If you can’t program, the future’s looking bleaker and bleaker. And if you can, learning to manage other code monkeys could get you promoted. Office-as-a-service provider RocketSpace’s new RocketU is a tech professional education program aimed to aid engineers no matter where they are in their career. RocketU offers rookies and programming veterans alike a way to get an edge in the job market.
There’s been a bit of a hubbub lately that there is actually no shortage of tech talent in America. “For every two students that U.S. colleges graduate with STEM [science, technology, engineering, and math] degrees, only one is hired into a STEM job. In computer and information science and in engineering, U.S. colleges graduate 50 percent more students than are hired into those fields each year; of the computer science graduates not entering the IT workforce, 32 percent say it is because IT jobs are unavailable.”
Yes, the United States is graduating a ton of engineers. But startups and tech giants don’t want just any engineers, they want 10X code masters and visionary innovators. That can take more than a degree from a well-known university, and a lot more than some random Codecademy tutorials. It can take hardcore training in the latest programming languages, and understanding of how to cobble code together into great products.
That’s where RocketU comes in.
The program comes from RocketSpace, a plug-and-play office space in San Francisco that houses 130 startups and the 600 employees. It handles leases, bandwidth, firewalls, and security so founders can concentrate on their companies. With room to house classes, startups to introduce graduates to, and a well-known name in Silicon Valley, Rocket U could be a smart extension of its business.
RocketU will offer a variety of courses, ranging from immersive 10-week developer bootcamps, to 3-week deep dives on advanced scripting languages and architecture, to 3-5 day professional development classes for techies. RocketU classes will be held at the RocketSpace campus with experienced teachers, and most coursework will happen there so you don’t have to worry too much about homework. The classes are on a pay-as-you-go structure, but require admission through a serious application process.
Michelle Berry, the SVP of RocketU, tells me “the main differentiators are that we’re offering programs beyond the initial developer bootcamp, to make sure we’re providing skills throughout the career life-cycle.” She explains that long-time programmers can choose between training as expert individual contributors or as managers. After graduating, RocketU students get help with placement in tech jobs, including the startups RocketSpace houses.
RocketU will be competing with other educational programs like the well-established Dev Bootcamp, plus The Flatiron School, The Starter League, and an array of online learning tutorials. To win out, it may need name-brand professors, and an image that’s more independent than RocketSpace. Right now it’s website looks more like an off-shoot than a serious learning institution.
Still, the climate is right for RocketU. To land a job at a high-potential startup or found one of your own, you can’t be rusty. You could work a job you’re not thrilled about to slowly siphon off skills, but it might be worth paying to get them taught to you directly. You want to be a ninja? Hit the dojo.