October 18, 2013

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Provo Coding School Provides Hands-on Training to Aspiring Web Developers

By Rachel Madison

October 18, 2013

A new program recently launched in Provo is providing its students with 12 weeks of intense, hands-on learning of coding and web development—and the chance to land a high-paying tech job.

The program, DevMountain, was launched during the summer and the first session began in September. According to its website, DevMountain is an “after-hours, intense coding school where students are trained and mentored by industry experts. We focus on hands-on learning over old-school lectures. Anyone can code; everyone should.”

Tyler Richards, co-founder of DevMountain, said the idea for DevMountain began after Camp 4 officially opened. Camp 4 is an office building in downtown Provo that provides entrepreneurs who are building their startup businesses with space to work. That project was a collaboration between Provo City, Utah County, BoomStartup, BYU's Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, The Startup Group and Innovation Network.

As part of that project, Provo City also encouraged the development of a coding school, which Richards and three of his colleagues jumped at the chance to do.

During the 12-week course, students learn a variety of topics ranging from core engineering skills and web application basics to front-end development and advanced JavaScript. DevMountain promises to provide hands-on learning, a flipped classroom, intense instruction and engaged mentorship, Richards said. Although the first class is halfway over, DevMountain is currently accepting applications for its winter class, which begins Jan. 7.

The coding school, which Richards likes to refer to as a “boot camp,” takes people from no knowledge of coding to the proficiency of a junior software developer.

“We don’t proclaim that we’ll make you as good as someone who has been in the industry for 10 to 20 years, but we will make you very attractive to a tech company,” he said.

DevMountain is partnered with about 10 different local companies, such as Property Solutions, Blue Host and MoneyDesktop.

“The main reason we offer this boot camp is for students to find a job afterward,” Richards said. “If students get hired with one of our partnered companies, they can receive up to 50 percent of their tuition costs back. Our partner companies help out by mentoring for a class session and becoming closely knit with students. When the time comes, they can hand pick who they liked or built a relationship with and hire them.”

The course is “after hours,” meaning it’s held on weeknight evenings and Saturday mornings. Richards said the program was developed this way so that someone who works or goes to school full time will be able to attend.

During the first round of applications for the class currently in session, Richards said they received about 150 applications. They chose 20 people to participate, mainly because they wanted to provide a one-on-one atmosphere for the students and teachers. DevMountain has three full-time teachers who also serve as mentors to students who have questions outside of class. There are also two other full-time mentors available to answer students’ questions.

“We like students to have the ability to talk one-on-one and work out problems,” Richards said. “Coding is a complex skill.”

Richards hopes the course will be held up to three times a year to provide as many people as possible with the opportunity to learn how to code.

For more information on DevMountain, visit http://devmounta.in/.


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