7 Schools/Platforms to Turn New Yorkers into Techies: The Road to Code


So, you want to learn coding and software application design, eh?  Get in line.  In this generally less-than-robust job market, coding has morphed into a competitive, highly sought-after skill that employers are searching for when combing through resumes.



Applying to educational institutions that offer this training, where courses include web application development, coding, software engineering, and product development, requires more than the usual application fee, academic transcripts and statement of purpose.  Some of the admission rates mirror the standards of Ivy League schools.  Applicants face challenges.  Slots in the classrooms themself are sparse, time sensitive and costly.  And then recruiters search for applicants whose answers vary from those of the pack.

One shouldn’t be dissuaded by the preparatory or intensive training period of the selected program though, which usually consists of three to four months, some longer, most on a full-time basis.

The amount of knowledge that is absorbed in such a short amount of time will impact your marketability as a job candidate after being officially certified as a site programmer.  While being adept at mathematics and science is without question a good thing, it is not critical. Nor is prior coding experience.  One’s acceptance ultimately hinges on talent and vision.

The following is a list of my top seven recommended coding centers, schools and online tutorial platforms that range from location to expense.

  1. The Flatiron School.  Heralded as the, “Harvard Business School of Coding,” by Business Insider.com, The Flatiron School is unlike any other due to its highly selective admissions process.  Founded in 2012 by Avi Flombaum and Adam Enabr, the 12-week class program consisting of coding and creative technical writing, costs $12K, and is almost a sure-fire way to command a starting salary of at least $55k-$70k once training is complete.  4k will also be refunded back to the student if one is hired through their job placement office.  Admission is done on a rolling basis.

2. NY Code and Design Academy.  One can learn to develop one’s own website during the course of a 16 week training process.  The cost begins at $3,500 with classes held at night from 6:30 to 9:30 for 96 hours of instruction.  The integrated curriculum covers HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP and JQuery, as well as Ruby on Rails. Many graduates have gone on to create popular smartphone apps.

3. Pace University.  Located across from Manhattan’s City Hall, Pace instituted a MS in Software Engineering and Development back in 2012.  It is a program tailored for working adults, with night and weekend classes available.  The commitment includes three full-time semesters totaling 36 credits, complete with business and language electives. Cost: $36,000.  Grants, scholarships and financial aid are available.  Admission largely depends on work and life experience of the applicant, in addition to prior academic achievements.

4. Hacker School.  Located in downtown Manhattan, this twelve-week intensive program is taught in a non-traditional way.  Its website states that they are no cost, grades, curriculum, or instructors.  Everyone who attends in a loft like setting is self-directed and project-based.  It is entirely supported by local startups who believe in fostering young talent, many of whom recruit from among the students.  One learns from a pool of other professionals.  If and when you are offered a position while at Hacker, your employer pays Hacker School the equivalent of 25% of your annual salary as a recruiting fee.  They also offer a number of $5,000 grants to women who need financial assistance in order to attend Hacker School.

5. Dev Bootcamp.  With classes in NY, Chicago and San Francisco, applicants are required to submit a video application, in addition to a traditional written Q and A application.  They are quite timely and render a decision within 48 hours of submission.  The nine-week intensive program not only includes MVC, Front End Development, HTML, and Ruby; students are also taught about increasing self-awareness and empathy towards fellow students through motivational exercises and creativity.  Tuition is $12,200 with a $500 scholarship.  No job placement service is offered, and foreign students are encouraged to apply.

6. WebdesigntutsUnlike the other sites, this online tutorial is largely known for its design factor in typography, selecting a grid system with coding, the emphasis and understanding of choosing color, style, and substance.  As of now, the service is free and concentrates on profit margin, development, time, cost margin, target, and client expectations.  A slight departure from traditional coding, but highly effective when developing one’s own website.

7. Rails for ZombiesA curriculum taught entirely from the privacy of your web browser, this is the choice for the unattached.  The self-teaching functions enable one to work on their own time schedule with no restraints or criticism from fellow students or faculty.  The fee for accessing this program begins at $25/month with a no contract clause.  Virtual online videos with people guiding you through the steps might seem to be the right choice if you prefer a non-streamlined approach to learning database tables, Ruby and other related software. Certification is also available for an additional fee.

Coding and web application development may or may not be for you.  There are countless courses and courses of action you can take, and you may want to even try auditing a course before committing the time and expense to something that may not be right for you. Weigh the pros and cons.  Choose wisely. Don’t be afraid to take risks, and good luck, future coders, wherever you are!

Image credits: CC by Evgeny Tchebotarev


About the author: Mark Michael Stephens

Mark Michael Stephens is a professional writer specializing in pop culture, technology, human rights, and trends.  Mark has contributed to numerous publications and is honing a novel on growing up in Nevada.  He has a BA with Honors from The New School and lives in Manhattan.

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