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The Re-Skilling Revolution with Wild Code School #15

In today’s episode, we are in Wild Code School (WCS) London, mainly discussing the re-skilling revolution. We will look for answers to some real and pressing questions. Universities are great for intellectual growth, raising awareness and understanding the world better but are they falling short now? Are they really preparing people for the jobs that are needed by the economy? Where do code schools fit in this whole thing? Can being a software developer increase your odds at getting a better paying job and building a cool business or being a CTO? How long does it take to learn to code, and what should you focus on? 

If you are curious about at least one of these questions,  you will love our next episode.  So, buckle up, and let’s go to the offices of Wild Code School London in Shoreditch Second Home to find out the answers!

In a nutshell, Wild Code School is a European network of schools offering 5-month training programs to learn in-demand coding skills. Namely, front-end developer (part-time), web developer (full-time) and data analyst (full-time).

Our guide will be the campus manager of Wild Code School London, Carolina Veloso, in this episode. She is originally from Brazil, and she has been living in the UK for the last 7 years. She has been working on education for 12 years, and the WCS project is very dear to her as a person who values lifelong learning. As a campus manager, she is doing most of the student coaching, recruitment, and marketing.  Watch the full documentary above to learn more.

The growth of the business

WCS founded in 2014 in France. Now, they have 13 campuses in France and last year. They started an international expansion with 11 campuses in Europe, including London. Specifically, the main mission is to help in the re-skilling revolution that is going on by giving people an alternative to traditional universities or purely online programmes. At the core of it all, they believe this is all about freedom. You can learn how to be a developer in Lisbon, work in London, and then go to Bucharest or Amsterdam. 

Moreover, they have a community of Wilders – that’s what they call the alumni and the staff. This large community remains in contact – mostly through Slack and acts as a key internationally knowledge source. People share their experiences or ask for advice when working in tech and almost anywhere in Europe.

sitting and talking woman

What do they offer?

Wild Code School London has full-time and part-time options for their data and web development courses. Courses are for 5 months, and if you choose the full-time option, you have to be in the school from Monday to Friday 9 to 5. They have 2 intakes in September and March. Not so dissimilar to a university.

The structure of the programmes is designed to enable everyone who wants to learn and have a new career to join in. You don’t have to have a background in software development or engineering beforehand. It’s an integrated, social and hands-on experience based in London.

It is different from a traditional university class because it is very active – more similar to an internship. We love this because you will have a portfolio to showcase your work when you finish the programme. You can choose one of these courses:

  • Data analyst
  • Web developer (Full-time)
  • Front-End developer (Part-time)

Listen to the full podcast of this interview

Re-skilling revolution

Just a few decades ago, career was a linear problem. People would choose a degree and a university, study and would graduate into a career.  Today is very different, of course. This is best explained by the fact that the half-life of professions are now shorter than human lives. This means now we have to re-invent and re-skill ourselves at least once in our lifetimes. So we see the value of places that educate and re-skill people in this context.

Carolina links this need to the fast-changing world with the internet, social media, and technology. For example, she says, now it’s tough for young people to decide what to do when they are 18. It’s almost impossible for people to say, “I’m going to study something, and I’m going to do this forever until I retire.” So, everything changes quickly. Shorter and more practical courses will give you more freedom, and that’s why people are in such a need for non-university education communities.

We can still confidently say that, for job security and future‑proofing your career, the best thing you can do is learn a development language and especially if you are mid‑career (it’s not always at the university level because there is a lot of people interested in that),  a good place to consider is Wild Code School.

Dealing with challenges

London is both a traditional and agile city. Everything happens really quickly in here, and a lot of people want to do something different. They want to have a business, but they don’t want to spend time on a course to understand the technical parts because they don’t have that time.

Most of the students are looking for part-time options. That’s why WCS launched in London. Life in London is expensive. So, career changers want to change their lives, but they can’t stop everything because they need to keep earning money. So, It has to be step by step. It’s all about resource management. That’s where WCS part-time programmes come in very handy for a soft transition. They can keep the life they have now and do their soft transition into their new life without having to stay away from work for 5 months.

You can keep your life and change it little by little, step by step.

office

Real community

Learning is mostly about social interactions we have with people that learn alongside us.  So, what are the key things about building a real community that learns together? It’s not about having a billion social media followers or boasting about the number of people attending courses. What it’s really about is helping people to create really close-knit groups who know, trust and help each other out.

To have a real global community, WCS has an online platform that everybody on all the campuses can talk to each other. If students have questions or need insight/experience about working in London, software roles, companies to work for, the challenges,  they get the chance to connect and receive an answer from someone who actually has the experience.  As you can imagine, being able to understand different markets and their issues are very valuable. How to relocate, how do you work in another country, how the market works, etc.?

Apart from that, courses are very intense, and students are here for the whole day for 5 months. So, basically, school is becoming a second home for them. It’s a safe space that WCS created for them to come here every day in a good or bad mood. They are here to learn, and they have to be comfortable. As an example, they don’t wear shoes in the schools. They even have their Wild Code School socks, which have the WCS logo on them. Taking off your shoes is a way to change your habits, and it contributes to the feeling of openness and self-expression.

There’s always a self-selection benefit with these communities. Like-minded individuals come to similar places in a way. That’s a big advantage. Carolina confirms that and says, especially in London, all students have a passion for tech and want to be developers.

Other than that, WCS has a diverse group of people from very different backgrounds, nationalities, cultures, and ages. For example, they have a 20-year-old student from Indonesia and a 45-year-old South African girl next to him. Right now, only their instructors are British. So it’s very international, very diverse, very London. That’s what makes it rich is the cultural exchange in all the terms, such as how we learn, how we study, and how we interact.

people working together

Beginning the journey

When we asked about the best way to learn more about WCS, Carolina surprised us by saying they actually let applicants talk to their graduates/alumni about their experiences first. These people act as role models and as a source of vital first-hand knowledge about what the programme experience is like and how it works.

They also get to ask and learn about their life before and how is their life now? Did they find it manageable to work and study at the same time? Did they manage to find a job? What were their biggest takeaways? You can also ask both full-time and part-time students and make up your own mind about which one is the best for you.
If you are curious about this and thinking of becoming a student, give it a go and get in touch with them.  Carolina will help you talk to one of their alumni.

If you are living in London, WCS – London also does weekly workshops. If you want to have a taste of the programme you are more than welcome to participate. In the workshops, WCS instructors teach a subject which they also teach in class. In addition, you can meet with the students and ask them questions about their journey.

Future goals

Wild Code School has been working very closely with their students and alumni. Carolina explains that her first goal is to see the change in the life of the student. She wants all her students to get where they wanted when they started the course. She coaches all of them individually to find a job. All of her students want different things. Some of them want a stable job, some of them want to launch their own app, and she goes with them on this journey to make sure if they are on track or not.

Wild Code School is not the only coding school out there. So do your research. But for us, it serves as a good example to understand how they work in general and get to know the people who run it.
We can confidently say that is non-university education institutions have just begun their evolution.

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