INterview with Bill Adkins, CodeCraft campus director

Wednesday January 13, 2016 0 comments Tags: Bill Adkins, CodeCraft

 

Bill Adkins has been active in the Boulder tech community for nearly two decades. Before becoming CodeCraft’s campus director, he was director of business development at Gnip, recently acquired by Twitter. Prior to that he was VP of sales at Trada. He also founded his own successful startup, 12Locks, an expense report management solution for busy professionals. Bill has an MBA from Trinity College Dublin and a BA in Economics from John Carroll University.Bill_Adkins_photoUSE

Q: CodeCraft emphasizes that it teaches students “ How to Think Like a Programmer.” What exactly does that mean?

A: In the technology world, there are many ways to become “proficient" in a coding technology. There are fast paths and shortcuts that can help folks “code,” but it may not necessarily encompass the act of being a programmer. Programming is about embracing new technologies - in many ways it is a key requirement of the job. It is about being adaptable - many times a programmer may be interviewing for a job requiring a coding language that they will have to learn if/when hired. We teach the fundamental skills and practices of how to think that way, so while the students get great fundamental full-stack skills at CodeCraft (www.codecraftschool.com), they are also well equipped to teach themselves and learn new languages as they move forward with their careers.

Q: What differentiates CodeCraft from other coding schools? 

A: First of all, we have a legacy under the founders of Boulder Digital Arts (https://www.boulderdigitalarts.com/). Bruce Borowsky and Zach Daudert have over two decades combined experience in digital professional instruction. It was their passion and experience that drove the desire to launch CodeCraft. Digital training is “what we do” and we’re really good at it. One specific example is the decades of experience of our instructors combined with a relatively small class size. We have also put a lot of focus on the individual needs of our students to help them access the tech career path they want and realize their goals. A product of this is our feedback function that we’ve built into the student portal; students have the ability to provide feedback real-time throughout the duration of their program and therefore inform curriculum design and delivery based on their unique needs, challenges, and interests.

We also strive to make our pedagogy inclusive to accommodate a diverse student base including women and minorities, and the many different learning styles students bring to our learning community.

Additionally, because of our affiliation with Boulder Digital Arts, students are able to take FREE BDA classes for three months before their registered cohort begins and for up to three months after the cohort ends. These classes range from the Adobe Creative Suite to SEO/SEM, UX/UI and video production, enabling our bootcamp students to further develop themselves with a host of additional marketable skills not available elsewhere in the bootcamp industry.

Lastly, in order to make the class approachable by a wider variety of potential student, our cohorts are amongst the most affordable in the industry - an important consideration to help people fulfill their goals and get that career they’re dreaming of.

Q: What kind of person is the ideal candidate for a CodeCraft web-development bootcamp? 

A: Focus and drive. We have been really fortunate in our cohorts to have students with a lot of personal ambition and good ideas about where they want to go. We put in a lot of work to find those students who see attendance at CodeCraft as a fundamental component of their career interest. Experience per se is not necessary. We want folks who are technically “able” but you do not need to have prior web or coding experience to be a student at CodeCraft. Likewise, an experienced person not sure where they want to go “next” in their career or not confident in their ability to see through a task will probably lack the rigor to make it through the cohort. We try to direct those folks to either think over the idea of the bootcamp (and re-apply) or in some cases they self-select out of the running. 

Through Boulder Digital Arts we can also provide shorter-duration classes (one day to one week in length) that a prospective student may want to take to see if web development and a larger commitment to something like a bootcamp is right for them. 

Q: How does CodeCraft determine what curriculums to offer? 

A: Boulder is arguably the best technology-based “small town” in America. CodeCraft has many relationships in this community and has done a lot of work with technology hiring managers to find out what needs are in the market. We have then combined that with a curriculum that is both approachable and fits with our theme to turn out well-skilled *hireable* candidates that bring something unique and compelling to the market. 

Q: What future plans are there for CodeCraft? 

A: We have put a lot of effort to listening to our students as well as the hiring community. Our first order of business is a part-time version of the full-stack program that we intend to launch in the coming months so professionals who can’t step away from work commitments can still pursue a coding education. We also have a number of other innovative bootcamp ideas to help meet the needs in the market. The great thing is there are so many emerging skills and needs in the tech industry that a company like CodeCraft, with its experience (a-la BDA) in the market, is uniquely poised to help. We are committed to getting more people access to the tech skills they need to move into the future! Stay tuned for more developments!