professional development as it aligns with the tech curriculum. Not only do we want our students to learn the fundamentals of full-stack development, but we also want them to successfully be placed in positions that will allow for their skills to shine. Typically in Boston, we have cohorts of about 39-40 students. For D.C., we want to keep the number around 20-24 students so that we can allow for one-on- one mentoring, too.
TDC: The District has a pretty robust scene of organizations and groups dedicated to elevating women in STEM. Does Launch Academy have plans on partnering with any of these groups?
TM: A lot of our women staff members in Boston and Philly are already involved in a number of national organizations that have chapters here in D.C., so it has been helpful in starting meaningful partnerships. We are a very community focused organization, so that element is very important in deciding where we will plant our new locations. Girl Develop It and She Geeks Out in particular have been super helpful in providing us feedback on the Prism Shift curriculum, and we look forward to connect with other organizations in the area soon.
TDC: After participants complete the bootcamp, does Launch Academy provide additional support and resources?
TM: Bootcamp graduation is known as Career Kick-off, a two-day event in which students create a capstone project and present it to hiring partners. This gives them the opportunity to showcase their technical acumen and other skills that they’ve learned over the course of 10 weeks. Hiring partners can decide to hire a student on the spot, or simply to show interested in their potential employment. For six months after completion of the program, we provide graduates with unrestricted access to our learning management system, code reviews with our engineering team, and career guidance.
For Prism Shift, we’re working hard to model the career services support that we have in Boston and Philadelphia and to ensure that women who graduate from our program are prepared to launch and sustain successful careers in tech.
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