Who develops the developers?
Alright y'all. After yesterday's icebreaker, let's cut to the chase, shall we? We've been quiet for a few years. What have we been up to at Covalence for all that time?
We've been quiet for a few years. What have we been up to at Covalence for all that time?
To truly answer that question, we're going to need a few more of these posts... 😅
But the shortest answer is: we've been developing developers.
You might want to buckle up for the longer answer...
Believe it or not, Covalence has been training top technical talent through our immersive bootcamp programs for over SEVEN years now.
We've never stopped enrollments.
We've never stopped improving our products and services for our students & alumni.
And we have no plans of stopping anytime soon.
But in those seven years, we have changed.
What started as a modest 300 square foot office in Birmingham, Alabama, full of DIY plywood tables and fifteen eager students in 2015 has evolved into an online, global community of software developers more than 15,000 strong.
For the first few years, we expanded to multiple states in the southeast with several in-person classrooms running simultaneously, a few times a year.
And then we shut them all down in 2018.
We went back to the drawing board – literally.
We digitized and centralized our in-house curriculum with immersive video lectures and walkthroughs. We created a purpose-built LMS to match the way we teach and maintain total control of the learning experience for our students.
Before we knew it, we were able to reach and serve more people in ways we never even thought possible.
We even rethought our entire operations as a company and went fully remote around that same time.
Later that year, those efforts enabled us to license our curriculum for other institutions to utilize so they could focus on their in-person operations, not curriculum creation and maintenance.
We created a YouTube channel to help even more developers. We're a YouTube Partner now, so for the first time not too long ago, Google actually paid us!
All the while, we were still doing what we do best: developing developers through programs like our Catalyst Full Stack bootcamp, which we expanded to full-time and part-time paces with rolling admissions (an industry first, at the time).
If you can't tell, it's been quite a journey that can't quite be captured in a simple social media post...
But, through all of that, by far the most important thing we've built in these seven years – and the one thing we're most proud of – is the community of Covalence students, graduates, team members, employers, and partners, all of whom have enabled us to continue serving, building, and growing for their sake and those that follow in their footsteps.
You see, Covalence was never meant to exist – it was created out of a tremendous need to develop talent locally in Birmingham, Alabama; it turns out, that need was fairly ubiquitous outside of the major tech hubs. It was only after the initial success of our graduates that we began to see the true purpose and importance of what we're actually doing here...
It's not about products or software or the way we work.
It's not even our curriculum (even though we do think it's pretty fan-freaking-tastic).
It's about people.
It's about the barista breaking out of their overworked and underpaid shift-work finding us in that late night Google search and deciding to bet on themselves (with a little help from their friends at Covalence).
It's about the middle school math teacher who wants to make a livable wage in America with creative and challenging professional opportunities, and they see Covalence as an efficient route to achieving just that. Six months later, they're not only equipped as a capable software developer, but they're earning as much as they would have been at retirement, after tacking on a Master's degree (and more student loan debt).
And it's about the wayward college graduate that has a prestigious degree, but no inroads, no network, and no opportunity in an increasingly competitive workforce – but they have the drive, grit, curiosity, and determination to make a change and push themselves out of their comfort zone (with a little prodding from their Covalence instructors).
These aren't just random musings we're writing with generative AI. They're the stories behind the real people we've welcomed into our community over these seven short years.
Some of them stay with us for a few months while some stick around for several years, but all of them join us with a common goal, interest, passion, or pursuit for a better life, a more rewarding career, and a community with which to share their success.
The amount of time they spend with us is less important than the trajectory we try to put them on during that period of time. We're just grateful to have played a small part in their journey, and we hope we can help each and every one of them make their own dents in the universe.
It's why we're still here after seven years.
It's why we do what we do.
And it's why we're planning to be here for at least seven more.