Alex Petlenko, founder of Learn to Code London
Hi, Alex! What motivated you to start a bootcamp?
The main motivation was to share knowledge and empower people to start coding. Coding is such a relevant skill to have today. Another key driver was to make coding accessible and teach it in plain English.
What challenges have you faced so far with starting your coding bootcamp?
Keeping up with demand and adding more courses. We have grown very quickly in a short space of time, so striking a balance between expanding our course offering, whilst ensuring that quality of content and delivery remains high is our key priority. However we are aiming to add two new courses on web design and mobile app development later this year, so stay tuned!
What successes have you had with your first few cohorts?
The success is in the satisfaction that our students walk away from our bootcamp courses with a firm foundation in programming and can then go on to learn any language and apply their newly gained skills in many different ways. For example, we recently had a student who went on to learn Objective-C and is now building their own mobile app. We like to stay in touch with our "alumni" and find out how they are doing. Learning is very much a two way process.
What plans/dreams do you have for your bootcamp over the next 5 years?
We hope to expand our course offering in line with trends in the industry and offer the most value added and up-to-date courses for students. Some say "Those That Can Do, Those Who Can't Teach!" and we want to flip that notion on its head! Our core dream is to have a permanent in-house development team working on cool and exciting tech projects. We can then look to offer future students the opportunity to join this team on course completion, creating a more coherent bootcamp model with much more cross-over between learning and actual work.
Any advice for students looking to join a bootcamp?
Sure. Have a good look around and pick the course that's in line with your goals. Join our newsletter and keep a keen eye out for special offers and discounts to get the best deal!
Any advice for people who want to start a bootcamp and/or start teaching code?
Do it! It's hard work but it's rewarding being part of the learning process.
Do you see bootcamps replacing college for parts of the population?
I don't see a replacement as such happening, but I do see more of a co-existence. It's especially good in cases where people want a change in direction. For example, someone graduating with a humanities or even a hard science degree may find it difficult to land a job in their field in the current climate and at the same time will be faced with an abundance of well-paid tech jobs in the market. This is where a bootcamp is ideally placed to offer that head start into the tech space.
What is the job market like where your bootcamp is based?
The tech job market in London is hot! There are well established large companies hiring tech candidates in almost every sector, in addition to that, the startup scene is booming especially around the Old Street "Silicon Roundabout" area!
Alex's coding career started one Christmas when he was a teenager. Being a gamer, he'd asked his dad for a Super NES console. When it came to the day, he woke up to find a Commodore 64 personal computer! Oblivious to his disappointment, his dad simply said "You can make your own games with this."He was hooked -- learning BASIC that same week and never looking back! He went on to study at Imperial College London gaining a bachelors and then masters and build a successful career as a technologist working at a number of major corporations. After moving away from senior management, he founded his own IT consultancy and Learn to Code London spun out from that! He enjoys the mentoring process and sharing knowledge, finding great satisfaction in that.