As the mobile space grows, the challenge for employers to find mobile developers only increases. Founded by Vokal Interactive’s Brandon Passley, Reid Lapin and Dave Hoover, Mobile Makers Academy is an immersive, 10-week, iOS learning experience. Hoping to provide a solution to the growing shortage of iOS developers, the program features ten hours a week of guided instruction and a substantial amount of after-hours coding.
We spoke with Dave Hoover, founder of Obtiva, senior engineering manager at Groupon and Code Academy mentor, about his new venture, Mobile Makers Academy. “Chicago needs more iOS talent, and we’re looking to develop that talent. More fundamentally, though, we exist for the Makers, for those people who are hungry for these skills, because they have an app to build, or a new career to explore. My goal from the beginning has been to give someone the skills that will make their mom shed a few proud tears of pride when she downloads her child’s app onto her iPhone for the first time. The iOS platform is unbelievably powerful, and we need more brains stretching that platform in new directions,” Hoover said.
Of fellow instructor Don Bora, Hoover shared, “Don is a principal at Eight Bit Studios, and is one of the most experienced Objective-C and iOS developers in Chicago. Don has been a friend for over a decade now and an active mentor at Code Academy, so he was the first person I thought of when Brandon approached me about helping out with this venture. I was thrilled when he decided to join us.”
While they are interested in teaching new minds, Dave warns that “If you haven’t programmed at all before, it’s going to be challenging to pick up iOS in 10 weeks. I think the people that stand to benefit the most are those with a year of programming experience. If you don’t understand the basics of programming, and specifically, the fundamentals of object-oriented programming, it’s going to be a steep learning curve.”
More than simply training, Mobile Makers works to address a common area of difficulty for new graduates and recent entrants to the tech field. “Chicago tech companies need to invest in their people, particularly those dev shops with 5+ developers. We need to move away from the idea that people should come pre-packaged with all the necessary skills on their first day on the job. The easiest way to shape the tech space and grow developers and designers is through apprenticeship… We needed to hire people AND grow people,” Hoover said.