How to pick the right path when you’re looking to reskill your career

So, you’re looking for a career in computer science but are wondering what approach best suits you. More specifically, you heard about low-code programming and are wondering if you have what it takes to reskill your career and be proficient at it.

According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report1, until 2022, circa 54% of employees will need to reskill or upskill their careers. This is huge, considering these employees will be at risk of job displacement, and not all companies are investing in much-needed training.

Currently, the search for talented professionals in computer science is booming, and both college and coding boot camps are struggling to keep up with the market’s demand. Moreover, the landscape of technologies out there is so vast that it is hard to pinpoint which one is right for you. And when facing all these challenges, it might be complicated to decide what to do in a timely manner.

At ITUp, we focus on delivering training programs on the OutSystems Platform, the leading low-code platform. We offer both reskill and upskill programs, but in this article, we will focus on the benefits of our Turn Up program, our most comprehensive reskill program.

The search for talented professionals in computer science is booming, and both college and coding boot camps are struggling to keep up with the market’s demand

What is a low-code Platform and why do we think OutSystems is the right technology?

Low-code Platforms allow faster development and deployment of solutions since most software can be created through visual representation. Furthermore, all developed components can be reused by different applications, therefore, accelerating the development and deployment of new solutions.

Low-code is especially advantageous for developers as it empowers them to work more efficiently, allowing experienced developers to complete more projects quicker. On the other hand, low-code helps newly certified developers achieve productivity faster. Typically, they also require less training when compared to traditional programming languages and paradigms.

The simplicity and ease-of-use of these technologies allow people from different backgrounds and areas of expertise to quickly learn the fundamentals of low-code tools.

The OutSystems Platform goes a step forward than most low-code solutions being the only one that combines the power of low-code development with advanced mobile capabilities, enabling visual development of entire applications that easily integrate with existing systems.

Low-code allows experienced developers to complete more projects quicker, and helps newly certified developers achieve productivity faster. They also require less training when compared to traditional programming languages and paradigms.

What is a coding boot camp?

If you google the definition of “boot camp”, the one we think fits better with what trainees face in these training programs, states that a boot camp is “a short, intensive and rigorous course of training”. Originally applied to military recruits training, nowadays, it also applies to coding training programs.

Coding boot camps are training programs that enable students with little or no coding experience to focus on developing their coding skills. These programs are intensive, immersive, and typically last between 6 to 12 weeks, 8 hours a day, requiring students to put in around 4 extra hours per day for studying.

Boot camp training programs usually follow a weekly schedule, introducing the basics of programming and quickly evolving into more complex topics. The programs have theoretical and hands-on components and can take place in a classroom or remote setting (using platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, amongst others).

Coding boot camp alternatives

A few years ago, a college degree was the best, and in some places the only, way to become a developer. Students would spend anywhere between 3 to 5 years cramming for exams, pulling all-nighters to be able to finish their projects on time, and, let’s face it, sometimes not learning nearly enough as they would like to learn (we needed our fair share of time for partying, right?). Don’t get me wrong, there are tons of advantages of pursuing a college degree, and they work particularly well if you’re fresh out of high school. From my experience, it gave me stamina, endurance, and, more importantly, a sense that I can learn whatever I need to if I set my mind to it, and if I have time.

And here is where things make a difference, time! It is one thing to enroll in a college when you’re a teenager or a young adult, and you can spend a few years studying, however, it is a different matter when you have been working for a few years, have responsibilities and a family, and can only spare a few weeks or months.

Besides, let’s face it: you are more focussed, more mature, and you have a purpose in mind: quickly improve your job situation, either by finding a new one as a programmer or embracing new challenges inside your company.

Is a coding boot camp a good fit even if I come from a non-tech background?

Coding boot camps present an opportunity for professionals or recent graduates with a non-tech background to change to a programming career. However, we know that deciding to change careers and enroll in an intensive and immersive training program is not easy. Most of the students that enroll in our reskill programs are looking for a career change due to either a job that failed to fulfil their expectations or a lack of employability.

For these professionals to be successful on such a drastic career change, we’ve noticed a few common treats that make it more likely for them to succeed. From our experience so far, we can say that the top 4 things they have in common are:

  • They are motivated to enroll in an immersive, full-time, intensive and very demanding training program
  • They like solving complex problems
  • They are team players
  • They have basic computer skills

An OutSystems report2 showed that, although the majority of low-code users are professional IT developers, a whoping 44% are business users collaborating with IT. Furthermore, at ITUp, around 90% of over 300 attendees of our Turn Up program are from a non-technological background. This is the best testimonial to the OutSystems’s platform versatility and agility, and why we believe that investing in an OutSystems boot camp is a great path for reskilling your career. And as if this wasn’t enough, the demand for OutSystems Professionals is so high at the moment that there is a talent shortage in the market.

Our Turn Up OutSystems Coding Boot Camp

Our 12-week OutSystems Coding Boot Camp, Turn Up, is immersive, full-time, intensive, hands-on, and very demanding. But in the end, it will be completely worth it. You will learn to:

  • Design, Develop and Deliver Customer Full-Stack OutSystems Applications
    You will learn your way around the OutSystems Platform and will have the basis to work as a junior consultant in a real-world customer project.
  • Conceive Logic Solutions to Challenges
    The course will prepare you to think logically and implement solutions for intricate functionalities from basic to moderate complexity.
  • Define Models that solve Customers’ Data requirements
    You will be able to participate in data model definition discussions with the project’s team. Designing and querying databases are also a fundamental part of the boot camp syllabus.
  • Integrate with existing systems
    As part of customers’ digital transformation paths, integrating with existing systems is a crucial skill in which you must excel.
  • Troubleshoot application functionalities and common errors
    Unfortunately, there are no Applications without the occasional malfunction. Is it, therefore, critical that throughout the boot camp, you learn how to test, debug, and resolve code issues (including in a visual development environment).
  • Present Solutions with Professionalism
    During the boot camp, you will also focus on mastering soft skills that will be essential for your day-to-day job as an OutSystems Professional. In the end, you will have learned how to demonstrate eloquently and with clarity the developed solutions.

Turn Up Syllabus in a Nutshell

The course syllabus is developed in-house by our OutSystems Experts, being constantly reviewed, ensuring a continuously up-to-date curriculum.

It comprises four tech modules and an extra module on Soft Skills and Career Coaching. The two first modules are theoretical and in the end, an assessment is performed.  The two final modules are hands-on projects mimicking customer-like projects. Finally, after the successful completion of all the modules, the trainees will be able to take on the OutSystems Certification Exam.

Module 1: Web Development Foundations

A theoretical module following a standard class approach, where the basics of programming, web development, and relational databases will be taught. A trainer will be available full-time to help and support the trainees. At the end of the module, a technical assessment is performed.

Module 2: Developing OutSystems Web Apps

Follows a flipped-classroom approach, teaching OutSystems Development Core features. In this stage of the program, besides the classes, the trainees are encouraged to work alone on hands-on exercises, being assisted by a trainer whenever needed. At the end of the module, a technical assessment is performed.

Module 3: OutSystems Development Consolidation

Follows a hands-on approach simulating a 2-week project implementation, complemented with Master Classes and daily short exercises on common development patterns.The project follows an Agile approach, with daily SCRUM meetings and weekly demos (all done in English). The requirements are carefully tailored, so trainees practice the knowledge obtained in the first week and master the OutSystems Core features. Trainees will be working individually.

Module 4: OutSystems Development Mastering

This phase represents a closer simulation of a real project. It continues following an Agile approach, with daily SCRUM meetings and weekly demos (all done in English). The requirements are tailored so trainees can explore more complex scenarios of implementation, such as asynchronous processes or charts, among others. During this period, trainees will be working in small teams. These Master Classes aim to provide new competences not covered in the initial modules, like, Multilingual and Management Tools.

Extra Module: Career Coaching and Soft Skills

In this module, the trainees will be taught to adequately and efficiently communicate and interact with others in different scenarios. They will be given various challenges mimicking day-to-day situations and will work one-on-one with the instructors on how to best approach each situation. The trainees will be prepared to master technical job interviews working individually with a career coach.

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