Who Goes to Code School?
Traditional elementary and middle school curriculum is devoid of scratch programming and web design. Many parents however want their children exposed to the technology at an early age. Code schools appeal to job seekers as well who realize that there are good career opportunities available and a market for junior level developers. Software Programming teaches logic, higher-level math and reinforces concepts in learning that have applicability outside of the development environment. Corporate managers benefit from learning enough code to be dangerous so that they can more effectively manage software development staff. Code schools like local Interface and The Omaha CodeSchool strive to get software neophytes into technology careers, promising to “turn beginners into hireable web developers in 12 weeks,” focusing as much the mechanics of coding as on the developer mindset and way of thinking and approaching problems. The discussion about the software development approach and coding style is one that comes up here frequently. The challenge is to understand the client need and business process and develop the solution that is right for them and scales. This requires a level of thinking and approach that is critical to the building and maintaining of a system.
The response to code schools has been mostly positive. The World Herald ran an article recently on Omaha Code School’s Sumeet Jain who felt Omaha needed a way to get potential software talent into smaller and mid-sized companies. Some in the software development world are concerned that 12 weeks can’t scratch the surface for teaching coding skills. However, the schools are set up as an intensive introduction and provide the basic framework from which new skills can be acquired and built. Ideally local code schools will help encourage young talent to stay in Omaha as well. This is not an abstract concept. Recently Mindmixer CEO and co-founder Nick Bowden decided to consolidate his offices in Kansas City , in no small part because a greater talent pool of developers resided outside of Omaha. In that context, the discussion about the efficacy of code schools, at least locally changes the question from are they relevant to what other things can we do to attract, develop and retain people that might be passionate about writing software code. Traditional educational institutions are opening up on-line lectures and classes to the general public and the way in which we learn is changing as the technology that has changed the way we do business continues to evolve. Perhaps code schools, as they mature, will provide outlets to students who might not have otherwise realized a hidden passion for code.