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Cahlan Sharp on Teaching Development Skills

| Podcast with Cahlan Sharp Follow 0 Followers by Shane Hastie Follow 18 Followers on Feb 05, 2018 |

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In this podcast Shane Hastie, Lead Editor for Culture & Methods, spoke to Cahlan Sharp about the DevMountain schools that teach software development skills in intensive “bootcamp” programs.

Key Takeaways

  • A lot of formal education is very theory based rather than teaching hands-on development skills
  • A Stack-Overflow survey in which 60% of respondents describe themselves as self-taught developers
  • A high-pressure, high performance environment where students learn by doing results in faster learning and better retention
  • All of this information and teaching is available online, however when trying to teach yourself online you don’t know what you don’t know so it will probably take longer to find what you actually need to learn
  • Employers are struggling to find the talent they need to continue to grow their businesses
  • The higher education system is ill-equipped to supply the people needed for the jobs that are available
  • Challenging the “it takes four years to learn something” mentality – people can and do learn things quickly and deeply when given the opportunity to do so

Show Notes

  • 0:25 Introductions
  • 0:50 Frustration with the formal education which was very theory based and not teaching hands-on web development skills
  • 1:15 Studying psychology and instructional design
  • 1:50 Took the opportunity to teach part-time coding classes
  • 2:10 Building a coding bootcamp
  • 2:28 Describing what’s different about the approach taken at DevMountain
  • 2:40 A Stack-Overflow survey in which 60% of respondents describe themselves as self-taught developers
  • 3:12 Using practical, problem-based learning is one of the best ways to learn a craft
  • 3:35 Many of the students are older and already know what they want to do with their lives
  • 3:45 A high-pressure, high performance environment where students learn by doing
  • 4:25 All of this information and teaching is available online, however when trying to teach yourself online you don’t know what you don’t know so it will probably take longer to find what you actually need to learn
  • 5:05 Comparing the bootcamp learning to getting fit by attending a gym and having a personal trainer
  • 5:47 Finding the sweet spot between accessibility and impact
  • 6:05 Keeping the costs as affordable as possible and providing few housing to make it easy to attend
  • 6:25 Deliberately locating in some of the smaller cities where there is demand for people with these skills
  • 6:50 Describing the Full Stack Web Development class
  • 7:18 Other curricula covering iOS Development, UX Design
  • 7:38 New courses in QA Development and SalesForce Development
  • 7:28 Profile of the students – later 20’s, looking to change career, have passion and aptitude for the profession
  • 8:35 The options available to people looking to change careers and the cost/benefit tradeoffs of the different approaches
  • 9:04 Working with employers – creating opportunities for connections, networking and recruitment
  • 9:44 Coaching students to prepare for job-seeking and interviews
  • 10:05 Why these types of institutions are needed – the increasing gap between the available roles in software development and the people able to full them, a large job deficit
  • 10:40 Offshoring is an option, with varied results
  • 11:07 The higher education system is ill-equipped to supply the people needed for the jobs that are available
  • 11:34 Many universities don’t have the inhouse expertise to teach the latest, in demand skills
  • 11:43 Companies are getting tired of having to retrain computer science graduates to learn the skills they actually need in the workplace
  • 12:25 The developer community are generous of their time to help other by teaching these skills
  • 12:55 Sharing knowledge through teaching and other ways such as mentoring and writing
  • 13:14 Always looking for people to come and help – both as fulltime teachers and as paid guests to teach specific topics
  • 14:10 Overcoming the bias in employment – give these people a chance and you will be amazed at how well they perform in the workplace
  • 14:40 Challenging the “it takes four years to learn something” mentality – people can and do learn things quickly and deeply when given the opportunity to do so

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