Six months of free, intensive, hands-on software engineering learning, followed by six months of remote job placement or job search support for women and non-binary adults with low incomes.
Techtonica's full-time software engineering training program is a free, virtual, year-long program that provides the opportunity for women and non-binary adults with low incomes to learn technical skills in a safe, inclusive space and start their first jobs in tech. We select participants who are independent but good at collaborating, motivated to succeed, committed to learning to code, flexible, curious, open-minded, and excited for long-term careers in the field, have a good attitude and a growth mindset, can calmly manage extended periods of frustration (troubleshooting is something you'll face forever in tech!), and want to pay it forward.
We aim to empower those most underrepresented in tech and to help tech become more diverse and inclusive. To that end, we have been very intentional about creating a safe community, building a network, and providing personalized support, which means open communication is absolutely necessary. If a special situation comes up, we need you to let us know so we can sympathize and brainstorm solutions with you. We've had participants lose housing, have their laptop stolen, become pregnant, face abuse, and more, and if we don't know about it, we can't help.
85% of our graduates so far have been people of color, 19% have a disability, 8% identify outside the gender binary, and 2% are veterans. Our cohorts have had between 8 and 18 participants so far. The participant-to-technical-program-staff-member ratio is usually between 5:1 and 9:1. We appreciate an average of 98 hours of volunteer support per participant.
The program usually runs Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM (Pacific Time) for six months (from January to June and July to December). The whole program is a year long, starting with training at Techtonica, and followed by six months of remote job placement or job search and community support. After the first trial month of full-time training, participants who work the hardest and meet and exceed expectations will be invited to continue for the next five months of training with stipends based upon need and funding available. (We still recommend you save up as much as possible as stipends may not cover all your costs.)
What bootcamps and Techtonica have in common is the fact that they are intensive training. However, bootcamps can be pretty passive classroom learning with students and they cost between $15,000 and $30,000. Techtonica aims to be more like the workplace to make the transition into the industry better—instead of having an instructor constantly guiding you (which you won't have in any software engineering job), you are given a general schedule of topics and assignments (see our curriculum repo for an idea of the resources provided) and you're expected to figure out what to do on your own or in collaboration with volunteers, mentors, tech groups, other participants, and Techtonica staff. Because our resources are open-source, they are continuously being improved and you can even make improvements as you work through them. In the best jobs, there are regular check-ins with very understanding managers and mentors provide regular support, but that is not always the case. Techtonica’s program is as hands-on and project-based as possible to best prepare you for work in tech. You'll also be expected to speak and present in front of people often—a very useful skill to have for a successful career.
The schedule includes knowledge checks to give you a reason to review what you've learned, to provide you with feedback on where you need to improve, and to prepare you for long-term success in the workplace. As we consider your progress, we take everything you do in the program into account (not just assessments)—if you're on time and present, if you're meeting deadlines, if you're completing assignments, if you're following process, if you're communicating about your needs, if you're consistently meeting with your mentors, if you're building your network, if you're collaborating well, if you're solving problems, if you're dealing with the stress of an intensive program well, if you're lifting others with you, if you're reading instructions, how your mentor feels you're doing, how you indicate you're doing in surveys and one-on-ones, etc. If we see any indications you’re struggling in one area, we look more closely at everything else and we work out a plan for improvement. Consistent problems and lack of improvement could indicate someone’s not ready to continue the program. The board discusses such cases to decide what should be done. Because of the high expectations of our program and partners, not everyone completes the program.
Intensive programs, career transitions, and learning and working with technical concepts—these are all stressful, difficult things. If we accept you to our program, we believe in your ability to step up to the challenge and handle stress in a healthy way, and you should believe in that ability and look at every new step as something preparing you for tech. In many ways, tech will be much harder than this program and this is your chance to work out how you’re going to react when faced with bigger challenges. Are you able to train yourself to calmly accept challenges, to open your minds to growth, to manage your stress levels in a healthy way, and to learn whatever’s needed to succeed? Do you contribute to a safe, inclusive environment?
You are eligible to apply for Techtonica’s full-time program if you:
- are a woman (cis OR trans) or non-binary adult. We especially encourage Latinx, Black, and non-binary folks to apply.
- are digitally literate, meaning you are very familiar and good with computers and the internet, can type 40+ WPM with accuracy, and you know how to use a mouse/trackpad, browsers, and email
- at the very least graduated from high school or received your GED
- can commit to always being present and on time and prepared
- are willing to be part of the program during Pacific Time hours
- are dedicated to building a long-term career in tech and contributing to a diverse, inclusive, equitable tech environment
- have less than the amount specified in your location and situation on the MIT Living Wage Calculator in annual household income
- have housing that will be stable for the entirety of the six months of full-time training and the following six months
- are willing to live in the U.S. if required by placement company
- have a U.S. bank account
- have the proof that you are legally employable in the United States at the time of application
- agree to work at an assigned partner company if we match you upon successful completion of six months of training
- are willing to appear in Techtonica's media and pitch yourself to Techtonica's partners
- have not attended a full-time coding bootcamp, completed a C.S. degree, or worked as a software engineer in the last six years
- can have high-speed internet set up by the start of the program
- agree to abide by Techtonica's Code of Conduct, Participant Handbook, and Participant Agreement
- (for white applicants) are willing to do personal anti-racism work
If you don't get in the first time, you can apply two more times for a maximum of three times, and they do not have to be consecutive application rounds. If you have any special circumstances that make you question your eligibility for Techtonica’s program, please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to discuss with you. If you are interested in Techtonica but cannot participate in the next cohort, please fill out our interest form and we will alert you when applications open.
You are probably not a good fit if you:
- would rather be passively trained than learn through discovery
- prefer always being told exactly what to do
- won't prioritize your participation in the program
- can't manage the stress of quickly learning a whole new career in a healthy way
- don't like when plans change
- can't advocate for yourself
- don't like details
- don't get along with everyone
- don't care about diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging
- are quickly frustrated every time you get stuck on a problem
- don't feel comfortable asking questions until you understand complicated concepts
- can't lay aside learning everything about something in place of just learning enough to make progress on your work
- take longer than most people to learn and apply new concepts
- aren't sure if you want to be a software engineer
- can’t give, receive or implement constructive feedback with an open mind
The application process for our (January to June and July to December) cohorts usually starts in October and April, with candidates eliminated at each step of the process.
1. Interest and long application forms
Thoroughly fill out and submit the interest form and the long application form (linked to upon submitting the first form—the long form will take some time, so don't start too late!) by the deadline.
Participate in two of the application workshops offered (details will be sent to selected applicants).
3. Code challenges
4. Staff interviews
Participate in staff interviews. This will include pair programming, questions about you and your application, and questions from you.
5. Board interviews
Participate in board interviews.
What We Look For
This program is very competitive; we select and graduate participants who continuously prove that they are:
- responsive to feedback
- willing to ask questions
- able to set and reach goals
- able to deal with stress well
- inclusive and able and willing to work with anyone
- proud of owning their learning
- always curious and ready to learn and improve
- transparent and compassionate communicators
- hard-working and ready to make sacrifices
- dedicated to seeing things through to the end
How to Prepare
2. Develop your typing and Mac keyboard shortcut skills.
3. Learn about different tech companies and long-term pathways in tech to start formulating an idea of your career goals.
4. Practice learning and applying concepts quickly.
5. Practice talking out loud about your thought process and collaborating with others.
6. Practice your English Proficiency Levels. Here is a guide to understand your English Proficiency Levels
Acceptance & Onboarding
0. Assess financial need with Techtonica staff member
1. Review official docs and return signed agreement
2. Attend Onboarding Day—becoming part of the community, group pictures, mentor matching, setup, pitch practice, etc.
3. Join weekly pre-start study groups
4. Complete pre-start assignments
5. Hit the ground running on day 1, usually in January or July!
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