What is Bridge?
Bridge is a federally-incorporated not-for-profit organization that brings together people who believe that we can and should remove barriers preventing members of marginalized groups from participating fully and equally in the technology industry. We do this by skilling up and supporting women, agender, and non-binary professionals via free 11-week software development and product design programs. In small classes, and through hands-on project-based work, we improve developer’s and designer’s skills and greatly increase their confidence.
When are the next Bridge courses?
We are currently planning to run multiple cohorts in 2020 and will be offering sessions of all programs. Make sure that you're following us on all our social feeds to stay on top of all news and updates especially program dates and application! You can find us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.
Cohort 10, April 28th - July 9th
Applications for cohort 10 of the Front-End Development program will be open on February 18th and due on March 10th.
Cohort 11, September 22nd - December 3rd
Applications for cohort 11 of the Front-End Development program will be open on July 14th and due on August 11th.
Cohort 1, March 2nd - May 13th
Cohort 1 of the Back-End Development program has been filled and applications are now closed.
Cohort 3, March 24th - June 11th
Applications for cohort 3 of the Product Design program will be open on January 6th and due on January 19th.
Which Bridge program is right for me?
Back-End: Typically, for developers with a strong front-end knowledge, 2- 5 years experience.
Product Design: Typically, for people with some design experience (product, UX, service, visual design) and looking to skill up for a more senior role or one require a greater breadth of knowledge.
How much does Bridge cost?
All Bridge programs are completely free for all students.
How is Bridge funded and how can Bridge offer free courses?
Bridge is funded through generous corporate donations and government grants. We partner with companies who share our vision for a more representative tech industry.
If you or your company would like to find out more about partnering with Bridge, please contact our leadership team today at email@example.com.
Wait, if Bridge is free, is it any good?
We specifically believe that opportunities in tech and learning for women, agender and non-binary folks should be free to help combat inequalities and reduce barriers to access. Our programs are staffed by dedicated experts who believe in our mission and values and also are exceptional developers and designers and love to share what they know.
Does Bridge offer online courses?
All Bridge courses are held in-person in a collaborative small class setting. Working directly with the students, we find that instructors and mentors can better support their learning every day throughout the courses. Also, meeting a dozen new folks can be fun and a great professional networking opportunity!
Where is Bridge?
Bridge has several partner companies who believe in our mandate and build products and provide services to their clients which use the technologies and concepts that we teach. Most cohorts will be held in a sponsor company office. The locations then, can change from cohort to cohort but currently (and we expect for the near future) all of our partner companies are located in the downtown Toronto area and typically relatively close to major transit lines.
What is the application process like?
For all programs, Bridge will share a general call out for the first round of applications. Everybody who is interested, identifies with the Bridge community and feels comfortable with the program specific requirements is encouraged to apply. The first round of applications will be open for between two to four weeks with the timeframe and dates clearly noted and actively published to all our social media feeds and the program pages on our website.
From the first round of applicants, a smaller number of those who have applied will be asked to complete a technical or design challenge.
From those who succeed in the technical and design challenge, a select number will be invited to form that cohort.
Will I be able to know what the technical or design challenge is in advance?
In order to be fair to all applicants, we can not share the technical or design challenges in the first round or in advance of application being opened. Rest assured that this stage in the process is not designed to trip you up but more for us to have clearer idea of what you know and how you think through problems.
For the Product Design program you should some familiarity with the following:
-Design research - For example, writing user interview protocols, conducting interviews, uncovering stakeholder needs through facilitation sessions and synthesizing your findings into tangible outputs (e.g.)
-Customer Profile Canvases, User Journey Maps
-Concept development - For example, participating in rapid ideation sessions, prototyping for usability testing and UI design for web/mobile
-Giving and receiving design critiques
-Taking an accessible, and ethical approach to product design
-Pitching in order to champion the value of design, or to express/communicate your work to others
Can I join a Bridge program?
Bridge is an inclusive and welcoming program for anyone who identifies as a woman, as agender or non-binary.
Each program also requires a different level of previous technical experience which is assessed during the application process.
Bridge firmly believes and supports learning is acquired in many ways so there is no one specific type of path or background experience for every student to fit into and we welcome everybody who meets the technical and community requirements.
How does Bridge ensure inclusive spaces?
Everybody who agrees to participate in a Bridge program either as a student, mentor or instructor and all Bridge staff agree to our general Code of Conduct. You can read the Code of Conduct HERE.
In all Bridge spaces, in-person and online as well as in the curriculum we use and ask everybody to use gender neutral and appropriate language. We ask all instructors, mentors, students and anyone joining a Bridge space to share their pronouns so that we can respect each person's identity.
For us, inclusivity also means practicing thoughtfulness when engaging with those who have differing perspectives. This is a minimum requirement for all Bridge team members and people participating in Bridge programming. Behaviour not meeting these standards will not be tolerated.
As an organization, Bridge adopts a zero tolerance attitude to anyone who makes any Bridge space unsafe in any way.
What will I learn at Bridge?
The Front-End software dev course:
- Functional programming
- React and Redux
- Git, Continuous Integration, and Continuous Delivery
- Writing valuable unit tests
- Interview skills
- Agile product development and teamwork
The Product Design course:
- Discovery & Facilitation
- User Research
- Empathy & Ethics
- User Journey Mapping
- Ideation & Prototyping
- Feedback & Critique
- Usability Testing
- Selling & Pitching
The Back-End dev course:
- Relational Database Design and Implementation
- API Design and Implementation
- Authentication & Authorization
- Security Best Practices
- Scaling Distributed Systems
- Creating a CI/CD pipeline
- Log Aggregation & Debugging Large Systems
- Systems Design
Will I build apps that I can use and show off?
Frontend: During the Front-End course you will build two applications, one on your own at a smaller scale and one group project. Both projects will require you to use React & Redux and the group project will have a backend component as well. All the code for this will be open source for you to be able to show off and use however you like. Your group project will also be deployed so you can show off your finished project if you like as well!
Backend: During the backend course you’ll be building one application from the ground up week over week starting with the Database layer all the way up to deploying and scaling it. This will be in a GitHub repo for you to use however you would like.
Product Design: You'll leave the Product Design program with material for a case study as well as a prototype for a product. Your case study can frame an end-to-end product design project process that gives a fuller picture of your challenges, learnings, and overall design process. It can span everything from user research and discovery all the way to usability testing and finally pitching.
How many days a week will class be?
Classes are held twice a week. Each class is three hours long and held in the evenings from 6 - 9 PM. We will typically hold classes on either an every Tuesday and Thursday or Monday and Wednesday cycle.
If a lesson night falls on a statutory holiday, we won’t hold class and will add the necessary classes into the schedule so that every session has the same number of lessons to cover the curriculum.
What does an average week in Bridge look like?
Each Bridge cohort is divided into three to five week sessions with week long breaks in-between each. Each cohort (program dependant) is between eleven and twelve weeks long overall.
The first session(s) of a cohort is more lecture based with the curriculum focussed on covering all the core new ideas or technologies that we will be teaching. Lessons are usually comprised of a mix of lectures and hands-on exercises to immediately practice what you are learning. Homework or extra exercises is often assigned after the second class in a week and due before the next class the following next week.
The subsequent session(s) of a cohort are primarily time for students to start to practice and use what they learned in the first. This is typically done in assigned personal and group projects but we will also continue lectures and further new learning.
Several times during each cohort there will be special guest lectures who will bring new ideas and topics not directly covered in the curriculum but related to and of interest to the learning goals of the course.
How much homework and out of class time should I plan for?
Between assigned homework and exercises, meeting with your one-on-one mentor and the project work you should plan to be able to dedicate between 10 and 15 hours per week in addition to class hours.
Who are the instructors and mentors?
Bridge instructors and mentors are all highly engaged, developers and designers working in the industry today who have a passion (and knack!) for sharing what they know and love to do.
Many of the instructors and mentors in each cohort are drawn from that cohorts sponsor company but will usually also include those from other companies and organizations from the broader industry.
Bridge interviews , trains and supports all instructors and mentors to be able to offer the highest level of instruction, mentorship and support to all students.
Many of Bridge’s mentors and instructors have also taken part in a Bridge program previously or have been involved in developing the Bridge program or curriculum. The instructors and mentors understand what it means and feels like to be in a part of a Bridge program and are passionate about creating a supportive and collaborative community in which you can learn.
Bridge sounds great, how can I get involved?
Thanks! We think Bridge and the Bridge community is pretty great too! We’d love to hear from you if you’re at all interested in volunteering with us. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or head over HERE and read more about what being an instructor or mentor means.