JAN 21

Thinking Big: The Evolution of Tech Ed

For the "Thinking Big" event in 2014, San Francisco techies gathered at Geekdom to discuss the evolution of tech education. They filed through the entryway and grabbed name tags as the networking hour began before the talk. People of all ages and from all different fields mingled over beer, wine and sandwiches. Discussion was flying and talks of startups, new tech and dev bootcamps filled the air.


After an hour of networking, the tech talk was ready to begin. A representative from Geekdom pulled the audience into the presentation room, the speakers were introduced and the night was off to a great start.

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The first speaker was Vivek Ravisankar, the CEO and co-founder of HackerRank. HackerRank is a platform where developers solve challenges for games and jobs. Ravisankar discussed how when he worked at Amazon he felt that the hiring process was flawed. He realized the problem with hiring was that it was not geared enough towards skill when it came to programmers - and so HackerRank was born.

“The only thing that should matter is your skill when connecting people with companies,” said Ravisankar.  He left his job at Amazon and began his mission to change the hiring process forever. Ravisankar left the audience with a new perspective on hiring tech talent based on skills alone by the time his presentation was through.


Next up was Shaan Shah, co-founder of MakerSquare, a highly selective program that creates software developers by teaching software engineering fundamentals. Shah opened his keynote with a joke and captivated the audience captivated from the start. He dove into how education programs are changing the way the hiring process works and why he believes MakerSquare is a valuable program for aspiring tech talent. He explained that with the plethora of programs available these days, it is important to look into them with the same seriousness you would a university.

“There are so many schools you need to dig in deep," he advised the audience. "Do your research.” Shah explained to the room that the market is growing so quickly, he has decided to take a leave of absence just to catch up on the newest technologies. It demonstrated to the audience just how important it is to stay current in this fast-paced market.


The final presenter of the evening was Duncan Logan, the founder and CEO of RocketSpace. RocketSpace started its bootcamp, RocketU a year ago and Logan was excited to speak about it to the Tech in Motion members about the reason why. He enthusiastically highlighted the growing importance of coding in today’s world.

“If your parents can type and you can't code, you are taking your family backward," stated Logan, to illustrate that knowing how to code is becoming a necessary skill to have. Comparing the evolution of coding to the growth of excel in the work place, he explained that excel used to be a skill that was taught specially in the workplace; now knowledge of excel is considered a requirement for almost all jobs.

According to Logan, this is what coding will evolve to be in the upcoming years. Eventually knowledge of code will be an absolute requirement to keep up in the workforce.


Upon the completion of Logan’s talk, the Q&A session began. Tech in Motion members fired questions left and right with passion and curiosity. One of the most heated debates was sparked by the question of how dev bootcamps compare to having a Computer Science degree. The speakers all agreed that while a CS degree is important and impressive, the unique aspect of a bootcamp is that it is state of the art and can keep up with the fast pace of the coding world.

As the Q&A wrapped up, guests got up from their seats for a final half hour of networking. They met with the speakers and discussed their favorite parts of the presentations. As the beer and wine ran out and the last attendees exited the building, it was clear that the night had left Tech in Motion members with new perspectives on the Tech Ed space.

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