Diversity in Development at Le Wagon
Le Wagon is a coding bootcamp that brings coding skills to creative entrepreneurs to make them able to build their own applications, find jobs in tech and collaborate efficiently with future developer teams. With a large group of female developers and instructors, Le Wagon is working to further diversify the tech space and bridge the gender gap, This tech community boasts more than 3200+ talented alumni within 28+ cities worldwide. We sat down with Alice Clavel, a Lead Teacher, and Full-Stack Developer, to discuss the Le Wagon program in more depth. Find out her inside scoop in this interview below:
What are some unique aspects about Le Wagon that sets it apart from other bootcamps?
Le Wagon is deeply product oriented. We see programming as a tool for you to bring to life your craziest idea. Programming is not the end goal, it's a way for you to express your creativity and to build products. Another unique aspect is the community: Le Wagon gathers people from everywhere in the world with a broad variety of backgrounds. They all have a unique experience. It makes it a reliable community when you need help or jobs, but also friendships.
What is your technical background?
I attended Le Wagon myself in January 2015. I then worked as a backend developer in a startup in Paris for 18 months, this is where I learned the most. Now I've been working full-time for Le Wagon since June 2017.
What is your educational background?
I have a Masters in Management from a private business school, ESCP Europe.
How did you find your way to Le Wagon?
It was in December 2014. I was very frustrated with my study, it was shallow, sometimes just meaningless. I had just finished an internship at a Berlin startup, a great company but I felt I was not using my brain like I should. I always liked computers and I envied the passion with which developers were talking about their jobs. I wanted to master hard skills and be able to develop and share an idea I had quickly.
What is your position at Le Wagon?
Lead teacher & full-stack developer. Meaning: I teach 1/3 of my time, any module of the program (though I prefer Ruby/OOP and the project weeks) and the rest of my time is dedicated to coding for our internal needs (enhancing our platform, developing new business/marketing tools, etc.)
Which city do you work in?
Berlin, sometimes Paris. We can easily travel from one city to another (I taught in Tel Aviv and Lisbon for instance).
What plans/dreams do you have for Le Wagon over the next 5 years?
I hope Le Wagon will reach more people, whatever the format (online/offline) and extend its field of expertise: machine learning, data science, gaming, ...
Any advice for students looking to join a bootcamp?
A bootcamp is very demanding, make sure to be fully dedicated to it when it happens. No need for over preparation, but everyday discipline for following instructions, being on time, not missing any lecture/course. Hard work and consistency are the keys to success.
Any advice for people who want to start teaching code?
Teaching code is hard. Programming is one thing, explaining what you do in concise terms for people that never saw most of the concepts before is another. You have to be right in the vocabulary you use, but still understandable for beginners. Be very practical, show rather than tell by doing live coding (projecting your screen), melt theory in all the different examples you are showcasing, give context, are part of the things that makes the whole experience much better. And don't be too long, people's attention decreases quite fast.
Do you see bootcamps replacing college for parts of the population?
Bootcamps, when they are run well, are perfect for mastering a set of skills in a short amount of time, but it doesn't fit all the schedules and topics. They won't necessarily replace college education but rather be an add-on or integrated into existing programs. Traditional education is being deeply questioned: universities that only offer a network and disappointing curriculum won't last long, especially if they charge high education fees. I believe in the massive spread of online education though, because it's cheap and doesn't require any infrastructure.
What is the job market like where your bootcamp location is based?
For technical jobs, booming :)
Do you feel students without a technical background can attend Le Wagon?
Yes, Le Wagon is for everyone.
Do you have advice for recent graduates?
Don't spend a single day without coding, strengthen your knowledge by further readings.
Anything else you would like to add?
Programming is what reading was centuries ago: incredibly liberating but exclusive, only mastered by a small minority. Everyone should know at least the basic concepts. It gives you the freedom of choosing your job, activity, getting rid of tasks that could be automated, do remote work from anywhere. We need more developers, and we need more women developers. I see a lot of great initiatives in that sense but still, only roughly 30% of our batches are women. This has to change.