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.
To say that this is an intense program is an understatement. And to call it a class is a bit of a misnomer. It’s much more like the first 12 weeks at your first job as a software developer. Instead of taking cues from traditional classroom setups, we found office design inspiration from tech consulting firm Pivotal. Our team of 10 aspiring developers works with two instructors, who function like lead developers as they guide our students through a series of programming projects.
Week 1 focused on building a marketing site for a (faux) local restaurant client, “Awesome Pizza”. The client wanted a basic website to showcase some of its dining amenities, as well as providing a home for their blog, and a contact form. Our students used the basics of HTML and CSS to build a first version of the site, then iterated throughout the week to add features like Jekyll (to help follow the DRY Principle) and Bootstrap (to improve styling, especially for mobile web browsers). Now in Week 2, students are building a command-line pizza ordering app for the same client, while diving into the intricacies of the Python programming language and learning the concepts of Object-Oriented Programming.
As this is no academic exercise, the other key piece of the program is preparing our students for getting their first job as a software developer. The program comes with a money-back guarantee that each student will receive a job offer from a regional company within six months of program completion. Since this program was started in the midst of a software developer shortage in Kentucky, it has been designed with the needs of area technology employers in mind. Ranging from hot new tech startups, to established corporations in major regional industries like healthcare and manufacturing, Awesome Inc U has a set of employer partners who will be sending representatives to get to know students during the Bootcamp program. Before the program concludes on November 11th, students may already know their future employer and co-workers.
Applications are now open for the Spring 2017 cohort, and can be accessed via the Bootcamp application page.