The Yale Entrepreneurial Institute is piloting a program this summer to teach roughly 15 students how to build the next Reddit in exchange for over 400 hours of their time.
On Wednesday, YEI accepted students into its first ever Tech Bootcamp — an intensive 10-week crash course in web programming from May 22 to July 26 that is free and comes with two meals a day plus a $1,500 stipend for housing and living expenses. Through a fast-paced curriculum geared toward fostering student tech start-ups, participants will leave as web developers who can handle all aspects of online application design of moderate to significant complexity, said course instructor Adam Bray ’07.
“What we see at YEI a lot of times is students come in with great ideas for web businesses but don’t have the technical skills to build them or even to build an initial version,” said YEI Program Director Alena Gribskov ’09. “We started this as a way for students to become their own technical co-founders.”
Due to time constraints, the program may not cover all the programming skills students need to create a startup right away, Bray said, but it will offer a thorough overview of the fundamentals that will allow students to conceptualize their own technological projects. The syllabus condenses material that typically takes students a year to learn and covers the conceptual logic behind designing applications as well as the skills to create visual, layout and interactive elements, he added.
Coursework will include a daily lecture, intensive self-study and two major assignments over the course of the summer that will require students to clone a popular website and then to construct their own online application, Bray said. He added that the curriculum primarily uses Ruby on Rails, a popular web development framework, but students will also learn HTML, CSS and other programming tools.
The YEI received 34 applications for the Boot Camp, Gribskov said, which were pared down through a two-phase application process, the second of which was a short coding project.
The significant time commitment required by the Tech Bootcamp — students will attend class from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday— will allow Bray to offer a much more thorough curriculum than HackYale’s workshops do, said Zack Reneau-Wedeen ’14, director of HackYale.
“While we’d love to teach the more advanced — and more interesting — topics like those covered by the new YEI initiative, it is much harder to find and sustain a classroom of students for that kind of material during the school year,” said co-founder of HackYale Bay Gross ’13. “Most students can’t commit without course credit in return.”
Reneau-Wedeen said HackYale offered a series of introductory lectures last summer that received around 50 attendees in total, but the group has no plans to offer the summer workshops again, in part not to compete with the YEI.
A similar immersive, summer learning camp offered by the company General Assembly in eight cities around the world costs $11,500.