STOCKTON — Several recent graduates of CodeStack Academy said the immersive 10-month accelerated code school offered by the technology division of the San Joaquin County Office of Education prepared them to basically pick and choose the tech-based career they want to pursue.
The academy, established in 2018, was designed to be an economically accessible software engineering certification and job-readiness program that would provide opportunities to acquire the software and web development skills necessary to join the technology focused workforce. No experience is required, though registrants must be 18 years or older. The academy is led by SJCOE/CodeStack coordinator and software engineer Jateen Bhakta.
On Wednesday, about a dozen CodeStack Academy alums shared their experiences on a virtual meet-and-greet call conducted by the SJCOE.
“It’s really intense,” said alumnus Zach Davis, who is helping write curriculum for the academy’s incoming session. “I started dreaming about code. It gets that much into your being.”
The academy is an eight-hour per day, five days per week immersive software engineering school. Students are tasked with more than 1,000 hours of classroom time, including a mix of instructor-led, project-based, and peer-to-peer learning, followed by 160 hours of real-world apprenticeship with CodeStack development teams working on live, public facing projects.
The students are coding from the first day of class creating Windows apps, web apps and mobile apps all built on the Microsoft Azure platform. They are instructed on industry best practices, UI/UX and ADA accessibility concepts and implementation.
During the school’s final three months, students are challenged to use their skills to develop pro bono software projects for the social benefit of local nonprofit organizations under the supervision of CodeStack Software Engineering and UI/UX Design teams.
The grads said the hard work is worth the sense of confidence, achievement and high-demand job skills they now possess.
“This academy is meant to be more intense,” said Loc Tran, the academy’s admissions coordinator. “We’re trying to be a name for the San Joaquin County area, so there is a lot of push for us to produce the best candidates we can.”
Stockton was identified by U.S. News and World Report as the most ethnically diverse city in the United States. With gender and ethnic minority groups being drastically underrepresented and making up only 7% of technology jobs, CodeStack Academy embraces the opportunity to create more diversity in the tech industry by making “career-ready” software development training accessible to the community as a not-for-profit software engineering school. This provides a viable, living-wage career path for those who may not otherwise be able to travel a more traditional college-focused path.
“Coming in, like most of the others, I didn’t really have any experience with programming,” said junior developer Kevin Caballero. “So, going through the combine, which was super intensive for four weeks, and going through that struggle with the others showed me how I could problem solve. I saw my creative side develop and it gave me the confidence I could design anything.”
For information on the academy and how to register, visit https://www.codestackacademy.org.
Contact reporter BobHighfill at (209) 546-8277 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @bobhighfill.