After some of the success we have had with The 21st Century Youth Project, we frequently receive e-mails from individuals and companies looking to see if we could refer them to someone that could create mobile apps. We also receive countless number of inquiries as to whether we would be interested in teaching app development to college students, organizations, adults, and entrepreneurs. We couldn’t ignore these requests any more. In fact, the more we read about the lack of job opportunities and the rise in underemployment,we felt this was an opportunity we wanted to be associated with. All of the initiatives I am a part of, have to have some social improvement component. It’s about being successful, creating opportunities for others.
So what is Code Chicago?
Code Chicago is a hands-on, 12-week Java and Android (and soon iOS) mobile programming course, where every participant will work with one another and join in the spirit of collaboration and learning. It is this aspect of education that we trust would resonate most with our members — and that with an open atmosphere where no question is off limits, we see interesting and inspiring thinking about how to embrace the openness of the Android platform as an opportunity palette — and to really push what might seem conventionally possible, with just a mobile device having an internet connection and a web browser. At the 1:05 mark, you’ll see a glimpse into the 21st Century Youth Project. See it here.
Why did we start Code Chicago?
It’s apparent to me, computer programming will be as important to everyday job functions of the future as the ability to use a spreadsheet today. Today, there are some careers where you could get by without using the computer. There just aren’t many of them. And very few of them pay a living wage, and can create a sustainable income to support a family. There are several upstarts that have launched to provide programming/coding courses outside of the walls of a college/university, but the problem is, they are far too expensive to reach a mainstream audience. There are other free/cheaper tools that are supposed to teach you how to program at home, but many feel these programs do very little to teach transferable programming skills. This article in CNN, entitled Learn to code, get a job, shares this sentiment. The author writes:
Still, competition for the few programmers out there looking for work is very steep. So few Americans know how to program that firms like Google and Facebook are actually buying whole companies just for their code-literate employees, in what are known as “talent acquisitions.” According to Calacanis, each employee who understands how to code is valued at about $500,000 to $1 million toward the total acquisition price. One million dollars just to get someone who learns code. So to anyone out there who says you can’t get a job: You can have one. A fun one. Learning code is not about numbers and mathematics. It’s more like architecture, where you are presented with a puzzle problem such as “How do we get all these cars from this highway to that one without having to build a bridge across this river or putting an overpass next to the hospital?”
Learning to code means being able to imagine a new way of using the camera in your iPhone, or a new way for people to connect to each other, and then being able to bring that vision to reality.
If you know how to code, you can get a high-paying job right now, or make valuable stuff right now. You will understand more about how the world works, and become a participating member in the digital society unfolding before us. You will be enabling America to compete effectively on both the economic and military frontiers, where we are rapidly losing our competitive advantage due to our failure to teach ourselves code. We should not have to wait for the NYSE to be hacked by kids from Asia to learn this lesson.
If that doesn’t convince you, check out these young hackers, seniors at New York University. The last reason we started Code Chicago? We needed to hire more instructors for the 21st Century Youth Project, and the Android developers are in such high demand, we can’t find enough! So the nice option of our program is that we hope you’ll be interested in facilitating and ultimately teaching courses for The 21st Century Youth Project. If you need to learn more on why to apply, click here.
What is the program and what will it entail?
Ultimately, Code Chicago is a “blended” learning environment: three (3) hours of in-class instruction and five (5) hours of online class, which includes discussion boards, exercises, examples, and videos providing more context, reinforcing what is learned in class. This is the best of both world scenario, because blended learning has been proven to be more effective than just in-class instruction alone, and secondly, it provides all of the cost savings that online classes should provide (but rarely do)! All students will be concurrently enrolled in our Small Business and Entrepreneurship course, so students will learn how to create and market a business, especially for the apps they create. All students will leave our program with two apps created: one simple app (calculator/badge app), and a more complex one that pertains to their own interests.
Who should consider applying?
These people include:
- Those wishing to diversify their skill sets
- College Students aiming to enhance their marketability
- Those working in entrepreneurial firms
We want people making a build vs. buy decision. Do I build my own mobile app, or do I pay someone else to do it? We also want people, who are looking to build their resume/credentials, to leverage this opportunity to get a better paying job. We are hoping to create an alumni network that provides value in the marketplace.
So what’s next for Code Chicago?
- Special class for U.S. veterans
- Classes for iOS programming (for the iPhone and iPad)
- More entrepreneurial courses
- Intermediate and Advanced Android courses (more sequences)
These classes are also very, very affordable. $1,500 for 12 weeks, with 10+ hours a week of instruction. That’s a little over $8/hour for tech training that will change your life, if you’re committed. I can’t wait to take these courses myself, because I need to know how to build mobile apps! We are restricting our class size to 20 students, because it’s about having a quality experience for all involved. Not to mention, a portion of the proceeds goes into sustaining the 21st Century Youth Project.