Blog

Updates from the Awesome Inc U community

New Part-Time Course for Adults - Intro to Web

Adults learn to code at Awesome Inc

by Nick Such

Over the past two years, we have seen tremendous success with Awesome Inc’s full-time Web Developer Bootcamp. Every graduate from our first cohort landed a programming job after the program, our second cohort (which finished just three months ago) is well on their way to repeating that performance, and our third cohort has shown excellent progress in skill development as they enter week nine of their 12-week program. This immersive course has delivered a life-changing experience for 30 professionals who have had the opportunity to devote at least 12 weeks of their lives to learning software development. However, this course format is not the best fit for everyone, so we’re excited to offer a new course, the Intro to Web Development, in a part-time, evening format.

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Demo Day - Bootcamp S17

Awesome Inc Bootcamp classroom doorway

by Nick Such

In May, a group of aspiring software developers began a 500+ hour journey of intense, hands-on learning in Awesome Inc U’s Web Developer Bootcamp. On Thursday, August 10th, this group will be presenting their final projects, full-stack web applications, to a group of tech company executives, local software developers, and other members of the Lexington-area technology community.

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First Bootcamp Success, 2017 Sessions Announced

Awesome Inc Bootcamp student Kelly Wright presents at Demo Day F16

by Nick Such

When we launched Awesome Inc U in 2013, we were spurred on by Lexington-area technology companies looking for, but not finding, the software development talent they need to grow. We could have pursued several possible solutions: consulting firm, recruiting practice, teach at the local universities. But we were inspired by a new wave of “coding bootcamps”, programs designed to train ambitious, local people in a new trade.

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Awesome Inc Recognized as Part of Kentucky’s Local-Global Push for Jobs and Higher Wages

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:


LEXINGTON, Kentucky, December 6, 2016 — The mayors of Kentucky’s two biggest cities named Awesome Inc as an important element in their commitment to attracting jobs and foreign investment to the state.

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Demo Day - Bootcamp F16

Awesome Inc Bootcamp students

by Nick Such

In August, ten aspiring software developers began a 500+ hour journey of intense, hands-on learning in Awesome Inc U’s Web Developer Bootcamp. On Thursday, November 10th, this group will be presenting their final projects, full-stack web applications, to a group of tech company executives, local software developers, and other members of the Lexington-area technology community.

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From The Trenches - Bootcamp F16 Update

Awesome Inc U Web Developer Bootcamp students coding

by Nick Such

Six weeks ago, the ten students in our Web Developer Bootcamp gathered into one room at Awesome Inc and cracked open their laptops. In six more weeks, they’ll conclude the formal educational portion of our F16 Bootcamp, armed with the necessary skills and experiences to land their first job as a developer. What they’re doing, learning how to develop software, is no easy task. The journey so far has been filled with a whole range of celebration and frustration, tears and laughter. I wanted to share a brief glance into the world into which our students are diving.

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Awesome Inc Launches Lexington’s First Coding Bootcamp - Guarantees Job Placement as Web Developer

by: Gregory Petitt

Awesome Inc, the hi-tech incubator and computer coding school that provides programming courses for kids and adults in Kentucky has launched Lexington’s first coding Bootcamp.

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Ten Students Begin 12-Week Web Developer Bootcamp Program

Awesome Inc U Web Developer Bootcamp students coding

by Nick Such

On August 22nd, the first cohort of our Web Developer Bootcamp began classes at Awesome Inc. The 10 adult students in the Fall 2016 cohort have an average age of 32, and come from diverse backgrounds including chemistry, law, manufacturing, and sales. In addition to four weeks of remote preparation on programming basics, the cohort will spend 12 weeks in on-site classes, from 8AM to 5PM, Monday through Friday.

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Your guide to a coding education

Guest post by: Isaac Rowe

All across the nation, programs are sprouting, encouraging young and old alike to learn how to code. These programs range from low-key online tutorials to full-blown bootcamps. All of them want to promote the "new literacy", and you want in on the fun. Why should you learn to code, who should you learn from, and what can you expect?

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Pong Tutorial Updated to Unity 5

Classic pong game developed in Unity 5

by Nick Such

The Unity Pong tutorial is actually the most popular destination on our site, besting even our home page. It has been listed on dozens of sites for aspiring game developers. However, it was in desperate need of an update.

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4 Reasons You're Not Too Old to Learn to Code

Laptop on coffee table coding

“Learning to write programs stretches your mind, and helps you think better, creates a way of thinking about things that I think is helpful in all domains.” - Bill Gates

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Bootcamp Open House #2

A-Inc Web Developer Bootcamp classroom

by Nick Such

With applications rolling in for our Web Developer Bootcamp, we’re excited to host our second Open House event this week. We’ll be welcoming a host of potential applicants and employer partners to discuss the growing need for software developers, and how our Bootcamp program will help you land a tech job…guaranteed.

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Bootcamp Open House

A-Inc Web Developer Bootcamp classroom

by Nick Such

Since our last Bootcamp blog post came on Back To The Future Day, I find it’s only appropriate to share our next Bootcamp update on Pi Day. While BTTF only bears loose cultural significance to a career in web development, the mathematical concept of pi is much more directly related. Just like you’ve probably encountered pi in some circle in your life, you’ve probably encountered math…today. As I prepared my taxes last month, I used math. As a left a tip at a coffee shop yesterday, I used math. Interestingly, for both of those, I also used software (TurboTax Online and Square, respectively). And when software is a vital, yet nearly invisible, part of activities as benign as filing taxes and paying for coffee, it follows that more and more people are employed to develop software like this.

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Launching The Bootcamp

A-Inc Web Developer Bootcamp screenshot

by Nick Such

As of today, we are living in the future

Today’s date, October 21, 2015, is affectionately known as Back To The Future day. Has the future become what the 80’s movie predicted? Our cars may not fly through the air, but we have figured out how to make them self-piloting. Our shoes may not lace themselves, but we have built fitness trackers that easily gather and analyze exercise data for millions of people. One thing the movie seems to have underestimated was that the revolution wouldn’t be led by the arrival of Mr. Fusion boxes to cheaply power our stuff, but rather that software would become the technology to define our world.

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Oldham County EdTech Conference Presentation

Slides from Coding Demystified presentation

by Nick Such

Our vision at Awesome Inc U is that everyone should have access to a programming education. While we offer a variety of in-person classes at our offices in Lexington, we know that due to the constraints of time, finances, and geography, not everyone can attend our courses. We hope to someday see computer programming classes as a core part of the K-12 education experience.

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July Week of Code

Classroom at Awesome Inc Week of Code - July 2015

By Danny Thorne

During July 7th through 10th, seventeen middle school and high school students braved severe weather and flooding to attend an Awesome Inc U Week of Code. They learned web development in HTML/CSS/JavaScript, app development with MIT App Inventor, and game development with Unity 3D.

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John Newton: Awesome Inc U Graduate, Web Designer

image alt text

By Sarah Brookbank

One of our goals at Awesome Inc is to help everyone pursue their own definition of awesome, and our coding school is a way we work towards that goal. For two years Awesome Inc U has helped anyone and everyone learn to code, from professionals looking to beef up their skill set to middle school students who learn the more practical side of Minecraft.

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Academy Spring 2015 Recap

by Nick Such

While the bitter January winds were still galloping through downtown Lexington, a group of thirteen students, ages ten through seventeen, began a three-month journey into the world of software development. What began with the simple desires of, “I want to make my own video game,” led down the complex path of GitHub commits, nested If statements, and the challenges of debugging C# code with Mono. Last week, as April neared a close, ten students completed this step of their learn-to-code journey, with nearly 100 hours of programming practice behind them, and a slew of experiences and portfolio projects that coders twice their age would be honored to display.

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Georgetown College Minecraft ALU

by Danny Thorne

Computers are organized into several different components with distinct roles that work together. The component responsible for performing operations on numbers is called the Arithmetic Logic Unit or ALU. It is made out of transistors. A transistor does one simple thing: it inverts a signal, i.e., makes a low signal high and a high signal low. Minecraft has something analogous to a transistor, namely the redstone torch. Just as lots of transistors can be combined to build an ALU in an actual computer, lots of redstone torches can be combined to build a virtual ALU inside of Minecraft.

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Communicating in Code

by Nick Such

While the Learn To Code movement has certainly picked up steam in the past year, I think it’s interesting to realize that “code” is not something new. What’s new is that we have a strong incentive to learn a particular type of code: billions of people now have Internet-connected computing devices, which we carry around with us wherever we go, and we spend an increasing amount of time using these devices. If we want to interact with these people and influence these people, then we have to communicate with the code (in this case, computer code) that gets their attention. But the notion that coding is something new is a fallacy.

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Kids these days are so…

by Brian Raney, Co-Founder, Awesome Inc

SMART. I’ve heard numerous quotes from adults about how kids these days are so lazy, entitled, irresponsible. “The future seems bleak,” we’ll say to one another when we hear about a trouble maker kid that refuses to work hard at school or the student athlete that thinks they don’t have to earn the starting position on the sports team. I’ve murmured these quotes more times than I can remember.

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Kentucky Coders Launches At IdeaFestival In Louisville

by Nick Such

In 2011, the mayors of Louisville and Lexington got together to form the Bluegrass Economic Advancement Movement. Noticing this, my friend and outspoken supporter of all things Kentucky, Grant Mills, pulled together a group of young entrepreneurs, technologists, and community influencers to form a related BEAM Young Professionals group. Our vision was to use the BEAM initiative as inspiration for defining and sharing what we perceived as needs for the next 20 years of Kentucky’s economy. Our charter came from Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, who recommended that we “Challenge the status quo”. So while the BEAM committee-proper discussed Advanced Manufacturing, we shifted our focus to other targets, including software development. We proposed the idea that software development is an advanced form of manufacturing, and advocated for opportunities for educating new programmers in K-12 and beyond. When we started Awesome Inc U last year, that was one of our first steps toward acting on this vision. Last week, another piece of our software mission became reality: Kentucky Coders.

Kentucky Coders logo

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Teaching Teachers How To Teach Coding

by Nick Such

On Tuesday, I had the privilege of speaking to a group of K-12 teachers and administrators at the KASC Conference in Louisville. KASC has a membership of 800 school councils from around Kentucky which it helps to better serve their respective students through workshops, professional development, and information on topics like curriculum, instructional best practices, and school leadership.

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Teaching Kids to Code - in 1 Week

by Ben Jacoby

If you‘re looking for the most promising programming talent in Lexington, Awesome Inc has you covered. There’s only one catch: some of them haven’t gotten to middle school yet.

This summer, Awesome Inc held three of our Week of Code for kids events. In total, 45 elementary, middle, and high school students learned to code with Awesome Inc.

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A Swift Overview of Swift

by Danny Thorne

On June 2, 2014 at WWDC, Apple announced a new programming language called Swift. Let’s take a look at why and briefly highlight some of its pros and cons.

The standard language for Apple iOS and OS X development is Objective-C. It is an extension of the original C language, a language that is notoriously difficult to learn and tricky to use. Apple proposes the Swift language as a replacement for Objective-C that is easier to learn and use. At least two other strategies drive its design: it should be interoperable with Objective-C, and it should be fast.

Swift playground, image from Apple ©

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Community, Video Games, and Childhood Dreams - Let's Learn Unity

By Will Oldham

In 2013, YouTube hosted an event they called “Geek Week” that showcased and celebrated a subculture of YouTube: the Geeks. Of course over the week there was one day set aside for the celebration of every Geek’s favorite activity - Video Games. On this day, a YouTube channel called Polaris - made famous from game-playing duos like “The Game Grumps” - released a video called “MULTIPLAYER - Games bring us together.” The video is a five minute montage of different YouTube content creators that focus on making videos about video games - from playing them, to talking about them, to criticizing them. It is sometimes difficult to understand why someone would choose to invest their life into something as momentary, as intangible as a video game. The thing that brought these people to do what they do was not a stereotype. It was not that they were lonely kids who had nothing better to do, nor were they avoiding having a real job. It was because they had been part of a community of gamers and wanted to give back. Here were dozens of different groups of people who played together, who worked together, who cared about each other. People who had never met and would never meet felt free to share their lives and their stories. They all were brought together under a simple banner - playing video games. And now, all these ‘YouTubers’ got to create the community they themselves had benefited from. That’s a phenomenal opportunity, and one they constantly talk about how grateful they are to have had.

Multiplayer video on YouTube

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Why 21st Century Kids Should Learn the 21st Century Skill

by Sarah Hoffmann

Code is the language of the 21st century. Computer programming is rapidly becoming an essential skill in every sector of the job world. To put it simply, everyone is doing it. But that begs the question, if coding is so important, why isn’t it being taught in schools?

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Our Learning Philosophy at Awesome Inc U

by Nick Such

At Awesome Inc U, our goal is not only to create excellent programmers, but also to create a better way of learning. We think the ability to create stuff and solve problems using computer software is a skill with a significant term of usefulness, but some other skill du jour will eventually replace it. This is why the latter achievement, creating a great way to learn anything, is the more important of our two goals. In addition to the Core Values we live by at Awesome Inc, we have identified some basic tenets that we’re applying to our Awesome Inc U program.

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University of Pikeville Brings In Awesome Inc For 1-Day iPhone Course

by Steve Osowicz

There was a lull in the freezing cold weather, the endless ice and snow. It was the first temperature break in the middle of a brutal winter. The team from Awesome Inc U arrived at the University of Pikeville to get set up for a crash course in iPhone App development. There was some initial concern that some of the participants might forego the iOS course in order to enjoy the beautiful day. However, knowing the significant impact that learning to code could have on their lives, the participants filtered in. The class was filled with people from a variety of backgrounds. There were system administrators, collegiate athletes, high school students and several people who didn’t even know what “Hello World!” meant. Justin, our Awesome Inc U instructor for the day, kept the class moving at a good pace for the material with plenty of Awesome Inc U teacher assistants frequently helping students when they had a question or needed further clarification.

Classroom for iOS course at UPike

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Our Most Popular Courses Now On Udemy

awesomeinc profile on Udemy

By Nick Such

When we started Awesome Inc U, our vision was to simply offer 1-2 day, in-person courses in the basics of software development. These “Crash Courses” are great because they provide a hands-on experience for our students, with lots of interaction with our instructional team, and they happen 2-3 times per month. While this was a great way to get started, we’ve learned a few things from our students since we launched in June 2013. Based on feedback from our students, we decided to share our courses through the online training site, Udemy in addition to our in-person courses. Here are a few benefits that we hope it will offer:

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What We Learned From The Hour Of Code

What We Learned From The Hour Of Code

The Awesome Inc team working with students at Eastside Technical Center. The Awesome Inc team working with students at Eastside Technical Center. More photos available on flickr.

By Nick Such

Last week, over 15 million people around the world celebrated Computer Science Education Week by dedicating an hour to learn to code. Our team at Awesome Inc helped facilitate 10 Hour of Code sessions at 8 schools around Fayette County, working with over 950 students from grades 4 - 12. During this process, we made a few observations:

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How To Change Your Life In Just One Hour This December

Kids learning to code with CSEdWeek logo

By Nick Such

Like many things, the hardest part of learning to code is simply getting started. Fortunately, the world has gone ahead and made this part MUCH easier for you, than it was for, say, Grace Hopper. There are a plethora of free resources available on the web, many employing onboarding methods that will have you churning out lines of code before you even realize your new-found love of the semicolon key. And if these resources weren’t enough for you to start dabbling in software, our friends at Code.org have dedicated a week in December to give you a swift kick in the pants to jumpstart your practice of programming: the Hour of Code.

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Learning How To Learn

By Nick Such

A few months ago, my team at Awesome Inc launched a code school. After a few years of running a startup accelerator program, we realized that there was a glaring weakness in our entrepreneurial ecosystem that was holding back our local startups: a lack of technical co-founders. Like many startup communities, we have plenty of “idea” guys and gals, plus quite a few biz-dev hustlers, marketing geniuses, and even domain experts. But as we saw pitch after pitch from passionate people with interesting startup ideas, a mobile app for this, a website for that, we noticed that few startups had someone on their team who could actually build the piece of software they proposed! We wondered why, with exploding job demand and startup opportunities, we weren’t seeing more technical co-founders.

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5 Reasons Why Everyone Should Learn To Code

By Nick Such

Since we started Awesome Inc four years ago, three words have adorned the front glass of our office: technology, creativity, startups. These three words have a very intentional interplay: Technology is the ability to turn your ideas into reality, Creativity is the ability to notice hidden opportunities and form ideas, and Startups are the most efficient vehicle for combining Technology and Creativity to get something useful in the hands of the people who want it. We’ve spent quite a bit of time focused on the third frame with our startup accelerator program, hosting Startup Weekends and 5 Across pitch contests, and the creation of the Cherub Fund. Yet we recently began to notice that we overlooked the first prerequisite. As we met more startup founders, we found that while they had great ideas and unique perspectives, and they were willing to make the necessary sacrifices to start a company, they were often lacking in the technical ability to build what they had envisioned. As we talked with entrepreneurs from around the country, as well as the leaders of mature-stage technology companies, we found that this dearth of technical ability is not an isolated problem. In the city of Louisville alone, there are over 400 programmer job openings, and the lack of appropriately-trained technical talent is even more intense in major tech hubs like Silicon Valley.

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