Reskill Americans Launches First Town Hall: Monday, March 8th
On Monday, March 8th, we hosted our very first Town Hall for our inaugural software development training program, with more than 400 participants following the Livestream on YouTube from around the country.
After all of us at Reskill Americans and Zuri/HNG Tech introduced ourselves, our CTO Mike Koss gave an overview of the program and what to expect over the next seven months. Then many participants joined the Zoom call to ask their questions in person, while others posted them in the YouTube chat.
Below please find all of the Q&A from that first Town Hall. You can watch a recording of Town Hall #1 on our YouTube channel here.
Q&A FROM TOWN HALL ON MARCH 8th
PREPARATION & PRE-PROGRAM QUESTIONS
Is there an age limit?
We accept anyone 16 and over. But adults under the age of 18 must have their parents/guardians complete a parental consent waiver. There is no age limit.
How much knowledge is needed to start? What if I have no idea where to start? What will you tell the average person looking to take this step considering he or she has no IT background? Being new to the program, what do I need to do to effectively start the program by March 15th?
Our curriculum addresses the very basics, so there is nothing that you need to prepare in advance. However, if you feel compelled, you can do some research about each of the four tracks (even if you don’t understand everything) as you will be asked to select a specialization.
If you already know which track you want to work in, you can do more research on that track to get familiar with the terms. The more that you mentally prepare, the better as the terms can be difficult.
When is the first class?
Classes begin on March 15th.
Will there be materials or books that we need to purchase?
No books or materials to purchase for this program. Curriculum and courses will be online and at no expense to you.
Would Bootcamp grads benefit from this program?
Our experience is very similar to traditional boot camps. You would get the most out of our program by choosing a track that is complementary to the experience you already have.
Is the Town Hall Every Monday at the same time?
Yes. Our weekly Town Halls will take place every Monday at 8 AM PST/10 AM CT/11 AM EST
TRACKS, SCHEDULES, RESOURCES, PROGRAMMING
What is the weekly class schedule? Time of day, length, etc.?
There’s no set timetable: the timing of each class all depends on the tutor and participants’ needs and schedules, so timing will vary for each class. Instructors will ask when it’s convenient for people to meet and they’ll select the most popular time.
Class schedules will be announced at least 72 hours ahead of time. You’ll also get some emails about class schedules and recorded class uploads, especially if you’re subscribed to the recommended YouTube channels.
What is the best way for me to know what is happening in the class?
Be connected on Slack, both desktop and mobile. Check it a few hours daily. Connect with other participants so they can inform you of important information while you’re away (you’ll do the same for others). Don’t stay away from Slack for too long.
For individuals who work days, will live zoom meetings/classes be available as a recording?
Yes. Participants who miss the scheduled classes will still have an opportunity to watch a recording to catch up.
How will we be receiving the information? Email?
You will receive information primarily through the Slack channel. You will also be using Zoom and YouTube for various forms of your training/assignments. We will email you occasionally with overall program information, but for the most part, expect to use Slack.
What resources will be provided to make a decision about choosing a track?
The different tracks, their applications, and career trajectories will be introduced and explained in detail during the orientation week so that you have as much information as possible to make an informed decision.
At the end of the program, are we going to take an exam?
There are no final exams in this program. During the different phases of the program, however, you will be required to complete milestones (assignments) in order to continue to the next level.
Could we have the live dates and times? Is there a syllabus?
There are no fixed live dates and times for this program because we want to create a democratic process where live class schedules are decided by the majority of participants in a subgroup/workgroup to enable maximum participation. Participants who miss these scheduled classes will still have an opportunity to watch a recording to catch up. There is a curriculum and it has been shared on the announcement channel on Slack.
Will the weekly assignment and expectations be released on a specific day?
Assignments and schedules of classes will be posted on the Saturday before the following week. Join our whole-group Town Hall meetings each Monday morning on YouTube to hear announcements.
Are the first two months the same for all tracks?
During the first two months, you will receive training in the particular track that you choose to specialize in, so the training and programming languages you learn will vary according to your track.
What is the exact content of the program?
A detailed curriculum has been shared on the announcement channel on Slack.
I am teaching in class with my students right now. Didn’t want to miss the 1st town hall. But I know that I can’t join weekly at this time. Will my work would have to be done in the evening/night?
All of our Town Halls will be recorded and you can access them at our YouTube channel here. Regarding your work: you’ll get some emails about class schedule and recorded class uploads but we recommend that you subscribe to our recommended YouTube channel to stay updated.
Is there a way to form study groups with other students?
Absolutely. We encourage teamwork. Even if you’re not paired with someone, we still encourage participants to form a study group.
Are there any software/hardware recommendations?
You can use any computer or laptop /desktop, Mac, or Windows. In terms of RAM, we recommend the following for each track:
For Front-end & Back-End: Min. 2GB RAM
Mobile Tack: Might need up to 4 – 16GB RAM
Design: Min. 4GB
Which programming languages will we learn?
The programming languages vary by track. Please see below:
Mobile: Java (Kotlin) OR Flutter
UX/UI: There is no programming in this track but you will be learning the following skills: User Interface Design, User Experience, Prototyping, Research & Testing
What programs will we be learning?
The programs used vary by track, but may include:
Visual Studio Code (programming editor)
Figma (design prototyping)
MySQL, Node.js (backend track)
VIRTUAL INTERNSHIP PHASE
What is the internship like?
In the Virtual Internship experience, you’ll be working on a simulated remote team environment to complete a “product” development cycle (it won’t be an actual product for sale). You will be matched with an internship that is aligned with your specialization. You will work on a team that might be in another part of the country or in Africa (with Zuri/HNG’s participants). Some of you will be appointed managers and be in charge of delegating work. This is the most rigorous part of the program, and instructors will monitor and assess your performance.
Where would some of the internships be?
The Virtual Internship is a completely online experience. You will be interacting with a supervisor, and a team of peers to create a “real” software product (it won’t be an actual product for sale). You will get an authentic experience of working in a team.
Could you please explain more about the internship phase, will it be a 9-5 internship? How should those who already work 9-5 adjust their existing schedules?
You should consider the Virtual Internship phase equivalent to the time you’d commit to a part-time job or a full-time job. It will be equivalent to the amount of time you’re currently dedicating to the program. That being said, the amount of time you dedicate to the Virtual Internship will be up to you and on your schedule as long as you get your work done. (You will have the option to commit to up to 40 hours a week.)
What are some of the expected outcomes of the internship phase? Also, can you speak again about what that phase looks like?
The goal of the Virtual Internship is to help you become eligible for a paid internship or an entry-level position at a real company. Based on your prior experience/knowledge of software development, some participants will be eligible for entry-level jobs. The Virtual Internship is the most rigorous because you will be working as if in a real job: no lessons, homework, or instructors. You are assessed on your performance as if at a company when a manager would assess your work.
Will the internships be part-time roles?
It is part-time. The time commitment for the Virtual Internship is similar to the first 2 training phases. It is designed to be flexible to accommodate busy schedules.
Would the internship be with local companies or online?
Every participant in Phase III will experience a Virtual Internship: it will be entirely remote and online. You will be working with a team on simulated projects.
What companies will we be interning with?
You will not be interning with a real company. They will be simulated projects; for example, your team may be building a mobile or web application to solve a particular problem.
MENTORSHIP / HELP
What does mentorship look like at Reskill Americans?
Mentors will be available on a mentor channel on Slack to provide participants support throughout the program. This could be in the form of technical assistance, career advice, general advice (I.e., time management), or when you just want to talk to someone for emotional support. (Mentors also have a butterfly symbol attached to their names on Slack for you to easily identify them.)
Are we matched with mentors?
No, Mentors aren’t matched with participants. Instead, you can send a message on the Mentor Slack channel and a mentor will respond, so you will have the opportunity to work with different mentors. However, as time goes on, you’ll recognize them and be able to send them private messages in Slack to get their help. (Mentors also have a butterfly symbol attached to their names on Slack for you to easily identify them.)
If we have questions how soon are they responded to?
Mentors will be responding to Slack every day. If you haven’t gotten a response within 24 hours, please repost your questions or send a private message to a mentor who is supporting your track.
There are so many students, how do you guys distribute that to teachers and different TAs? How many students are in each group? How are you able to accommodate thousands of students all at once? It sounds overwhelming. It’s still impressive
We are hiring skilled software engineers to act as mentors to help everyone succeed. Yes, it means bringing a lot of people on board. We will also be training volunteer mentors to help support and assist participants. The lecturers will be universal content that everyone in a track can use, so the direct instruction scales well to a large group.
If I joined Slack on my iPhone and set up my profile, will it transfer to my desktop or do I have to make a new account?
Once you have joined the Reskill Americans’ workspace on Slack on a phone or tablet, you will be able to use the same details to log in and maintain access on other devices.
Do I need to be on Slack already to participate?
Yes. You need to be on Slack before March 15th – ideally as soon as possible – to participate in the program.
How much time should one expect to spend on curriculum to be successful?
We suggest a minimum of 15 hours a week
Can we finish the program earlier than 7 months?
No. In order to successfully complete the program, you must successfully move through all three phases. If you need more time, you can re-enroll in the next cohort. (Date TBA)
CAREER SUPPORT/INDUSTRY QUESTIONS
Do you help people get jobs after the training? Will the program offer career services (i.e., Portfolio help, interviews, whiteboarding, resume, etc.)?
Mentors will work with participants in Phase III to offer interview prep (including mock interviews and feedback), and to set you up with a job search process and the tools/resources to look for an entry-level job or paid internship. We are currently in discussions with companies that are looking to hire paid interns or entry-level software developers and we will work with them to help place participants who complete our program.
How secure of a career is software development? There are lots of jobs today, but what does tomorrow look like? How long is growth expected?
Software development is considered a growth industry. The software development industry is projected to grow by 22% in the next 10 years (vs the 4% overall industry average). *
The tech industry is expected to add more than 531,000 new jobs in that timeframe. *
Tech is also the industry most likely to add net new jobs (49%) **
*According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
**According to the Monster study, “The Future of Work, 2021 Global Outlook,” which interviewed 3,100 recruiters in the U.S. and six other countries
What does the career support look like after completing this program? Will there be an online job board where we can apply to partner companies?
While we are talking to companies about hiring participants who have completed our program, we are still finalizing the process for how participants and companies will interact. You can expect to hear from companies describing their opportunities and what skills they are hiring for, and we will try to help place graduates of our program with those companies.
Will, there be a certificate issued at the end of the program/do we get certified after completing the program? If so, can we use it for employment in the tech field?
We do not have an industry-recognized certificate to issue to participants who complete the program. When you finish the program, we will give you a Reskill Americans certificate of completion, and you will have also an online portfolio of work to credential your skills. We are investigating other options that can give you industry-recognized certification, though some additional testing may be required.