Scholarships Available for Seattle and Philadelphia Classes

When we decided to expand Epicodus and open campuses in Seattle and Philadelphia, we were excited to bring our learning philosophy to new cities. We're also thrilled to be bringing our long-standing commitment to accessibility to those areas.

One of Epicodus's guiding tenets is focusing on serving those who, by birth or circumstance, don't have easy access to learning the skills they need to get a job in tech. With that in mind, we're excited to announce that we're offering six scholarships, three for Seattle and three for Philadelphia. Each scholarship will cover the cost of one Epicodus class. 

How to Apply

To be eligible for the scholarship you should be a member of one of the following groups: women, minority underrepresented in tech, low income, or a U.S. military veteran. You should also have already completed your application to Epicodus.

Use the link below to fill out our short scholarship application. Decisions will be made by the Epicodus team, and students will be notified two weeks before the start of class.

If you have any questions, or just want to say hi, email emily@epicodus.com.

Philadelphia Here We Come!

The expansion keeps on rolling! In addition to opening a campus in Seattle in June, we’ll be establishing a new branch of Epicodus in Philadelphia in August. We’re excited to bring Epicodus's teaching philosophy and learning model to the East Coast, and look forward to connecting with a new batch of students and employers in the city.

Applications are now open for Philadelphia, and class starts on August 1. To begin, our first Philadelphia class will learn Intro to Programming, PHP, JavaScript, and Drupal. After we run our first series of courses and have some time to get settled, we'll expand our offerings to many of the other courses we offer in Portland.

Stay tuned for more information about our Philadelphia office location! And keep an eye out: another Epicodus campus may soon be coming to a city near you. 
 

We're Making Some Changes to Our Tuition

By Michael Kaiser-Nyman, President

Epicodus has seen some big changes in the last three years. Along the way, we've grown from just me, to two teachers and me, to now having a staff member dedicated to career coaching, three staff reaching out to employers, a staff member building out our student portal and related tools, and multiple employees improving our curriculum. We've also moved into a beautiful office in downtown Portland with views of the river, a large kitchen area, and plenty of couch space for hanging out. And we've done all this basically without changing our tuition even to keep up with inflation, not to mention the huge growth in the costs of providing a service almost unrecognizably better from when we started 3 years ago.

For a little context, the first Epicodus class in 2013 was 9 weeks long and cost $2,800, or $311/week. The second class was also $2,800 and 18 weeks, or $156/week. The third and fourth classes in 2014 were $3,400 and 16 weeks, or $213/week. In 2015, we increased our class length to 20 weeks and kept tuition steady, for $170/week. Now, we've added in an extra 2 weeks of job prep, bringing the weekly cost down to $157.

In other words, it's finally time for our tuition to keep pace at least a little bit with the improvements we've made. We are now and will continue to be far and away the cost leader among coding schools on a simple dollar basis, and an order of magnitude a better deal than anybody out there considering the length and quality of our program and job support. 

Individual classes will go from $1,000 to $1,200. Up-front discount will go from $850 to $975. (Total tuition for most students will go from $4,250 to $4,875.)

This change will be effective April 1. If any students want to switch from a per-class to a discount plan, this would be a good time to do so!
 

Student Project Feature: Breakout Game Clone

Course: Intro to Programming

Project: Work in teams to build a website/app

Amount of Training: 5 weeks of Intro to Programming

Languages/Tools Used: JavaScript, Bootstrap, HTML, CSS, SeamlessLoop, FL Studio (music)

Team Members: Will Johnson, Neil Larion, Matt Rosanio, Michael Smith

Project Description

A breakout clone using JavaScript and the HTML5 canvas element. Breakout is a video game where the object is to bounce a puck across the screen breaking all the bricks in each level. Breakout was originally designed at Atari with Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs delivering the first prototype in just 4 days. Fitting since, with our project we only had 4 days as well.

 

What was the inspiration behind the project? 


The inspiration came from this talk. The speakers go over "Game Juice" in a breakout clone of their own. We thought it would be fun to try and replicate as many features in game as possible.


What are some challenges you faced in developing the project?


Collision detection was probably the hardest part and took the longest to put together. Beyond that- it was challenging, albeit rewarding, learning how to write and organize code properly instead of just using something that worked but was bulkier, and harder to rewrite later down the line. 


What kind of discoveries did you make while developing the project? 


We learned that 4 days is not enough time to get in all the features we would have wanted in the game, but it was enough time to build a solid prototype we were proud of and enjoyed playing. We also learned that simple things in the game like sliding in bricks from the top of the screen or power ups to the player paddle are no simple task when coding them.

More than Just a Tech Conference: The 2016 Lesbians Who Tech Summit Changes Careers and Lives

by Perry Eising, Epicodus Instructor

The annual Lesbians Who Tech San Francisco Summit is the organization’s marquee event and its most popular. Now officially celebrating it’s second birthday (the first one was more of a dry run, according to founder Leanne Pittsford), and getting bigger, better, and badder than ever, the Summit is a 3 day extravaganza of tech topics, queer and lesbian activism, self improvement, savvy leadership, community, socializing, dapper fashion, and great hair. Different than probably any other tech conference, the Summit sticks close to it’s roots in the community - events are almost exclusively organized in gay venues around the Castro.

Before my first Lesbians Who Tech Summit, and subsequently attending Epicodus, I was a freshly minted Green Card holder who had once had a tech career, ten or so odd years ago. After coming to the US on a student visa, I was severely limited in my ability to accept employment, and I was desperate for a leg up after finally receiving legal permanent resident status. When an acquaintance mentioned on Facebook that she had a ticket she couldn’t use, I didn’t hesitate. I cashed out my frequent flyer miles, ironed my shirts, texted my friend who had a couch I could crash on in the mission, and flew down to the bay. I wasn’t quite sure what I’d be getting into, but I ended up with a lot more than I could ever bargain for. Attending that first Summit changed my career trajectory and my life.

Taking it all in 🤓 #lwtsummit #lesbianswhotech via Medium

A photo posted by Beca (@8becks) on

This year, the Summit began on Thursday the 25th of February with a short address by LWT staff in the Castro theatre, before transitioning into a tech crawl of surrounding bars featuring events hosted by local tech companies. Given that this wasn’t my first Summit, there were many, many reunions before my crew and I left the crawl for some much needed dinner  - it was amazing to run into so many familiar faces who were equally excited for the Summit as I was.

Friday

Friday is traditionally the big day for presentations on the big stage, and this day didn’t disappoint. After one of my favourite moments, Leanne’s kickoff speech, the morning lineup began with an address by Tara Bunch, Vice President of Apple, and was followed Ramona Pierson, whose harrowing story of injury and ambition clearly impressed the crowd. The star of the morning, however, was the legend, the amazing Edie Windsor,  the legendary computer scientist for IBM, and plaintiff behind the 2013 repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, and her lawyer, the slightly more understated yet equally impressive Roberta Kaplan. Together, with host Danielle Moodie-Mills of politini, Edie and Roberta explored Edie’s career at IBM, relationship to her wife Thea Spyer, and the story about how they came to be representing their case before the Supreme Court - and ultimately winning. It was an incredibly moving moment to hear Edie recount the process that impacted millions of people’s lives, including my own, in such a direct and transformative way, and the crowd went wild when the Edie Windsor Coding Scholarship was presented to several ecstatic winners.

Emcees Kiva Wilson and Sara Sperling did an amazing job of keeping the conference moving, while the dark intimacy of the Castro Theatre was punctuated only by the illuminated phone screens, trying to capture some of the power that lit up the stage. The Summit’s specially designed app came in especially handy, and created a way to connect and curate digital content. After the first round of speakers I lined up to get my book signed by Edie. Meeting her and Robbie Kaplan was definitely the highlight of my weekend.

The morning sessions took us through until noon, after which the crowd broke for several different lunch options. The committed stayed in the Castro, and I was lucky and honored to be able to present an ignite talk, which is a short, five minute presentation on the big stage, while others enjoyed events focused on space, the internet of things, art, technology, career growth and more. After my talk, I took the opportunity to take a walk around the Castro, and the area had become awash in signature blue lanyards flapping in the breeze. Over 1,700 of us were taking over the area, and we were seemingly everywhere! Walking down the street, I was enthusiastically greeted by fellow attendees, something that is not unusual at all for LWT. In fact, one of the most impressive tenets of the summit is how welcoming and genuinely community minded the attendees are. We headed back into the dark theatre for the rest of the afternoon, which featured a diverse set of presentations, including a pitch contest, a talk on overcoming imposter syndrome, and a fantastic presentation by actual lesbian rocket scientist Joy Dunn about her work with SpaceX.

As the day wore on, the presentations became more complex and moving, such as a amazing presentation on the implicit racism of mobile phone hardware, presented by the articulate and persuasive Samala, and the panel on leveraging your personal advantages, presented by Lisa Davis of Citigroup - it was her line on celebrating being memorable that had Twitter all fired up.

By the time we reached the evening keynote interview with straight-talker Kara Swisher of Re/Code and the closing words by Leanne Pittsford, the atmosphere had become positively electric - the stories presented on stage were so powerful and the atmosphere so charged, the cheers that punctuated the talks were so genuine, the calls for inclusion of women of color of transgender people were so relevant, so close still the struggle that so many of the speakers touched upon. It became very clear that you should never underestimate the power of a group as committed and focused as people who have been deprived of community.

Saturday

Saturday is historically the main day for workshops and career fairs, which were all informative and welcoming. The day was well attended and was packed with informative sessions and featured a friendly, enthusiastic, well staffed Career Fair featuring companies like Amazon, Twilio, Lyft, Nasa, Intel, Two Sigma, asana, IBM and more. Organizationally things broke down a little bit - sessions didn’t start on time, and meal schedules were missed - making it very clear how well the stellar LWT team had organized the previous day. Despite some organizational hiccups, I attended an excellent workshop hosted by Jess McPeake on realizing your full potential in life and work, as well as a great session on unconscious bias, presented by Clem Breslin and Dioganhdih Hall, where we discussed the stunning levels of gender inequality in tech. I also attended a panel discussion on code schools and programming education, before heading out early to close the day out with friends at some more social events.

Sunday

Sunday customarily features some closing events, but little official programming. It is the perfect time to get together with old friends and new co-collaborators, strengthen our community ties, make commitments to the future, and brainstorm ways and means to change the world - including creating a better, more just experience for women, queers and minorities.

Sunday featured a final closing party at Virgil's, and then it was time to leave a community that feels a little like family.

As always, impossible to say goodbye completely. After all is said and done, this is so much more than a tech conference. It is an opportunity to see one’s interests, hopes, desires and choices reflected in other people. It is a space for intergenerational mentoring, the likes of which do not take place in other queer and lesbian communities. It is a deeply political and passionate claiming of space and worth. It is a place of resistance against the rule of norms, and an insistent declaration of independence and resilience. It is the anvil on which clear eyed, hard edged, soft spoken radical entrepreneurs, achievers, organizers and pionesses are sharpened and encouraged. It is the arena and the celebration, the commitment ceremony and the victory lap. It is the LWT summit.  As I boarded the plane back up to Portland, I knew the summit had delivered what I had hoped it would - profound inspiration, steadfast community, and a unique opportunity to create with others. Until next year!

Want to see Perry's talk? Perry kicks off the round of Ignite sessions in the video below.

CEO Search

First stand up in Epicodus's current location.

First stand up in Epicodus's current location.

By Michael Kaiser-Nyman, Founder & President

When I taught Epicodus's first class at the beginning of 2013, the school was just me and one class of 8 students in a small room in a co-working space. 3 years later, we have about 150 students, 18 staff, a 13,000 square foot office, and a dozen courses. We're the most affordable and accessible vocational coding school out there, and we want to make our education available to as many people as possible. That means opening up offices around the country, starting with Seattle and then another city later this year. From there, we're looking to grow from 3 to 30 locations in the following couple years.

One of Epicodus's first classes.

One of Epicodus's first classes.

The skills and experience needed to grow a company from zero to 3 offices are very different than those needed to grow it from 3 to 30. I'm very proud of what we've accomplished so far, and I also know we need a different kind of leader in the next stage of Epicodus's life. Alongside opening our next two offices, I'll be focusing much of my energies this year on finding a CEO to eventually replace me.

We're in no rush to bring someone in, and the most important thing is to find someone who shares our values of making education accessible, prioritizing long-term student success over short-term numbers, and taking the time to do things right. When we do find our CEO, I'll work alongside them for an extended period of time to make sure the transition is smooth for our staff and students.

I'm very excited about bringing Epicodus to the rest of the country, and I can't wait to see how the next chapters of our story unfold.

P.S. If you think you're the right person for the job, drop me an email at michael@epicodus.com. You should have experience leading a company, organization, or department with 50+ employees and $10+ million revenue/budget. We also have a stand-alone job description.

Seattle Applications Are Open!

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With our 2016 courses officially underway, we're excited for what's ahead for the rest of the year. We just wrapped up our first full-time Intro to Programming course in Portland, and our PDX students are now studying specific programming languages and frameworks including PHP, JavaScript, C#, and CSS

What's next on the horizon? We added a bunch of new course dates for our Portland campus and opened applications for courses at our Seattle location. Our first Intro to Programing course in Seattle will launch on June 6, followed by C#, JavaScript, and .NET.

Each language or framework is its own course and will run for 5 weeks. Courses will generally run back-to-back. You can mix and match 5-week courses to learn the programming skills that meet your needs. On each course page, you'll see that we've made some recommendations about course pairings. After applying to Epicodus, all students will be placed in our full-time Intro to Programming course.

For a full breakdown of our courses at each Epicodus location, check out the Portland Courses and Seattle Courses pages.

Seattle Here We Come!

We're excited to announce that Epicodus will be opening an office in Seattle! After almost 3 years and close to 450 students graduated from our Portland office, we've built a training model we're proud to take to new cities. Seattle, being our closest neighboring tech hub, is an obvious choice for our second location.

As you probably know, Microsoft is based just outside of Seattle (in Redmond), and so Microsoft's C# language and .NET framework are hugely popular in the area. Our first Seattle students will learn these technologies, as well as JavaScript and AngularJS. After we run our first series of courses and have some time to get settled, we'll expand our offerings to many of the other courses we offer in Portland.

We've started filing our paperwork with the state and begun looking for an office, and expect to have these tasks completed in the second quarter of this year. We're shooting to have our first class start towards the end of the second quarter.

Seattle's just the first stop on our journey ahead! Look forward to news about more planned office openings in the second half of 2016.

What Programming Language Should I Learn?

By Michael Kaiser-Nyman

Now that Epicodus offers so many different courses, we often get students unsure of what to take after they finish Introduction to Programming. If you're an Epicodus student or anybody wondering which language to learn, the first thing you need to decide is if you want to focus more on front-end or back-end development. Front-end developers spend their time making things look and work well, obsessing over layouts, navigation, colors, and design. If this type of work appeals to you, your best bet is to take CSS and Design classes at Epicodus.

If you're more interested in back-end development, you have several choices of languages: C#, Java, PHP, and Ruby are all offered at Epicodus. My best advice about how to choose is not to worry too much. Most modern programming languages have more similarities than differences, and Epicodus graduates often find themselves working in different languages than they studied in school. Back-end programmers often switch languages as they change jobs, or even as they build different types of software at the same job. So don't stress too much about making the right choice! That said, each language has found a bit of a niche, and depending on your interests, you might be attracted to one over another.

C#

C# is most popular among bigger established businesses, often for building internal software. Because it's been around for a long time and has the backing of Microsoft, it is one of the most in-demand languages in the job market. C# has also been going through a bit of a rebirth lately, with Microsoft open sourcing the language and surrounding platform, porting it to run on Mac and Linux, and incorporating many of the best features of other languages. If you like the idea of working for a larger company on business software, C# is a great choice.

Java

Java is also a favorite of enterprise companies, but its appeal is broader as well: it's one of the most popular of all programming languages, and it's used in everything from for high-performance processing to building Android user interfaces. Because Java has very been popular for a very long time and is used in so many applications, it is also a very high-demand language. If you're interested in working for an enterprise-level company, as an Android developer, or in high-performance applications, Java could be a good language to learn.

PHP

PHP is most used in content-heavy websites with relatively little user interaction. The most popular content management systems - Wordpress, Drupal, and Joomla - are all written in PHP, and everything from local restaurants' websites up through large complex government deployments are built with these tools. If you're keen to work for an agency that builds websites for clients, or if you like the idea of building out sites for brands, businesses, and organizations, PHP is a great direction to go.

Ruby

Ruby is a favorite language of developers building interactive web applications. If an app involves users creating accounts, entering information, and interacting with dynamic content, there's a good chance it is built with Ruby. Ruby became popular because the Rails framework, which is written with Ruby, simplified many of the common tasks associated with building web applications. It's most popular with startups and smaller companies who are looking to build their product quickly.

Though each language has its niche, there is plenty of crossover. For example, Rails' popularity inspired copycats in just about every language, and so you'll see interactive web applications written in C#, Java, and PHP, with Rails-like frameworks including .NET MVC, Spring, and Laravel. Even at one company, you might find them using PHP for their marketing site, Ruby for their web application, and Java for their back-end processing. 

The most important thing is to get the basic principles of coding down, practice a lot, and be ready to change to another language when your job inevitably does.

Epicodus 2015 Year End Report

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As 2015 came to a close, I thought a lot about Epicodus's mission:

Epicodus's mission is to help people learn the skills they need to get great jobs. For us, “great jobs” means jobs in growing industries that pay well and provide rewarding work. Beyond the particular skills needed to get these jobs, we aim to help our students become confident self-teachers who can adapt to changing job markets, and great communicators who will work well in teams. We focus on serving people who, by birth or circumstance, don't have easy access to learning the skills they need to get these great jobs.

Four years ago, the US economy was in a bad place, unemployment was high, and many people were struggling to even scrape by. At the same time, companies were struggling to find software developers, and were offering high wages and great benefits to attract the talent they needed. Epicodus was born to try to bridge this gap, helping people get these great programming jobs and helping companies find the talent they need, and three years ago we had our very first class of 8 students.

Today, the economy has mostly recovered, and the coding school phenomenon has exploded, with over 5 dozen schools across the country. However, many of the problems we faced 3 years ago still remain. Software companies still are desperate for programming talent. Many people are working part-time involuntarily. Wages for middle- and low-income workers haven't increased in many years. And while coding schools have made a dent in the problem, most are still inaccessible to the people that need their help most, charging 5-figure tuition and offering short classes that require coding experience before attending.

We've continued to evolve Epicodus to take these problems head-on. We've been adding courses in languages Java and PHP that aren't trendy but where many more jobs are. Our employer outreach team has grown from 1 to 4 full-time staff this year to connect with more companies. We added a new introductory course for people who have little to no background in programming. Our programs continue to be several months long, giving students more time to hone their skills, and our tuition always has been and continues to be a fraction of other schools', including community colleges'.

In 2016, we're excited to continue building on all of the progress we made this year. We'll be adding even more courses, including C# and design. We're defaulting all new students into our introductory course to make sure that everybody in Epicodus starts with a solid foundation (while still having the opportunity to test out for more experienced students). And we're getting ready to open up an office in another city. In the year end report, you'll find a recap of the highlights of our year, information on how Epicodus compares to the industry, stories from students and more. Thanks for being a part of our community! 

- Michael Kaiser-Nyman, President