30 students + 1 Boston programming class = 30 new web apps

What were you doing on Saturday morning? Here at Intelligent.ly, 30 ambitious coding newbies joined instructor, Aaron White, CTO of Boundless, to kick off the first day of two days of our Lock & Lode: Learn to Code programming class series. The competition was steep for a spot in the class (over 450 people applied!), and everyone who made the cut showed up bright-eyed and ready to dive into 12 hours of Python coding goodness.

Boston Programming Class

I’ll be honest—there was a bit of nail biting when I realized we had a 1:30 instructor/student ratio. But Aaron White patiently made the rounds, and more experienced students teamed up with novices helping everyone come up to speed. It was really a pretty cool thing to see!

Aaron White Programming Class

At end of the first day, someone tweeted an article, Why Coding Is and Is Not the New Literacy. Here’s the thing—many of these folks won’t go on to become developers, but having foundational programming knowledge will open up new doors to each and every one of them. Whether you’re a marketer, a product manager or a business strategist,  “speaking the language” teaches you problem-solving skills that increase your business fluency.

Huge thanks to HubSpot (Dharmesh Shah, Brian Halligan & David Cancel) and BzzAgent (Dave Balter), for generously donating the funds to make it possible for these people to learn to code for free this weekend. It was awesome to see their dedication to learning, and was so very cool to know that two killer Boston companies made it all possible. Want to learn the language of programming? Apply to Lock & Load: Learn to Code today!



Rapid Prototyping: The Fastest Way to Make Your Idea a Reality

We’ve all been there.  Driving in the car, standing in the shower, or lying in bed about to conk out.  It’s when we least expect it that our best ideas come to us.  Just drifting away in your thoughts until you strike gold.  Unfortunately these aren’t favorable scenarios for putting your ideas into action.  Who knows how many flashes of brilliance have faded into nothingness or stuffed into the eternal pigeonhole? Don’t let this happen to you! You need a lesson in Rapid Prototyping, the fastest way to turn that idea into a reality.

Experienced instructor, CTO of Boundless, and friend of Intelligent.ly, Aaron White, is teaching a class on the basics of Rapid Prototyping with Twitter Bootstrap and Google App Engine on Thursday night. This class is for people who have conceived an idea and want to see it come to life, but don’t want to wait nine months. You’ll learn the fastest way to test your ideas through rapid prototyping and to see if they have value. Even if they don’t, you still have the time that you would’ve wasted developing with other methods!

You’ve taught a class here at Intelligent.ly before, an introduction to NoSQL with MongoDB.  Having that experience under your belt, what kinds of things do you think you’ll change and which strategies do you intend to employ again this time around?

I really enjoyed answering questions as students had them. To the extent I can encourage people to ask questions, the better I can make sure they find the content valuable. Also, I intend to create/give out more resources to students so they walk away with some real value. With my class on Rapid Prototyping, I’ll be giving out source code they can begin immediately building on top of, as well as a cheat-sheet on how to go from idea to live site.

It’s been said that you once built a site, TweetFavor.com, on a flight in just five hours. In a world where time wasted is money lost, how crucial is it to be able to produce quickly and progress constantly?

Extremely valuable! There’s a lot of value placed in high-quality robust engineering, and with good reason. However, when you’ve got a new idea, validating it is priority number one. The fastest path to validation is typically the right one, so being armed with the tools to quickly build an MVP is immensely important, as is having the mindset of knowing what is critical and what you can leave out until version 1.0.

Not everyone who wants to set up a page speaks code fluently. Are there any helpful tools or resources that you recommend to those who aren’t as technically savvy?

You don’t need to speak code fluently to test your ideas. Sometimes, you don’t really need any working code at all, sometimes just a landing page will do. To that end, there are a lot of great landing-page creation tools that will do the hosting and metric analysis for you. Unbounce.com springs to mind as good entry-level tool.

You plan to educate people on the Google App Engine.  What kinds of projects have you utilized this tool for yourself?

Quite a few! Intelligent.ly‘s website was built using a Google App Engine, as was Firetower (recently acquired by Crashlytics). It’s my go-to platform for testing new ideas.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from holding these classes, it’s that even the brightest of bulbs have the potential to shine a little brighter.  If you could be an expert in one skill by tomorrow, what would it be?

Personally? I’ve really enjoyed the leadership classes from Dave Balter, Kai Gray and David Cancel. Outside of improving in those areas, I’d love to finally learn to play that Electronic Wind Instrument (EWI) I bought three years ago.”

Instructor Nomination: Who inspires YOU?

Anyone who’s ever had any kind of formal education has more than likely had an instructor or two who really stood out. A good teacher has the ability to leave students in awe, while ensuring them of their own ability to grow. They impress you with their knowledge, while encouraging you to progress as a student and as an individual.

Joe Chernov Elle WoulfeThat’s the kind of expert we’re looking for here at Intelligent.ly! It takes a special kind of person to help shape the minds of sharp, ambitious startup folks and business professionals who are motivated to learn on their own. We look for instructors who can distill complex subjects into simple and exciting lessons that go beyond the basics. Our instructors are folks like Mike Troiano, Christopher O’Donnell, Aaron White, David Cancel, Kai Gray and Joe Chernov, who have done it before with proven results.

Intelligent.ly’s instructors help students to realize their potential to strive to become the best they can be in whatever they do; it’s the difference between telling someone the facts and teaching someone a lesson.

Have you ever had a professor, boss, co-worker, or mentor with mind-blowing expertise and a knack for helping people learn and grow? Give ‘em a shout out by nominating them to become an Intelligent.ly instructor!

  • Email us at info@intelligent.ly with their contact info so we can reach out
  • Talk to one of our team members before or after any class

And there’s no shame in nominating yourself. If you think you have something to offer, pipe up–we’d be thrilled to work with you!