So… what exactly is CanCode?
We are a not-for-profit organization founded in 2016. We are dedicated to the vision of a thriving, diverse talent pipeline for our region’s software sector. To build this pipeline, we work with employers, educators, and community organizations to identify, train, and advocate employment of people with the skills to work in the tech sector: software, data, IT, and creative. We seek overlooked, non-traditional talent and we deliver programs to skill them up to work in the tech sector.
Our goal is to remove the economic and cultural barriers to working in technology. Part of that involves empowering people with aptitude and motivation. Part of that mission involves changing mindset in our region about who can be a technologist, and how to evaluate candidates for technology jobs.
Our Most Asked Questions & Answers
What will I learn in a CanCode course?
The hard skills that you will learn depends on which class you take. Look in our courses section to find out what the technologies, objectives, and overall features of each.
Across all classes, the way we teach the class is built to develop the soft skills that employers in this region tell us they need and value: how to research and practice with developer tools, how to learn with and from peers, how to problem solve as part of a team, how to network with others in the field…overall, how to understand and be a useful part of the software development process.
What is the application process?
Each class has an application process that begins with an online questionnaire. The application can be found on each course page and by clicking the “Apply Now” button in the website’s main navigation. Some courses have a two-step process, where the second step might be a qualifying exercise or an interview with the instructor.
We accept applications on a rolling basis – if courses are already in progress, we will hold your application for the next round and contact you when we’re ready to start processing applications for those upcoming sessions.
We evaluate applicants in the areas of demonstrated interest, aptitude, and motivation.
Once accepted, <can code> Communities provides all information students need to enroll for the class and to get started on the funding process, including referring students to financial aid resources.
Will I get a job after completing a course?
A job is not guaranteed. However, the market for technologists is solid and we do our best to prepare students and to advocate for their hiring.
Some of our employer advisory council members can arrange internships and interviews for graduates who are on solid learning curve and ready to enter the tech workforce. Other graduates find that their enhanced resumes, technical and workplace skills are sufficient to land interviews and great tech jobs outside the Albany Can Code employer network.
In all cases, the course is not just a class to build relevant hard skills, it is a program to establish the habits of learning languages; to practice teamwork in a software development context; to flesh out a resume; and to meet and work with local mentors, employers, and tech recruiters.
How much do classes cost?
Tuition for our courses is currently $1950 per course. Each course is a 12-week (72 hours in class plus lab) course that meets for a total of six hours a week.
Tuition grants are available for veterans of the United States armed services. There are several other funding streams available to students based on an individual’s situation.
Examples of grant criteria for federal or state tuition include:
- Underemployed or unemployed persons
- Persons with disabilities
- Other underrepresented groups
Interested students must first apply to <can code> Communities to be accepted.
What if I’m not sure which course is right for me?
This can be a long soul-searching conversation. Please read the following before you write an email or call to ask for help.
Digital Literacy: Are you relatively inexperienced with technology? Does navigating a computer feel overwhelming? Are you hoping to find a job where you’ll need to know how to use common office-related software? This course is especially helpful for true beginners, including those who might feel anxious when interacting with technology. Our goal is to help students feel at ease and become familiar with common programs and best practices, which can help students build confidence and set a solid found
Front End: Are you interested in websites from the aspect of how they look to the end user? That’s the Front End. If you come from a design, project management, creative, entrepreneurial background, or if you have a bit of some programming experience but no exposure to how websites are put together, this is probably your best fit.
SQL/ETL: Learn how relational database drives work and how you can use them to access and manipulate data, including generating reports. This class is best for a student with familiarity with HTML and CSS and strong intermediate computer skills.
Python for Data Analytics: Are you interested in learning more about data analytics as an application for Python? Python is a very popular programming language, which has a very intuitive syntax, making it a great first programming language. This is a great class for someone eager to get into programming, as well as those who are looking to learn more programming languages. The class will also cover basics of data analysis.
Does CanCode have any programs for veterans?
Thanks to a generous grant from SEFCU, we provide full-tuition scholarships for veterans living in New York State.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Do I get a college credit for my CanCode classes?
Our programs are in the process of being reviewed by SUNY Empire State College for retroactive credit. Reach out to us if you have participated in a <can code> program and would like information on how to get Empire State College credits!
Community college classes in programming are less costly. Why would I apply to <can code>?
Community colleges offer curricular instruction, normally on an open enrollment basis, as part of a multiple-course sequence of academic study. Their mission is simple and broad: education.
<can code> has a more specific mission: empowering those who have potential to enter the tech field, or to break barriers to progress in their careers, within a short period after graduation. We aim to eliminate the disconnect between what employers and the economy need, and talent. Our courses are the key element of a mentoring ecosystem. Our students gain:
- Practical, hands-on training in key, job-relevant languages, plus all the adjacent tools, frameworks, and libraries.
- Experience with software workplace tools and practices.
- Career guidance with resume support, networking, and job introduction.
- Opportunities to join app dev teams working on community projects, for seriously relevant portfolio development.
In short, <can code> aligns and connects with employers and other resources that community colleges do not. We’re doing more than teaching a coding skill, we’re preparing our students to find the right fit in the workplace and advocating for their employment after graduation. We’re a coder mentoring machine – and the student outcomes show it.
How do I find out if I will be eligible for tuition assistance?
It’s a bit of a process – first you need to be accepted, then CanCode and its partners will direct you to the grant sources and advise you on how to proceed.
Since most of the tuition assistance funds are from federal or state budgets, the funds available and the eligibility criteria vary from county to county and from season to season. Personal income and employment status are the primary criteria for eligibility.
Do I need a laptop?
If you have one, please bring it. An ideal laptop will have good internet and a fair amount of memory. For SQL/ETL, students will need a machine with a Windows operating system. An aspiring developer needs a professional grade tool: tablets, smart phone, and Chromebooks don’t have the storage space or interface necessary.
If you do not have a laptop available to you, we have a lending library where you can borrow one for the duration of the course. Please email email@example.com before your course begins if you are interested in renting one of our laptops.
Can I really be hired into a software job without a degree in computer science?
If you have the aptitude, the passion for code, the willingness to practice, and the communication and teamwork skills to be part of a team – absolutely.
By our calculations, more than 30% of <can code> graduates have leapt from hourly jobs in warehouses, bars, and temp agencies to full-time, entry-level software positions paying $45,000-$62,000.
Where employers hire entry level technologists, they look for:
- Hard technical skills in currently used technologies.
- An understanding of software development and/or IT enterprise management processes.
- Teamwork and communication skills.
- Aptitude and passion for computing, proven by a portfolio of projects.
On the topic of employment – not all our students seek full time employment or a total career change. Some want to work as freelance web developers. Others use their upgraded skills to advance their existing careers. Our students have included computer science majors who never finished their degree; IT professionals who hit a ceiling in their job advancement; entrepreneurs who wanted to feel more comfortable with web and mobile app development; along with artists, musicians, and mid-career project managers.
I was accepted into the program in the past but did not receive funding. Should I try again?
Yes! Send us an email and we’ll put you directly into the funding application process for our upcoming term
Do I get a certificate when I complete a CanCode course?
Students who successfully complete the requirements for the course will receive a certificate of course completion from CanCode Communities. These requirements include:
- Attending a minimum of 75% of the classes.
- Completing all assignments given during the course.
- Participating in a positive way during class meetings.
- Taking part in the final project.
It is important to note that hiring in the software industry is typically based on demonstrated competency rather than certification. Coders are evaluated by prospective employers based on their ability to talk about, analyze, and solve problems.
The most important credentials you can acquire through our classes are your Github account (with your projects and scripts in it) and your resume (which we will help you update.)
There are free online coding courses. Why would I take a CanCode course?
FreeCodeCamp, Codecademy, Udemy, Lynda.com, the Odin Project, StackOverflow, YouTube, the New Boston… the list of online code instruction providers is extensive. They are terrific. Whether you want to be a tester, a coder, a developer, an engineer, a database programmer, or another type of technologist, your ability to use these and other online resources to keep your skills up to date is key.
Our courses give students a structure to learn a well-rounded set of skills that are relevant to local employers. The curriculum uses online materials, books, and labs to ensure hands-on practice with peers and instructors to keep you on track. We offer more than hard skill instruction. It’s a full program: Software developers working in the Capital Region teach and give guest lectures, labs, and workshops. There is a resume improvement program, and a direct flow of student resumes to employers in our employer’s advisory council. In our web development course, students are put in project teams to create websites for amazing community initiatives – the kind of project that gets you an interview.
The life transformations have been incredible – within weeks of graduation, our students have gone from barback to $62,000 data analyst; pizza shop to $55,000 junior app developer; IT help desk to $60,000 full stack developer; hourly warehouse job to $40,000 entry-level data system internship. None of these students had Computer Science degrees. Some had no degrees at all. Just aptitude, motivation, and the advocacy and mentorship of the <can code> Communities team.
What does it mean if I am not accepted?
It doesn’t mean you should give up on our program, or on learning to code! If you get the email that directs you to try some more self-study or exploration, that’s exactly what we hope you do. Learning to code takes practice, curiosity, attention to detail, and persistence.
It’s important that on the first day of class, students are at the starting line that allows them to gain traction, start ascending the learning curve, and be ready for an entry level position around graduation time.
I have another question that is not on this list.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org – and we’ll see if we can help.