Simplon.co Review: Making Digital Factories Around The World

July 9, 2021
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Simplon.co is a network of tech schools that offers free and intensive training in basic digital skills and digital professions in high demand. This training is open to talented individuals who are vulnerable or who belong to underserved or underprivileged communities. They seek to improve the lives of others by teaching them tech skills and to fight gender inequality in the tech industry by training highly skilled women coders.

Simplon also focuses on teaching kids the skills they’ll need to succeed in the present and future job market in a fun and intuitive way. With over 10,000 people trained, out of which 6,700 have either found a job in the tech industry or have continued their education, it's safe to say that Simplon's educational methods are effective.

This is one of the biggest and most widespread networks of schools in the tech sector. Most schools don’t require students to have any experience in coding or any tech-related industry. So, whether you’re a refugee looking to improve your living conditions, a woman looking for an empowering job in the tech industry or a kid who wants to code their own games but lacks the resources to do so, Simplon will definitely be able to help.

Simplon is a network of tech schools and bootcamps that started its journey in France in 2013. It has now expanded to over a dozen countries across Europe and Africa and counts more than 100 schools (which they call factories) under its belt. Simplon has trained nearly 10,000 people since it began – 37% of whom are women and 55% of whom have few or no qualifications – with a positive outcome rate of 67% thanks to its strong partnerships with sourcing partners, companies, and employers.

Who Is Simplon.co For?

Simplon’s main goal is to trains non-coders who are somehow vulnerable o in a position of disadvantage in terms of access to technology and technological education. These bootcamps are open to talented individuals, including those that:

  • Are out of work.
  • Are located in underserved communities.
  • Aare part of a demographic that is underrepresented in the digital sphere, or
  • Are employees that are strongly impacted by digital transformation.

These criteria are not set in stone, though. In the first place, since this is not a single school but a whole network of schools, each one of them has its own specific criteria. In some particular cases, simply not having enough money to pay for your education is more than enough reason to be accepted. Even so, there is always a selection process that seeks mainly to filter applicants by their drive and motivation to learn and their general problem-solving abilities, which are central to coding.

A Three-Level Selection Process

Simplon.co uses positive discrimination to level the playing field for applicants from different origins and with different social statuses or from different communities. The logic is that free Simplon.co training should benefit, above all, those who need it the most. It is, therefore, partly the social criteria that determine the first level of eligibility of applicants for long face-to-face Simplon.co training:

  • Scholarship holders.
  • Long-term jobseeker.
  • Recipients of minimum social benefits.

There are two more levels of criteria that decide who gets in and who doesn’t. Anyone that fits the previous descriptions can apply, and their application is systematically examined with regard to the second set of criteria, which are:

  • The number of “badges” passed on free platforms.
  • Motivation.
  • Predispositions and appetites for programming.

That means that you need to prove that you're willing to learn by yourself; that you're curious enough to start on your own learning path before even starting on Simplon. After that, Simplon.co weighs candidates based on:

  • Geographic criteria (priority neighbourhoods, rural areas, etc.).
  • Social origins (disadvantaged backgrounds, diversity).
  • Age (young and old).
  • Level of education (dropouts without diplomas, high school dropouts, higher education graduates).
  • Female candidates are encouraged (in order to reach at least 30 to 50% of Simplonians).

The point is to create the widest possible diversity because it generates a human richness that serves the educational progress of each individual, and it helps restore obvious asymmetries within the tech industry.

Features & Benefits of Simplon.co

Here are a few of the most important features and benefits of Simplon.co:

Free Learning

Simplon is a professional development school network that is completely free. You can choose between hundreds of different in-person programs in more than a dozen countries, and they’re all free. There are some services for which you’ll have to pay a small fee or an hourly rate for the professional who is delivering those specific services, but the education is all free.

Access To A Vast International Alumni Network

With 109 factories in France and across the globe, Simplon.co is the largest and most inclusive of the Grande École du Numérique networks and is the most widely deployed on an international scale. Consequently, Simplon.co is able to offer great connections with recruiters in different countries and a vast alumni network that will make it easy to find jobs in relevant fields almost anywhere within Europe, Africa and beyond.

A Unique And Effective Pedagogical Approach

Simplon aims to engage students as much as possible in their training and to encourage them to take active responsibility for their learning, thanks to a unique pedagogical approach. The most outstanding aspect of this approach is the fact that they don’t offer lectures for any of the courses. The role of Simplon’s instructors is to propose a project or a problem they’ll need to solve and to guide students who need to figure out how to solve the problem by themselves and by collaborating with each other.

This sort of flipped classroom style of learning is not something most people are used to, especially if they’re above a certain age, but it’s one of the best ways to learn new skills that you’ll never forget while at the same time solving a problem and gaining a good deal of self-confidence through your own achievements, something more traditional learning systems don’t accomplish as well.

The following introductory video describes this approach in a simple to understand way.

Certification

Most if not all of Simplon’s courses are certified (yes, even though they’re free). And not just by them, but by relevant national educational authorities. In the case of France, each successfully completed course will award the student a certificate by the National Directory of Professional Certifications of France (RNCP). This makes it much easier to find a job since you’ll have a solid institution backing up the new skills you just acquired.

In-Person Instruction

In-person instruction creates an environment where students can concentrate better because there will be fewer distractions. This will grant them a better understanding and a higher chance of completing the course since they will also interact with instructors and peers.

A classroom also grants the opportunity to access more information since the student will be in the same place as their instructor and peers, making it easier to make themselves heard. This also makes it easier to make friends, problem-solve and build a network with people of different backgrounds.

All courses have an instructor in charge of giving each student hands-on help whenever needed. They are in charge of leading workshops and helping students with any problems they might run into during the week. Their job at Simplon.co is to make sure that students are always able to complete all class assignments successfully.

Project-based Curriculum

A project-based curriculum is a feature that not all courses offer. This means that Simplon.co’s curriculum is built around real projects that you’ll be working on throughout the course's length. Not only does that imply that you’ll learn by doing, but also that, by the end of the course, you’ll have a set of fully functioning apps or other products that will now be a part of your portfolio.

Simplon.co's Course List

Simplon is not a single school, much less a single course. It is a network of more than 100 schools or factories that offer a plethora of different courses and career tracks for people of all walks of life.

There are 3 general types of courses across all schools, depending on who the target student is. These three types of courses are:

  • Simplon Kids.
  • Simplon Women In Tech.
  • Simplon Refugees.

These three types of programs are offered across most of the countries where Simplon operates. It is unrealistic to make a full list of all of them here, so we will describe them in a general way throughout this section of our Simplon review.

Here’s a breakdown of the common features or characteristics of Simplon's courses:

General Info On Simplon.co

LocationFrance, Belgium, Burkina-Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Morocco, Romania, Senegal, Spain, Switzerland and Tunisia
Class SizeVaries by country and school
Start DatesVaries by country and school
Time CommitmentFull-Time
Approx. 40 hours per week.
Course Length6 months to 3 years
Cost of TuitionFree

More than a school or a course, Simplon.co is an entire network of socially responsible schools that teach digital skills to underprivileged students and those from underrepresented communities in the tech industry. Courses are offered across 13 different countries, which are:

FranceIvory CoastSenegal
BelgiumJordanSpain
Burkina-FasoMoroccoSwitzerland
Democratic Republic of CongoRomaniaTunisia
Gabon

There are more than 100 “factories” and span all sorts of topics and career tracks. This section is intended to describe in a general way the type of content that is taught across all of those schools rather than the specific topics taught on any of them.

Skills you will learn

Simplon.co factories have a general focus on the following skills:

  • Ruby on Rails, also known as Rails, a server-side web application framework written in Ruby under the MIT License. It is a model–view–controller framework that provides default structures for databases, web services, and websites.
  • GitHub, a cloud-based hosting service that lets you manage Git repositories.
  • Agile, a set of practices that involve discovering requirements and developing solutions through the collaborative effort of self-organizing and cross-functional teams and their customer or end-user.
  • Application Programming Interface, also known as APIs, an interface that defines interactions between multiple software applications or mixed hardware-software intermediaries.
  • User Experience Design, also known as UX Design, the process design teams use to create products that provide meaningful and relevant experiences to users.

Coding Languages You Will Learn

The core coding languages you will learn in some of Simplon's courses are:

  • Hypertext Markup Language, also known as HTML, the standard markup language used in building applications and web pages.
  • Cascading Style Sheets, also known as CSS, also known as CSS, is a style sheet language used for describing how a document written in a markup language will look.
  • JavaScript, the programming language for the Web. It is used to make web pages dynamic and interactive since it can update and change both HTML and CSS.

There are definitely other coding languages and skills taught at Simplon schools, but these are the most important ones.

Types Of Courses Offered By Simplon

Now that we have a general view of Simplon's offerings, here is a short description of the three main types or categories of courses you can find in different factories:

Simplon Kids

Many of the programs taught at factories of the Simplon network are focused on kids. These programmes aim to raise awareness about digital skills, coding skills, and new technologies in a fun way for children and young people, with the goal of fostering a more inclusive society.

Simplon Romania is one of the branches where this program is an essential part of their work, so they have developed a large number of initiatives in this area. For instance, during the month of October 2018, Simplon Romania initiated workshops for over 1,400 children involved in various projects such as courses, workshops, and science fairs. They participated in:

  • Digital Kids Cluj classes.
  • Girls&Code workshops.
  • Code Kids fairs.
  • The #SuperCoders project, and more.

Simplon Women In Tech

Women in Tech encompasses a series of courses and bootcamps offered in some of the Simplon factories that seek to make the tech industry more gender-equal. Simplon is encouraging more women to discover the digital ecosystem, acquire basic digital skills, and discover new job opportunities since there are less than 30% of women in the digital sector, of which only 20% are in managerial positions and 16% in technical positions. This is why Simplon promotes gender equality in all its training programmes to help narrow and close the gender gap.

So far, Simplon's programs are 36% women, on average, and their goal is to reach 50% by the end of 2021.

In November 2018, [email protected] launched its first “Women in Tech” bootcamp in Senegal, where they received 350+ applications for four classes of 25 young women.

Simplon Refugees

Refugees often face difficulties working in occupations related to their field of expertise or to their initial training. In fact, their diplomas and professional experience are rarely recognized, and they are most often oriented towards low-skilled jobs that are under pressure. The Refugee programmes aim to provide refugees with training in an in-demand, skilled digital profession to strengthen their social and professional insertion and promote diversity.

In Jordan, the Refugee program, in partnership with the NGO CHAMS, targets both the host population and the refugee population in the Mafraq region (Zaatari Refugee Camp) by offering web development training promote the professional integration of Syrians and Jordanians.

Simplon By Country

After seeing the types of courses Simplon offers, we can now get a bit more specific. In this section, you'll find a brief mention of some of the specific courses offered by Simplon in 5 of the 13 countries where it currently has affiliated schools or factories. These countries are:

  • Simplon France.
  • Simplon Belgium.
  • Simplon Romania.
  • Simplon Spain.
  • Simplon Switzerland.

Simplon France

France is where Simplon started. Its headquarters are located in Montreuil and has been around since 2013. The training offered by the school lasts from a few months to several years. They offer 29 a total of courses classified into three types.

Available Courses

These are the courses offered at Simplon France:

Type of CourseDescription
Tech trainingThis includes courses on the following career paths:
– Administrator of secure infrastructures.
– Administer with the DevOps method – Specialization.
– Cybersecurity analysis – specialization.
– Application designer.
– Develop with the DevOps method – Specialization.
– Web and mobile web developer.
The DevOps method – Specialization.
– Connected objects – Specialization.
– Specialization – Data Analyst.
– Computer support technician.
– Senior systems and networks technician.
– Senior Systems and Networks Technician – Cybersecurity Analysis Specialization.
– Helpdesk technician.
Transversal trainingThis includes the following courses:
– Alphaclic – First digital basics.
– Artis – Digital culture and techniques.
– Crafts and digital tools – Digital culture.
– CléA Numérique – Digital Skills for Employment.
– Fundamental digital skills.
– Digital skills for employment.
– Hackers – Digital culture and techniques.
– Integrate digital accessibility to develop inclusive sites.
– Agile methods of project management and initiation.
– Welcode course.
– Purple school – Cybersecurity preparation.
Refugeeks.
– Create a website from WordPress.
Training in partnershipThis includes special courses taught in collaboration with major tech companies:
– Apple Foundation Program.
– Microsoft By Simplon AI School – Artificial Intelligence Developer.
– AWS re / Start program – Cloud training.
– Microsoft Cloud School By Simplon Path Administrator.ice Cloud.
– Microsoft Cloud School By Simplon Cloud Developer Path.

Simplon Belgium (BeCode)

Founded in 2017 by Karen Boers, Rodolphe Verhaegen and Laurent Hublet, BeCode is an NGO whose aim is to tackle the high demand for digital skills and a high unemployment rate. Exclusive partner of Simplon.co in Belgium, BeCode is active in 6 cities (Brussels, Charleroi, Genk, Liège, Antwerp and Ghent).

BeCode's target audience is mainly composed of school drop-outs, NEETS, long-term unemployed, etc. ​​​​​​​BeCode juniors are following intensive programmes in software development and data analysis / artificial intelligence. ​​​​​​​On average, BeCode has an 80% job placement outcome six months after training.

Available Courses

These are the courses offered at Simplon Belgium, a.k.a. BeCode:

CourseTechnology
Web developmentGit, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, NodeJS…
AI-bootcampPython, Git, big data libraries (Pandas, Numpy), Models for Machine / Deep learning.
DevSecOps & CybersecurityTerminal, secure programming, network infrastructure, virtualization, cloud, API management and much more.
SAP end-user or consultantYou will be actively immersed in the world of S / 4HANA and learn how this system supports digital transformation.

Simplon Romania

Simplon Romania was created by Roxana, a trainee from the first Simplon training course in Montreuil, in Cluj-Napoca, in 2014. This opening was the beginning of Simplon's international development! ​​​​​​​Simplon Romania first specialised in digital training for adults before developing a varied training offer for all age groups.

With more than 3,500 children and 500 adults initiated into digital technology, Simplon Romania's mission is to make digital training and skills accessible to all. ​​​​​​​Simplon Romania thus participates in the development of the Romanian educational landscape and digital economy.

Available Courses

These are the courses offered at Simplon Romania:

Starter (ages 6-7)Computer, Internet, Logical thinking
Robotics (ages 11-12)Electronics, Mechanics, Programming
Junior (ages 8-9)Google Apps, Email, The basics of programming
Web expert (ages 12-14)HTML, CSS, JavaScript
Ninja (ages 9-11)Programming on code.org, Programming in Scratch, Programming in AppInventor
Mobile expert (ages 12-14)Games, Design, Programming
Entrepreneurship & coding (adults)This program aims to provide students with the technical skills to start a new career or gain entrepreneurial skills. To empower people of all diversities with the new technology skills and opportunities, they need to build careers that create a better future for themselves, their communities and the world. Create local jobs for local people by providing technical talent training that leads directly to employment.

Simplon Spain

Located in Spain, Factoría F5 is the exclusive partner of Simplon in Spain. ​​​​​​​Created as a non-profit association, it opened its first coding school in Barcelona in early 2018 with 20 coders learning full stack web development. Two years later, Factoría F5 initiated a national network gathering of two other coding schools in Madrid and Bilbao, and soon a fourth school will open in Asturias.

​​​​​​​Factoría F5 plans to scale up its national network with 15 coding schools in Spain by 2024, creating alliances with major players of tech and social areas and cooperating at the European level. ​​​​​​​Simplon inclusive bootcamp model is a highly relevant answer to major social and economical issues in Spain. ​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​It is especially meaningful for assessing specific challenges such as youth unemployment and gender and accessibility gaps.

Available Courses

These are the courses offered at Simplon Spain:

CourseDescription
Full Stack Web DevelopmentIntensive Web Development Training in 6 months and free. Learn to create web pages and web applications with hands-on learning. Create an engaging and dynamic user experience (UX) using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. You also gain the skills to set up a development environment, introduce JavaScript programming, and collaborate on GitHub projects.

Candidates are selected solely on the basis of motivation, logic, autonomy and the ability to work as a team because they are the only important criteria for this training.
Front End DevelopmentThis training provides basic knowledge to awaken your interest in programming, development and knowledge of professional profiles in the digital sector. It will strengthen your cross-cutting competencies by learning from the most current tools of teamwork, face-to-face and remote with agile methodologies. You will discover the digital ecosystem of Barcelona and its developer community.

The formative dynamics and the technical content of the training will be focused on the development of a web application so that you can reach Front-End development skills, Back-End initiation and introduction to user experience design (UX / UI).

Simplon Switzerland (Réalise)

Founded in Geneva in 1984, Réalise has set up a training model based on professional practice for jobseekers with practical and soft skills but with few, if any, qualifications.

As a part of the requalification programme, Réalise trains around 450 people each year in the fields of logistics, gardening, outdoor maintenance, laundry, cleaning, industry, watchmaking and electro-mechanical assembly. In 2018, Réalise decided to join forces with Simplon to open its first factory in Geneva and launch its new digital training department. Since then, Réalise has trained 68 web/mobile software developers in the canton of Geneva.

Available Courses

These are the courses offered at Simplon Switzerland:

Digital TrainingIn partnership with Simplon.co, Réalise launches the first offer of Web Developer, a practical training, to develop in front and back end on concrete projects.
LogisticsStock Manager, Order picker, Storekeeper, Forklift operator, Warehouseman, Delivery driver
GardeningGardener helper, Landscaper
Exterior maintenanceRoad worker, Cantonnier, Ripper/garbage collector
LaundryLaundry employee, Linen, Ironer, Stewardship employee
CleaningBuilding manager, Concierge, Agent of property, Building cleaner
WatchmakingAssembler, Controller, Nesting machine, Sequential watch operator, Production operator

Student Outcomes & Success Rate

Outcome and success rate varies from country to country, from school to school and even from course to course. However, Simplon France accounts for 2/3 of the total number of Simplonians around the world.

These are some of Simplon's statistics based on the 2020 Social Impact Report:

FranceAbroadTotal
Total Simplonians graduated7,8623,61411,476
Currently enrolled Simplonians3,6852,3576,042

The average composition of the different cohorts was:

Job seekers78%
High School degree or less55%
Foreigners7%
Individuals with disabilities6%
People under 25 years old27%
People over 45 years old8%
Female trainees37%

Simplon France reports 52% employment within 6 months after graduation and 15% of Simplonians that continued their training in terms of positive outcomes.

The following companies have hired Simplon.co graduates:

AccentureAG2R La MondialeAgefos PMEAltranAppaloosa
AvanadeBanque PopulaireBNP paribasAlsace Lorraine ChampagneCaisse d'Epargne Rhône-Alpes
CapgeminiCGICellenzaClaranetCMA-CGM
Crédit Agricole (Regional banks )DevoteamDXC TechnologyExakis NeliteExpertime
GekkoGroupama Loire BretagneGroupe OpenLinagoraMetsys
Naval GroupNorsysNovel ConseilNumeriK'sOCTO Technology
OnepointOrangeOVHPocket ResultPôle Emploi

How To Apply To Simplon.co

Applying varies by country. The simplest way to find the specific information is to visit Simplon's main site and then navigate the country-specific site. You can reach the home page by clicking on the button below.

The following screenshot shows the application form for Simplon.com France.

Simplon.co User Reviews

Here are just a handful of verified Simplon.co reviews from a few of their members:

“In less than a year, I learned to code and build professional relationships. BeCode gives you the environment and everything you need to challenge yourself and move forward. My coaches have been great with me and I thank them for their patience and everything they have taught me. I recommend BeCode to anyone who is motivated and wants to change their life and aim for the moon, just give it a 100% shot and you will see… ” — Farid Hammouten.

“A few months ago, I never thought it would be possible for me to achieve all of this, especially in such a short time.” — Vincent.

How To Contact Simplon.co

In the following table, you'll find the most important contact info so you can get in touch with Simplon.co in order to learn more, ask any questions you may have or sign up.

PhoneN/A
Email[email protected]
Social Media
Apply Now button
Mailing Address55 Rue De Vincennes 93100 Montreuil

In Summary

Simplon.co is a network of socially-driven tech schools that offers free and intensive training in basic digital skills and in digital professions in high demand. They seek to improve the lives of others by teaching them relevant skills in tech and by fighting gender inequality in the tech industry.

Simplon also focuses on teaching kids the skills they’ll need to succeed in the present and future job market in a fun and intuitive way. With over 10,000 people trained, out of which 6,700 have either found a job in the tech industry or have continued their education, it's clear that they are on track to achieving their goal.

This is one of the biggest and most widespread networks of schools in the tech sector. Most of the schools don’t require students to have any experience in coding or in any tech-related industry, but others do. So, whether you’re a refugee looking to improve your living conditions, a woman looking for an empowering job in the tech industry or a kid who wants to code their own games but lacks the resources to do so, Simplon will definitely be able to help.

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