Announcing Job Search, Instruction, and Program Length Changes to the Lambda School Curriculum
Sep 21, 2020
student on a zoom call

Since we started Lambda School in 2017, we’ve been very intentional about how and when we iterate on our model. Each time, we get closer to carving out a clear path for students to achieve a better career and higher income after graduation. Put simply: positive student outcomes are our first priority. We want to make sure graduates are as prepared as possible to be successful in the tech industry.

To that end, we recently announced a series of upcoming curriculum changes to students, and we want to share a few of those with our broader community. Our team spends countless hours collecting student feedback, analyzing outcomes, and thinking critically about the student journey. This set of improvements – among our most significant to date – is designed to prepare students both technically and professionally for the job ahead in the most efficient and valuable way possible. These changes include additional leadership opportunities, more intentional instruction, better career prep, and a more efficient and flexible curriculum. 

Additional leadership opportunities for all students

We’ve consistently found that the students that take on leadership and mentorship roles at Lambda School are hired faster, have higher starting salaries, and report a greater sense of confidence than other graduates. Not only are they more effective working with their colleagues, but mentoring other students is also one of the best ways to cement knowledge of technical skills.

We want everyone to experience these benefits, and to that end, we have designed the Lambda Leadership Program to fold teamwork and leadership development directly into the technical curriculum. As a team, students will rotate through various leadership roles and focus on additional professional development content that will better prepare them for success at Lambda and in their new career. 

More face time with instructors

The very best teachers are those who build relationships with their students, who answer questions no one else can, and who support you exactly where you’re stuck. To make this the reality at Lambda School, we’re more than doubling our instruction staff to better support students. This will mean a second teacher for every unit in full-time cohorts across Web and Data Science, and it means a full-time instructor for every unit in part-time cohorts.

In addition, we’re designing our courses with more face time with all of those instructors to make lessons look less like lectures, and more like interactive projects and Q&As. We’re updating the instructor schedule to make time for office hours, 1:1 support for the students who need it, and guided mini-lessons. We’re also going to optimize pre-class work, so students’ time with instructors is better spent getting expert help, and showing them more advanced stretch goals, instead of repeating information they’ve already seen.

Navigating interviews and nailing the job search

Helping students develop the professional skills needed for their job search is critical to our mission. Now, we’re evolving our career services to integrate more interview practice, networking, and job search support for students throughout the process. 

Specifically, this will include weekly networking touch points and behavioral mock interviews within consistent small groups and more extensive preparation for technical interviews, including code challenges and whiteboard sessions. Every student will be assigned a Job Search Trainer upon graduation to help them build personalized job search plans, execute on networking opportunities, and stay motivated and accountable during the search.

Shortening our programs  

Students come to Lambda School to get a tech job after graduation. Now, after significant research and feedback from hiring managers across industries, we’re making Lambda School more efficient with the hope of helping students achieve their career goals more quickly. Starting this fall, Lambda School will be transitioning to a 6-month model for full-time students, and a 1 year model for part-time students. 

Flex will be evolving, though the principle still stands: students can take the time they need to master each part of Lambda School’s curriculum. We’ll be adding guided self-reflective questions along the way to help students best understand where they are, and to give instructors a sense of how to help. When students are struggling, we’ll be able to catch it early and set up 1:1 conversations with instructors or support staff to help figure out the best next step. There will also be more frequent repeat cycles so students don’t need to tack on an extra month or two before moving forward.

This new format benefits everyone, but especially those who might struggle balancing a rigorous full-time program alongside caretaking duties and other responsibilities. Ultimately, this shift will help make Lambda School even more accessible for the diverse communities we serve.

The team has worked tirelessly for months to suss out what's working well, what could be better, and how to improve. This just scratches the surface. We continue to be hyper-focused on our students —their success is our success— and we’re excited about making these changes a reality over the next few months.

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