Alexander Horner and Benjamin Boas, Co-founders of Burlington Code Academy

Burlington Code Academy 

 

Who?
Alexander Horner and Benjamin Boas, Co-founders of Burlington Code Academy

What does Burlington Code Academy do?

Benny: “Burlington Code Academy trains adults in the digital skills necessary to enter a career in technology on an accelerated timeline. We are a Bootcamp provider that helps adults transition their career into coding or UX design. We do that by providing exceptional technology education combined with career strategy.”

The Pivot

Like nearly every company, Burlington Code Academy was impacted by COVID-19. Here’s what Alex had to say about their transition away from in-person classes: “We were doing all in-person courses then COVID-19 pushed us and most schools into doing some sort of online format. That turned out to work really well for us and it actually enabled us to open up beyond Vermont.” “Our instructors were able to transition our in-person format and adapt it to online in a way that I don’t believe that any other boot camps were doing at the time.” Their pivot was so successful that the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation(VSAC) reached out to find out how Burlington Code Academy achieved the “smoothest transition to an online format that they had seen from any educational institution in Vermont”. 

Bringing an “in-person” feel to online education

Burlington Code Academy instructors have been able to replicate the in-person class experience by using a combination of Zoom lectures and Discord voice channels. During lectures held on Zoom, BCA teaching assistants are available to answer questions in private Discord channels. This enables students to ask questions during class without interrupting the lecture. 

Alex described several of BCA’s other initiatives to maintain the value of in-person courses: “Our community coordinator makes sure to almost daily check-in with students and makes sure everyone’s voices are heard. We are also continuing our career track. We have a career coach that does one on one sessions with students to help them curate their resume, help their LinkedIn profile, and take them through a series of trainings. We also do “lunch and learns” where we have folks from the tech industry or our hiring partners come in to tell students about what it’s like to have a career with their company or to work in the industry.” “We create a ton of opportunities for collision for students to be able to just talk to people in the industry. I think that helps a lot to compensate for not being in person. We try to bring a really personal feel to everything we do”

BCA’s competitive advantage

Anyone who has looked into learning how to code online knows there are a ton of options ranging from free youtube videos to full-service boot camps like Burlington Code Academy. Here’s what Benny had to say about how BCA stands out from the pack: “All of the programs like Codecademy, Codecamp, etcetera are great but they are an entirely different product. It’s like going to the grocery store and comparing a bag of potatoes with a bag of sweet potatoes; if you want sweet potatoes you’re not going to buy a bag of regular potatoes. It’s the same thing with us, if you want to get an instructor-led full-time course it’s going to be a very different experience than paying 30-50 dollars a month for some online training.” 

“The way that we differentiate ourselves from the competitors within our market is by bringing a synchronous experience that tries to replicate the in-person experience as much as possible… That’s not what our competitors do” 

What’s next for Burlington Code Academy? 

Alex: “We just debuted our UX (user experience) course so we’re really excited to see how that unfolds. Also just continuing to move things online, that’s a huge transition that has so much potential in the air. We can really expand past the geographic location of Burlington onto a more national scale. With that, I think we’re going to see a lot of expansion and growth for this company”

Benny: “We believe right now there is a massive opportunity for our company to emerge as a leader in this industry. We do have a number of direct competitors, but none of them are pushing programs that are as strong as ours. BCA in the next few years plans to be a force majeure in the online Bootcamp space.” 

Biggest win in the past year? 

Alex: “Being able to grow through investment is definitely a milestone a young entrepreneur can hit that really meant so much. Also, continuously getting phenomenal placement rates; there’s something special in watching students go from somebody who was a cashier at a store to the point now where they are making a really killer salary at a tech company. Seeing the progression of the students has been extremely impactful for me on a deeply personal level.”

Benny: “I landed a tail slide and that was really sick because I’ve been skateboarding for most of my life. I could get a nice boardslide or a 50-50, maybe a crook but I was never able to tail slide. 

BCA is hiring!  

– UX Content Creator

– Coding Content Creator

– Sr. Software Developer

– Instructor, UX Design

– Instructor, Software Development

“We’re looking for folks who are in it for the long haul.” 

Words of wisdom for young entrepreneurs

Benny: “When we were first starting this company we were both young and didn’t have a lot of experience, but there were still a lot of people in this community who took us seriously nonetheless. It’s so important to have people who believe in you especially when you don’t already have a history of success. Burlington is a really special place for that; I think this should be a call for all young entrepreneurs to stay out of the cities and try to find their start somewhere that has a supportive community like Burlington.” 

“If you’re a young entrepreneur that’s thinking about leaving Burlington because the grass is greener on the other side as you typically would believe, you’re dead wrong, this is the place to start a company.”