About this project
Travel + Learn to Code
Destination: Dev is a 10-week software development training academy for digital nomads located in Medellín, Colombia. We will bring together 12 students to live, learn, and explore together in a shared hacker house in the best area of the city. Through the combination of full immersion in technology education and a foreign culture, we hope to build a strong community that will last a lifetime.
Our program includes a full-time course in web development 40 hours a week, shared housing for 10-weeks, and a number of excursions in Medellín and the surrounding area.
Who We Are
Doug Mill [right]
I am a software engineer and avid traveler from San Francisco, California. After graduating from UCLA with a degree in Neuroscience, I went to work in a Neuroscience lab at UCSF. While I found my time working in science incredibly engaging, after a few years I began to crave a life with more freedom and flexibility. After some exposure to technology, I tried my hand at programming in Ruby and I haven't looked back since. I love software development because it allows me to learn new things every day, gives me the power to create all on my own, and provides me with the freedom to build a lifestyle I'm passionate about. I've been living as a digital nomad doing freelance software development work for the last year, and I've never been happier. I'm starting Destination: Dev in order to help others to have the opportunity to live how they want and expand their horizons just as I have. You can learn more about my story here.
William Duran [left]
I am a business professional from Colombia who loves entrepreneurship, meeting new people, and is highly addicted to traveling. My life has consisted in growing up in a lot of different regions of the world.. US, Latin America, Africa, Saudi Arabia, Caribbean... and I have traveled to over 40 countries. After graduating from Northeastern University in Boston with a degree in Finance and Marketing, I went to work in business intelligence, technology, education, startup accelerators, and private equity. More recently though, I have been pursuing an entrepreneurial path, which has led me to start two business, get initial funding, learn from mistakes, and truly pursue a life that is rewarding and engaging for me at a professional and personal level. I couldn't be happier enjoying the flexibility to work on my own projects, even if it is not always an easy ride. I am starting Destination:Dev in order to help others pursue their wildest entrepreneurial and career dreams through software, while getting to explore the magic of my beautiful country. You can learn more about my story here.
Why are We on Kickstarter?
We are passionate about providing an unforgettable educational and cultural experience to our students, and 100% committed to making this a reality. As such, we are filling our class through Kickstarter in order to give our students confidence that they don't have to pay us a dime unless our program is fully funded and guaranteed to be a success. We are looking to raise $40,000 and fill a class with a minimum of 8 students. We will use the money we raise here on Kickstarter for:
- Accommodations for all of our students here in Medellín in El Poblado - the best area of town. The space that we rent will be used to house our students and serve as a classroom/co-working space for the program, and will therefore take up a large portion of our budget.
- Salary and living expenses for a second instructor and TA. We will hire another professional software developer to work alongside Doug creating and teaching our curriculum, and mentoring our students. We'd also like to hire a TA to help out part-time if we're able to raise enough money.
- Living expenses for the founders for the duration of the program. Medellín is an inexpensive city, but we've still gotta eat!
- Anything leftover will go towards marketing expenses and overhead for the next program we run.
Medellín is fast becoming one of the most popular destinations for digital nomads, and for good reason. The city has perfect weather year-round, friendly people, low prices, and an existing, thriving community of digital nomads. You can read more about why we love this city so much here.
Web Development Immersive Course
The Destination: Dev immersive course is designed to prepare students for careers as professional software developers. No prior programming experience is required for acceptance into the course, but our students will need a great deal of determination and the ability to learn quickly to succeed in our program. In order to ensure that all of our students understand what they are getting into and are prepared for the time and effort required to learn a very challenging subject, we ask that all prospective students undergo an application process prior to purchasing a spot here on Kickstarter. Our process is as follows:
1) Set up a 30-minute informational call with William, our co-founder in charge of operations, here:
If none of his available times work for you, shoot him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can set up another time that works for you.
2) Set up a collaborative coding lesson with Doug, our co-founder and lead instructor.
3) We'll let you know within 24 hours if we think you're a good fit for our program, and if we do we'll invite you to purchase a spot here on Kickstarter!
4) Once our Kickstarter campaign is fully-funded, we'll still need to collect an additional $1000 security deposit from you. This deposit will act to ensure that we are covered in the event of any damages to the property you'll be staying at over the summer. If you are not responsible for any damages, the full deposit will be refunded to you at the end of the program.
All admitted students will be required to complete preparatory work prior to the start of the program in June to ensure that everyone has a rudimentary understanding of programming so that we can hit the ground running immediately. The time commitment for completion of the pre-course work will vary from student-to-student based on their prior programming experience, but may be as much as 80 hours for some students. Students will have over two months to complete this work, however, so it shouldn't be a huge burden for anyone. Topics include programming fundamentals with variables, arrays, conditional statements, and loops in Ruby, introduction to the command line, and introduction to HTML/CSS.
Week 1: Ruby Fundamentals
Week 1 of the course will be a continuation of programming fundamentals in Ruby, as we'll introduce students to all of the core data structures and methods available. Students will be introduced to classic computer science algorithms and different methods for creating them. We'll also begin to introduce everyone to code style, refactoring, and program organization concepts.
Week 2: Object-Oriented Programming I
During Week 2, students will be introduced to object-oriented programming. Through exposure to concepts like classes, inheritance, instances vs. classes, and variable scopes within these contexts, students will begin to learn how to structure Ruby programs.
Week 3: Object-Oriented Programming II
Week 3 will be a continuation of object-oriented programming, and will see students solving more advanced OOP problems and delving into more complex concepts within this realm.
Week 4: Databases, SQL, and ActiveRecord
Week 4 will introduce students to the fundamental data storage and retrieval software: the database. Students will learn about how relational databases are structured, gain experience with interacting with their data using SQL, and finally get an introduction to ActiveRecord - the object-relational mapping library used by Rails to provide easy integration between databases and Ruby.
Week 5: Ruby on Rails Introduction
In Week 5 we will focus on the Ruby on Rails web framework and the fundamentals of how web applications work. Students will learn about MVC architecture, delve deeper into HTML and CSS, and begin to construct rudimentary web apps using Rails.
Week 6: Ruby on Rails Deep Dive
Week 6 will involve more advanced concepts in Rails. We will also touch on a number of third-party gems (open-source Ruby libraries) that can be used for things like authentication and configuration management.
Week 8: Capstone Project
Participants will spend the entirety of Week 8 working on their very own full-fledged web application from start to finish. With the guidance of instructors, students will conceive of a project they'd like to bring to life and have a working prototype by the end of the week that they'll be able to show to friends, family, and potential employers or clients.
Weeks 9/10 (Optional): Job Preparation
Following the completion of the course, students will have the opportunity to stick around for up to an additional two weeks. During these two weeks, we will hold workshops on resume building, coding interview practice, and how to land freelance development gigs. These workshops will only be part-time, and students will have much more time to travel, apply for jobs, or start working on side projects.
Our biggest expense with funding Destination: Dev will go toward shared housing for all of the students. Seeing as we will need to fully fund our campaign in order to rent a space, we don't have a specific location picked out just yet. However, we have already been in talks with a number of home owners and existing co-living spaces that we feel will be well suited for our program. At this time, we can share that our living accommodations:
- Will be located in El Poblado - the safest, nicest, and most foreigner-friendly neighborhood in Medellín.
- Will provide ample space for shared bedrooms, kitchen, common recreational areas, and finally a classroom/co-working space.
- Will be a short distance from supermarkets, pharmacies, restaurants, cafes and nightlife destinations in El Poblado.
Excursions and Activities
Now for the fun part! As part of your participation in Destination: Dev, you'll have the opportunity to experience a number of activities and excursions we have planned in and around Medellín. These include:
The night before class starts, the students and teaching staff will get to know each other over a traditional Colombian dinner. Everyone will get the chance to sample some of the favorites of Colombian cuisine, like Mondongo, Sancocho, and Ajiaco.
After a week of hard work, we'll take a day trip to Parque Arví - a verdant nature preserve right outside of Medellín. Transportation to the park is provided by the famed Medellín Metrocable - a renowned feat of urban planning that has improved the lives of working-class people in formerly far-flung areas of the city. Students will get to experience how average people live in Colombia on the way to the park, which has hiking trails, a farmer's market, and amusement park attractions.
Guatapé and El Peñol
Guatapé is a man-made reservoir in a vast valley that forms a beautiful inland archipelago. Students will have a day to hike up El Peñol, a large rock formation that provides a stunning view of the valley, explore the town, and participate in watersports.
Atlético Nacional Soccer Match
During Week 4, we'll attend a soccer match and cheer on Medellín's own Atlético Nacional - the winningest soccer club in all of Colombia. Atlético is the most popular team in Colombia and plays frequent matches against local and international rivals at the Atanasio Girardot Stadium.
Coffee Plantation Tour
Students visit a local coffee plantation to watch and understand the process of making coffee. The guided tour covers everything from cultivation, harvesting, processing, and distribution and ends with a final tasting.
Eight weeks goes by so fast with the right people and experiences! One final bonding over a night out to send everyone off with their new friends and an awesome new skill.
Frontend Fundamentals Course
In addition to our intensive full-stack web development course, we are also offering a much shorter course specifically in frontend fundamentals running from August 14-25. This course is well-suited for working professionals who want to learn a bit about web design and expand their skillsets while exploring Colombia. During this two-week program, participants will learn the basics of web design using HTML and CSS, and explore important principles in User Experience design.
Shared housing is included with the two-week program, and participants will have ample opportunity to network with and learn from immersive course students.
For more information on this course, email William at email@example.com or schedule an informational call with him here: https://calendly.com/williamduran/interview.
Private Coaching Sessions
Struggling with a new programming concept that you just can't wrap your head around? Need interview practice from a professional? We can help you out with 1-hour remote private coding coaching sessions.
Curriculum and Lecture Live Streams
If you're learning to code on your own at home, you can get full-access to the Destination: Dev curriculum as well as live streams and recorded versions of all of our lectures for just $25.
Join Our Online Community
Our thriving Slack community can provide you with an invaluable resource when you're learning how to code. Coordinate and brainstorm with DDev instructors and students to help you accelerate your learning.
Destination: Dev - Behind the Scenes
Get awesome aerial drone footage of Medellín and our excursions as well as exclusive interviews with students in our first cohort.
Risks and challenges
If we are able to reach our $40,000 goal, we have absolute confidence that we will be able to successfully launch our summer program and train our full class in web development. The main risks and challenges are as follows:
1) Travel-related risks. Traveling in a foreign country always comes with risks that must be prepared for. Medellín is far different from how it is portrayed in popular culture, and our participants will be staying in an area of town that is safe and accommodating to foreigners. However, there is always the risk of being subjected to petty crimes like pickpocketing and scamming when traveling in Latin America, and Medellín is no exception. We are prepared to educate our students and to help keep them as safe as possible, but all participants must be willing to accept some risk of having to deal with crime while exploring Colombia.
2) Participant commitment to learning. Our program will be intense, and it has to be in-order to get our students up to a level at which they'll be able to find work following the program. As such, it is important that all of our students have spent time learning some programming basics ahead-of-time so that they know what they are getting into. Programming can be very rewarding, and the job prospects are amazing and only growing. However, it isn't for everyone. We are conducting 1-1 coding sessions with all serious candidates to gauge their motivation and learning ability in order to minimize the possibility of admitting students who aren't serious about learning.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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