The Education of NY Tech
The Principal of New York
Before Mayor Bloomberg signed up for Codecademy, before General Assembly signed its first lease in the Flatiron—even before Peter Thiel started paying kids to skip school—Skillshare founder and CEO Mike Karnjanaprakorn was trying convince New York investors to finance his peer-to-peer learning startup. He billed the company as the Etsy of education, since it set up a market for anyone to teach—and learn—practical skills through an affordable hands-on class, starting at $25 a night. (The hybrid online classes that Skillshare launched this August, with Livestream office hours, start at just $20 a night.)
Back in December, Art.sy’s Daniel Doubrovkine announced he would be teaching a six-week class geared toward developers, assisted by Pivotal Labs’s Dimitri Roche, on the popular, powerful and lightweight scripting language and framework known as Ruby on Rails. The price, $2,800 a student, was on solid middle ground in the range of Ruby class pricing, but some local Rubyists sneered at the high price tag for a language that many learn on their own.
The class, held at General Assembly, filled up immediately anyway. Now that it’s over, Mr. Doubrovkine took some time to reflect. Between lesson planning and grading, he estimated he worked on the class for 117 hours in total. He decided to use the experience to make a case for learning Ruby in the classroom and last week hosted one of the most well-attended NYC.rb meetups to date, called “Crafting a Ruby on Rails Course for Developers,” in which he outlined his methods for creating the curriculum.
Art.sy’s Daniel Doubrovkine and Pivotal Labs’s Dimitri Roche are teaching a six-week class on Ruby on Rails at General Assembly for $2,800. When Mr. Doubrovkine took to the NYC-rb mailing list to advertise, he was surprised by the pushback. “I don’t want to put you down or sound like a jerk but any programmer should be able to learn Rails without paying $2,800,” wrote Rubyist Kfir Shay. “Documentation is excellent, free online resources are plenty, community is strong etc.”