Thanks, @DAndres, for all the follow-up comments. You made me reflect a lot on how we’re doing. There is no better way to start the year
Here are my observations:
the majority of your coding students are from third world countries taking jobs for a fraction of what a developer from say the US would make.
Part of that is true, and it’s intentional. I started Microverse after spending two years traveling the world, meeting people from developing countries who were incredibly talented but disconnected from great professional opportunities. That disconnection drove me crazy. It’s crazy that most companies in developing countries are struggling to hire and retain people, while the ones that have figured out how to make remote work are hiring faster and keeping people around for much longer (e.g., GitLab).
It just doesn’t make sense that more than 95% of the world doesn’t have access to world-class education and professional opportunities. We have way too many problems to solve to be wasting so much precious talent.
It’s our mission to help people from every corner of the world (not just developed countries) to connect to world-class opportunities.
Now, I wouldn’t say that everyone outside the US is getting a job for a fraction of the cost. I’ll give you some examples:
A Microverse graduate based in the US should be making $60-80k+ per year by the time they graduate if they go through our career prep program and take advantage of the guidance of our career coaches to negotiate their salary.
A Microverse graduate from East Africa with one year of professional experience recently started working remotely for a US company making $60k a year. Most of our graduate students with no previous professional experience, even if they start with a lower salary, should expect to be making $50-60k in 2-3 years.
The most significant salary gap is in entry-level positions, but once you have 1-2 years of experience, the difference becomes smaller and smaller. Companies are not hiring remotely because it’s cheaper (it’s one of the benefits though), but because there are not enough people to hire in the US.
what I found was that microverse is valuable to students from third world countries but perhaps not really for someone living in a country with better resources and options because there are other coding bootcamps that provides instructors and lectures versus yours.
I understand if you need instructors and lectures for your experience to be a good one. In that case, Microverse is probably not the right fit for you, and this is why people have four weeks to leave the program without owing us anything.
I don’t think that depends on whether you come from a developed or developing country, though. Around 30% of our students come from developed countries, and their satisfaction score (NPS = Net Promoter Score) is as high as that of students in developing countries.
Once you go to the job market as a software developer, you will have to learn new things every single day – from using new libraries and understanding their documentation to learning new frameworks and programming languages. I always say: if you’re programming with the same stack in 5 years, you’re probably doing something wrong.
So here is a reflection we always make: you won’t have teachers and lectures at your job, but your employer will expect you to learn new things all the time. How will you be prepared for that environment if you have always depended on teachers and lectures to learn?
We have designed the entire environment to help you learn that way, and let me be honest, it’s tough and intense, and it takes a lot of intentional work. However, if you don’t start today, you will pay the price once you get to the job.
People in developing countries indeed have more options, and everyone should consider all their options when evaluating a decision as important as this one. Our value proposition is simple: we want to prepare you for a life of learning, to help you become a great team player, and to kickstart your international career (through remote work, or by joining companies with global or international teams like Microsoft or Google).
In the end, though, the only thing that matters is if people are happy with their experience. We have a dropout rate in the range of 10-15% (80-85% of the people who start the program graduate). We have been gradually increasing the school-wide NPS (we measure it every single Friday) from 60 to 70 over the past few months, and that includes everyone from developed countries as well.
microverse is also an english based bootcamp and while i was able to understand my partner’s heavy accent enough to complete our projects it was frustrating for both of us because i would have him repeat himself and talk slowly so that i could understand what he meant. sometimes i would also have him type up what he was trying to say because of his heavy accent.
It is that way by design. We have every applicant go through several collaborative sessions with multiple other applicants before joining, and we make sure people have an English level that is high enough to work effectively in a remote environment. That doesn’t mean it will be easy. Even if you go to work for a company like Google in the Bay Area, you should be prepared for people with strong accents.
I’ll quote the words of our lead investor in the Bay Area (they are also investors in Airbnb, Snapchat, Stripe, etc.):
“I don’t mind if you weren’t born in the U.S. or if your accent sounds funny – mine does for sure. I also don’t care whether you went to Stanford or you’re a domain expert yet. I believe that talent is universal, even if the opportunity is not.”
I always tell our students that the kind of growth we want them to go through they will find it precisely in those challenging moments when they’re working with their coding partners.
i think its also important to mention that a student i became friends with ended up working on the projects on his own because his partner was hotspotting his internet from his mobile device and kept getting disconnected.
Collaborative learning is fantastic, but it’s incredibly hard to do it well (as a school, not just as a student). When your learning/coding partner doesn’t have the elements to be fully committed, it makes it for a bad experience.
Even though cases like that one represent a minority, we have been working incredibly hard to anticipate them and address them before they create a sub-optimal experience for someone else.
A few months ago, we started measuring the quality of the Internet connection of every applicant (each test lasts for around one hour) and for every student (we test their connection 8 hours/day, every day). We started using that information to be more restrictive on who gets into the program and to be more proactive as soon as we detect someone in the program which is struggling with their connection. As a result, we decrease expulsions and drop-outs during the first week from 5% to 0.2%.
If the problem arises later on in the program, and if the student is doing well, we often offer financial stipends so those students can pay for a stable Internet connection. If a stable connection is not available, we, unfortunately, ask those students to leave the program and come back once a solution becomes available where they live.
That, by the way, has nothing to do with whether the person is hot-spotting a 4G connection or not. We have found that 4G connections are often much more reliable than broadband connections accessed through Wifi.
i think it would help if microverse built their own curriculum and had students building original projects to make their students stand out from the thousands building projects on TOP and instead of relying on your students to make microverse work, hire instructors that can assist or even teach your students as needed.
Starting in December of last year, every module in the program now has a real-world project (designed by a professional designer, with real-world specs) that students need to complete under a deadline to demonstrate mastery. One of the goals of those projects is precisely what you suggest – to help students have unique projects in their portfolio to show to employers.
We’re also gradually depending less and less on the content from TOP as we start replacing all the projects with our own. Even in that case, some of the lessons in TOP are still world-class, and we will recommend them as one of the possible learning resources. We always tell people to take into consideration the learning resources we recommend but also to find their own since that’s what they will need to do once they get a job).
peer-to-peer learning environment is great and all (it is probably the best because your bootcamp is the only bootcamp that relies on its students to teach each other), but its widely known in microverse that there is absolutely no support and guide except for links to resources freely available on the internet.
I don’t think the feeling of lack of support and guidance is a general one, but I understand how you’re feeling if you were expecting teachers.
The Net Promoter Score and the written feedback we get every week doesn’t seem to suggest that’s a feeling that many people share. I was recently looking at reviews in SwitchUp and CourseReport and found comments like the following ones:
Leonard Kanyesigye: One month into the program and all I can say is if I was in charge of the Nobel Prize or anything of that sort, I would definitely award it to the student success department for trying and giving there all to keep us motivated. Personally, I have had Willow or Lydia (You definitely have to come across them if you join) in my email inbox checking in on me more times than I can remember, and I do appreciate because I feel cared for and valued.
Yunus Emre: Additionally, I feel like Microverse is my family. They really care about you, listen to your problems, and help you to overcome them.
Azdren Ymeri: The staff, other students, and graduates are really supportive and help you overcome any problems that you might have, including personal ones.
Thaís V: What surprised me at Microverse: Their ability to confidential help and support you with any conflict resolution
I genuinely appreciate your feedback, @DAndres, and I’m again really sorry to hear your experience was not what you needed. It’s, unfortunately, impossible to build something that every single person will love. Still, we’re very proud of what we have accomplished and honestly believe it’s the best option available for people who want to start an international career, both in developing and developed countries.