The tide is shifting in the U.S. when it comes to higher education. Fewer and fewer employers are looking to college degrees as the baseline for qualification when filling an open position, and the options for alternatives are more plentiful than ever. News recently broke that companies like Google and IBM are no longer requiring a college education for their applicants, taking into account the fact that skills can be acquired in many other ways outside of a traditional degree.

Performance in college — including data like GPAs and test scores — is historically a poor indicator of future job performance, though the experience itself can prove valuable in other ways. Companies like Google have now decided that they simply require the skills and attributes needed to do the job, regardless of how they were acquired.

Vocational courses and on-the-job training are equally capable of teaching candidates the skills they need, but there is something unique about the post-high-school experience of college and what it teaches young adults. Many young adults are simply not personally prepared to enter the workforce right out of high school. The college experience gives them the opportunity to explore their own ideas, cultivate time management skills, foster independence, create new relationships and even develop budgeting skills — without having to totally be without support from family and other authority figures.

While high schools typically attempt to help students develop the skills they need to be ready for college and the workforce — like problem solving, critical thinking, social and emotional skills — they are woefully ill-equipped to do so. In fact, only 44 percent of high school graduates surveyed in 2015 felt adequately prepared for what came next, and employers were no more satisfied. Only 29 percent of employers said high school grads were ready for the workforce in 2015 — down from 49 percent in 2004. 

So college is becoming less relevant than ever — but research shows high school graduates are simply not ready for the workforce right away. There has to be some kind of middle ground to prepare young adults for careers and life in the real world. When it comes to the tech world, bootcamp-style programs have been popping up everywhere for the last decade, it seems. But while bootcamps are accepting tuition from nearly anyone who applies and churning out average coders a couple months later, FastTrack’D is different. 

Our program works to develop those critical personal and leadership skills on top of technical skills, ensuring our graduates are ready to be assets to whatever team they join. We invest in each person, helping them cultivate critical thinking skills, problem solving skills, communication skills and more, so they are ready to enter the workforce with confidence upon graduation. Not only that, but we don’t charge our candidates tuition upfront and accept only the most promising applicants. We also partner with employers with whom we place our newly-minted enterprise-ready developers, so we know what the IT landscape needs and how to train our developers accordingly.

A four-year degree is not only unnecessary for many companies, it’s actually not the best track for future developers when it comes to curriculum, either. Universities typically have trouble keeping up with technologies as they change, whereas smaller training programs can be nimble and adjust at the same rate the industry does. Universities also charge tuition without guaranteeing job placement upon graduation.

FastTrack’D is filling the gap for high school graduates who want to become outstanding developers by training up talented problem solvers with the interpersonal and leadership skills to be a true asset to any IT team.

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