Coding can be a nightmare, and any expert will tell you that. It all begins with HTML, the basic stuff you learn as you take baby steps into the brave new world of programming. From here CSS, C++, Javascript, and all other coding languages soon become daunting. Some may give up before they can truly begin, and the Makers Academy is there to provide the solution. Located just off Old Street, the program was founded by Rob Johnson and Evgeny Shadchnev as a way to simplify the learning process and prepare the budding developer for a career in coding.

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Rob taught himself to code through Objective C, a language used primarily to make Iphone apps. This ended up becoming a one-year process that he found difficult. Evgeny was a partner at Forward Labs, and noticed that there weren’t enough good developers out there in the field. The ones that were out there didn’t have enough of the basic fundamental skills like, such as TDD (Test Driven Development), agile working methodologies, and version controlling using Git (a programming structure). Furthermore, a huge demand for developers isn’t being met. The numbers are 21% year-on-year growth in demand for developers and 1% year-on-year growth in supply of developers within the industry.

The two put their heads together and came up with the intensive Makers Academy, described by marketing director Jordan Poulton as “Oxford meets the Royal Marines for people who want to learn coding”. In real terms, it is an intensive web development course over a 12-week period. The backbone of the what Makers teach is Ruby on Rails, an open source web application framework. The main programming languages are covered, including HTML, CSS, Javascript, J-Query, SQL, Ajax and some of the softer skills like object-oriented design, TDD, agile methodology and version controlling with Git.

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The intended outcome is for students to leave with a minimum of 3 projects in their portfolio. Additionally, part of the brand promise is that you can get an occupation as a web designer after the 12-week course. A dedicated person on the Makers team is guaranteed to introduce students to companies, helps to set up interviews and generally supports them through the hiring process.

Courses are run every six weeks, and each course culminates into a graduation day, when students present their final projects to hiring partners and the media. A future goal is an online learning platform, where distant students can enjoy all the benefits of the academy from their own living room and at their own pace. With November being fully booked, future students will have to apply for the next round of courses beginning on 8th January 2014.

The industry ratio of men to women developers is about 1 woman for every 9 men. There is a big demand for female developers and Makers Academy are actively trying to solve this problem. They offer a sizeable discount to any woman applying and have partnered up with IBM who will sponsor one woman (cover the full cost) entering the course. The same thing was established with a company called Skimlinks, who also sponsor and cover the full cost of a woman’s admittance.