Q&A: DevLeague Prep Returns Next Month
Earlier this year, DevLeague — Hawaii’s largest and longest-running coding bootcamp — introduced DevLeague Prep, an on-ramp to software development for people who had little to no experience with programming.
DevLeague promises to turn novice programmers into full-stack developers in a “super intense” 12-week program. But organizers found that many people were unable to pass (or too intimidated to take) its entrance exam, a hands-on coding challenge. Many beginning programmers are self taught, and the runway to a bootcamp program can seem a little short.
Perhaps most importantly, students will be able to decide whether they want to pursue a career in programming, and if so, build the necessary skills to pass the admissions exam for the main DevLeague program.
With 2016 fast approaching, applications are now being accepted for the second DevLeague Prep course, which runs through the month of January. I was curious about how the first DevLeague Prep program was received, and fortunately DevLeague graduate turned marketing lead Victor Lee was happy to share his thoughts. Lee initiated and drove the pilot Prep course (and will lead the second one).
Q. How many people went through the first DevLeague Prep?
A. Fourteen people participated in the first DevLeague Prep course. We even had a teacher from Wai’anae Intermediate School that provided us with a great opportunity to train teachers to teach coding. Shortly after the prep course ended, she led a workshop to her fellow teachers on how to code in the classroom and how students can benefit from learning how to code.
Q. I’m sure many were just happy to have gained some coding experience, but how many of them went on to apply to DevLeague?
A. Seven of the 13 students that applied for DevLeague have been accepted into either the Full or Part Time programs and are doing very well.
Q. What did you see and learn in the first session that surprised you?
A. The prep course is a great entry point for students that are interested in learning to code but don’t know where to start. It gives them a taste of what programming is without making a full commitment to our program. With that being said, we were surprised by how many conversions we had from the prep course into the accelerated program. Even though most of the prep students had little-to-no coding experience, they were able quickly grasp the fundamentals of programming.
Q. What changes or improvements did you make for this second course?
A. For the past two years we have been mentoring total beginners and feel pretty confident that our model works. The prep course is just formalizing that process in a group setting. We’ll always be generating new content and making small tweaks based on user feedback, but it’s really about the fundamentals that remain fairly constant.
The course includes 48 hours of instruction and hands-on work, spread across 12 classes that are held from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays. DevLeague Prep can accommodate up to 20 students, who will need to pay the $735 tuition by the end of this year. Although DevLeague Prep students are not guaranteed admission into the main DevLeague program, those that do move on will be able to apply that first $735 payment toward their $10,500 tuition.