Zip Code Wilmington Review: An Amazing Non-Profit Coding Bootcamp

April 28, 2021
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Zip Code Wilmington is a nonprofit, employer-led, full-time coding bootcamp with a unique business model that promises to turn every day, motivated people from diverse backgrounds into skilled, professional software developers in 12 weeks. It is an in-person school located in Wilmington, Delaware and it focuses primarily on Java and JavaScript.

This is a very intense, immersive bootcamp that teaches everything in the Oracle Certified Professional, Java SE 7 Programmer certification. Besides great coding skills, students can expect to leave with working knowledge of tackling real-world problems like the ones they’ll face once hired.

One of the biggest drawbacks of the program is the fact that they do not offer payment plans as most other courses do. They do, however, offer scholarships for those with low incomes. Additionally, Zip Code has over 12 corporate partners that hire graduates and pay off half of their tuition after receiving 26 full weeks of work.

With all that said, Zip Code Wilmington is a great choice for learning Java and Data engineering, with very high standards, and with the real possibility of landing your first job in less than three months.

Zip Code Wilmington is a nonprofit, in-person, employer-led, full-time coding bootcamp that teaches students to code in Java and related languages to prepare them for entry-level jobs in the corporate world. They work with fortune 500 companies like JPMorgan and Bank of America to design highly a relevant curriculum that is perfectly aligned with the needs of employers all around the world.

This is a single immersive, full-time commitment that is only suited for those that can put in the time and the effort to go through to the end. Even though it is considered a very hard course because of all the material that is covered in such a short amount of time, they have an excellent graduation rate that reached 100% in 2020.

It’s a hard program to get into and even though you can apply without any prior coding experience, the long application process requires you to step up and get the basics out of the way before you get started.

Who Is It For?

This course is designed for highly motivated people who already have an interest in coding and who have enough time and the will to put in close to 100 hours of work every week. It’s mainly targeted to people with prior coding experience, but you can still apply even if you’ve never coded before, provided you plan to take the time during the application process to cover as many free online coding courses as you can.

This course is designed by corporate leaders to train those who want to work as software developers in the corporate world. The only requirements are that you are 18+ years old and have at least a high school diploma or GED and be able to legally work without sponsorship in the United States. Accepted students must also complete a criminal background check.

You won’t need a computer, as the course provides laptops to all of its students during the 12 weeks’ duration of the course.

Features & Benefits

Well-Aligned Incentives

Being a nonprofit should tell you enough about the values behind Zip Code Wilmington. They're not here to make money from you, but to help you become the best and most successful software developer you can be.

High Earning Potential

Most students (over 60%) that go through the whole 12-week bootcamp and complete it successfully end up getting a job as a software developer or data engineer within the following 6 to 12 months. When compared to their previous jobs, they make, on average, almost 3X what they were making before they got into Zip Code Wilmington.

To put it in numbers, the average salary of students from the 2019-2020 cohort before ZCW was $26,700. After graduating from the 12-week course and landing a job, the new average income was $74,673 annually. That’s almost triple the initial salary, and things have gotten even better since 2020.

According to one of the company’s founders, the average salary of the more recent graduates is close to $85,000.

Access To An Employer Network From Day 1

One of the key benefits of choosing Zip Code Wilmington as your coding bootcamp is that it has partnerships with more than a dozen companies that constantly hire software developers. These employers play an active role in the design of the curriculum to ensure that students will come out knowing exactly what the employers need, making them relevant candidates for key positions.

But that’s not where their involvement ends. Employers are also involved in the training itself from the get-go. During the entire 12 weeks of the program, tech representatives from all partner companies will come by and give lectures that give students an inside look at the real problems they’ll be solving in the real world. They’ll also get to meet human resource managers from those companies, which will make it easier to land a job after graduation.

This immediate access to an employer network right from the start is one of the reasons why so many graduates are able to launch a successful software development career in record time.

In-Person Instruction

This is an in-person course located in Wilmington, Delaware. Even though online and virtual courses are practical, especially for those who are far away or who have a complicated schedule, there’s nothing quite like in-person instruction.

In-person classes generally lead to a deeper understanding of course material. You also develop a bond with your instructors and fellow students, and you have direct access to other peers, mentors and tutors who can help you out of a tight coding situation if you ever need it. It’s also easier to keep motivated if you feel like you’re a part of a group of like-minded individuals.

Job Search Assistance

As mentioned before, Zip Code connects its students with a group of partner companies from different industries, all of which are looking to hire new talent in software development. Landing a job is entirely dependent on your performance and skills, but Zip Code Wilmington will provide you with all the career skills you need to succeed during the entire 12 weeks. These include, among others:

  • Resume writing
  • Managing social media/LinkedIn profiles
  • Networking skills
  • Interview prep

You’ll not only get the theory, but you’ll also get to put these skills into practice precisely with representatives from the companies that will later interview you once you graduate.

In the unforeseen case that you don’t manage to get a job directly with any of the partner companies, they will continue assisting you with your job search as long as you stay in touch. That means helping you network and helping you set up interviews.

Free Material

Zip Code Wilmington offers plenty of free tutorials that are aimed primarily at helping newbies get the tools they need to succeed during the application process, which is intense. This material includes books, online tutorials and videos such as:

  • Programming in JavaScript: This book’s aim is to provide you with the most basic of fundamentals regarding JavaScript, the world’s most popular programming language. It comes from the preparation sessions we often give prospective Zip Code applicants on how to do well on the Zip Code application coding assessment.
  • Introduction to JavaScript: Use this tutorial to learn programming fundamentals and basic object-oriented concepts using the latest JavaScript syntax. The concepts covered in these lessons lay the foundation for using JavaScript in any environment.
  • 10 Days of JavaScript: Learn the basics of JavaScript on the HackerRank platform.
  • Arithmetic properties: Arithmetic properties. Multiplication and addition have specific arithmetic properties which characterize those operations. In no specific order, they are the commutative, associative, distributive, identity and inverse properties.
  • Equations, expressions, and inequalities: Equations and inequalities are both mathematical sentences formed by relating two expressions to each other. In an equation the two expressions are deemed equal which is shown by the symbol =.
  • Algebra foundations: Use this tutorial to learn programming fundamentals and basic object-oriented concepts using the latest JavaScript syntax.
  • Solving equations: Use this tutorial to learn programming fundamentals and basic object-oriented concepts using the latest JavaScript syntax.

It also offers coding events free of charge like meetups:

  • Zip Code Wilmington Meetup: a community of beginner and professional software developers dedicated to improving our craft, learning, teaching, and growing the development community in Wilmington. Veterans, newbies and those exploring a career in software development are welcome.
  • Open Data Delaware: Open Data Delaware is a group of people interested in exploring how we can interact with data to make positive changes for local Delaware communities. It doesn’t matter how much experience you have, all you need is a willingness to learn and a desire to help your community. We’ll meet regularly to work on projects and build community together.
  • Girl Develop It Wilmington: Girl Develop It is a nonprofit organization that exists to provide affordable and accessible programs to women (18+) who want to learn software and web development through in-person, hands-on instruction.
  • Delaware Tech Meetup: Delaware Tech Meetup is a monthly gathering where companies at any stage can demo new ideas, passionate thinkers and doers lead discussions about various technology-related topics, and people connect to move ideas forward.

Zip Code Wilmington Coding Bootcamp – The Course

This is a single 12-week coding bootcamp where you will learn the ins and outs of software development and data engineering. You’ll also receive special training with an additional focus on professional development. The first is accomplished by providing two separate, yet concurrent modules or classes:

  • Java
  • Data Engineering & Analytics

The second is provided by two weekly lectures given by guest speakers from any of Zip Code’s list of partner companies.

This course teaches all the concepts covered in the Oracle Certified Professional, Java SE 7 Programmer certification.

Here’s a summary of the most important information about this bootcamp:

LocationDowntown Wilmington, Delaware
Class Size15-30 for Java Classes 10-15 for Data Engineering Classes
Start DatesThere are 3 cohorts per year, respectively on February, on June and on October.
Time CommitmentFull Time Monday to Friday – 9 am to 5 pm.
Course Length12 weeks

Let’s break these two modules down to show you what you will learn in each:

Zip Code Wilmington Java Bootcamp

Zip Code Wilmington has its main focus on Java and JavaScript, since those are the two most widely used coding languages in the business world.

Skills You Will Learn

The Basics of Computational Thinking
Computer Math
Hardware: Storage, Memory, Servers
Object-Oriented Programming
Tools in the Toolbox
Spring Boot
Apache Spark
Real World
Overview of Software Development at a Typical Corporation
Code Reviews
Project Planning
Requirements Gathering
Release Management
Version Control

Coding Languages You Will Learn

  • Java (Primary Focus): this is a system for developing application software and distributing it in a cross-platform computing environment.
  • TypeScript: is an open-source language which builds on JavaScript, one of the world's most used tools, by adding static type definitions.
  • JavaScript: is 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.

Zip Code Wilmington Data Engineering & Analytics

Besides coding in Java, today’s software developers need a good grasp on managing and working with data and different data structures. The Data Engineering & Analytics module will help you achieve those goals.

Skills You Will Learn

Basics of Data Engineering
Extract, Transform and Load
Data ingestion, processing and access
Exploratory Data Analysis
Data pipelines
Jupiter Notebooks
Numpy, Scipy
Apache Spark
Apache Airflow
Orc, Parquet
AWS/Redshift, Azure

Coding Languages You Will Learn

  • Python: free software environment and programming language for statistical computing and graphics supported by the R Foundation for Statistical Computing.
  • R: free software environment and programming language for statistical computing and graphics supported by the R Foundation for Statistical Computing.
  • SQL: domain-specific programming language designed for managing data held in a relational database management system or for stream processing in a relational data stream management system.

A typical day for a Zip Code Wilmington Student

Zip Code is the epitome of an immersive coding bootcamp. We’d be lying if we told you this is a laid-back course where you can go at your own pace. Most graduates agree that the course is intense, strenuous and, at times, more difficult than expected, but the payoff is well worth it. After all, you’re building an entire career in just 3 months, so you can’t expect it to be easy.

A typical day in a student’s life during these 12 weeks would look something like this:

  • Show up to class every day during weekdays. Class hours are Monday through Friday, from 9 am to 5 pm.
  • Additionally, there are will be guest speakers from corporate partners giving lectures and presentations twice a week at 8:00 a.m., so you’ll need to come earlier those days.
  • Besides the normal mandatory in-person lessons, there are also occasional required evening events which students must attend for networking.

Apart from the in-class work, students must also complete labs, reading assignments, group projects and other work outside of class hours. As a matter of fact, it is an open secret that, to be truly successful, students should be able to put in around 100 hours of work a week. That means being prepared to work both evenings and weekends in order to not fall behind.

Costs & Payment Plans

The program has a total cost of $12,000, of which you only pay half ($6,000) upfront. How and when you pay the remaining $6,000 will depend on whether or not you manage to land a job in one of the partner companies upon graduation.

Before we go into the details, it’s important to note that Zip Code Wilmington does not offer any kind of traditional payment plan. In other words, they don’t offer an ISA or an FSA. However, the way that the second half of the tuition is paid is reminiscent of some sort of payment plan. Here’s how it works:

  • If you manage to land a job (contract or permanently hired) in one of the partner employer companies that work alongside Zip Code, then your tuition will be paid in full after 26 weeks. No matter what the modality, if a partner hires you or offers a contract, the contract will last a minimum of 26 weeks, and the corporate partner will pay those $6,000 after you’ve worked 26 full weeks with them.
  • If you don’t get a job with a corporate partner, then you’ll have to pay the second half of your tuition as soon as you land your first job as a software developer.

On the other hand, they do offer financial aid for those who need it. They offer two types of scholarships as well as living stipends.

Need-based Scholarships

Zip Code offers financial aid for the initial $6,000. In order to qualify for the scholarship, you need to prove that your household earns less than 200% of the national poverty level.

Military Scholarships

Active, reservist or veteran military personnel, as well as their spouses are eligible for special military scholarships from Interdigital which cover the full tuition.

Living Stipends

BlackRock partnered with Zip Code to provide monthly stipends to a limited number of qualified students who are living at or below 200% of the national poverty level. If that’s your case, you may apply for financial assistance once you’ve been accepted into the program.

Job Placement & Career Support

One of the key features of Zip Code Wilmington is what they call their “laser focus” on their students’ careers and on getting them jobs. Students will work on professional development throughout the entire 12-week course. Some of the related skills Zip Code teaches are:

  • Resume writing
  • Managing social media/LinkedIn profiles
  • Networking skills
  • Interview prep

After the 12-week course, students are guaranteed to get scheduled interviews with partner companies, some of which are among the biggest companies in the United States. For students that don’t get placed with one of the corporate partners, Zip Code continues to provide job placement assistance to help them find paid employment.

Zip Code Wilmington’s Employer Network

Zip Code Wilmington’s employer network is involved in every aspect of students’ education. They help Zip Code create their curriculum, network with students like you and give tech talks multiple mornings every week. That means that you’ll actually get to meet the same people that will be interviewing you once you graduate.

Connecting you with Zip Code’s partners from day one helps you foster relationships with hiring managers. That means you’ll be more than comfortable when it comes time to interview, and they’ll already know you and have insight into your own background, so you’ll be more than just a name on a resume. This increases your chances of being hired and gives you a broad professional network for your entire career in software development.

Job Guarantee

Zip Code Wilmington’s strategy to help students is straight forward and effective. They partnered with big companies who guarantee graduate students a position that will last at least until students have paid their tuition in full.

After a successful interview, corporate partners will offer candidates one of two types of contracts or roles:

  • Direct Hire roles, which basically means you are hired for a fixed position within the company.
  • Contract roles, which are paid, full-time positions that are intended to last at least 26 weeks.

The point is that your tuition repayment is fulfilled after 26 workweeks. In other words, if they offer you a job or a contract, you’ll be sure to be able to pay off your debt by the time the contract ends.

Corporate partners oftentimes hire contractors with the intent to keep them on after the contract has ended, so, if you perform well during your job, partner companies will generally renew your contract or offer hire you for a permanent position.

Earning Potential And Student Outcomes

Zip Code Wilmington has a fairly good job placement rate and an impeccable graduation rate. The latter has been steadily increasing the for the last 5 years. Starting at 89% in the 2015-2017 cohort, the last audited outcomes report of the 2019-2020 cohorts shows that 100% of its students graduated, successfully finishing the course.

Of those graduates, 53% had already landed a tech job as software developers within the first 6 months, and over 61% had done the same by the end of the year. That meant landing jobs either with one of Zip Code Wilmington’s hiring partners, or in other companies, some of which are fortune 500.

Zip Code Wilmington success rate

According to the same outcome report for Zip Code Wilmington, the average annual income of their graduate students from the 2019-2020 cohorts tripled once they landed their first job, which as mentioned, was usually within the first 6 months. The average earning of students before going through the program was a little under $27,000 per year, and after graduation, once they secured their first job, the average annual income jumped to almost $75,000. That’s almost three times the original salary!

Zip Code Wilmington average annual earnings

These statistics correspond to the 2019-2020 cohorts which were comprised of 58 students. Of the group:

  • Only 9 students made less than $60,000 after the bootcamp
  • 47 students earned between $70,000 and $90,000 per year
  • 2 graduates landed jobs that payed over $90,000.

And that’s for the 2019-2020 cohorts. Flash forward a year later and those statistics become even better, as the entire world economy starts looking for coders everywhere to help transition to remote work environments and companies have a need for software developers like never before. According to Ben duPont, in 2020 Zip Code Wilmington’s intensive 90 day coding bootcamp placed more than 93% of its graduates in jobs averaging 3X their previous salary, averaging $85,000.

What Companies Hire Graduates?

Zip Code Wilmington partners

Zip Code Wilmington partners with several companies who work with students and provide networking to make it easier to find a job after they graduate. As of writing this post, the count more than 20 partners who hire graduates, which are:

Bank of AmericaBlackRockM&T Bank
Comcast NBCUniversalJPMorgan ChaseSEI
Capital OneTD BankWSFS Bank
Chatham FinancialDiamond TechnologiesGuru
Marlette FundingBarclaycardCorporation Service Company (CSC)
Kistler Tiffany BenefitsUniversity of DelawareAstraZeneca
USLIEpic ResearchWilmington Trust

How To Apply

Applying to Zip Code Wilmington is a multi-step process that typically takes 8-12 weeks from submitting your application to acceptance decision. It is generally recommended that you practice some basic coding skills from free online sources to prepare for the admissions assessment. The more time you spend learning the basics, the better you will do throughout the application process. Plus, it will help you confirm that software development is the right choice for you.

Step 1: Apply!

Get started by clicking the button below. It’s as simple as that.

Step 2: Pre-Assessment Work

Every applicant is required to take an online assessment as part of the application process. We will provide you with online resources designed to help you prepare for the assessment.

Step 3: Assessment

Take the online assessment, which is approximately 200 minutes and must be completed in one sitting. Be sure to use the provided resources to prepare for the assessment. You must meet a benchmark score to move forward in the application process. Applicants may only take the assessment once per application cycle.

Step 4: Group Interview

If you successfully meet our benchmark, you will be contacted to schedule your group interview. During the 45-minute interview, you will be participating with 3-4 other applicants in group activities.

Step 5: Final Interviews

If you are selected to move forward, you will be contacted to schedule one-on-one professional and whiteboard tech interviews with our Executive Director and Director of Education, respectively.

Final Step: Admissions Decision

The Admissions Manager will contact applicants who have completed final interviews with a decision.

Tips To Get Accepted

Zip Code Wilmington has anywhere from 100 to 400 applicants per course at any given time, and they have an acceptance rate of around 12%. If you want to be a part of that small group of applicants that get accepted, you might want to keep in mind the following tips:

Tip 1: Go over their free resources.

Before or after you submit your initial application, you want to start getting the basics down. That means starting to learn a bit of basic coding and other things as well. To get there, Zip Code Wilmington offers a series of free online resources that will get you on your way, so make sure to check them out.

Tip 2: Brush up on your math skills.

Using math helps with logical thinking and it’s a tool that you’ll definitely be using if you plan to code. You don’t need to be a math genius, but it’s good to brush up on concepts such as averages, means, sums, powers and squares since these are helpful when solving complex coding problems.

Tip 3: Update your research skills.

Many solutions to complex problems can be found online. Make sure to update the way you do research online, since it will help you find those solutions faster if you ever get stuck on a problem.

Tip 4: Practice explaining problems and solutions.

During the interview process, you’re likely going to be asked how you would solve a particular problem. Knowing how to solve it is one thing, but that’s useless if you can’t articulate the words to explain the solution during the interview, so make sure to practice a lot by explaining riddles out loud, in front of a mirror or by recording yourself with your phone or webcam.

Tip 5: Don’t try to ace the assessment.

Don’t focus on getting everything done, take your time and work through each problem. It’s better to solve one problem correctly than to rush through three of them and get them wrong.

Zip Code Wilmington Reviews

“In addition to being much less expensive than even online-only bootcamps, the experience beyond coding (professional development, connections with partners and access to first-round interviews, many mock interviews, lots of group coding experience, etc.) is worth so much more than the cost.”Josh Gates

“What makes Zip Code Wilmington different? It's there for you, the student. My time at ZCW was the hardest and best experience of my life. It allowed me to push myself harder than I have before and turn a passion into a career.”Trinh Tong

“When they said this is a hard program and you will work 100 hours a week, they are not joking. It's very challenging but it's all worth it in the end. During this program, you will learn a lot of practical skills that you can apply on the job, which you might not even get that experience by going through a 4-year college.”Lina Zhang

“When I found Zip Code, I thought it was too good to be true. A bootcamp that actually cares about your success and not your money. Zip Code makes it a point that you will learn programming tailored towards what the current job market wants as opposed to typical “book-learning.””Y. M. Zan C.

“Zip Code was a hard and intense program, but for where I am now and the new friends I made, it was well worth it! The course is designed with corporate partners in mind, they are 100% career oriented (they will not stop connecting you with job openings as long as you stay committed with them!) and the teachers are supportive, fun, and masters at what they do.”Gabriela Lisboa

“ZCW teaches the fundamentals of programming clean, testable code in several technologies including Java and JS, with introduction and exposure to frameworks like Angular, and middle-tier development with Spring. Simply put, this was the only bootcamp I could find online that focused on Java and gave a solid foundation of Spring. Why is it important? Most employers are looking for experience in both! My only comment for improvement? More labs!”Mark Brown, Ph.D.

“…each student is actually given access to not one, but a great number of both school alumni and industry leaders. The team at Zip Code does an incredible job of maintaining contact with their alumni. I really feel like part of a family here.” Chris Kim

Alumni Stories

In case those reviews haven’t convinced you, here are a few quick stories about Zip Code Wilmington members — the sort of people you’ll be rubbing shoulders with once you enter the program.

Before Zip Code WilmingtonAfter Zip Code WilmingtonDo They Recommend Zip Code Wilmington?
Min, a former aerospace engineering grad, realized that the hardware side of things just wasn’t for him and decided that his passion for learning was yet to be fulfilled.After switching careers and joining Zip Code Wilmington, Min found his true calling in software development. He has had a fruitful career touching base on Chatham Financial, OpenForge and Guru, and today he works as a Frontend Software Engineer at White Ops.“I can finally actually harness my own imagination, which I’ve never been able to do… I decided to go with it because I realized they’re a non-profit and I appreciated that.”
James Kocher used to be a Sales and Distribution Associate for a company named Rukket LLC. He used to sell sporting good equipment to distributors, little leaguesNow, James is a Data Analyst at WSFS Bank, all of it thanks to the data analysis skills he got at Zip Code Wilmington.“Being the “Excel guy” in the office, I decided to take my skills to the next level and become the “data guy” when I enrolled in Zip Code Wilmington’s first ever Data Engineering cohort. Since then, I have been sharpening my skills in Python and MySQL…”
Tyrell started out as a warehouse worker. He started out, as many of our students do, stuck in a job without much opportunity, and he wanted to make a change to pursue a career. Tyrell realized that as a software developer his options would be endless and his talents would always be in demand.After attending Zip Code Wilmington, Tyrell got a job at Comcast as a software developer. There, he developed web applications for Comcast's internal use. Today, he is working alongside the State of Delaware in a non-profit called Innovation and Outreach,“I went from a warehouse worker to a software developer for a Fortune 500 company. You can’t get much better than that.”
Marzuwq is an entrepreneur at heart. Prior to joining Zip Code, he developed a strong understanding of hardware by running a freelance computer repair service. Like many technologists, Marzuwq was inspired by computer software when he was really young, but never pursued an opportunity to get into the field.After 12 weeks of learning, building and debugging at Zip Code, Marzuwq transformed that initial inspiration into a professional job as a software developer for Bank of America. Today, he works as a Java Software Engineer at JPMorgan Chase & Co.“My ultimate goal was to start a game design studio… I heard about Zip Code on a council meeting, then I saw the ad online, and I knew that I had to be a part of it.”
Katie studied computer and network security at Wilmington University while working as a pharmacist. When she developed a fascination with software, Katie wanted a program that could quickly and efficiently give her the skills she needed to become a developer.She found Zip Code Wilmington and joined as a student developer. Now, after 12 weeks of lectures, labs and code commits, Katie is a professional software developer.“The appeal of the program to me was that it was something that was short and you can get it done in three months and then they connect you with employers who are hiring.”
Tenny graduated with a degree in Psychology from Temple University and worked as an office manager in an auto finance office before joining Zip Code. Now, after 12 challenging weeks, Tenny is writing code for Marlette Funding as a professional software developer. What helped get Tenny through our rigorous program? She’s a fast learner, creative thinker, and always rises to a challenge.“One of the things that brought me to Zip Code was that I was reading a lot about the tech community and there weren’t a lot of women involved so I wanted to fix that myself by becoming involved.”

In Summary

Zip Code Wilmington is a coding school that meets the highest standards. The lucky few that make it into the program will sure have their work cut out for them, but after the effort will surely come great reward.

This is an intense course that covers an impressive amount of material and topics in a very short amount of time, so it’s not one for the laid-back types. The curriculum is designed alongside with corporate partners who know exactly what skills they’re looking for in their workforce, which makes it a lot easier to land a job once you graduate.

This in-person, immersive coding bootcamp located in Wilmington, Delaware will be a life changer for anyone that goes through it all the way, so why don’t you apply today and see where it takes you.

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