Frequently Asked Questions

Immersive Program

General Questions

What do you look for in immersive program participants?

Our immersive program is designed to turn talented learners who are serious about learning web development into software engineers. We also represent the thousands of companies out there looking for exceptional talent. In short, we’re looking for the characteristics which ensure that you will be successful in the rigorous setting of our program and ultimately in your work as a software engineer as well.

To be more specific, this means we’re looking for people who are highly motivated, highly capable, and great communicators. The best engineers are also relentlessly curious and resourceful when seeking solutions. They are natural builders with a knack for technical problem-solving. To be truly successful, though, it’s at least as important that you are capable of working effectively in a team and communicating well.

The application and interview process is designed to make sure we have a good fit along all of these characteristics. When we interview you, we ask ourselves the question, “Would we hire this person after the program ends?”

Who typically applies?

We have participants come to us from all different backgrounds and geographies, though the common thread is a burning desire to pick up a professional web development skill set.

Some of these participants are transitioning from less fulfilling careers, others are leveling up existing technical skills, and still others are recent college graduates who didn't get similarly marketable skills from their degree (even if it was in Computer Science).

What level of prior knowledge should I have before applying?

We are looking for candidates who have taken the initiative to develop their skills on their own. This isn’t a program for people with little to no experience coding. If that’s you, check out our prep work to get up to speed. We expect applicants to be comfortable with using code to solve problems, building small projects, and with the basic architecture of the web.

The actual language you’ve studied previously is far less important than being able to demonstrate technical proficiency with it.

How should I prepare for the interview process?

If you’ve completed the prep work, you’re on a good footing. If you’ve been accepted for an interview, we’ll provide additional information about further preparation you can take. Otherwise, just get a good night’s sleep and be yourself.

Program Questions

Is the back-end portion of the Immersive curriculum Ruby/Rails or JavaScript/Node?

All of the programs at Viking cover professional full-stack web development and all of them are designed to make you employable as a software engineer. Historically, we ran a single track which used Ruby on Rails on the back-end and JavaScript on the front end for all programs. While we always emphasize strong core fundamentals which transfer to any language, we also continuously update our content and curriculum path to reflect shifts in programming technologies and the demands of the job market.

Because of larger trends in the growth of full-stack JavaScript, we have created a modern track for back-end JavaScript with NodeJS. This track will be used starting with our March 2017 Immersive Program instead of Ruby on Rails. Rails is still a phenomenal technology but today's development environment gives us a chance to begin rolling out another option for students to pursue back-end development.

If you prefer to learn Ruby on Rails during the back-end portion of the course, our best-in-class Rails track is updated and currently available as part of our Flex Program. JavaScript on the back end will be available as an option for the Flex Program as well in Q2 2017. For more information on our course offerings, check out our syllabus.

What if I can't commit to the whole Immersive Program?

Our immersive program requires your entire focus and leaves no room for any other significant life commitments, whether part-time jobs, other courses, or side projects. It's best if you tell your family and friends that you're going on a crazy vacation to somewhere without any Internet for a few months :)

If you looking for a more flexible way to take the program, check out our Flex Program instead.

What are the technical requirements for taking part in the program?

You need a reliable internet connection and the motivation to prevail. Unix-based systems (e.g. Macs) are by far the best option. Linux is fine. Windows users typically have more trouble working with the open-source software stacks we teach and use.

Why should I do Viking over a fully in-person "bootcamp" program?

For some people, an in-person approach simply fits their learning style and life situation best. That said, Viking offers some key advantages over the "bootcamp"-style programs:

  • Cost — Our deferred fee model is hard to beat. Most other programs require fully up-front payment or a loan through a 3rd party provider. As a side note, there's no stronger incentive for us to ensure that you're employable by the completion of the program.
  • Accessibility — You don't need to uproot your entire life to attend a program in another city (or country!). You can hold off on relocating until you've got a job waiting for you and save thousands of dollars of rent in the meantime.
  • Depth — Our curriculum and support structure have been created in direct response to critiques of existing programs being too brief, too shallow, or too code-focused. We emphasize building complete engineers through our coursework and we provide more full-lifecycle support than you typically find in any program, whether in-person or online.
  • Teammates — Our program is accessible to participants from all backgrounds and geographies. This means that the teammates you'll be working with every day are some of the best available. It's an immediate plug-in to a top-tier network of high achievers like yourself.

How much interaction will I have with other participants?

The immersive program is built around constant collaborative project work. You will spend almost all your time during the day working directly with other participants via screen sharing, video and chat. Our participants go through this trial-by-fire experience together, and they develop close bonds that extend well beyond the program's completion.

The program sounds tough... is it very serious?

The program is designed to take you further than you thought possible in such a short period of time, so it requires a significant commitment of time and energy and it will probably be the hardest you've ever worked in your life. That said, we do this because we love it and we know you do too. We're goofy geeks at heart and we're trying to help you free your own inner geek. A sense of humor is important to us.

I have a family / partner / child, can I balance the program with those responsibilities?

We have had a number of students go through the program with family obligations and they have all come back saying more or less the following -- it is absolutely possible but don't underestimate how challenging that will be and how hard you will have to work to make the time balance. You will need to rely on your partner or family far more than usual for the duration of the program so start building goodwill with hugs, flowers and taking out the trash now!

When are instructors typically available?

We pride ourselves on high availability instruction. We officially support you for more than 70 hours per week, but are available well beyond that (including at some strange hours of the night and outside the program duration). That level of access is a major benefit of running a distributed online program. You're rarely more than a quick chat away from a 1-on-1 session with an instructor.

What happens after the program is over and I have a job?

Our classes are small so we can get really close to you. In the past, we've had reunion dinners when alumni come to town, provided housing advice, and helped graduates with the usual bumps that occur when you begin a new career (possibly in a new city). And, with a nationwide group of classmates, you have a couch to crash on pretty much anywhere.

Can I get a remote job after the program is over?

Seeking in-person employment is a condition of participation in our deferred fee plan but we have strong feelings about remote junior jobs in general...

We strongly encourage anyone who wants to begin a career as a developer to seek in-person employment for their first job. While this program prepares you to begin a career as a software engineer in many contexts, your first dev job should optimize for learning above all else. Though there are exceptions, remote jobs are typically more difficult to get with less experience, typically offer far inferior access to mentorship, typically pay less, and typically offer far fewer opportunities to advance your career. We could go on, but you get the idea.

How likely am I to be accepted into the program?

Admissions for the Immersive Program are very competitive and our acceptance rate is in the low single-digits, below the most competitive colleges. That said, if you come in with great problem-solving skills and a great attitude, you'll likely perform well.

How often do graduates find jobs and for what salaries?

While we don't publish an official placement rate for students yet, our continued offering of the deferred fee should be a good indication of our confidence in your outcome.

Salaries of graduates are highly dependent on geography, prior experience, aptitude and hustle. For a reasonable benchmark, our grads typically achieve salaries at or above those of students of in-person programs in a particular geography. Hopefully, you are here because you're smart enough to know that looking at average placement salary numbers is a poor way to benchmark your own outcome.

When does the program start each day?

The program runs on Pacific (San Francisco) hours, currently synchronously from 8am-6pm Monday-Friday. See the Schedule Page for more info.

Application Questions

When should I apply?

You should apply when you're ready to build a professional software development skill set. That typically means you've had sufficient experience to know that this will be a good fit and that you have a real aptitude for it.

How do I apply?

Go to the application page and dive in!

What is the process like?

Our application process involves multiple challenges and interviews. This is a highly competitive program with few spaces available, so we need to ensure that applicants are truly prepared for it. Along the way, you will write code, build an app, and pair-program with an instructor. More information will be provided during the process.

When should I apply to get into a particular cohort?

We process applications on a rolling basis and the cohorts are small so it's in your best interest to apply as soon as you're ready. We restrict applications well prior to the start of a cohort in order to ensure enrolled participants have enough time to adequately prepare.

Can I change my start date after acceptance?

We roll acceptances forward on a case-by-case basis, but it typically isn't a problem provided you give us sufficient advance notice.

Do you accept international participants?

International applicants (outside the United States) may attend the immersive program but we are not able to offer the Deferred Fee payment. Instead, you may use the Fixed Fee or enroll in our month-to-month Flex Program instead.

What if I'm going back to work/school or starting a startup after the program?

If you are heading back to school, resuming an existing job or planning to build a business after the program ends, you are not eligible for the Deferred Fee option but can otherwise use our Fixed Fee payment option or you might benefit from our Flex Program.

What happens if I am not accepted into the program?

The pace and rigor of our Immersive program are not the right fit for everyone and we unfortunately only have room for a small number of students in each cohort. Admissions decisions for that program are final.

We also offer a more flexible way to take the program which is available to anyone. You can learn more about it on our Flex Program page.

When does your next session start?

Check out our Program Page and Schedule Page for information on upcoming cohorts. Admissions typically close well in advance so it's best to apply as soon as you're ready.

Payment Questions

What is the cost of the immersive program?

We've aligned the cost of the program directly to your outcome and kept it as simple as possible. If you are eligible for our deferred fee, there is no tuition. Instead, participants pay a fee which is 20% of your first year's salary. If not, you may choose the Fixed Fee option for $12,800, which is due prior to starting the program.

Is there a deposit?

There is a $2,000 refundable deposit required to hold your spot in the program regardless of which payment option you choose. The deposit may be returned as part of your fee plan. It will be applied to your course fee when it comes due.

How is eligibility determined for the Deferred Fee?

The Viking program is available to accepted applicants who are permanent residents or citizens of the United States and who can demonstrate eligibility to work in the US without any visa sponsorship of any kind. Participants will need to complete a job search agreement and should be willing to relocate for a job if they reside outside of certain metro areas (see below). This is to ensure that you have the strongest possible ability to get hired.

  • San Francisco Bay Area (including San Jose and Oakland)
  • Los Angeles, CA (metro area)
  • New York, NY (metro area)
  • Boston, MA (metro area)
  • Washington, DC (metro area)
  • Chicago, IL (metro area)
  • Austin, TX
  • Portland, OR
  • Seattle, WA
  • Raleigh/Durham, NC
  • Denver, CO
  • Boulder, CO
  • Atlanta, GA

If you do not meet these requirements but would still like to attend, you may choose our Fixed Fee option or you might consider trying the month-to-month Flex Program instead.

What if I take a job with a lower salary on the Deferred Fee Plan?

We're obviously incentivized to provide participants with the best possible outcomes but understand that, in some situations, it makes sense to take a position with a lower salary (e.g. at a nonprofit).

We've reduced the burden on participants who do so. Those below $30k/yr are exempted from the placement fee entirely while those between $30k-50k/yr pay only a prorated amount.

How much money should I have saved up to take the program?

We strongly recommend that participants have at least 9 months of living expenses saved up when taking the program.

When will the deposit be refunded on the Deferred Fee plan?

If you are on the Deferred Fee (or have declared eligibility but decided to choose the Fixed Fee instead) and are unable to find an eligible job within 180 days of successfully completing the program and despite working successfully with our career services, we will refund your deposit in full.

Do you offer payment plans?

The program's Deferred Fee structure is designed to be as accessible as possible, though we realize that not all students are able to qualify. We currently don't offer payment plans for Immersive Program but, if cost is a significant issue, you might consider the month-to-month Flex Program.

Additional Questions

If you have an additional question that hasn't been answered here or on our website, feel free to reach out to hello@vikingcodeschool.com or post it on Quora here.

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