MakerSquare, a coding “boot camp” operator, has set its sights on Los Angeles and expects to launch its first set of classes in June. The company, based in Austin, Texas, is expected to sign a lease for space in Venice or Santa Monica in the coming weeks.
Harsh Patel, the company’s co-founder and chief executive, said there had been interest in a Los Angeles location for some time.
“We saw that a lot of our graduates were already going to L.A. We also had students in San Francisco and Austin that wanted to go to Los Angeles,” said Patel. “We’re seeing pretty huge potential based on our conversations with employers.”
Intensive coding instructional programs like MakerSquare tend to be more vocational in their approach; emphasizing practical skills, rather than more traditional undergraduate programs, which focus on computer science theory and concepts.
“Throughout the day they (students) will have short lectures, exercises and projects,” said Patel. “We focus on graduates having a strong portfolio and showcasing their code on GitHub (a code sharing website).”
MakerSquare is seeking a license from the state Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education.
According to Patel, MakerSquare alumni in the Los Angeles area already work out of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Getty and tech startup NationBuilder. Alumni from Hack Reactor, MakerSquare’s parent company, also work at Google and Boeing.
Patel said he believes those informal ties will help the company build a formal hiring network for its graduates, something it has done at its Austin and San Francisco locations. The company claims three months after graduation 96 percent of alumni are employed full time as programmers.
Los Angeles already has several vocational coding programs. General Assembly of Santa Monica, the region’s biggest vocational coding program, has been adding classes and in 2014 expanded its in-person courses to downtown Los Angeles, which is becoming one of the region’s alternate tech hubs.
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