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Mission Statement

The Vector Monkeys Coding Dojo was formed to provide people of all genders, backgrounds and preferences the chance to become Software Engineers.

This means a few things to us that might not be immediately obvious.

Minimal prior knowledge required

We start at the very basics as far as reasonably possible. A rudimentary understanding of maths, computer usage and a certain fluidity in English is all that's needed.

Minimal financial burdens

We feel strongly about the difference socioeconomic background has on the likely paths that we, individually, can take. We do not charge for any part of the course program, and do not use any material, software or licence that requires purchase. That being said, we do require a working computer, an internet connection and a workable audio setup for remote conferencing.

Focus on job relevant skills

We welcome anyone who is interested in learning how to write a computer program, aiming to become a Software Engineer is strictly not required. That being said, a part of our courses and events focus on the interviewing process, tools and strategies used by Software Enginners, and on collaborating in a team.

What we offer

The Dojo aims to create and foster a community of people interested in coding, and to give them ongoing opportunities to deepen their knowledge and their skills. There are four major parts to this.

Weekly small-group courses

The heart of the project is a 3-month long, weekly 2 hours course with accompanying exercises, held remotely in a small-group format (~5 people). Aim of the course is to bring complete beginners to a point where they are comfortable writing small React apps. The course focuses on the frontend side of things, mostly since there is more immediate feedback. During the 3 months, students will get familiarity with

  • webdesign with HTML5, CSS3
  • JavaScript and to some extend TypeScript
  • Linux and potentially WSL
  • Node.js, npm
  • React, Redux, jest, react-static
  • git, GitHub, Visual Studio Code, eslint

Weekly "Deep Dives"

We also offer weekly, approx. one-hour long presentations on specific programming related topics, often but not always focused on web technologies. These are intended to maintain interest and learning, and to offer a place for discussions on technologies and current events. Deep Dives are always remote, typically in Discord.

Monthly team coding sessions

Understanding small examples is very different from being able to reason through and contribute to actual complex code bases. To help with the latter, the Vector Monkeys Coding Dojo holds ~12 hour sessions on a weekend per month where we work on some reasonably complex project, including task management (we use Trello), design documents, story maps, code reviews and collaboration sessions. The current project is a Phaser.js pixel art game, targeted for web and mobile platforms.

Resource collection

There are lots of great coursewares, programming challenges and tutorials online and freely available already. As such, we don't have a huge collection of material that is unique to us. What we do try to provide is a first guide on how to start your journey. That includes a set of instructions for getting to a sensible starting point in terms of configuration and software for writing code, a basic set of tutorials on the fundamentals of JavaScript, and a set of story-driven programming challenges that go hand in hand with the tutorials.

We also try to bring people interested in becoming Software Engineers together with people who are interested in hiring Software Engineers. And we have a Discord channel.

If you are interested in any of the above, hop on our Discord channel and let us know.

How we think about learning

We believe that, in order to improve a skill, the most relevant quality is consistency.

To that end, we care about providing interesting challenges and examples and keeping students motivated. As such, we aim for

  • tasks with visual feedback,
  • community engagement,
  • story lines over encapsulated problems,
  • incremental difficulty increases and
  • continuous engagement.