Lambda School Updates - Fall 2020

Starting on Monday (9/28), many of the changes we shared in our School Assembly on 9/4 will begin to roll out to Lambda students. We’re excited to introduce new programs and features for students at every stage of the Lambda journey! Since these changes will affect you a bit differently depending where you are right now in Lambda School, we've shared specific cohort messages with all of you. Our goal is to make your Lambda journey as efficient and valuable as possible and to prepare you both technically and professionally so you can shine in your job search process and future job. Below is an overview:

1. Lambda Leadership

Employers are looking for new hires who not only have technical knowledge, but also the ability to communicate clearly and work effectively together on professional teams. Lambda Leadership helps you build your leadership skills, strengthen your technical skills, and expand your network.

There are two main components to the Lambda Leadership Program:

  • Peer Mentorship is designed to give students the opportunity to both be matched with a peer mentor and be peer mentors themselves. Research shows that this type of social learning can help students solidify their knowledge and build critical team skills - and that these specific skills are in high demand among hiring managers in the industry.
  • Track Teams are made up of students from each cohort in a track, and will replace the current cohort stand-up groups. On Track Teams, students will rotate into various leadership roles. In most cases, the Track Team will become your Build Sprint team.

We’ve been piloting both of these programs for several months, and based on student feedback, we’ve made adjustments such as adding more mentor skills training and refining content for Track Teams.

While we’re rolling out the Lambda Leadership Program this fall, we’re also in the process of doubling our number of instructors across Web and Data Science to provide extra technical support to students. These additional instructors will enable Lambda School to offer additional support hours and thematic Q&A sessions. Instructors will also be available to provide more 1:1 guidance to students who need focused support. 

2. Streamlining how we prepare you for a tech job:

We know that it can be difficult to take this much time to focus on Lambda School. Many of you are dealing with real challenges around how to financially support yourselves and your families, or how to manage other commitments such as child care. In response to your concerns, we’ve worked hand-in-hand with hiring managers to develop a new curriculum that can prepare you for a tech job in a shorter amount of time.

What’s changing?

  • CS: We’ve updated and streamlined CS content into one unit instead of two based on what we’re seeing in industry. The new CS curriculum will focus on the CS skills you’ll need to succeed in technical interviews and early on in your new jobs. For more on what exactly is changing in the CS curriculum, please see this FAQ.
  • Labs: We’ve updated and streamlined Labs content into one unit instead of two. Hiring managers overwhelmingly told us they are looking for practical teamwork experience over portfolio pieces - and we believe you can attain this experience in one unit. 
  • The updated CS and Labs curriculum allows Lambda School to be 24 Sprints long instead of 32 Sprints. 

3. Career Services 2.0

To support students in their job search, we’ve redesigned our Career Services to give students more practice with career-building skills throughout the program and after graduation.

What’s changing?

  • Career Curriculum: We’ve received consistent feedback that students want more focused time to build career development skills, rather than shorter lessons integrated into every sprint. Based on this feedback, we’ve restructured our career curriculum. Sprint 4 in Unit 1 will be a dedicated sprint for career development in lieu of Build Week. We’ve also added one full module of career content to Build Weeks in Units 2, 3, and 4, and Build Week projects have been re-scoped to accommodate this change. You’ll also reinforce these career concepts during your Peer Mentor and Track Team meetings.
  • Networking: During your Career Lessons and Track Team meetings, we’ve integrated additional networking lessons and resources. Topics will include how to build your resume, how to refine your social media profiles, how to conduct cold outreach to industry professionals, and more.
  • Interview Practice: Practice for technical and behavioral interviews will now occur more frequently throughout the program. This will take many forms, from explaining technical concepts with your peer mentor to in-depth coding assessments in CS. Students who would like additional support with interview skills will have access to Career Coaches throughout their journey.
  • Industry Mentors: We’re expanding our popular Industry Mentorship Program so that all students can participate once they reach Labs. Working with an Industry Mentor will help you build your network and give you more real-world career skills.
  • Job Search: After you graduate, you’ll receive dedicated support to help you land a job.  You will work 1:1 with a Job Search Trainer, use our Job Board to track your progress, and receive access to Career Coaches to prepare for your scheduled interviews. We’ll work hard to match you with job opportunities from our hiring partners, too.

In addition to the changes described above, you’ll notice a few other changes rolling out this month to support your learning experience: 

  • We’ll be migrating students from Training Kit to a platform called Canvas to improve the curriculum experience. We’ve been piloting Canvas with select cohorts, and the pilot groups have found the Canvas platform to be easy-to-use and valuable in guiding the learning experience. Starting on 9/28, you'll use Canvas to find your course content, assignments, guided project materials, and more. You’ll also use Canvas to submit assignments, which will include check-for-understanding questions, self-reflections, and the ability to provide feedback on your experience.
  • We’ve already rolled out an improved Flex policy earlier this month. Going forward, we’ll continue to iterate on this policy based on student and staff feedback. We’ll be in touch to make you aware of any future changes to flex policies or procedures. 
  • We’re revamping our /frontdesk support to ensure we can respond to your questions and requests more promptly. Please remember that responses to /frontdesk inquires will still reach you via your Lambda school email.
  • Again, we’re doubling our number of instructors across Web and Data Science to provide additional technical support to students. These additional instructors will enable us to offer more support hours, thematic Q&A sessions, and 1:1 guidance to students who need focused support.