On the Path to Certification and New Earning and Career Potential with Embark 

After six months of participants’ dedication and hard work, Phase 1 of the Embark No-Code Bootcamp has successfully concluded, surpassing many expectations and goals.

The Roots of the Embark No-Code Bootcamp

In late 2023, NextCorps announced it had received funding from the County of Monroe Industrial Development Agency (COMIDA) to establish the Embark “No-Code” Bootcamp. This free, cutting-edge training program — led by Program Director Matt Foley, Program Coordinator Ben Durfee, and Education Lead/Instructor JJ Englert — recently completed phase one of three.

Participants who were selected to participate in the bootcamp were immersed in eight major no-code and AI tools and skills over an eight-week period, with each week dedicated to mastering a specific tool, including Zapier, Notion, ChatGPT, and Framer, among others. Following intensive training sessions and hours of independent work, participants were challenged to create small projects using the newly acquired tools.

The primary objective of Phase 1 was to equip individuals from diverse professional backgrounds with the knowledge and skills to utilize no-code and AI tools, thereby enhancing their efficiency and competitiveness in the job market. Participants didn’t need any previous coding experience to join the program, but they did have to have a desire to start their own business using the acquired skills. Those working in the AI or no-code software development area can potentially earn over $100,000 annually as freelancers, full-time developers, or entrepreneurs.

JJ Teaching to Embark Class
JJ Englert presenting to the Embark class

Measurable Impact on Participants and Employers

From the number of applications NextCorps received, it’s clear that there’s strong interest in the Rochester community to learn more about the growing AI and no-code development movement. Embark received 130 applications, with 88 individuals selected for participation. Motivations for joining the Bootcamp varied, with top reasons including  the desire to “earn more money at current job,” “expand my skill set,” and providing a source for “freelancing income.”

Despite only 34% of enrollees having prior technology experience, the program’s design made it accessible to all, providing an easy on-ramp to technical skill development. According to participants, Phase 1 yielded many positive outcomes. Thirty-one percent of those who provided feedback stated that the overall quality of the training exceeded their expectations. Not only did they gain tech skills, but they also developed confidence in their ability to work independently. Forty-three percent added “no-coding” to their resumes while seeking new employment, and 47 percent shared their newfound knowledge with their current employers to propose utilizing no-code and AI tools in their businesses. From a business owner’s perspective, this recommendation from Embark participants proved fruitful as well, with three-quarters of them indicating plans to integrate AI and no-code software into their operations.

Moving Toward Certification in Phase 2 

With Phase 1 completed, 30 of the participants have moved on to Phase 2 where they are delving into more advanced AI and no-code concepts. At the end of this four-month phase, the goal is to receive a Bubble.io certificate.

Managing Director of NextCorps’ Incubation Services, Matt Foley, is inspired by the group’s progress. It’s been remarkable to see the fast progress our participants are making on their way to becoming professional Bubble.io developers. Everyone is working together to help each other master important Bubble concepts, which is a key advantage of running a program like this using a cohort model. Soon these Phase 2 participants will be passing their certifications on the way to launching their careers as freelance or full-time no-code developers.”

JJ Englert, Embark’s Education Lead/Instructor, added,  “It’s amazing to see them go from having no knowledge of professional software development to successfully rebuilding complex platforms. I’m looking forward to tying everything together in the final weeks, and seeing what they’ll create with their new skills.”

For some, however, Phase 2 will not be the final step. Ten individuals will move onto Phase 3 where they will get the hands-on support to launch their own software startups.

Embracing the Future: The No-Code Technology Wave

JJ Teaching to Embark Class
JJ Englert showing examples of current websites that use AI and/or no-code technology

As Embark continues, the focus will remain on equipping participants with the skills to ride the burgeoning wave of no-code and AI technology. This rapidly evolving field is revolutionizing the way businesses operate, and opening up unprecedented opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship. By mastering no-code and AI tools and skills, individuals are not just enhancing their personal career prospects, but also contributing to a broader industry shift towards more accessible and efficient solutions.

The Embark team envisions that Rochester could become a key resource for this industry shift through innovative programming like this. “We’re hopeful that we can continue to offer the Embark program through additional funding,” said Foley. “Programs like these really allow us to serve those in the community who have a genuine interest in expanding their potential, especially those in under-resourced communities where pathways to better employment and more promising futures are vitally needed.”

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