Answering some questions and fixing some misunderstandings
Since our announcement on Monday of our new Software Engineering with Java/AWS Specialization program, and the associated collaboration with Amazon, there has been some nice attention given to the news by the media and by our friends on social media. There have also been a few things shared that are incorrect, either because we were unclear on a few points or possibly as a result of someone misunderstanding parts of the announcement. We’ve also been asked a few questions we hadn’t anticipated. As a result, we’re posting this update on the announcement to ensure that the accurate information is available.
Here are a few of the items we’d like to clarify - as we get additional questions we will either update this post or share a new post.
- I read that the program will give students “specialized knowledge of more than 200 Amazon Web Services applications” - is that true? NO, definitely not true. We’re not even sure such a thing is possible! Research has shown that heads start to explode once knowledge of more than 73 AWS services is uploaded to the average software engineer. 😂 While it’s true that AWS offers over 200 fully featured services, our program only covers a core set of services that are used by software engineers building and/or deploying enterprise server-side applications. The curriculum currently covers eight of these core AWS services and it’s possible that by the time we finish adapting and extending the curriculum to our specifications that we might add another couple of services.
- Are we just adding some AWS to our current full-stack curriculum? This was asked on NashDev Slack. Definitely not. This is a completely separate curriculum. We’re starting with the Amazon Technical Academy curriculum and then modifying and adapting it to meet the needs of employers in general (not just Amazon) for deeply skilled server-side software engineers. See here for more details.
- I read that you expect to match Amazon’s 98% placement rate - is that true? This is definitely not something that anyone at NSS has said, despite what you may have read. It is true that Amazon has achieved this placement rate internally - which to us was clear proof that the curriculum is effective. But that statistic also reflects the fact that Amazon is running an internal upskilling program, so the context is completely different.
Will NSS strive to achieve that placement rate - absolutely! We strive for 100% placement of our graduates, and for some cohorts we achieve that rate. But our almost ten years of experience running public tech vocational training has shown us that hitting that level of placement rate is very difficult. There are a lot of factors we can’t control when it comes to placement rates, for example: a graduate decides to pursue more schooling, a graduate gets an offer too good to refuse from their prior line of work outside of tech, or a life event requires a graduate to step away from their job search for an extended period of time.
We achieve some of the highest placement rates in the country when compared to other coding bootcamps that share validated outcomes data. We plan to do everything in our capacity to achieve placement rates at the same levels for this program and with a goal to place all graduates. But we did not say that we expected to match Amazon’s internal placement.
- We’ve also been asked if this program is for Amazon employees. No, it’s not. Amazon has a wide offering of upskilling programs that are available to Amazon employees and paid for by Amazon, including Amazon Technical Academy. Our program is not part of the Amazon lineup of paid upskilling programs. Can an Amazon employee apply to our program for acceptance on the same basis as any other adult learner looking for a career change? Of course. This program is open to highly motivated adults across the U.S.
- Is Amazon doing this so that they can hire all of the graduates or are graduates guaranteed jobs at Amazon? NO, neither of those are true. We’re very careful to not speak for Amazon, but we can say that Amazon is not doing this simply to create a pipeline of software engineering talent for themselves. I think they’ve tried to be very clear that their goal is aligned with ours in that we both are trying to create another pathway for motivated adult learners to gain the skills required to work at the highest level as a software engineer. We’re both committed to enlarging the pool of qualified server-side software engineers available to tech companies small and large, to enterprise IT organizations, and to consultancies and agencies. Amazon does expect to interview from and hire from this program, but not to the exclusion of other employers and with no guarantees to students - or to NSS.
For more information on the Software Engineering program, you can find our original announcement post here and additional information in our follow-up post here. As noted in those posts, there is more information yet to be released on the program. Watch for a series of updates over the next few weeks through the end of November and into early December. For details on the first cohort, curriculum, and to apply, you can visit our program page.