This article originally appeared in BostInno. Let’s face it: In a world where people can take quick courses on coding and go on to launch the next big company, college has become somewhat more of a judgement call than a requirement.
I’m not hating on higher ed; it has its place … but that’s not always in the tech space. The question is, though, with all of these startup crash courses popping up around Boston, are they really presenting participants with better job opportunities?
The answer, at least for people completing Startup Institute's program, is affirmative.
Bringing in the big guns – auditors from edBridge Partners – the Startup Institute wanted to know how their program grads were faring in the workforce. Luckily, they can rest easy; their grads are doing more than fine.
According to edBridge Partners’ findings, 63 percent of recent graduates took a job within a month of finishing the program. As time went by, their odds got better, and 90 days out, 86 percent had accepted an offer.
Just look at Hamy Pham, who graduated from Startup Institute in the Fall of 2013. She's now a UI/UX Designer at Fresh Tilled Soil. Or, there's Tarikh Campbell. He finished the coursework in the Summer of 2015 and is now a Digital Marketing Manager at Ecovent. They're only two examples of people coming out of the program with solid jobs at promising startups.
What’s more, their grads are content with their careers. The audit revealed that 88 percent believe their new gig is better or significantly better than positions in the past. These good vibes may be due to a serious attitude adjustment made during the program.
"We spend countless hours coaching our students to help determine what's the ‘right' job for them,” Allan Telio, vice president and director at Startup Institute, told me over email.
"When students are with us, we ask them not to just think about their next job but also the job they want to have after their next job," he continued. "This alters how they think. They're no longer thinking about a job, but instead realize they're setting the course for a career where they are in control. We've seen this help our students pursue something that they love and gives them the confidence to make adjustments as they pursue their career passion.”
While there are so many differences between independent courses sprouting up all over Boston and conventional colleges, a few stand out.
Telio explained that coursework geared toward directly supporting startups is more dynamic. As the industry needs change, so do organizations’ curricula. Additionally, he pointed out that the vast majority of job offers for Startup Institute Grads stem from networking – a product of being embedded in the local tech community.
It’s in this respect Telio feels colleges could make improvements and adjust to change.
“Higher ed should deepen their relationships with industry and should also provide as much career coaching as possible."