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Wilmington Postal Code: A 12-Week Life-Changing Program

F. It was the note Grace Bunde and Kwame Warrick received in the first eight-hour quiz of Wilmington’s Postal Code three-month course. The two linked from their failure, but it also left questions hanging over their heads.

“The elders would come to visit us, I would ask them, ‘You all made it through this program?’ Bunde said. Although Bunde and Warrick had a rough start, they were able to use this experience to motivate themselves throughout the 12 week course.

The not-for-profit software developer training program is rigorous, but it brings high rewards, including placement in reputable companies and networking opportunities with industry professionals. For Bunde and Warrick, their acceptance in 2019 led them to jobs at Morgan stanley.

Zip Code Wilmington’s mission is to help talented candidates pursue a career as a software developer or data engineer if they haven’t had the opportunity otherwise, said Burton Village, executive director of Zip Code Wilmington.

“By bringing them into that career, we build them as a person and that builds the community around them, which builds our region,” said Burton.

Postal code Wilmington is accepting applications for its June 2022 cohort through March 20, 2022.

The application process

The postal code has a five-part application process, starting with the initial submission. Then, those interested will do a pre-assessment and online assessment before a group interview with other applicants. The last step is an individual professional interview with the Director General, as well as a technical interview with the Director of Education.

However, the application process does not select applicants for rigorous technical experience. No previous coding experience is necessary; Students in the Wilmington postal code come from a variety of professional backgrounds. They include, for example, baristas, veterans, customer service representatives, delivery drivers, warehouse workers, and even a student who was a massage therapist.

The group interview is one of the key aspects of the application process, as it demonstrates the candidate’s skills in teamwork, said Burton. Wilmington zipcode alumni have indicated that group projects and daily stand-up meetings with fellow cohort members are built into the program.

“If you can’t do good group work, if you can’t hear other voices and build consensus, then being at Zip Code Wilmington isn’t right for you,” Burton said. “They’re pretty much all team players before they get there.”

The beauty of data is it’s everywhere, Zip Code Wilmington alumni Deana stuart noted. This means that anyone can use the technical skills taught by the Wilmington Postcode and apply them to their world. Stuart, for example, worked frequently with databases in his previous career as a library archivist. Now she is a data analyst for Freya Systems.

“The possibilities for data are endless, but to be successful at Zip Code Wilmington, you just need to be a curious person, someone who enjoys learning,” said Stuart.

The curriculum

“Can you attend full time?” This is the second question on the application of the Wilmington postal code. Students are expected to attend all classes from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, with earlier networking sessions twice a week during the duration of the 12-week program. This makes it virtually impossible to be employed during registration.

Former students have reported different ways to stay afloat while focusing only on the Wilmington postcode.

Wilmington Postal Code Students in January 2020 (Courtesy Photo)

Warrick bolstered his savings and moved closer to the Zip Code Wilmington campus (before COVID all of his classes were onsite, but he has since switched to hybrid and local remote options). Bunde worked part-time nights, but quickly realized that his schedule was unsustainable. She therefore applied for and received an allowance from the Wilmington Postal Code business partner. Black rock. Stuart and his longtime partner Seth Abrams completed the Zip Code Wilmington training program in different cohorts, which allowed them to support each other during their studies.

Once in the program, students should be aware of how difficult they are pushing themselves, Wilmington Postal Code alumni Demetrios Murray noted.

“I would say the biggest challenge is time management and stress management, mainly because there is such a flood of assignments and information,” Murray said. “There were times around week 6, week 10, week 11 where I felt exhausted, and I kind of had to pull myself together and say, ‘Okay, tonight I’m going to take some recoil. “”

So what’s the payoff?

The Wilmington zip code reports a 96% graduation rate for enrolled students. During COVID, when job opportunities in most industries were scarce – and tech hiring was active overall, but junior developers were often overlooked – about 61% of its software development graduates Java were placed in full-time paid employment within one year of completing the program. This percentage has since risen to 85%.

Burton predicts that the demand for qualified graduates will continue to increase in 2022. Zip code Wilmington has about 20 partner companies (and it’s not over). Graduates have been hired by more than 60 employers over the past six years, typically doubling or tripling their annual earnings.

The results from Zip Code Wilmington have important implications for individual graduates, as well as for the economic health of the state as a whole, Burton said.

Burton herself has a varied professional background. Prior to becoming Executive Director of Zip Code Wilmington in 2019, she served 10 years in the US Navy and as an intellectual property lawyer. One of her top priorities at Zip Code Wilmington is to improve the organization’s community engagement efforts.

“When we bring people to the program, we invest in them,” she said. “We make the decision to take a trip together. So every student is part of a family in the future that is not just the Wilmington Zip Code family, but the Wilmington, Delaware family. “

Alumni spoke to about the specific gains the Wilmington zip code has brought them.

For Warrick and Bunde, who met at Zip Code Wilmington as a student, it was the start of their relationship and the eventual birth of their daughter. For Abrams and Stuart, that was financial stability enough to buy a house together. For Murray, it was the mobility of his new career that brought him to Austin, where he lives with his partner and their dog.

“The Wilmington zip code has really changed the lives of a lot of people,” Murray said. “And it’s just a matter of how much work you put in at the end of the day. What you put in is exactly what you get.

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