Building a Better Learn to Code Bootcamp

Apr 11 · 6 min read

In a little over two months, we’ll be heading down to Costa Rica to kick off our 2-week long Fellowship program. It’s the second year we’ll be running it in partnership with Manatí, the software studio we joined with last year when we first decided to go international, and we’re even more excited this time around.

Fellowship is a program we’ve run at intervals for closing in on a decade now, and though it has evolved and changed shape and structure more than once through the years, it’s something we’re committed to offering. We believe the value of it is nothing short of incredible — for ourselves, for the students participating, and for the industry.

We went from offering a Toronto-only, Drupal-focused program to expanding it into other markets in Canada to where we are today, running an international option in Costa Rica that covers a wide range of development skills. From then to now, the program has evolved alongside our company. And that’s exactly as it should be.

The Next Generation

Sharing our knowledge and preparing the next generation of developers through work experience in a realistic work environment is our primary objective with the Fellowship program. Updating the material, the format, and even the location for delivering that knowledge helps us ensure we’re providing real value to the participants.

Tim Fernihough, Co-founder and Director of IT at Myplanet, is passionate about the opportunity to build up a strong foundation for the students.

“Fellowship allows us an opportunity to share our knowledge back to the community through an educational program,” he says. “As someone who has been at Myplanet since the stone age, it offers an opportunity to work closely with our team, learn from them, share what I know, and to build cool stuff together.”

For Laura Johnson, Senior Drupal Developer and one of the Instructors for our Fellowship program, it’s an experience that enriches her role at Myplanet. “It is truly rewarding for me as a mentor to get to know the developers and to see their skills grow as we collaborate on a project together,” she says.

Proven Partners

Last year was the first year we took the Fellowship to an international location and to do so, we partnered with another company for the first time as well. Moving off-site poses challenges and necessitated changes to the program, but as we expected when we made that decision. the benefits so far have outweighed any additional effort.

Working with the folks at Manatí has been a wonderful addition to the program for us. Not only do they help foster the connection with the local development community in Costa Rica, but as Yashar Rassoulli, Chief Technology Officer at Myplanet notes, “They share our values of humanity, collaboration, and mastery.”

And that’s something we actively sought out when looking for a partner. Fellowship, for us, is about cultivating a community of like-minded practitioners as much as it is about providing hard skills for the future. Finding a partner with a similar approach to work and understanding of what the future of web development can look like was crucial when we were looking to expand to new markets.

“In many ways Manatí reminds me of Myplanet,” says Tim. “They share the same values as us, but they’re a smaller team. I’m excited to work with them, excited to be able to build a partnership with them in this way. The integration with us is seamless and they feel like an extension to our team.”

Fellowship is something we started when we were a much smaller organization looking to foster strong community ties, and we wanted to be sure whoever we partnered with had similar values and objectives to ours. Manatí fit that bill perfectly, and we feel incredibly lucky that they are as passionate and committed to this program as we are.

Global Appeal

Finding a partner who intrinsically understands the value of a program like this, who sees the potential in fostering a community of individuals who have strong technical foundations, but who also value and champion a collaborative experience where autonomy is balanced with accountability, made the leap to going global a no-brainer for us.

“Connecting with a global talent market is incredibly important for us,” says Yashar. “We’ve found that when we reach out to a larger community, we don’t just get access to a bigger audience, but also a broader range of talent with a more diverse scope of experience.”

And that’s an important part of building the kind of development community we need — as a company and also as an industry — for the future. It should go without saying that the more diverse and varied the people who build software we all use every day are, the better the odds that that software will be usable and enjoyable for all.

Diversifying our talent pool is no small consideration, either. Through the years we’ve hired a number of Fellowship grads. (We even have one team member still here from our first ever cohort!) Being able to reach a more diverse market of talent means that as we continue to grow, our funnels are attracting capable developers from all kinds of backgrounds and experiences.

Community Building

That’s also part of why we involve as many of our own team members as we can, from a range of functions and tenures within the organization. For Tim, it’s an important opportunity not just for us to get to know potential candidates, but also for them to get to know us.

“I really am able to share what we call the ‘Myplanet way’,” says Tim of being on-site with the Fellows. “It gives me an opportunity to see how passionate the fellows are and I really value being able to sit alongside the team during their inaugural time with us. It allows us to build a rapport that would be hard to build otherwise.”

Laura agrees. “It’s exciting to watch a team of new developers come together for the first time and discover how to work together using tools that are brand new to them.” It’s why, in spite of busy schedules and full professional plates as it is, Laura, Tim, and Yashar are all returning to teach, share, learn, and grow with our next cohort alongside other instructors from Myplanet and the Manatí team. Being a part of Fellowship has always been an exciting opportunity for everyone involved, not just for the students.

There’s a magic that happens when motivated learners, passionate mentors, and like-minded organizations come together, a whole that’s greater than the sum of its parts. Fellowship is a big investment: of time, of money, and above all of trust that what we’re doing is going to be good for everyone. But it’s an investment we know is worth making, and we’ll continue to make it for years to come.

Interested in participating or know someone who would be a great fit? Click here to find out more and apply online today. Open to students, recent graduates and those looking to re-train.


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