How do you become a web developer in 10 weeks?

It’s the challenge the students at Makers Academy have taken on and I was delighted to join as an instructor with the second (March) cohort; alongside Leo Allen and Makers Academy co-founder Evgeny Shadchnev.

This week (week 5) we have been joined by the third (April) cohort and our new instructor Enrique Comba.

The schedule of weeks for the cohorts of Makers Academy currently looks like this:

Feb    1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10
March              1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10
April                          1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10

As you can see, February’s weeks 9 & 10 coincide with March’s 5 & 6; while March’s 9 & 10 will coincide with April’s 5 & 6 and so on.

We don’t just want to teach the students at Makers Academy how to code; we want to give them an authentic experience of professional development, including teamwork and deadlines.

Enrique had the inspired idea to combine the students in respective weeks 5 & 6 and 9 & 10 and split them into mixed teams.

Each team (there happens to be 3) has a team leader and will have 2 weeks to develop a complete product, which we, the instructors, will judge.  Prizes will be awarded for the strength of the product idea; design; execution; code quality; application of TDD and so on.  It’s The Apprentice meets the Silicon Roundabout!

Combining students from 2 cohorts creates a great dynamic as students on the earlier cohort naturally start to teach students on the later cohort and this helps them to validate their own learning and realize how far they have come.  Conversely, students on the later cohort get to see where they will be in four weeks time.

Working on team projects has massively increased communication and collaboration in the Makers environment and having something concrete to deliver has given everyone a shared focus for their individual purpose and motivation.

On Tuesday, The teams presented their ideas in the Makers board room.  These are highly entrepreneurial people and pitched 3 new startups, all born in just a couple of days.

I can’t wait to see the final products and picking a winner is going to be tough…