Photo by Fabian Grohs on Unsplash

A new beginning for me— Flatiron School

Internationally, coding bootcamps have sprung up almost overnight. Makes sense. Why? Because our knowledge and development of the Internet is also growing at a particularly fast rate. In 2019, Datareportel reported that there are more than 4.33 billion active Internet users. According to Internetworldstats, 57.3 percent of the world’s population has Internet access.

Holy shit! That’s a ton of users.

As for me, I am a professional photographer/journalist and have always needed a website to show off my work to editors and clients. Endlessly looking through thousands of photos in my computer, culling the names and reorganizing has always been fun for me. Personally, I like a neat and tidy computer work environment that allows me to access files and data as quickly as possible.

This is why I began to learn how to code. Besides freelancing for nearly three years (and always struggling during tax season) I was ready to take something more challenging on to benefit my future. I want to design and create my own websites and also, jump back into a field I love – journalism!

My goal is to develop websites and help push online platforms for journalism and magazine publications. I am apart of the 2020 Software Engineering (Web Development) cohort at Flatiron School based in Austin, Texas.

Why Flatiron School?

In 2020, Flatiron School was awarded the Best Online Bootcamp, Best Coding Bootcamp, Best Data Science Bootcamp, and Best Cybersecurity Bootcamp for Q1 2020 by Career Karma.

I am not sponsored by Flatiron School, in fact, I pay money to go to this school. Awards or not, this is not the only reason I have entrusted Flatiron with my future(and a piece of my paycheck when I get a job), it’s because I have done research, research and even more research!

Below I’ll give you some things that impacted my decision for Flatiron:

Tuition Options

All about the money right? Well. Yeah. It should be when you are making a $15,000 — 20,000 investment on your education. For me, this was an even bigger decision as I already have education debt from attending and graduating university.

At the time of writing this article, tuition for the Austin Software Engineering track at Flatiron School is $15,000 plus interest and a $500 deposit.

But let’s look at some payment options, (other programs offer this as well).

Income Share Agreements. These are tricky, but they are helpful when looking into how you are going to pay for school. ISA’s give you the option to hold off on paying tuition until you get a job in the industry. If you would like to learn more about Flatiron’s ISA, click here. I don’t want to get into specifics, but at the time of writing this, basically if you make $40,000 you pay 10% of your paycheck. You’re required to 48 payments until you pay off your debt or reach the payment cap which is 1.5x the Tuition Credit Amount.

Again, this is at the time of writing this article. Also, again, other schools have ISA which could have better or worse repayment percentages and totals.

Loans. Well, a loan is a loan. You pay interest rates for the initial loan and some personal loans require a down payment or deposit. Flatiron, among other schools, work with Skills Fund and Climb to help out if your credit is good or bad.

Upfront Payment. Hey, if you have any money to spread around, let me know. Flatiron School still requires a deposit for this type of payment method.

Money-back Guarantee

This was a big one for me. Regardless of how well the tech industry is doing, make sure that you are going to a credible college that is going to put their reputation on the line. This not only holds the school/company you are working with accountable for maintaining high job possibility outcomes, but it also shows that they’re willing to help you get a job even after you finish up your schooling.

If you’d like to see Flatiron’s policy on this, click here.

Regardless of the guarantee, this shouldn’t be an option for you, because you want to excel and accomplish your goals of being a web developer! Just to be on the safe side, make sure you meet the requirements in case you need to invoke your rights to use the guarantee.

Job Reports

This is also a big one. And although Flatiron doesn’t have theirs listed for the Austin school, they do have one for their entire school. Let’s take a look.

Flatiron currently has a 93 percent hiring rate! Hmm, not bad. Let’s look at the lows and highs.

Lows. Currently, Houston (not including their newer schools in different areas) has the lowest starting salary average at $67,000. And currently, the Brooklyn campus has an 86 percent employment rate.

Highs. The Manhattan campus has the highest average starting salary at $80,000 and the Washington D.C. campus has the highest average employment rate at 100 percent.

Employment rate of 100 percent? Dayum! That’s nice.

Something to watch out for: Coding schools sometimes hire their own students to help teach or mentor other students in their school. This can be a good and bad thing. Schools can sometimes mislead potential students with their job reports when they hire recent grads because it can boost their averages. On the good side, students who may have barely passed or are still needing help developing their skillset can continue to learn as they teach others – and get paid for it.

Conclusion

Look, investing in your future is a big task. There are so many questions I had to ask myself before agreeing to a $15,000 debt. What is the return on investment? Is the school really going to help me find a job? Is finding that job going to be worth $15,000? Also, what are my learning habits? Can I sit down in front of a computer for 8-plus hours a day? Am I even going to like this career path?

Also, a big BIG big question, and maybe the most important is: Why am I going to a coding bootcamp? What are my goals and what is going to make me happy in life?

Obviously, I took the leap. And now my biggest thing is, I took on this challenge, I decided to drop $15,000 on this school, I had better not let it go to waste.

Goals

Here are some of my goals as I continue through this bootcamp:

– Jump back into the journalism field as a web developer

– Continue educating myself everyday on programming and tech

– Being a better person, friend, and family member to those closest to me

– To be happy and confident in my choices as a person, programmer and professional

– To get more organized about my work/life schedule

– Give myself the opportunity to learn and develop new thought processes and technical skills

*Bolded items are my bigger goals

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