In the distant past, if you wanted to learn a trade, you'd join a guild. It wasn't theoretical, it was experiential. Young apprentices would work under proven masters, each generation investing in and giving back to the one that followed. Guilds not only kept their crafts alive, they formed a society of mutual help and companionship.
We are a learning community with a mission of making pathways to tech jobs more accessible. We do this by seeking out and investing in high potential, aspiring web developers from all backgrounds. We invest time, money and resources in people who we believe will succeed in a rigorous, accelerated learning environment and develop the skills and mindsets needed to be ready for a career in web development by the end of their time at the Guild. As our Learners succeed, we also succeed, enabling our community to invest in future generations.
We know it's unusual, but most people who join the Guild pay nothing up front. In fact, most of our Learners actually receive a monthly living allowance during their time at the Guild. (Read more about the living allowance below.)
People who want to can pay the upfront price of $29,750 for the program, but most of our Learners opt to pay for their time at the Guild through an Income Sharing Agreement (ISA), where they contribute up to 12.5% of their post-Guild salary (up to 21% if they received the maximum living stipend) for 36 months of employment when they are making over $50K. A typical starting salary for a junior web developer can be between $75K to $95K per year.
It depends. Because the ISA is tied to a percentage of a Learner’s income, the total amount any single Learner will pay for the program varies depending on their salary. Like many investors, the Learners Guild community takes a portfolio approach, knowing that some Learners will pay more for their time at the Guild and some will pay less - the key here is that the amount any Learner pays is proportional to their financial success. This investment approach is how we can make the program financially accessible to everyone.
We’re betting on you and your ability to reach your potential, so much so that we only get paid if you succeed. Specifically, we get paid when (and only when) you’re making $50K ($4,166.67 per month) or more after your time at the Guild.
In general terms, an Income Sharing Agreement (ISA) is a contractual agreement enabling an individual to receive funding in exchange for an agreed upon percentage of post-program income over a defined number of years. At Learners Guild we offer 2 ISAs, one that covers the program fees and another that covers the living allowance. Both are optional.
Individual funding amounts vary depending on whether a Learner elects to enter into an Tuition ISA and/or the Living Allowance ISA. The Tuition ISA funds the Learner's entire tuition cost and requires an income share of up to 12.5% for three(3) years upon program completion. The Living Allowance ISA allows the Learner to receive up to $1,500 month ($692.30 every two weeks) and is meant to offset cost of living expenses during the program in exchange for up to 8.5% of income for three (3) years.
Yes, really. The optional monthly living allowance is intended to help defray your cost of living while you're at Learners Guild. As much as possible, we want you to focus on learning, not earning while you immerse yourself at the Guild.
You can elect to enter into a Living Allowance ISA for up to $692.30 every two weeks, but it is totally optional and you can take less if you don’t need the full amount. You can expect to receive 20 stipend disbursements if you stay at the Guild for the full 40 weeks. The first disbursement is made on your second Friday in the program, and the last disbursement is typically made on the second to last, or last Friday in the program.
The amount of payment is based on income, so if a Learner commits to an ISA and earns a high income after graduation they may pay more than they would have if they had paid for the $29,750 in program fees upfront, had obtained the living allowance amounts from another source, or had obtained conventional debt for either the program fees or the living allowance. However, the ISAs cap the total amount to be paid, so no student will ever pay more than the agreed upon amount.
The Learners Guild ISAs offer our Learners an alternative to covering program fees and living expenses with educational loans.
Traditional student loans create substantial risks solely for the borrower, as lenders require repayment irrespective of the borrower’s outcomes. Unlike student loan debt, Guild ISA repayments adjust according to your post-program income: they're subject to a minimum income threshold of $50,000 (as in, if our Learners don't make $50,000 or more, they don't pay a thing) and a maximum repayment cap equal to two (2) times the amount funded. In our ISA model, we take on the risk with you by investing in your potential, and only get paid when you get paid.
No. The ISA possesses no interest rate, which is another distinguishing feature from student loans. The amount you are required to pay only grows if your income grows, but the income share percentage for an ISA does not change during the payment term.
ISAs are among many options that are available for funding, including whether to pay the program fees upfront. Learners should research which options work best for their individual situations.
Gross pay. Before taxes.
Yes. The percentage is fixed over the payment period, which is 36 months. The terms of the ISA remain the same, regardless of whether your salary goes up or down.
A Learner's decision about whether to accept the living allowance, whether to pay the program fees upfront, or whether to finance all or a part of their living expenses or the program fees should include an assessment of all of the options available based on their individual financial situation. Learners Guild encourages all Learners to consult with trusted advisors and consider how an ISA compares to other financing options.
All admitted Learners are eligible for an ISA.
If you’re offered a spot at the Guild you’ll have an opportunity to indicate whether you’d like to receive one or both of the ISA stipends at the time you sign your contracts.
It is recommended that interested Learners discuss ISAs with a financial advisor, parents and/or guardians before deciding if an ISA is a possible funding solution for them. If you would like to get advice from a financial adviser but don't know where to start, we recommend Googling pro bono financial advisors in your area.
The term length and percentage are set to be competitive with current consumer finance options. Depending on the Learner’s post-program income, the amount paid back on the ISA may be either lower or higher than the funding amount for the Learner.
Learners are afforded a three-month grace period after they complete or withdraw from the Guild before payments are required.
An ISA recipient is required to pay the agreed upon percentage of post-program income for the prescribed term of the contract. After making successful payments over that term, no additional payments are required even if they have paid less than the amount of funding they received.
The short answer to this question is no, you can’t pay off your ISAs early because you are not borrowing from Learners Guild; the ISA funding you receive is an investment and your repayment is our return on that investment. Learners Guild is making an investment in you in exchange for a share of your income for a specific period of time (36-months). There is a limit on your payments, so if you reach the payment cap during your payback period your obligation is complete, but there is no benefit to paying towards that cap early.
If while you are in your payback period, you are not making the equivalent of $50,000 ($4,167 on a monthly basis) or more in gross income, your ISA can be placed in deferment. This means you won’t make payments on your ISA and your payback period will be paused until you are making $50,000 ($4,167 on a monthly basis) or more. This covers cases where people may be job searching, or not actively in the workforce due to other circumstances.
Depending on how much stipend you chose, your commitment is to make payments on your ISAs ranging from 12.5% to 21% of your gross salary for 36-months, if you make $50,000 or more. It is important that you strive to live up to this commitment because our model is based on the bet that payments from our successful Learners will provide the money needed to finance the next generation of Learners. We believe in paying it forward and hope that after your experience at the Guild, you will too.
We actually get this question a lot - and we’re glad you’re asking. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. So here are some common reasons it may seem that way, and our response:
In order to be admitted to Learners Guild, applicants must meet all of the requirements listed.
Beyond a desire to become a web developer, we look for baseline proficiency in both technical and social-emotional aptitude. It is important to understand that Learners Guild is not designed to support persons who are exploring programming for the first time; we are a learning community that works best for advanced beginners.
If you are just starting to explore programming, you can take advantage of the many freely available resources for beginners.
Learners Guild is a full time commitment. We all agree to be onsite from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Monday through Friday. Learners who want to put in a few more hours have the option to arrive as early as 7am and stay as late at 10pm, or come in on the weekends. Of course want you to make the most of your time at the Guild, but we also believe it is important to live a balanced life.
We take one week off for the winter holiday season/new year's, and another week off during the summer. If your time at the Guild crosses over any of these weeks you will have time off, otherwise we expect you not to take vacations during your 40 weeks.
We have a great office space in downtown Oakland, centrally located and accessible by public transportation.
Yes. You're welcome to use your own laptop, as long as it's a Mac. Everyone at Learners Guild uses Mac computers, so it will be easier for you to collaborate with your team, and get support with your computer should something go wrong, if you are all using the same platform.
It’s in our best interest to see you thrive -- after all, if you don't succeed, we don't either. As a result, we’re very careful to choose applicants who demonstrate a serious commitment to the program and the process.
However if you opt out, you will still be contractually obligated to repay both your Tuition and Living Allowance ISAs, which will be prorated based on your time at the Guild (details on prorating are set forth in the Enrollment Agreement). On a case-by-case basis, we may pause a Learner's participation in the program and allow them to return, but only under extenuating circumstances and at the discretion of Learners Guild staff.
If you leave the program during the first 5 weeks, the Tuition and Living Allowance ISAs will be cancelled and you will not owe any amounts to Learners Guild. If you leave the program after the first 5 weeks, the terms in the question above apply, and your ISAs repayments will be prorated according to your time spent at Learners Guild.
If you elect to attend school after your time in the Learners Guild program (in lieu of working), your ISA will be paused (similar to in-school deferment) and not be in payment status for up to an additional 7 years. Your ISA payment term will be extended by the amount of time you are in school.
If you voluntarily leave the workforce, your ISA will be paused, that is, not in repayment status, for up to 7 years. At the end of this term, or when you reenter the workforce, whichever comes first, your ISA repayment term will be reactivated with the original income share percentage, maximum payment cap, and 36 month payment period in tact.
Our learning model combines solid fundamentals training in a group setting with self-directed, project-based learning. We’ve structured the program into five consecutive phases beginning with module based assignments that grow in complexity and prepare you to contribute, in a team, to real-world Open Source Software and Guild projects with large code bases toward the end of the program. Along the way, our learning model will prompt you to learn how you learn. Being a web developer isn’t just about what you know, it’s about what you can figure out. So learning how to be a lifelong learner is key to your success.
The principles of cognitive apprenticeship are central to the Guild’s design and provide a framework for effective skills training. It assumes that people learn from one another, through observation, imitation and modeling. Many of our learning supports feature forms of apprenticeship where Learners are not only supported by senior engineers, but also skill share with, and learn from each other, in turn, passing their skills and knowledge on to newer Learners. Learners Guild is a peer-to-peer learning environment supported by seasoned engineers, making everyone both a student and a teacher.
At Learners Guild, technical development is divided into sequentially ordered learning phases that build on each other as you progress through the program. Each Phase is an eight (8) week period of time in which Learners tackle a new a set of web development skills, put skills into practice or are working on getting hired. Upon enrollment, all Learners begin in Phase 1, also referred to as Foundations 1, and then interview into subsequent phases.
The Phases are as follows:
But because technology changes so quickly, knowing information isn’t enough. It doesn’t take long for today’s right answers to be obsolete tomorrow. To prepare you, we focus not only on what you learn, but how you learn it, developing meta-learning and problem-solving skills. You will learn the habits of the mind of an engineer. You will learn how to build products with a team. You will learn how to evaluate your own skills and choose appropriate challenges to help you advance them. You will learn how to mentor other Learners, not just because it's a good thing to do, but also because the best way to solidify your knowledge is to teach others what you know. Your ability to continue growing and refining your craft will set you up for sustained success as a web developer; Learners Guild graduates are lifelong Learners.
No, you won't be graded. Instead of using grades to track Learner progress, we simulate an aspect of the interview process Learners will later encounter on the job market. We require Learners to participate in a coding challenge and technical comprehension interview to advance from one phase to another, called Phase Interviews. These coding challenges and comprehension interviews create scaffolds that better prepare Learners for the real interview process better than a grade ever could.
The coding challenge simulates a skill-level appropriate “take home challenge” that is often given in tech job hiring process, and gives Learners an opportunity to demonstrate skills gained in the phase they are working on, and readiness to begin the next phase. Depending on the phase a Learner is interviewing into, the coding challenge may require them to complete exercises, build a small app, or build a full-stack application.
The technical comprehension interview is a 1-on-1 conversation with one of our expert software practitioners, designed to evaluate Learner's understanding of the solutions they came up with on the coding challenge. Each Learner will meet with an interviewer via video chat for about 30 minutes to dig in to various parts of their submitted code.
We don't. The power of our model is in the real-time, face-to-face interactions you'll have with people every day. Research shows that immersion in a live group context accelerates learning. You will learn more, you will learn faster, and your conceptual understanding will be deeper.
No. While it’s possible to cover the basics in a shorter course, our goal is to have you walk out with a much deeper skillset. If we find a way to streamline our approach and still produce stellar results, we’ll certainly consider it, but for now it’s 40 weeks.
Learners Guild requires that you have at least 50 hours of experience in programming. We do this to ensure that you understand enough about the craft to be committed to it. We expect our community members to be passionate about programming and know enough to want to have a meaningful career as a web developer.
If you have fewer than 50 hours of programming experience we recommend you check out these resources and come back to completing your application once you’ve accrued the hours:
At Learners Guild you’ll meet other adults from a wide range of backgrounds, who share your dedication, passion, and curiosity. Check out the videos on the site and in our Community section to see some of the current Learners at the Guild.
Absolutely. We designed Learners Guild for degree holders and non-degree holders alike. Anyone who is serious about becoming a professional web developer is encouraged to apply.
We have paused enrollment and will begin accepting new applications in 2018. If you wish to be notified when applications are available, please share your contact information via the application page on our website and we will reach out to you once applications become available. We will update this section with details on what you can expect as soon as the enrollment redesign is complete!
You will execute 1 or 2 ISAs depending on if you opt to have the Guild invest in you, in lieu of paying up front program fees, and/or to receive a living allowance. The ISAs are issued by subsidiaries of Learners Guild and are administered on our behalf by VEMO Education (www.vemo.com). VEMO is a pioneer in ISAs, and has worked extensively with us to make the ISAs available to our Learners. In addition, VEMO is also responsible for collecting ISA payments.
We cannot presently allow for unscheduled visits, as it is distracting for our current Learners. However, we do host events that are open to the public that will give you a sense of Guild culture and expose your to a community of developers. Check out our Community page to see what's happening next.
We help get you ready for the job market and support you with interview preparation, but we intentionally decided not to provide job placement services because we want to ensure that you -- the Learner -- remain our primary client. (If we were to provide job placement services, the interests of our partner companies might limit our ability to support you in seeking the opportunities you most want.)
For us, applying for and gaining full-time employment as a web developer is another key skill that you will be developing at Learners Guild. During your last few months in the program, you’ll have opportunities to participate in career prep workshops, mock interviews, and support groups to help launch you into this exciting next phase of your life.
Our goal is to ensure that you have the skills and mindsets necessary to sustain a career in web development for the long haul. By the end of your time at Learners Guild, you’ll be prepared to apply for positions as a junior (entry-level) full-stack, front-end, or back-end web developer. The Guild is not a degree or certificate granting institution, so you won’t walk out of here with the Computer Science degree, and to be honest, some of the largest tech-companies look for degrees when hiring junior developers. However, you will have a chance to develop the practical skills and mindsets needed to be more competitive than bootcamp grads.
No. Our approach is results oriented, not degree oriented. There are a lot of people with degrees, but no job to match. Learners Guild turns that around: if you don’t end up in a well-paying job, we don’t get paid. Our focus is on getting you ready for the workforce by helping you develop your skills, which are demonstrated by your ability to create a portfolio of work and gain employment.
Yes, you’ll have an the opportunity to build a coding portfolio that showcases the projects you worked on over the course of the program.
During Phases 3 and 4 you'll have an opportunity to work on projects that simulate a real development team environment, building both small toy applications first and then moving on to larger projects like contributing to Open Source Software.
There are no requirements stipulating the nature or type of employment that Learners choose after the program. But remember, you are obligated to pay back your ISAs whether you work as a web developer or anything else. We want people to have the freedom to choose the career they want and think that time at the Guild will prepare you for many types of jobs. That said, we think our program is best suited for people are are pretty darn sure they want to be a web developer and progress to an ongoing career in tech.