New Year’s resolutions tend to revolve around fitness, which there’s a good chance you won’t keep. Skimping on sweets is easier said than done, and losing 30 pounds in 30 days just isn’t realistic.
But there is some flexing you could be doing in 2015 that doesn’t require you having to hit the gym. This year, make it a mission to exercise your brain — and with the help of programs that boast Boston roots.
The opportunities for learning are endless and peoples’ motives behind wanting to further their education vary: Some are looking to uncover new skills, like coding or knitting; flesh out the marketing skills they already have; or change their career entirely.
No matter your reasoning, here are 10 ways to get your brain jogging in 2015 without needing to hop on a treadmill:
If You’re Looking to Get Technical
Check out theFirehoseProject, a Boston startup trying to change technical education. The 12-week virtual coding bootcamp costs $4,500, but students finish having created three Web applications. In the process of building those apps, learners undergo weekly one-on-one mentor sessions, as well as gain access to technical office hours, held via Google Hangout. The program can also be tailored to individual needs; if learners are looking for jobs, theFirehoseProject will help them develop more valuable, marketable skills by throwing them into group projects, so they can prove to employers they know how to build software as part of a team.
For those in need of a free alternative, try Harvard’s popular introductory computer science course CS50, offered on massive open online course platform edX. The course has helped fuel the rise of computer science at Harvard — this is your chance to see what all the ranting and raving is about.
When Launch Academy made its debut in March 2013, the founders promised they could deliver a formal four-year computer science education in just 10 weeks. Since, the Ruby on Rails developer has helped connect more than 100 Boston-area companies, such as HubSpot, Constant Contact and Fiksu, with employees. Tuition rings in at $12,500 — a cost far less than what one would pay for that formal education.
Or, you could just learn how to code on the beach. “GoCode is meant to help [students] enjoy a new skill and do some traveling at the same time,” explained MIT alumnus and GoCode Founder Jonathan Lau in a previous interview. The eight-week program rings in at $12,800, yet that cost includes airfare, accommodations and pre-planned weekend activities, such as a surfing or hiking trip. The next available class starts April 6, 2015 in Costa Rica. If you want to be one of the lucky 12 considered, apply here.
If You’re Looking to Try Something New
Turn to the Boston Center for Adult Education. New England’s oldest nonprofit adult education center offers unique classes that range from “How to Build a Home Bar” for $40 to a “Knitter’s Crash Course” for $51 and a “Cardio Dance Party” for $44. (Prices listed are for non-members.)
General Assembly is focused on equipping lifelong learners with the “most relevant skills of the 21st century,” whether that be Web development, data science, product management or digital marketing. Although the education firm offers eight- to 12-week, all-day, full-time programs, it also offers one-off classes and workshops that allow people to test the waters. In January alone, individuals can get an “Intro to Content Marketing” or gain insight on “Building an E-Commerce Business.”
If You’re Looking to Change Careers
Career accelerator Startup Institute has a proven track record of success, with graduates actually having said, “At age 38, I’ve been given the gift of rebirth.” The core eight-week program features four tracks: Web design, Web development, technical marketing, and sales and account management. By the end, former lawyers, patented inventors and the like are equipped for jobs at area startups, which the Startup Institute helps connect them with. Tuition rings in at $4,750, and the round two deadline for the spring program, taking place from February 23 to April 17, is January 12. Apply here.
Koru announced in November it would be expanding to the Hub to connect college grads with jobs at high-growth companies. The inaugural Boston program kicked off in mid-December with an on-site project at marketplace Care.com, where participants were embedded within the company to solve a real-world challenge it’s currently facing. The four-week program concludes with graduates receiving a guaranteed job interview. Applications for the next immersive program, taking place in June for $2,749, are due by January 12. Apply here.
Try SwitchUp, formerly known as Switch, also founded by GoCode’s Jonathan Lau. It’s essentially a TripAdvisor or Yelp for technology bootcamps and can be used as a tool to help people looking to switch careers. The site features more than 500 reviews written by alumni of the various programs, as well as financing options and an eight-question career quiz for individuals who don’t know where to get started.
If You Don’t Know What You Want
Also helping individuals who don’t know how to get started is AllClasses, a search engine for online and offline courses. Use the site to browse the more than 1,000 classes offered in Boston and another roughly 30,000 classes available online. Imagine what you could discover just by clicking around.
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