Duncan Kabinu, a Computer Engineer and founder of Gainesville Dev Academy.
Before founding GDA, he spent over 17 years working for the State of Florida developing enterprise database applications to manage state programs that protect Florida Agriculture.
In addition, Kabinu has worked in a patented EEG invention of a product for EncephaloDynamics, as the Project/Program Manager for IngagePatient (formerly known as RegisterPatient) --one of the top 100 companies to attain Meaningful Use Certification--, as CTO of Lucravalde, and has served as Vice President of Technology for a software health company.
Duncan now serves on the board of Gainesville Chamber Technology Council and Gainesville Area Innovation Network.
We recently touched base with Duncan to ask about his journey into the coding bootcamp industry.
What motivated you to start a bootcamp?
Having worked in the industry for some time I know how hard it is to find great talent. In spite of the fact I live in a college town the candidates looking for work are typically academically oriented (but still little behind the times as per school curricula) and they miss the work soft(ware) skills for quick onboarding. So this was out of a need to solve the issue of being job-ready.
What challenges have you faced so far with starting your coding bootcamp?
Challenges are actually minimal from student perspective but more so from a logistics standpoint. Our school has chosen the path of being a huge part of an ecosystem in community so we partner with Chamber, Workforce, and all our colleges as collaborators.
What successes have you had with your first few cohorts?
Majority have had success in employment and rewarding in seeing them grow. Two graduates had no background in coding and ironically both worked in service industry as cooks in restaurants. They are both now junior developers.
What plans/dreams do you have for your bootcamp over the next 5 years?
To be the go to environment for folks to upskill or simply learn to be a technologist and get their ideal job in tech or become an entrepreneur in same. We would like to be the McDonald of our region in our area. We would also like to be sustainable enough to allow full scholarship to those that are underprivileged and give them a shot at a better life.
Any advice for students looking to join a bootcamp?
We encourage students to come in with a serious commitment to the class. We take our program serious and know it is impactful as we have seen alumni succeed. Each student gets out of this program what they put into it. So we ask for commitment and perseverance.
Any advice for people who want to start a bootcamp and/or start teaching code?
Please do. Each One Teach One and the community you live in will be better. All it takes is one to change their life and they keep paying that forward. We all deserve it.
Do you see bootcamps replacing college for parts of the population?
Colleges still play a viable part and with time they will evolve and adapt. At moment bootcamps serve the immediate need of job-readiness and the trend will be similar in colleges. Though courses such as computer science are still critical and are well served by colleges.
What is the job market like where your bootcamp is based?
Our job market is up and coming with our city and chamber working hard towards economic development….its like a chicken and egg issue - if we had an abundance of talent then many companies would consider moving here and the flip side if we had many companies hiring then the demand for bootcamp would increase too.