Interview: Michael Kaiser-Nyman of Epicodus
We spoke with Michael Kaiser-Nyman, founder of Epicodus.
1) What motivated you to start a bootcamp?
I started Epicodus to help people get jobs, and to help companies hire great developers. I had the idea for Epicodus a couple years ago after starting a software company and discovering that developers were in very short supply, and good developers were even rarer. At the same time, I kept hearing about how bad the economy was, and seeing so many of my friends who couldn't find work, or could only find low-paying work. I realized these problems could solve each other - I just needed to help people with low-paying jobs, or who couldn't find work, how to code.
2) What distinguishes your bootcamps from others?
The bootcamp phenomenon is really new, and I think it's great that we're all trying different things. Here are some experiments I've been trying that are different from the way most other schools are run:
All we do in class is pair program. I really believe that the best way to learn is by doing, so we take the flipped classroom to the extreme. Students watch videos of me demonstrating a new concept each weekend, and during the week, they spend almost all of the classroom time building apps to practice using that new concept. We pair program because it keeps you from getting distracted, it provides an opportunity to teach and learn from your peers, and because it's more fun!
Since the whole point of Epicodus is to help people move to a better career, I've worked hard to keep the cost really low. We offer the option to completely defer tuition until after the class, so that students without the means to pay up-front can attend.
3) What are the job prospects after your bootcamp?
This is my first class in Portland, so I don't have any numbers to share about jobs - yet! But I do have more employers signed up for our job fair than I have students in the class, so that's a good start. I'll update this page when the class is over and I have some numbers.