When Ryan and Kim Desmond left their day jobs in San Francisco to become digital nomads, they didn’t expect to be leading a global, comprehensive programming school years later.
The couple had decided to take a break from the daily office grind and took their jobs on the road, making their first stops in Central and South America. The idea hit them as they traveled through Costa Rica and visited a friend’s Spanish language immersion school. They saw the opportunity to create a programming school by using their professional coding expertise as the backbone of the curriculum.
But the decision didn’t come overnight. After a couple of months of contemplating, Kim and Ryan decided to take the leap and dedicated a month to building course offerings and constructing a website. They got their first students the same day the CodingNomads website went live.
“There were very few courses that taught server-side core software development, things like Java or Python. And so a lot of people were immediately attracted to that,” said Ryan, Co-Founder of CodingNomads.
Because CodingNomads is a small company, the couple was able to leverage its size and rent out coworking spaces to keep overhead costs low, which allowed them to offer affordable prices for course offerings. CodingNomads launched its first class in Bali in March 2017.
“We have a number of different course offerings. Students can start as absolute beginners and become legitimate, qualified professionals that can get interviews and pass, which is the main goal,” said Ryan.
Prioritizing Accessibility with Affordable, Comprehensive Courses
A few years after its launch, the CodingNomads team decided to increase its online presence. It began to offer online prep courses for its students to complete before attending in-person classes, but these classes weren’t open to the public.
Ryan quickly realized that they could extend those prep courses and transform them into online standalone classes to reach more people. CodingNomads began its migration to online classes in 2019. The school had not completed its digital shift when COVID-19 hit, but the pandemic didn’t stop it from advancing.
“In many ways, COVID drove the markets to us, in the sense that people are looking to learn online, learn technical skills, work remotely, etc., which is exactly our ethos,” said Ryan.
CodingNomads offers a range of courses to fit specific education needs. From beginner courses to career-track programs, students can access lessons that can work with their schedule or try shorter classes to test the waters.
“Most of our students have jobs, families, and responsibilities. So our big proposition is, essentially, we’ll meet you where you are, work with your schedule, and partner with you all the way. And take away that barrier to entry,” said Ryan.
CodingNomads also differentiates itself from other coding bootcamps through its value offerings. Its courses are affordable and follow set timelines to help students save time and money. After students finish their three-month Python or Java curriculum, they can move onto two-tier classes, such as data science and machine learning, to gain a more comprehensive learning experience. CodingNomads ranked third for data science in 2021 by Switchup.
Helping Students Reach Their Full Potential
CodingNomads partners with students to help them reach the finish line and become successful software developers. The programming school allows students to achieve their full potential by going beyond the basics of website building and equipping them with the knowledge to lead well-rounded careers.
“We teach software development, including the ability to build complex dynamic web applications as well as using a web framework like Spring for Java or Django or Flask for Python. So we teach people how to be software engineers first,” said Ryan.
CodingNomads career track programs prepare students for work in the real world. People looking to upskill or transition fields can do so by dedicating six to 12 months to these programs.
The career track curriculum combines courses that include the fundamentals and critical skill sets such as GitHub and SQL databases. Along the way, CodingNomads instructors and mentors provide support and guidance to help students reach their goals.
Ryan said the more technical side of the program can be challenging, and some students don’t make it to the end, but that doesn’t mean they leave without anything of value.
“Within the first couple of months, they can do data analysis, automate processes, integrate with databases, and interact with Restful APIs. So as long as people get past that, they’ve already got marketable skills that they can use on the job,” said Ryan.
Ryan said job placement is high for students who complete the programs. CodingNomads offers career services, including portfolio building and interview prep that help students land the job.
Building a Global Community Connected Through Coding
Since its inception, CodingNomads has prioritized collaboration and community. Before the school shifted to its online-only presence, the instructors and students would spend their days learning to code and building social connections through group hangouts. And that trend continues in its mission today.
“What we want to do is build a global community of learners, mentors, and educators that are all connected and able to help each other, which is the number one service at CodingNomads,” said Ryan.
The students and mentors can communicate through Slack and forums to ask questions and encourage each other. People from all over the world collaborate and chat on a daily basis, so the learning process is efficient, and forward momentum is constant. Having that support helps students quickly overcome obstacles to really complete their goal of learning to code.
CodingNomads mentors also help the school with its development process. Because the mentors bring different skill sets and backgrounds, they use their programming expertise to build new course offerings, and update existing courses to stay relevant.
Ryan said the next step for the school is to extend its network and grow the community. He wants to see it develop from a boutique to a network of hundreds of mentors and thousands of students in 2022.