If Mayor Bloomberg’s billions of initiatives to help boost S.T.E.M. activity in our city didn’t tip you off, New York suffers from a dearth of talented engineers. The Flatiron School, launched last year, has established itself as a coding mecca for professionals with no development experience hoping to break into the tech world and fill some of those empty coding gigs.
With a 10 percent acceptance rate, Flatiron has been pretty successful in placing applicants in jobs: Last September, 100 percent of graduates scored fulltime developer gigs at places like Conde Nast, Universal and Contently, according to Adam Enbar, the school’s cofounder.
Now, Flatiron is teaming up with Skillcrush, a New York-based digital literacy startup, to offer a two-week intensive program for high school students hoping to hone their developer chops. “The longterm goal will be to create a more sustainable after school program so that rather than kids doing ballet or karate or learning violin we can add coding to that mix,” Mr. Enbar told Betabeat by phone. “We want to create a real ongoing program to help kids learn how to code.”
The program, which will be taught by Skillcrush cofounders Adda Birnir and Kate McGee, will run from June 17th to June 28th with classes Monday – Friday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. With such similar mission statements, both Flatiron School and Skillcrush have been looking for an opportunity to partner up, and offering a summer program for kid coders seemed like the perfect sweet spot.
“One of the things that’s great about high school kids is they’re going to be super fluent in all of the school apps,” Ms. Birnir told Betabeat by phone. “But what we’re gonna do is say, ‘You’re really excited about the Internet, here’s how you go from being a consumer of the web to someone who’s actively participating in it. It can be for fun: you can make video games or Tumblr blogs or animated GIFs, but there’s also a way where you can have a real impact on the world through the Internet and through building web applications.”
The program will be divided into three parts. The first will be dedicated to teaching kids typical web terminology and introducing them to HTML and CSS; the second will get them into the terminal and train them to think conceptually about programming; the third will intro kids to the hacker and maker movement.
“Our goal is really to just get these kids super excited about programming and computers and get them thinking they can be active participants as opposed to passive consumers,” Ms. Birnir said.
Mr. Enbar told Betabeat that the first program will cost $2,000 and will only be admitting about 20 students. Manhattan Prep has provided a classroom for free, and Flatiron plans to donate the proceedings saved from renting a space to a nonprofit that teaches kids how to code.
“As we can create a business out of teaching kids to code we can also be empowering these nonprofits that are doing really great work,” Mr. Enbar added.