Web2day 2015 - Born to code panel

Saturday 13 June 2015

On June 4th, 2015, I was kindly invited by the Web2day conference to attend a panel on the Born to code topic. You can find the video at the bottom of this article, let me walk you through my answers.

Can you walk us through Le Wagon program?

Our students come from a lot of places. We have students from Business School, Consulting Firms, Engineers, Artists, startup founders, lawyers. We even had students who dropped out of college to join us for the love of code and who are now successful developers.

About the training program, it’s a very intense 9-week bootcamp. We take people with zero experience , and the goal is to bring them to the point where they are able to build a MVP of any idea they might have.

So how do we do that? We start from scratch, first we need to teach them basic concepts of programming language. For three weeks, they learn Ruby and Object Oriented Programming. Then we have one week about Databases and SQL. Another week about front-end web development, so HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Then we start building web applications with Ruby on Rails, and we teach them how to be effective as a coding team. During the last 2 weeks, they work on the MVP of their own projects. We really have amazing results after just 10 days of development, I invite you to check out the demo days on our Youtube channel.

After the program, our students build their startups, start a freelance career, or join companies as developers.

What about developer careers?

I will talk about France, because that’s kind of specific to our country. A lot of students in engineering schools do not dream of finding a job where they can code all day. They see a developer position as temporary and mandatory to get a manager position. This means that we are losing a lot of value, a lot of experience. The problem with junior teams is that they tend to repeat the same errors over and over. Having a senior developer in the team can make a big difference.

Coding is a craft. It takes years to be good at it, like a craftsman working with wood, steel or any kind of raw material. Anybody can grab those skills under 2 conditions. First they need to be highly motivated. Second, having a mentor who give them the right techniques, tools and mindset.

Women and programming, how is it going?

More and more women are interested in learning to code. Eighteen month ago, in the very first batch, only two girls attended the bootcamp (about 10%). Today, batch #10 currently runnning in Paris reached 40% of women. We’re very happy with this number.

Here what I noticed after one year as a teacher. There is no major difference between men and women when it comes to learning to code. Women tend to like Ruby and back-end development rathen than design and front-end, which is the opposite of the cliché. That’s funny because they tend to be unconfident about their new skills. Another trait I saw is that women tend to be more organized when it comes to team work. They develop management skills around code very quickly. Some of the best Program and Product Manager I know are women.

Regarding Entrepreunership, women bring some new ideas into the mix. They are some business opportunities tackled by women which have never been addressed by men. We could take Ma Share Ecole, founded by Caroline Carriere, and Roadstr, founded by Thomas Ceccaldi and Jérôme Borenstein as an exemple of that!

Panel video

Here’s the full video of the panel. A big thank to Laetitia Mailhes, Ivonne Jansen-Dings and Ilhan Adiyaman for this lovely time!

Would you like to learn programming? I am CTO of Le Wagon, a 9-week full-stack web development bootcamp for entrepreneurs, and would be happy to have you on board!

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