Founders & Coders: The UK’s Only Free Coding Academy

Founders & Coders: The UK’s Only Free Coding Academy

Founders & Coders is a non-profit social enterprise based in London. A free school and co-operative of coders, Founders & Coders takes people with little or no coding experience and turns them into professional, full-stack web developers.

Dan Sofer, the founder of Founders and Coders, had an idea for this social enterprise when he began experimenting with web development courses almost by chance in January 2014, combining MOOC materials with a supportive learning environment.

Dan Sofer had worked for years as a developer on numerous major websites, including the Guardian’s in the late 90s. When he decided to enroll in Moocs (massive open online courses) to sharpen his coding skills he found the experience solitary and frustating. He then began organizing meet-ups with fellow students. These workshops quickly evolved into popular workshops, that covered thematics spanning from matrix algebra to game theory.

In 2014, Sofer found some funding and a location to offer his workshops Camden, north London, during which time he developed  his teaching strategy.  When the funding dried up, Sofer and his students crowd-funded the social entreprise and raised £10,000 on Indiegogo.

Founders and Coders group-based projects and student collaboration has succeeded in developing a highly effective model for learning. Dan sofer says:

“What set me on this path a couple of years ago was excitement about the growth of online resources and the possibility of applying them in a classroom environment”, . “Now, the whole ethos of the course is project-based and peer-led. The effectiveness of the students taking control of their own learning has been far beyond expectations.”

The current training programme is divided into two parts: an eight-week foundation course in full-stack web development, followed by eight weeks working on real-world projects, allowing students to hone their skills and build a portfolio. The following video lets you know more about this interesting cooperative:

In January 2015, Founders & Coders established itself as a worker cooperative and experienced web developers Nelson Correia and Ines Teles joined the management team. Nelson Correia is the lead technical mentor at Founders & Coders. He has previously led development teams at Thomas Cook, Pearson and Groupon and was an IT consultant at Deloitte. Ines Teles  is a director of Founders & Coders. She is also the project manager and organiser of Ladies Who Code. She has previously spent several years as a consultant at Accenture.

Now, many graduates of the training programme join the organisation to work on a range of charitable and commercial projects, while also helping to teach the next cohort of students. Crucially, any profits go back into running the school.

Founders & Coders consists of exceptional men and women who recognise that coding is an increasingly essential skill in the modern world. Ultimately, Founders & Coders would like to run web development courses in schools, prisons and other institutions, where the positive impact of its teaching methods may be even greater.