We’re looking for assistance with opening a new kind of self-directed educational center for programmers that is autism-friendly and very cheap (or free, for those who can’t afford it).
We already have over 5,000 local members in our larger programming community (which is not autism-specific). We’re planning to expand that with a physical space where anyone can study programing seven days per week at a low cost (or free).
All programming languages and levels of experience are welcome. The more advanced members mentor the beginners in a guided self-study format. We’ve been running the meetups for three years and the model works.
- An alternative to programming bootcamps that provides access to a high-quality programming education without requiring large amounts of money or fixed time commitment.
- Open to everyone, with a special emphasis on being an autism-friendly environment. The educational center will not be only for autistic people – that is just one significant component of its outreach, because it is the area that I am most familiar with.
- Provide additional resources and training for autistic people, including mentorship, low-stress social environments, networking opportunities, and more.
- Non-exclusive, without difficult barriers to entry. It’s too difficult to get into high-quality coding education programs for many people – not necessarily because they don’t have the potential to find success in the tech industry, but because the existing models are not ideal for everyone. We already have an alternate model with Code Self Study (5,000+ members) that is working well. Our goal is to remove common barriers and hurdles that prevent people from getting into the industry.
- No time limit for attending – stay as long as you want, even after you get a job or start an entrepreneurial project. (Experienced members mentor the beginners.)
- No need to study programming on your own for a year before attending like with most bootcamps. Just show up and instantly find assistance and mentorship.
- Low cost, like a hackerspace (though not a hackerspace) with subsidized membership for people who can’t afford to pay. (no barriers)
- Emphasis on self-study with experienced mentors.
- Open to all programming languages and levels of experience.
- Encouraging entrepreneurship in addition to job assistance.
- Emphasis on creating an awareness about the implications of what people build, not just how to build things.
We’ve been working on this idea since 2013 and have a working model in the Code Self Study group. We just need a physical location in order to take it to the next level. The next step is to raise funding for the initial opening, which I hope will take place in Downtown Berkeley.
For more information, or to find out how you can help, please send us an email.