FAQ

Who is eligible to apply for Cohort 4?

West Virginia residents are eligible to apply for Cohort 4. NewForce doesn’t require any prior background or education in coding.

By completing this program, will I be eligible for college credits or certificates?

Graduates receive a total of 4 certificates from Mountwest Community and Technical College marking completions of on-ramp, front-end, server-side, and full-stack software development.

Is there tuition for NewForce?

No, this program is currently tuition-free thanks to a partnership between and support from the West Virginia Community and Technical College System, Mountwest Community and Technical College, and Generation West Virginia and its generous funding partners for this program including the Just Transition Fund, the One Foundation, and Mountain Shore Properties. 

Will NewForce lead to a job after graduation?

Currently, 86% of NewForce graduates who were actively seeking a career in software development were hired within 6 months of graduating from the program. The median starting salary for our graduates is $45,000. Throughout the 6-month program, in addition to the technical skills you’ll learn, you’ll also go through a career prep curriculum including how to build technical resumes, LinkedIn profiles, cover letters, and more to make sure you’re ready to apply for software development jobs. We also work with each student to complete a mock interview process where you’ll apply, interview, and negotiate offers to fully prepare for the job placement process. 

Getting a career in technology requires dedication post-graduation from both the student and our NewForce team. We work to connect students directly with the program’s employer partners and support them in preparing application materials and practicing for interviews. We expect students who determine they are actively seeking a career in technology to commit to continuing to code through side projects, staying in communication with our career support team, and preparing for interviews with employer partners.

What materials do I need?

Students will need access to a computer. Specific computer specs will be provided at a later date. NewForce has computer loan options available. 

Students will also need access to high-speed internet that allows them to be on Zoom calls from 9 AM – 4 PM, Monday through Friday. 

Other helpful, non-required materials: a workspace with minimal distractions, a comfy chair, and an additional monitor screen.

What does the time commitment look like?

Learning to code full-time is a big time commitment. NewForce meets remotely for 6 months, Monday through Friday, 9 AM – 4 PM.

What is NewForce's curriculum?

To see our curriculum, click here.

Is NewForce remote forever?

We sure hope not. We miss seeing faces in person! We are committed, though, to keeping everyone safe during COVID. We hope to return to in-person classes once it’s safe to do so.

Is remote learning right for me?

Remote learning takes a lot of self-motivation, patience, and few distractions. Ask yourself, can I see myself learning all new things over Zoom, Mondays-Fridays from 9 AM to 4 PM for 6 months?

To paint a full picture of remote learning at NewForce, we asked Cohort 3 to share their experiences below. This allows you to see many different perspectives of pros and cons to determine if this is the right path/time for you.

What does Cohort 3 say it’s like learning from home?

“Learning from home, especially during a pandemic, was quite a culture shock. You have to utilize resources differently than in a classroom setting. I feel like it ultimately helped better prepare me for the workforce, especially with software development jobs starting to trend towards working remote.”

“Convenient but boring. On one hand, there’s no commute. On the other hand, I feel like Cohort 3 missed out on a social experience that the first two cohorts got to enjoy, and sitting at home gets old after a while.”

“It’s been a mixed experience for me. It’s pretty nice waking up and walking 10 feet to work, but there can also be distractions here at home that you wouldn’t have in an office or a workplace.

Pros and cons for sure. Being in the comfort of your home is obviously great; the chances of being distracted are ten fold. Also, the “Shy period” for everyone takes a lot longer to get over. That goes for asking for help as well, but around halfway through everyone has been able to get to know each other and it feels like a party everyday!”

“Learning from home gave me the ability to be comfortable while learning something new; which is very helpful to combat the stress of learning something new. It also brought about its own challenges since unique distractions exist at home that do not in a workspace.”

“It’s pretty great, as far as I’m concerned – I like the freedom to do things during a break like starting a load of laundry or walking the dog.”

“It is a difficult transition. There are many more distractions at home. It is important to identify those distractions and plan ways to avoid being distracted and simulate a work environment.

This year hasn’t been easy for any of us. I was concerned about working from home, especially since coding is a brand new skill for me to try and learn. It has not been easy, but with very hard work, keeping up with the exercises, leaning on my peers and cohort instructors I learned more than I ever thought I would. Learning never stops in the tech field, and I certainly look forward to learning even more.”

“I loved it! It would have been nice seeing everyone in person, but it was nice being able to see everyone and learn from my own living room. I think it was just as effective as being in person. The days were arranged in much the same way as a class day would have been. You could work in teams, or you could struggle with a problem solo. You could also ask your instructors a question if you were stuck. I think in a lot of ways it made things easier, because we could also share our screens when there was a problem. It will still feel like drinking from a fire hose. You get used to it, though.”

“I loved it, and it could not have happened at a better time, because my daughter had to stay home due to Covid.”

“It was great to stay in the comfort of my home and in my pajamas while learning all the complex software stuff. As an introvert, I was thriving with this kind of environment. That being said, the first couple weeks were pretty hard on me physically because spending 6+ hours straight in front of a screen, especially on Zoom, was a little straining. Also, I didn’t create a solid work station for myself at first. I convinced myself I could just sit cross legged on my bed or the floor and I would be fine. I was not fine. Burnout was another thing we all teetered on during the cohort just because there was so much stress and frustration- not just with learning the code, but with various external factors like having to stay cooped up at home, not learning in a classroom surrounded by peers, and literally everything 2020. I also learned something important about my learning style. I tend to prioritize conceptual learning, and NewForce involves a lot of practical application. I had to reorient my learning style to fit this and I actually found that I grasped concepts better after going through the application part, which was a happy surprise for me because that could have been a major roadblock.”

What roadblocks did Cohort 3 encounter?

“I feel like I’ve encountered many different roadblocks when it comes to learning remotely. One big roadblock I’ve had to overcome was procrastinating my workload. My home environment was a bit too relaxed and I found it hard to start projects in the beginning of the cohort.”

“The main roadblock I’ve encountered at NewForce was just making enough time for everything. I’ve loved all of the challenges Jordan and Tommy have thrown at us, I just wish there were more hours in the day to complete everything.”

“Maintaining motivation. It’s really easy to sit back on your couch and take it easy. Some days, you just don’t feel like doing anything.”

“I had a lot of issues outside of class pop up during my Cohort.”

“In the beginning, I did not understand some new concepts. I had so many questions, but had no clue what to ask. This is where the awesome instructors come in to save the day. They understand that things won’t always be easy, but helped us think things through.”

“Impostor syndrome and thinking everyone else understood everything much better than I did. A lot of your Cohort will feel the same.”

“I don’t know about roadblocks, but there are plenty of speed bumps that are strategically built throughout this program to get you to learn the skills it’s designed to.”

What frustrations did Cohort 3 experience while either working from home or completing the program? How did they deal with those frustrations?

“Cabin Fever is a real thing, and getting out and away from computers/cell phones was a huge help.”

“One of the big frustrations was just not getting out enough. From 9AM to 4PM you’re in front of a screen, and with everything going on with COVID, I was staying in the house all day. The way I dealt with it was to start taking hikes on the weekend.”

“I have two young children. During the first half of the program, there was no childcare available. So they were a part of my daily struggles. I would be comforting one of them, listening to what Jordan or Tommy was saying, and trying to implement the code. The biggest frustration was figuring out how to juggle everything. I’ll use the example of being a waiter with lots of plates in your hands. Lots of my plates fell and broke but they were empty or dirty. I had to pass certain plates on to someone else. I started making multiple trips.” 

“I think coding in general can be frustrating. I came into this program not knowing a damn thing about coding, and some days it made me want to pull my hair out. But, I look back on what I knew when I started the program and compare it to what I know now. I’m pretty proud of the progress I have made.”

“My main frustrations revolved around things not making sense to me. I thought I would understand some concepts faster than I did. That feeling comes with learning anything new, but I had to remember to just keep at it by reading chapter material, watching videos, or talking to classmates about it.”

“My biggest frustration has mostly been just not understanding things as quickly as I want to. It is important for me to remind myself that this is all new information and it is difficult. It is okay if you don’t understand something the first, second, or even third time you work with it or give it a try.”

“Internet outages are something that have been very frustrating. The only thing I can do is be patient, and not let myself become overwhelmed. Breathe!”

“We had a couple of unexpected internet outages in the area, and that is frustrating when you need the internet to learn what you need to learn. I was amazed at how we worked around it, though. We would spend the time drawing out an ERD (you’ll find out later) or something like that. It’s a team effort, and everyone worked really well together to succeed as a team.”

“The program is intense throughout, but I felt like it was the hardest in the beginning. You spend most days drinking knowledge from a fire hose, and you tell yourself you should be a pro at something you’ve never done before. It is unrealistic, so take it easy on yourself. Take actual breaks where you step away from the screen, not to look at another screen, but to give yourself an actual break. You would be surprised how many problems you can solve just by stepping away for a few minutes.”

“Learn as much as you can, be kind to yourself, and ask questions. You’re not stupid if you have to ask a question.”

“I can’t pinpoint where my frustrations originated from, but most of the time, it wasn’t a specific thing we were learning in class or a specific thing about working from home- it was a combination of both. This is where that self care plan comes in, but just take a step away and do something that makes you happy. Take a break. Your broken code will be there waiting for you when you get back.”

“Personally, my stress relief that never fails to bring me back from the pit of frustration is watching YouTube videos of Gordon Ramsay yelling at people who kinda deserve it. It’s super silly, but it works.”

What’s something Cohort 3 wished they had known before starting NewForce?

“That zoom was going to be very popular, and that I should’ve invested in it pre-pandemic lol.”

“I wish I’d known about Blue Blocker glasses before starting. I was suffering from eye fatigue and headaches the first couple months, but after getting a pair of eyeglasses that block blue light, the eye strain was dramatically reduced and my headaches went away.”

“That I would have been doing the entire cohort from home.”

“It is actually a pretty difficult course. Also, if you are doing class remote, buy a good chair. Your back will thank you.”

“I just wish I knew about NewForce sooner, I would have applied in a heartbeat, but I am very glad to be a part of this cohort.”

“There will be people that are faster learners and pick up on it quicker than you do. That doesn’t mean they’re smart and your dumb and you’ll never get it. Everyone learns at their own pace. There will be things that come easy for you and things that come easy for others. Whatever the case, have grace for others and yourself. Ask for help when you don’t get it. Be patient and kind when one of your peers asks you for help. It’s not a competition. NewForce is about growth as a team/cohort.”

“I imagined software developers coded everything from start to finish out of their own minds, and it was all 100% their own creation… FALSE.”

“How incredibly supportive the NewForce team would be in making sure we’re prepared for a career in software development.”

What advice does Cohort 3 have for future cohorts about distance learning?

“Take breaks when you need them. Create a home environment that is custom fit for your learning style. Be mindful of others you will be learning with. Get away from technology when you can, you’ll thank yourself for those breaks.”

“Be disciplined in your sleep habits. It’s easy to get too comfortable at home, and sitting in front of a screen from 9:00AM to 4:00PM solving coding problems can be draining.”

“Don’t get down on yourself if this stuff gets hard. It happens to all of us.”

“Don’t be shy or afraid to ask questions. I promise the question you want to ask is one at least one other person is too afraid to ask.”

“Limit distractions as much as possible. It’s difficult to get your mind into learning mode when you’re home. On the other end of things, make sure to take breaks! Coming back to your code with a fresh pair of eyes does wonders.”

“Make sure you have a space that is quiet and comfortable to do your Zoom calls from.

Don’t be shy. Be kind. Be yourself. Everyone is just as unsure as you are even if they don’t act like it.”

“Come to class, do the work, practice at home on things you have a decent understanding of, save the hard stuff for class. Also, give yourself a 20 minute time limit to try to solve a coding issue; then step away. Get help, take a walk, get some water, then come back to it with fresh eyes. Don’t be too hard on yourself, it’s easy to feel down when you are learning a new subject that’s pretty complex. But, remember that you were chosen from a lot of applicants, and New Force knows what they’re doing when they pick the cohort participants. You Can Do This!

Double monitors. Designate a space that will be your work area for class, and get your butt in the chair. Use the time wisely, because it goes by insanely fast. Avoid the temptation to not get your butt in the chair.”

“So many people in the Cohort have pets…Don’t be selfish and keep them all to yourselves. Everyone else likes to see floofs and snoots and flurfs.”

“So, my takeaways from what I’ve learned are:

  • Take some time and effort to establish a comfortable work set up for yourself.
  • Schedule some intentional breaks throughout the day from day one to avoid the excessive eye strain (and brain strain) while taking in all this information through a computer screen.
  • Create a self care plan- make a list of things you can do that make you happy- and try to practice them daily, and even more on days when coding brings you down.
  • Online learning can be quite different, so it’s important to figure out how you learn best in this kind of environment and communicate those needs with instructors, and even peers, so that they can try to meet them as best as they can. Jordan and Tommy are so accommodating and they’re invested in creating the best learning experience for you, so just doing check ins with them and communicating any of your frustrations, stresses, and never ending questions about code can be extremely helpful for the overall experience.
  • Imposter syndrome is a thing that can especially feel amplified during distance learning. Talk to your peers, chances are they’re freaking out and have no clue what they’re too.
  • Ask LOTS of questions. Someone else probably has the same question that you’re feeling too afraid to ask.”