MakerSquare has recently launched their Part Time program- ten week evening classes located in Austin, Houston, or San Francisco. We caught up with Part-Time Program Director Alex Levine to get the scoop on these courses!
Tell us about yourself- how did you get involved with MakerSquare and what's your background?
I was trying to learn to code through books alongside my girlfriend who was doing graduate coursework at UT. I found the experience frustrating and wanted a mentor to ask questions. One day I was coding in a cafe and the founders of MakerSquare were talking about their course, which hadn’t yet launched, in a business meeting next to me.
I got their attention and showed them what I was coding which was exactly what they were teaching. I would later enroll in the first Immersive cohort at the school.
Upon graduation, I was offered a TA position for Cohort 2 which later evolved into project managing the creation our first part-time course. People were clamoring for a way to learn web development without quitting their job. Since then, we’ve graduated over sixty students and have received glowing reviews on Google and Yelp for the experience.
MakerSquare is best known for their full-time, immersive course. Why did y'all decide to start the part-time option? What's the demand like?
The full-time, Immersive course has been great for those who are looking to make a career change and become professional web developers.
However, that is not everyone's goal, and we found that there is a need for a course that allows people to grow professionally by adding a new skillset. Also, some people want a taste of web development before deciding to make the time and financial commitment of the Immersive program.
Our September cohort in Austin sold out and the response in Houston has been awesome. We are looking forward to continuing the growth in both cities with the November cohorts.
What types of students are you looking for in the part-time Front End course? What should applicants do to stand out or prove that they're ready to start the program?
Our part-time program is our most accessible course. We have students from all walks of life and varying skill levels. We’re looking for students who want to enhance their skills for their job, hobby, or for a creative outlet. We love students who apply and are so eager to learn that they begin the prework ASAP. That prework can be found here: http://mks.io/mksparttime
From the Chief Creative Officer or Art Director at an advertising agency, to a graphic designer looking to bring designs to the web, to an entrepreneur who wants to code and project manage her site. If you work in a position where your work needs to be scaled out to the web, this is the course for you.
How deep does the part-time Front End course go? Tell us about the curriculum.
We believe you learn coding the best by coding as much as possible. Half of the class is lecture and exercises and the other half is projects and that’s where the magic “aha” moments happen.
Who are the instructors in these courses? How much personal attention will students get? Do students learn on their own throughout the week, then come together as a cohort to cover what they couldn't learn alone?
The class is taught by a professional web developer with several years of professional experience. Classes are never much larger than 20 students, and we add TAs to fit class size, usually 1 or 2.
In addition to class time, students have homework they will complete outside of class which usually takes at least around six hours per week.
The students that spend more time coding/learning outside of class get more out of the experience. Some students have study groups and meet on the weekends. Having in-person classes hold them accountable and with classmates to bounce off of, students are able to learn much quicker than if they were to learn on their own.
What are the expected student outcomes for the part-time program (as opposed to the full-time immersive)?
You will be able to create and deploy websites to the internet, collaborate on web projects, and have a good foundational understanding of web development. You will also have a final project to show off which can be a portfolio website, blog, wedding website, or business webpage. We help you spec out your site and guide you through development best-practices.
The Front End course is not designed to be a career-switcher course like Immersive. It’s ideal for people who work around web development and want a way to catapult into coding without quitting their job. Our students are often designers, project managers, journalists, entrepreneurs, and marketers. We accept students who have zero or some coding experience.
The Immersive course is for people who are committed to changing their careers and have gone through the initial foundational coding prep which is available on our website www.makersquare.com. There is a screening process to ensure applicants are a good fit personality-wise and technically. That program has a 95% job placement rate.
Do you find that companies will support their employees to participate in this course?
Yes! It’s very common employers pay part or full tuition for their employees. In fact, we recently had a company offer their employee a 'soft bonus' by enrolling them in the course. There is such a need for people who can code within organizations. The classic example is outdated content on company webpages and a webmaster who is a struggle to work with. When employees can code, they can contribute to a web presence which makes companies more nimble.
Some companies like Rosetta Stone and IBM have already reached out to us in order to run a custom course just for their designers and non-developer staff. If this makes sense at your company, please let us know and we’d be happy to discuss options.