By Sarah June FischerSeptember 16, 2015

Co-Founder and VP of Education Gives a Glimpse of Code Fellows' Past and Future, Part 2

Brook Riggio, one of the first Code Fellows instructors and the VP of Education, sits down with us to talk about why he loves to teach, how Code Fellows started, and what he’s excited for with the launch of our new program. *Continued from Part 1.*

As you’ve worked at Code Fellows and seen it grow from the first class, what are your favorite parts about being here?

It’s been amazing to watch the company grow. We started with Rails and quickly added iOS Development, JavaScript, and Python classes. There is such a great demand for developers across all of these stacks these days. It’s been cool to see that our basic education model really helps people learn in a very short time period what would otherwise be fairly difficult skills to learn. I’d say that definitely one of my favorite things is just seeing that model again and again—seeing folks getting hired and seeing the training prove out as being effective.

Brook Riggio

What are some of the challenges within that?

I think the challenges as an instructor are the same things that make our courses so great—people come from such a great variety of backgrounds. Every class has students coming in with quite a range of interests and skill sets and backgrounds. Finding a way to help everyone move forward to get the most out of the time in class is definitely one of the biggest challenges as an instructor. What I really like to do is help people draw on their existing background and use pieces of it that they may not have thought was relevant as they come into the world of software. Maybe people who have management experience will find that they naturally work as the leader of a development team. Maybe people who have been playing around with spreadsheets for years will really intuitively understand how databases work, even if they’ve never actually worked with a database directly. And people who work in customer service or retail often know how to interface with other people. That’s a hugely valuable skill for developers to have. And the more we can draw that out, then the better students can do in their career from here.

What are you excited about going forward?

Code Fellows just announced some big curriculum changes. I’m really excited about making it simpler for students to move through the variety of courses we offer, including some more topics that are really needed, based on feedback from hiring partners. And I’m excited to help people be better prepared for Code 401 courses and for getting into their careers. Our course offerings have always been evolving based on student and industry needs, and that evolution is continuing. We’re not going to sit still with what we have. We’re going to keep evolving the way that we organize our courses to figure out how to best serve the needs of our students who are interested in making a big career change in a very short period of time. We’re getting better and better at it and working on getting it really dialed in.

Is there anything else you can share with us going forward or anything else about the program at Code Fellows that you’d like people to know?

We have some really exciting things planned in terms of our course offerings in Seattle, Portland, and Chicago. We’re always on the search for world-class instructors to make sure that our amazing curriculum that we’ve developed is delivered in a way that’s really effective for student learning. So, if anyone out there knows of any great instructors in mobile or web application technologies, then we really want to talk to them about how they can make a real impact with their skills and their teaching experience to change the lives of our students.