To our Lambda community - We recognize the month of May as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and affirm the worth, dignity, and belonging of all our AAPI students, alums, and staff. We are glad you are here, and thankful for the contributions you make to our community.
We will be posting educational resources each week during this month, and hosting a panel where Lambda staff and Alumni can share their experiences as AAPI individuals in tech. In the midst of increasing hate speech and violence directed at AAPI communities and individuals, it is important to listen to and amplify the voices of marginalized and targeted groups, and increase the level of empathy and understanding we extend to each other. We hope you will join us in recognizing this important month, and learning something new that impacts our community here at Lambda.
As a start, this video provides some excellent history, context, and personal stories:
Plus, explore some AAPI creative works. There is such a richness and difference across the region, and so many varied experiences of AAPI individuals in the US.
National Gallery of Art - Works by Asian American Artists
Center for Asian American Media - Now Streaming
12 Ways to Celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
Best PC Games from Asian American Creators
*Featured photo is Worldly Spirit, 1976 by Ming Wang
Happy Tuesday! As we continue to honor and celebrate Black History Month and highlight weekly educational content, we’re excited to share details for an upcoming event.
Please join us next Thursday, February 18, at 11:00 a.m. PT, as Lambda School and the Black History Month Planning Committee proudly welcome Panama Jackson for an online conversation.
Panama Jackson is a professional black person, award-winning writer, co-founder and Senior Editor of the award-winning website, VerySmartBrothas (a vertical of TheRoot.com), cited as “the blackest place on the internet” by The Washington Post.
In this event, Panama Jackson will share how his experiences and upbringing led to the work he does with VerySmartBrothas, and the role educational institutions like Lambda School play in closing the employment attainment gap and the continued fight for racial equality in the U.S.
Details will be added to your cohort calendars soon (including Zoom and Slido links). This talk will be recorded.
More on Panama Jackson: He's a regularly featured speaker on issues relating to race, pop culture, general blackness, and hip hop. His work has been featured in the Washington Post, Ebony, Essence, BET, TheGrio, CafeMom, UrbanCusp, and he was part of the MadameNoire’s “Ask A Black Man” series. He co-authored the book, Your Degrees Won’t Keep You Warm at Night: The Very Smart Brothas Guide to Dating, Mating and Fighting Crime with his VSB writing partner, Damon Young. Panama resides in Washington, DC, with his wife and children. Most recently, he appeared on the Today Show where President Barack Obama made a guest appearance during his VerySmartBrothas Book Club Meeting with Mahogany Books.
Happy Friday! We wanted to let you know about a couple of events we’re hosting later this month:
January Fireside Chat
First, the next Fireside Chat is scheduled for Friday, January 22nd at 11 am PT. Both current students and alumni are welcome to attend! This talk will not be recorded.
Austen will be interviewing Parker Conrad, cofounder of Rippling, and the former CEO of Zenefits, a cloud-based human resources platform designed to assist with onboarding, payroll, benefits, and vacation tracking.
The event details are below:
When: Friday, January 22nd; 11 am - 12 pm PT
Panel discussion: Tackling Racial Discrimination and Bias in Tech Recruiting
Also, on Thursday, January 28, 2021 from 11am-12pm PT we’re hosting a virtual panel discussion: Tackling Racial Discrimination and Bias in Tech Recruiting. Join recruiting and workplace diversity leaders from Twitter, Karat & Hashicorp, as well as our own Head of Recruiting, as they discuss strategies and resources they’re using to increase diversity and inclusion during recruitment and talent attraction, and how they’re striving to empower underrepresented groups in the workplace. This is the first event in a series of talks we’re hosting aimed at continuing the discussion on important DE&I topics.
If you plan to attend please sign up here. (You’ll also receive an email about this event next week to your Lambda School email account which will include the EventBrite link.) And if you’re interested but can’t make the live event, please sign up now and we’ll share the recorded conversation after the event.
Event details have also been added to your cohort calendars. We hope you’re able to join one or both of these conversations if they’re of interest to you. Have a great 3-day weekend!
I manage the curriculum team here at Lambda, and am excited to share some things with you all. Before the break, we made a series of commitments to you and I’m back with an update on the first: “You’ll start getting personalized Sprint Challenge feedback this month.”
I'm happy to report that starting this week students in units 1-4 will receive automated feedback on their Sprint Challenges, as well as qualitative feedback from project reviewers. This will start tomorrow (Friday) for both FT students and PST PT cohorts, and at the start of the next unit for CST PT cohorts. In addition to receiving feedback on the technical specs of the project itself, you will get more general comments on things that will set you apart in interviews: reusability, readability, and efficiency of code. It’s important to note that you must turn in your Sprint Challenge on time in order to get this feedback.Thanks all!
Questions? Check out the FAQ
Hello @here -
Today we're launching a very exciting new job search product: introducing the LAMBDA CAREERS SITE!
If you're currently still a Lambda student, you’ll have access to these tools immediately. Feel free to get a jump on your job search! If you wait until you graduate, rest assured you'll be set up with the best job search tools when you're ready!
This product helps keep you on track of your job search goals AND makes the process so much easier by showing you jobs to apply to and contacts to reach out to. Consider this THE place to go for all things job search.What you can expect with this product:
Here is a list of Lambda Careers Site: Common Questions
Go to the LAMBDA CAREERS SITE!
Any questions or problems using Lambda Careers Site? Please ask them over at: #job-search-product-support
A big congrats to WEB36 student @Rhea Manuel for recently winning Best Financial Hack by Capital One at Technica. I had a chance to catch-up with Rhea about her experience.
First off, Rhea, congrats on winning this Best Financial Hack by Capital One! How did you hear about it?
I actually participated in it in 2017, when I was a freshman in high school. A friend of mine remembered that and told me it was happening again this year, only virtually instead. I was curious, so I joined.
How did you form a team?
Technica had a Slack workspace with a channel for those looking for a team. I posted a message there listing my skill set, and I got quite a few people who were interested. One of them asked me to hop in a Zoom with them, and we discussed ideas and went from there.
Your project, Simply Start, is a community-based crowdfunding platform that highlights women or minority-owned small businesses. How did you/your team land on this idea?
We wanted to make a finance-based hack, and so we brainstormed possible ideas together. We wanted something that encouraged community involvement, included some data-visualization, and had potential for scalability. After going through a dozen or so ideas, we landed on a crowdfunding app that targets small amount investments.
What are your tips for surviving a 24-hour hackathon? That sounds so grueling!
How did what you’re learning at Lambda School help you?
I knew how to use Git, resolve merge conflicts, and use React thanks to my training here at Lambda.
What are your lessons learned/tips for working as a team on a project like this?
Set clear tasks and hard deadlines for finishing certain tasks. If a team member realizes they can't finish the task by that deadline, tell them to inform the rest of the team within an hour so you can figure out a backup plan.
Any advice for Lambda students around pursuing hackathons or similar projects?
Take advantage of the networking opportunities and talk to people! During this hackathon, participants could visit virtual booths which were staffed by sponsors from all the hackathon categories. You could ask them questions about their hackathon category, but also about internships, job opportunities at their company and their insights working in the tech industry. I found the virtual booths practically empty, which gave me a lot of time to network with industry people.
Thank you, Rhea!
We love to celebrate and share our students’ accomplishments. Please dm me directly if you have something you’d like to celebrate and share with the broader Lambda community. (Please note: we may not be able to highlight every request).
The next Fireside Chat is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 13th at 11 am PT. Both current students and alumni are welcome to attend.
Austen will be interviewing Max Mullen, Co-founder of Instacart. He started the company with two co-founders in 2012. Previously, he's worked for several startups including Schematic, an award-winning interactive agency that was acquired by WPP. Max is originally from Los Angeles where he graduated from the University of Southern California, studying entrepreneurship and cinematic arts. This meeting will not be recorded.
The event (including the details below) will be added to your calendars early next week.
With Halloween only a few days away -- and under a full moon this year -- we’re in the midst of spooky season, full of monsters, mummies and ghosts.
Whether you’re a huge Halloween fan or if it’s not your thing (and recognizing that any Halloween celebrating will look pretty different this year amidst the global pandemic), there’s another monster that lurks nearby that most of us are familiar with. It’s the monster that tells us we’re not good enough, we shouldn’t be here, we can’t cut it, etc. It’s otherwise known as imposter syndrome.If you’ve experienced or are struggling with imposter syndrome, you are not alone. I repeat: YOU ARE NOT ALONE! While it’s safe to say the majority of us have experienced imposter syndrome at one time or another we may be more vulnerable to it when we’re doing something new, out of our comfort zone, challenging and fast-paced -- sound familiar? And while it may be impossible to prevent imposter syndrome, the good news is there are tons of resources and tips for managing it. We’ve surfaced some of our favorite nuggets of wisdom from Lambda Career Coaches, students and Alumni:
“Imposter syndrome. It’s real and I felt it the entire program (and still do). I always wanted to be able to post in the hired channel and never thought I would get here. There are people who are literally twice to ten times more technically proficient than me right here at Lambda School but you can’t compare yourself to anyone else. Stay in your lane and run the race. All you can do is get better every day according to what you knew yesterday.” - @Ryan Cooper, WEB26 alumnus, (from #hired channel, re-shared with permission)
“You have joined a field where you will always be learning so embrace the fact that you will never know everything and be proud of what you do know.” - @Rachel Cohen, Career Coach
“Reach out to and listen to stories from people who have been in your shoes and made it to where you want to go. Ask them about their own experiences with imposter syndrome. Similarly, find people you trust to be vulnerable with and express your fears with, especially those in the same boat as you.”
“Fact check your own thoughts! When you have a negative thought about yourself, is there any evidence to actually support it? What else could be true?” - @Kelsey Johnson - Career Coach
@Louis Magdaleno, WEBPT4 alumnus and current Software Engineer at Microsoft, recently shared his experience from the Leap Apprenticeship Program. Listen to his thoughtful insights around the imposter syndrome he struggled with (first ~2 minutes of recording) from this recent Alumni Brown Bag.
Earlier this year we created a series of videos featuring Lambda students and alumni sharing their experiences and advice around managing imposter syndrome. Please check them out if you haven’t already!
Finally, consider joining the #imposter-syndrome channel if you want some support, want to share your best imposter syndrome tips and resources or just want to listen. We’re all in this together.
Hope you had a good weekend.
Just a reminder that the changes to the school we shared with you last week through your cohort channels and Q&As started to roll out today. If you have any outstanding questions or issues, please contact /frontdesk. Separately, with the U.S. Federal election just around the corner and the COVID-19 pandemic still in effect, we wanted to let you know in advance that we’re giving all staff and students (on the U.S. schedule) Election Day off (Tuesday, Nov. 3rd).
We encourage all of our staff and students who are registered and able to vote to participate as engaged citizens, not only on election day, but throughout the year. Since voting may be more difficult this year given the pandemic, the fires on the West Coast, and other high-profile events occurring throughout the country, we hope having the day off will make it easier for you to vote, should you choose to do so.Before November 3rd, we’ll share another reminder about this and arrangements for this missed day of school. Thank you!
When is this being rolled out to all students? Do I still sign up for a pilot or wait until this is rolled out to all students?
Lambda Leadership, made up of the Peer Mentoring program and the new Track Teams model, will roll out to all enrolled students beginning with units starting on September 28th. Part-time cohorts who are mid-unit on September 28th will join Peer Mentoring groups and Track Teams shortly after. The last pilot launched on August 31st.
How does this affect students in CS? In Labs?
If you are in CS, you’ll be matched with a peer mentee and you’ll participate in Track Teams.
If you are in Labs, you’ll be matched with a peer mentee and an industry mentor. Instead of participating in Track Teams, Labs students will continue to work with their Labs project teams.
To see more about how Lambda Leadership works for students depending where they are in the program, please see the resource page in My Lambda.
What will happen to TLs? Are there going to be any paid student positions any more? Why are we not going to have TLs?
All current and newly-hired TLs and SLs will continue in their roles through the end of their contract, with the same parameters. Depending on where cohorts are at, and since Lambda Leadership creates peer mentoring and leadership opportunities for all students, the role of TLs will change. Over the coming months, the SL and TL roles as you know them will be phased out. There will continue to be some paid student leadership positions in Labs with the Technical Project Lead (TPL) and Associate Product Lead (APL) roles.
Will there be training and/or support for learning how to be a mentor/mentee?
Yes, definitely! This is built into the program, and there will be on-going mentor/mentee skills training, along with support and coaching from Lambda staff.
I don't feel that I'm getting what I should be out of my peer mentor and Lambda Leadership. Who do I reach out to and what are my options?
Please reach out to /frontdesk and you’ll be connected to a Lambda staff member to discuss the situation and talk through next steps.
Can I opt out? What if I don’t want to be a peer mentor or mentee?
The peer mentorship program enables students to apply previous leadership skills and build new skills. Mentoring others and learning from a mentor help further develop skills that can set students apart in the job search, like enhanced communication skills. This will become a foundational part of the Lambda experience, and the expectation for completing Lambda School is all students will participate. If you’d like to discuss any concerns or questions with a staff member, please submit a /frontdesk ticket.
Who grades our sprint now?
We’re changing the way we think about and run assessments as a whole. It’s not about us testing you or giving you a score or grade, it’s about working with you to understand where you are, where you need help, and what happens next. Specifically, we want to better arm you with the information you need to make the right decision for you, and facilitate conversations with instructors or other support staff to determine next steps.
On module and sprint projects, we’re adding objective-level self-reflection questions that will help you best understand where you are, and give us a signal on how you’re doing and how we can help. In part, self-assessment questions will replace TL assigned scores.
When you’re struggling, we’ll set up a 1:1 conversation with an instructor or support staff to help you figure out the right next step for you, especially as it relates to Flex.
Will we have to opt for the shorter program or will it be the other way around?
We designed the shortened program because so many students were asking for it. As a result, we are making the shortened model the default. If you would prefer the current length, you’ll be able to opt out. Here’s how the shorter program affect you, depending on where you are in the program:
To see a visual depiction of what this looks like, see the resource page in My Lambda.
How does this benefit me as a student?
By carefully examining and refining the curriculum we’ve developed a new curriculum for Lambda School that can prepare you for a high-paying tech job in a shorter time, without sacrificing program quality:
We know how difficult the financial burden of not generating an income and juggling other life responsibilities can be for students, so this is something we’ve been working hard on.
Will students pay less/have a different ISA for shortened school?
No, this change will not affect the terms of the ISA. We believe that we can better prepare students for a tech job in less time. This means you get the benefit of a high-paying tech job that much sooner.
That said, students who still want to take 8 sprints of Labs and the additional CS content may choose to opt-out of the shortened school through /frontdesk. (Available to students once we’ve launched this program and who started Lambda prior to 9/28/20).
I chose Lambda because it taught CS, which was supposed to make it easier for me to get a high-paying job. What are you changing in the CS curriculum and will this still help me get a job?
Teaching CS is a cornerstone of the Lambda School education. This content is imperative both to getting through the hiring process and in your career.
There were 3 key changes to CS that helped us better align content to hiring manager expectations and allowed us to shorten the program:
How did Lambda determine that it was better for students to have a shortened version of Lambda School?
We know the financial burden of not generating an income and juggling other life responsibilities while going through an intense program like Lambda for 9+ or 18+ months can be very difficult for students, so we’ve been working hard to adjust the length of the program to meet industry needs in a shorter time frame.
As we reviewed the placement data, hiring practices and industry feedback for engineering roles we found that 2 key adjustments would help us prepare graduates more effectively:
We pulled from many sources to adjust and improve CS and Labs:
Is Canvas the same thing as TK?
Not exactly. Training Kit was built primarily for content delivery. The forms and dashboards were built to collect student feedback and work, and share the feedback given. Full Learning Management Systems (LMS) like Canvas are designed to do all three in a cohesive way. Rather than continue to maintain our own three separate systems, we’ve decided to adopt a full LMS, and build custom tooling on top of it.
Over the next few months, we’ll be migrating the student body to use Canvas as our Learning Management System (LMS). Students can expect to stop using Training Kit and instead start using Canvas to find their course content, Track Team and lecture materials. We’ll also be migrating more functionality, like form submissions, checks for understanding, and assignments into Canvas. Over time, Canvas will become the central learning ecosystem for our students.
Will alumni have access to Canvas?
Alumni will continue to have access to Lambda School’s curriculum. We’re still working out the specifics on how to best make your program’s curriculum available after graduation, and will share more once that’s finalized.
I can see all of Data Science, computer science, Web, iOS, etc in TK right now. Will I have access to all of those learning modules in Canvas?
In Canvas, you’ll only be able to see classes for the track you are enrolled in. We will not remove access to Training Kit until we understand what the student experience should look like for track content outside of their core track, and have implemented a solution that meets those needs.
What's the difference between a Lambda Job Board and a Google Job Board? The jobs listed on the Lambda job board only known to Lambda students? What are the benefits of the Lambda job board instead of going into Google job search?
There are three main benefits that come from using Lambda’s Job Board over another job listing service:
Are the reasons for all the changes pushed by the VC funding that was received? Why the big shift now? Are they looking to remove overhead/salaries with TLs to manage?
We’ve been discussing, planning and working on these changes independent of funding conversations. The root of all changes is to ensure that we are giving all students the best tools, skills, and preparation that they need to get a job after Lambda School. We are using everything we've learned over the last three years working with thousands of students and hiring managers to update the program to best support our students.
What are the plans and changes in building a staff that reflects the diversity of students?
As we shared in our Diversity Report earlier this summer, we’ve adopted a “diverse slate” approach to hiring for all roles that has helped drive meaningful progress improving the racial diversity of our staff since the beginning of this year (Jan. 2020). We’ll continue to use this diverse slate approach for all future hiring at Lambda, including any open leadership positions, and will also continue to share reports on this.
In addition to building a staff that reflects the diversity of students, we’re also driving several initiatives to support staff in exploring their own and understanding others’ identities. This includes staff-specific affinity groups, facilitated dialogues among staff (run both internally as well as through our partnership with ReadySet), and one-off sessions to support staff learning and development. Many of these have been in the works since early July and are still in planning stages. We are happy to share periodic updates on these initiatives outside of formal Diversity Reports.
What if I still can't find a good dev job where I live?
While the future of the job market is uncertain, many leading tech companies have publicly shared an intention to continue with a partially or fully remote workforce even once it’s fully safe to return to the office. We hope to see this trend continue, as this will open up greater possibilities for students who live in areas where there are fewer job opportunities. Our Career and Professional Development curriculum equips you with the skills you need to get a job, no matter where you live. After students graduate, they will work 1:1 with a Job Search Trainer and closely with Career Coaches to get the tailored support they need to find a job.
We have some fun news to share!
Many of you received “Working in Public: The Making and Maintenance of Open Source Software” as part of a book giveaway from Stripe Press several weeks ago. Although they could not send a book to everyone, they are offering a Fireside Chat/Live Q&A with the author, Nadia Eghbal, exclusively for Lambda Students and Alumni, on Thursday, September 24th. Nadia will discuss modern open source software development and its evolution over the past two decades. Come bring your questions for Nadia or just listen! (The talk will be recorded for those who can’t make it.)
Thursday, September 24th at 11:00 am PT.
If you plan to attend, please sign up here: https://stripe.events/lambdaschool
(If you sign up, you’ll receive an email confirmation with the Zoom link and reminder emails before the event.)
At Lambda, we’re always thinking about how to improve the student experience and ultimately, how to help you land great technology jobs and be successful in them. One of the things we consistently hear from our hiring partners is that they’re looking for new hires who not only have strong technical knowledge and skills, but also can effectively collaborate and communicate with others.
We’ve been exploring ways to create a new student learning model that uses what we’ve learned so all students can benefit from the professional and personal development that come with near-peer mentorship experiences. Over the last few months, we’ve been piloting a new program called Lambda Leadership with great success. We’re excited to roll out these pilots to more students and we’d love to invite all of you to sign up to participate if you are interested. We plan to roll this out to all students later this summer.
Please fill out this form by Friday at 12pm PT if you are interested in participating in the pilot starting next week, and we’ll share more details with you.
At a high level, Lambda Leadership provides an opportunity to join a team of other students from different cohorts, experience peer mentorship and develop leadership skills. We’ve created a webpage that provides an overview, key details and features some great videos of students sharing their experience with student leadership at Lambda.
Questions? Please check out the FAQ
Also, please consider joining one of our optional, live Q&A sessions tomorrow if you have questions or want to learn more (we’ll record for those who can’t make it):
Option 1: Wednesday, July 29th at 11 am PT - Zoom link for this Q&A.
Please add any questions to the Slido link
Option 2: Wednesday, July 29th at 5 pm PT - Zoom link for this Q&A.
Please add any questions to the Slido link
Hi, all! I hope everyone had a great weekend.
We just published our Diversity Report for 2020 and wanted to share it with all of you. The report includes data and demographics on both students and staff. A huge thank you to all who took the survey earlier this summer. The survey data in this report creates an important baseline understanding that we’ll use to inform how we’ll expand our support for diversity, equity and inclusion at Lambda School.
We plan to release staff and student diversity reports annually, though we may not always release them at the same time going forward. Throughout the year, we’ll keep you updated on how we’re working to make sure Lambda School is a supportive, welcoming and inclusive community where anyone can feel like they belong, regardless of circumstance or background.
You can read the full report here. Also, please check out the FAQ below.
Thanks again for your help with this important work.
Why is this the first time Lambda School is releasing this data?
We are a young company, but we recognize the importance of accountability and the value of performance metrics. As part of our broader initiative to be more accountable and transparent, this is our first Diversity Report, which we will release annually. We know we have a lot to learn, but we begin the process certain that the best way to make progress is to put stakes in the ground measuring our performance across several dimensions.
How will Lambda School use these results?
We’ll publish them annually and use them as a guide and source of accountability for the necessary work we need to continue to do to improve diversity and inclusion.
Were students required to disclose personal information?
No. Students were not required to respond to the survey at all and were not required to answer every question (in other words, students could choose to opt out of questions if they preferred).
Will you survey new students or students in the future?
Yes! This survey will become part of the admissions process.
Can you identify students by their individual responses to questions? Is the survey confidential?
Why did you group certain demographic categories together?
We used guidelines from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity (EEOC) and National Science Foundation (NSF) to guide these categories. Like these organizations do, we allowed for a wide range of self-selected answers so all respondents felt properly represented. That led to a very long tail of various responses, so in reporting these in a public, visual medium we had to group some categories together for organization purposes and readability. You can read more in the methodology section of the report.