Issue 26

New educational models for the tech passionates: Simplon Bootcamp

Roxana Rugină
CEO & co-fondator
@Simplon Romania

For the Simplon bootcamp we already have more than 60 applications, from extremely motivated and creative young people to those who want to do more than what they do today. For example someone who did not go to college because he had to get a job wants to join Simplon to become Romania"s Elon Musk. Another girl worked as a database operator, but since she found out about Simplon she quit her job and attended Work and Travel program to make money for the 6 months training, in order to learn how to code and build her own application.

Imagine a group of highly motivated people with the can-do attitude, hunger for learning, fantastic ideas and curiosity in a 6 months coding and idea generating program. This camp exists in Cluj and it will open the doors this autumn.

A developing environment for the creative geeks

When I found out about Simplon, I was in France for more than 2 years. Since then I was also looking for a job. Back in Romania, I was a PR Manager in an agency from Bucharest when I decided to go to Paris to continue my studies with a second Master Program in Creative Industries. With a 5 years experience and 3 foreign languages spoken, I never thought that my CV will so often get in the HR managers" spam folder. When at the interviews, I was told I was either over-qualified or proposed a different job than the one I"ve applied for.

I realized what I was looking for was not necessarily a job, but an working environment, with open minded people, top professionals who were creative geeks, technology lovers and passionate about innovation. I remember the second day after I finished the Master Program in Paris, I became a freelancer with papers (having my own company) and started hunting clients in co-working places and fab-labs from Paris. A freelancer there had to be good at almost everything: from marketing and sales to project management and coding. HTML and CSS courses were a strong differentiator among thousands of candidates, so I started taking classes about this on Coursera, an e-learning platform.

Meanwhile, the ideas for applications I wanted to develop would fill the pages of my personal block notes, along with business models. After a long winter of searching, I wanted to continue with a Master Program in Computer Science. With all those nights spent listening to videos from MIT, I thought I"ll get through the theoretical exam. Unfortunately none of my diplomas was eligible for an application.

The coding Bootcamp from France traveled to Romania

In the summer of 2013 I was accepted in the first Simplon class, along with 29 other candidates who were about to learn Ruby-on-Rails in order to become web-entrepreneurs in 6 months. We were of 14 different nationalities of different ages, from 18 to 55 years old, from PHDs to people without no diploma. In the 6 months of Simplon bootcamp I felt for the first time in the right place with the right people. It was that feeling that I can do everything. I worked on many projects because I felt it worths it and I prefered to go to Simplon on weekends than visiting a museum. It was an empowering environment, I was appreciated for what I was doing and encouraged to become better everyday.

When I told my colleagues that I want to bring Simplon to Romania, I wanted to come back home with a meaningful project that would allow me to share everything I"ve learned during the last years away from home. I never thought that everything will happen so fast. But Simplon structure was prepared for replication and the founders were opened to new destinations and challenges. Branches will soon open in Tunis, Brazil and Morocco. But Romania was the first destination for Simplon outside France. Our country has a global recognition for the talented programmers. When everybody is looking for specialists in new technologies, Simplon"s aim is to develop a pool of tech talents in Cluj.

We created the branch in January this year, with an initial support from Orange France. In partnership with Cluj Cowork and Ruby Tribe we will be launching the bootcamp this autumn.

Simplon Romania is thereby a local branch of Simplon.co, a French startup launched in April 2013. The innovative social concept of Simplon.co was awarded by the French President himself, as being one of the initiatives with the biggest social impacts in 2013, in France.

With Simplon Romania we want to develop many communities of practice and social learning, connected to a global network. Modern technologies such as cloud computing, connected objects, are not in the university curriculum because at the moment there are no teachers for that matters. Simplon is simply facilitating the access to the new technologies. We empower people through technology and ensure the transfer of know-how from specialists to the new generation, as fast as possible.

The new technologies are rapidly changing. In order to be innovative, Simplon is preparing a new generation of tech talents

At the beginning of Simplon, the idea was to bring together all the technology lovers who want to learn code to change the world. Practically, Simplon has adapted the USA devbootcamps concept to the European market. We know that in Europe one of the biggest problems is youth unemployment. On the other hand, IT industry is constantly hunting talents. A training like this with professionals costs around 4000 and 15000 $ in America. For those who come from modest families, the chances to pay for a training like this are very low. Here comes Simplon.

We are looking for those partners who want to sustain innovation and education or who need high-potential talented people, ready to integrate a web developers" team in 6 months. With their help, we offer a free bootcamp for those who want to practically learn how to create web applications, projects or start-ups.

The application period for the 6 months program for web development and social entrepreneurship ends in 20 of august. Simplon Romania is still looking for applicants. The program is especially designed for those who are underrepresented in the digital media and who need special training to be reorient their careers and get a job in tech industry. If you are specialized in a domain and you do not find a job or you want to learn web development, on your own is more difficult to find a solution. At Simplon you pursue your passions using technology to develop future skills that are nowadays on demand.

Skills for the future workforce

The need of qualified people with experience in dynamic work environments, new technologies and frameworks is incredibly high. At the same time, the possibilities of teaching in polytechnic universities are limited, while we have a lot of students finishing communication, marketing, geography that don"t have and don"t find a job.

We offer an intensive training based on practice and rapid learning methods for coding. The students are encouraged to involve in many projects for developing their practical skills, testing and choosing where they fit better. In 6 months they can do more front-end or back-end work. We don"t have grades or tests like in school. Github is our best friend. There we see how much code each one wrote and their contribution to the projects.

What you will learn during the bootcamp:

  • Advanced Web Technologies and modern languages: HTML&CSS, Ruby on Rails, JavaScript
  • Working tools and methodologies such as Github, Agile Development, Test Driven Development
  • Product development and User Experience/ UX design
  • Lean startup and product development techniques
  • Online management tools for web projects and team management
  • Sales and marketing for tech services and products

Apart from the practical competences, our role here is to prepare the next generation with the necessary skills in order to create the technology that we need. Simplon Bootcamp it is also unique due to the perspective we give to our students about technology. Selecting participants with very different backgrounds and highly motivated, Simplon develops a community of interdisciplinary talents that exchange ideas and know-how to create new technologies. At the end, the code is just an excuse. What"s important beside the capacity to write and read code, it"s the entrepreneurial mindset, the logical thinking and complex problem solving attitude.

A partner for those who seek talent and invest in innovation, education and social entrepreneurship

In one year, Simplon.co offered trainings for 305 adults and 417 kids in France, generating more than 100 events and 13 hackathons.

Our aim in Romania is to bring diversity and innovation in IT by developing a community of creative talents, passionate about technology and entrepreneurship. Technology is present in all activities: education, transportation, health, tourism, from laboratories to our pockets. We are almost addicts to our smartphones and we can already control our house through this smart tablets. That is why we believe it is necessary to understand not only how to use technology, but also how it can be controlled and created.

Beside the bootcamp, Simplon is developing an incubator program for the entrepreneurs and organizes events, children activities, girls" workshop or trainings for employees who want to learn how to code or find out the latest creative technologies and innovations.

More about Simplon Romania you can find out at ro.simplon.co




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