Back to list

From HackerYou to Juno and Beyond: Our Vision for the Future of Higher Education

September 24, 2019

Blog — Why Juno? From HackerYou to Juno and Beyond: Our Vision for the Future of Higher Education

5 min read

Heather Payne

CEO & Founder

It’s finally time! HackerYou is now Juno College! We’re thrilled, but it’s more than just a name change - here’s what this means for you and the future of Juno.

Rebranding felt like an impossible task. Over the past seven years, the name “HackerYou” had come to mean so much to our students, alumni, staff, and even the broader community. And though we’d agreed as a team that it was time for a change, all I could think about was how hard it was going to be. How could we possibly come up with a new name that our community would adopt or maybe even welcome with open arms? This was the challenge we were in for in the fall of 2018 when we kicked off the re-brand project. I started brainstorming the perfect new name right away, but nothing seemed quite right.

Juno isn’t just a name...

After weeks of pondering, and countless lists of possibilities, I thought of the name Juno, and I knew I had found the one. Some googling only confirmed it. Juno, a goddess in Roman mythology, was all about protecting and standing up for her community - the women, in particular, as well as other underrepresented groups. She was also obsessed with her community’s wealth and financial wellness. This name reflects who we have become, and what we stand for, and it felt like exactly the right fit. As a bonus, it just sounds cool.

So, though it is now time for us to say good-bye, thank you, and farewell to HackerYou, know that the things that made you love HackerYou aren’t going anywhere. In fact, we’re doubling down on them. Our values remain the same - to be welcoming, to be always improving, to care deeply, to do the right thing, and to have fun. Our mission also isn’t changing - we want to provide the best learning experiences in the whole world for people looking to break into tech. The thing that is changing along with our name is our vision - it’s getting bigger.

Same people, same values, new vision

We want to be a force to be reckoned with in changing the landscape of higher education. People who don’t know us might think we’re building a coding bootcamp, or a small career college, but they’d be wrong. We’re building a new kind of university - one focused on vocational skills and emerging careers, one dedicated to student outcomes, and to the most practical side of education. We’re here for millennials and Generation Z, and all the young people who come after them - because the current system is deeply flawed. Though we’d like to hope that it will one day change, we think that’s giving university professors and administrators too much credit.

And so, we’re launching something new soon, something that has never been done before. We purchased a 12-acre campus, about 80 minutes from Toronto. It comes with dorms, classrooms, a mess hall, and even a soccer field and basketball court. We’re renovating it to give it a sort of Drake Hotel-vibe, and when it’s ready, it will allow us to combine the best parts of a coding bootcamp, like speed and focus, with the best parts of a college campus experience.

The campus is a critical part of our goal of making our programs more accessible. We will continue operating our Toronto campus, but we recognize that it is located in one of the most expensive cities in the country. There are people across Ontario, and even Canada and the world, who would love to come to our school but simply can’t afford downtown Toronto rents, or simply aren’t comfortable with the risk of moving to such an expensive city. Our new campus solves this problem, by providing both room and board to students, for a reasonable added fee on top of their regular tuition.

Plus, we think it will be really cool. Between bootcamps, we’ll be able to host retreats for tech companies from around Ontario, and we can plan tech conferences, off-sites, and training sessions, as well as other events that will benefit the community. If there’s something our students, alumni or the tech community in Ontario need, we’d like to be the ones to offer it. And so often, the first thing that is needed is space.

Canadian tech is booming

There’s no disputing the fact that tech in Canada is booming. According to Statistics Canada, job growth in the digital economy has vastly outpaced the rest of the economy, growing by 40.2% between 2010 and 2017. The digital job market is growing faster than the regular one, too, growing by 37 per cent between 2010 and 2017. That compares to 8.6 per cent growth in the rest of the economy over that period.

And developers are still on top of the wish list. In the top fifteen companies hiring the most tech talent in Canada this year, developers appear fourteen times in the top three job postings at each. So while we absolutely plan to begin expanding and training people in vocations other than web development in the coming years (sales, anyone?), this is still an area of major shortage in the Canadian economy - and we’re happy to help fill the demand.

We’re investing in Career Services

We are dedicated to ensuring that Juno graduates land the best junior roles, and that they’re promoted into intermediate and senior roles at a reasonable pace, opening up those junior jobs for the next batch of Juno graduates. And in this area, the HackerYou of the past is nothing like the Juno of the future, because we’re putting a lot more resources toward this important priority.

First, for students and recent graduates, we’re growing our Career Services team. Led by Chi-Chi Egbo, this team works directly with students and recent graduates, helping them position themselves to employers, facilitating connections and also building long term relationships and partnerships with companies across the country. In the past, we didn’t have the resources to build relationships with employers in Toronto, let alone Canada. As Juno, this is a top priority, and as a result we will unlock roles for our graduates from coast to coast.

The second focus is on alumni - ensuring that they’re getting the support and training they need to move from junior to intermediate to senior roles as quickly as they are comfortable with. We have over 700 bootcamp graduates working as developers in Toronto and beyond, and helping them grow is actually our greatest opportunity to impact their lives as well as the Canadian economy. To that end, we’re hiring an Alumni-focused role on our marketing team, and we will be providing more training opportunities for our graduates and their colleagues. That’s in addition to launching a bunch of new courses in 2020 that we know our experienced graduates are going to love, from React to Computer Science to Data Foundations and more.

We’re looking forward

I’ve never been more excited to come to work than I am right now. After seven and a half years, we’re at the point now where we can have a lot more impact: on the lives of our students and alumni by helping them make their dream careers happen; on the lives of our team by working hard everyday to build a world-class Canadian company; and on the Canadian economy, by ensuring that Canada’s most innovative companies have access to the talent they need to change the world. We hope you’ll welcome Juno and our new, bigger, broader mission with open arms and in exchange, I thank you for that support from the bottom of my heart.

If you have questions or comments about anything that we’ve shared here, or if what we’ve said resonates with you and you’d like to learn more, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. My email is heather@junocollege.com.