Online learning has been a game changer for Kerry College students. As the recent pandemic closed classrooms globally, students of the Diploma in Software Development switched to online learning overnight. By managing to avoid disruption or downtime the students were able to pick up the course and complete their assessments remotely.
The course is designed to be delivered 100% online, however it can also be delivered in a blended classroom format as in Kerry College. Fourteen students were assessed and accepted into the first cohort of the 16-week course in 2019. Many of this group are now in full-time employment within the software development industry or in other technical roles. The positive training to employment statistic was the impetus to add a second cohort in 2020.
Analytics and Support
Students joined the first 2020 cohort following a 5-step coding challenge which assesses applicants suitability. The course is open to those without technical experience and those wishing to update or expand their coding knowledge. Initially, both cohorts began the programme in class with a facilitator with course content delivered online. A programme of robust learner support with a student care team of tutors, mentors and senior developers backs the course.
Uniquely, for an online learning course Code Institute has developed its own proprietary tool AMOS (Analytical Monitoring of Online Students). This gives our student care team an aggregate view of students’ progress through the course which enables them to deliver proactive support and improves completion rates and outcomes.
Zero Downtime Remote Learning
So, once lockdown commenced the Kerry College students simply switched to remote access and online learning continued as normal. This was hugely beneficial as the class was two-thirds way through the course and working on their final assessments.
Ahead of completion students benefit from a dedicated careers’ week programme. This gives students one-to-one advice sessions with our Career Services experts in employment, software development and social networking. Students receive guidance on CV preparation, portfolio presentation, technical interviews, networking and career pathways.
Critically, the support of local employers, including members of Kerry SciTech, for the initiative has been significant for several reasons. Firstly, a technology hub needs a supply of highly skilled software developers and coders. Secondly, it means graduates have access to well paid, sustainable jobs. Thirdly, it helps the region on an economic, social and environmental level when people can access jobs locally. Therefore, online learning plays an important role in preparing people to work remotely.
As Anluan Dunne of JRI America explains: “Any additional training that’s available to local people to allow them to become business-ready for us and to hit the ground running in any area, particularly software development, is a really positive development and it will definitely drive our business growth.”
For Kerry College, employability was a key factor in adding the course to the syllabus. As John Herlihy, Admissions Officer for Kerry College explains: “We want to offer a practical programme that gives students job-ready skills along with an academic qualification. Code Institute’s Diploma in Full Stack Software Development is the only University credit-rated coding bootcamp in Europe, so our students can be assured they are getting a quality education. What’s great about this intensive programme is that students develop a portfolio of work, essentially this will help them showcase their skills to employers. In-demand languages such as Python are taught, these are skills that are highly sought after in the region and beyond.”
Regional Delivery Online
Being able to deliver these skills regionally is vital in making high level technical training available to more people. It makes sense that people live locally, reduce or eliminate commuting and remain connected to their community while they study. Local employers see the value in this too. Siobhán O’Sullivan of Aspen Grove Solutions attests to this when she says: “We would have a lot of people that are working with us that are travelling as far as Dublin to acquire some of these skills, so it’s great that it’s something that is an initiative here locally for people, and that Kerry College ETB are on board with that as well.”
Therefore, the fact that online learning can enable access to training from anywhere at any time is hugely important.
A significant proportion of students from the first cohort have taken up roles in software development and the second cohort aspire to do the same, albeit in a different climate. However, our careers’ services put students forward for full-time part-time, contract and remote positions. Online education equips students with the discipline to self-motivate and work remotely, both very valuable assets in the current market. This opens up a world of opportunities in cutting-edge software development roles around the world.
One such student, Orla Breslin put the situation into context when she speaks about her own background in the arts and hospitality – both fields beset by uncertainty and highly vulnerable in periods of economic uncertainty. After a string of short-term roles, Orla realised that she wanted more career certainty and the ability to work remotely. Therefore, she needed to up her tech game: “I saw the course advertised and applied! I love being able to use my design background and merge it with code. I am looking at specialising in front end development and/or UX, and am excited at the opportunities this bootcamp has opened for me. The team at the Code Institute are incredibly helpful and supportive.“
To find how your college or training centre can work with Code Institute to deliver Software Development training and improve the employment prospects of the local workforce, schedule a call now.