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Perficient’s Bright Paths Program Brings Ingenuity and Community to the Forefront

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Earlier this year, Perficient expanded its Bright Paths Program to introduce two national coding bootcamps open to students across the United States. The Bright Paths Program advances STEM education and career opportunities for underrepresented constituencies and communities to help close the gap in the technology industry. The first national cohort kickstarted in April, and students are gearing up for graduation in a few weeks!Bright Paths Blog Thumnail

The fully funded 16-week coding bootcamp gives students a launch pad to start a career in technology. Since the Bright Paths Program was introduced in 2020, more than 150 students have graduated from the program, with the vast majority joining Perficient. These two national cohorts take our mission to a broader audience and facilitate even more career growth opportunities.

Throughout the program, students complete software engineering coursework, learn about the consulting business, and connect with Perficient colleague mentors. The program is split into two eight-week segments. During the first eight weeks, students focus on building foundational coding skills and in the second-eight weeks, students pick a specialization to work on their capstone project.

READ MORE: Learn More About Perficient’s Bright Paths Program

Drew Noble, a current Bright Paths student, set two personal goals that led her to apply to the program. Drew wanted to become self-sufficient in building applications and to pivot to an engineering career track by getting exposure as a junior developer. Perficient’s Bright Paths Program made for a perfect next step in getting exposure to working as a developer.

She said, “The support I received from my instructors and peers helped me push through doubt and continue to learn and grow. The peer-to-peer interaction was especially helpful in keeping me motivated and on track. At this point, I can say that I have progressed 320 hours into a skill that will take at least 10,000 hours to learn. Every hour counts, and I’m excited to continue growing alongside my fellow students.”

The program is structured to allow students to gain a broad understanding of core concepts before moving to a specialization. This approach shapes the students to become t-shaped developers, with a wide breadth of shallow knowledge in many things and a deep understanding of a few things.

“I feel confident in my ability to grow as a developer,” said Drew. “I’m currently learning React, and it’s been a great transition after learning Vanilla JavaScript during the first eight weeks of Bright Paths. React is a fun language to use, and I was blown away by how quickly and efficiently it handles complex instructions with just a few lines of code because of all the liberties it can take advantage of. At one point in this journey, I heard the phrase ‘the devil’s in the details’ and that really resonated with me because there are so many ways to solve problems at this level, and each way has its own pros and cons. I’m going to continue to remind myself to focus on the details as I make my future transition to a developer role.”

The Bright Paths Program grows students’ knowledge of coding and software engineering, and also creates a bond between peers within a cohort. While the program is conducted virtually, there are in-person events to help foster a real sense of community, both during and after the program ends. The Atlanta and Houston offices recently hosted local meet and greets with current students and graduates who now work at Perficient.

Current Bright Paths students with two Perficient colleagues from the Houston cohort

READ MORE: Perficient’s Bright Paths Alumni Event

The Bright Paths Program also allows our Perficient colleagues to make a difference by volunteering to be a mentor. Colleagues can provide valuable insight as well as guidance and encouragement throughout the challenging bootcamp.

Drew said, “My mentor is a seasoned Perficient veteran. I was eager to learn more about becoming a solutions architect, and my mentor’s experience and insights gave me a lot of perspective. Because she’s local, I was able to meet her in person as well. The culture of support and collaboration is evident in every interaction I’ve had with her and everyone on the Perficient team.”

Vonnita Jones, technical consultant at Perficient and Bright Paths Detroit mentor said, “Serving as a mentor properly awakened my senses to live up to the person I want to be – an impactful, proud, and resourceful leader. As a mentor, you can extract invaluable self-awareness and improve your ability to empathetically communicate information to others.”

Bright Paths students are supported by their instructors, peers, and Perficient mentors. While the first national cohort is in the final stages of the program and hard at work getting their capstone projects completed, the second national cohort recently embarked on their journey a few weeks ago. They have been hard at work learning about fundamental concepts of software engineering. There is an abundance of talent in these groups, and Perficient is committed to continue investing in resources that create equitable opportunities throughout the technology industry.

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Carolyn Kroupa

Carolyn is a Communications Associate Marketing Coordinator based in St. Louis, Missouri, focusing on Perficient employer branding and corporate communications. She joined the company in May 2022.

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