1. Welcome from the CodeNow Director of Learning & Engagement
Hi Crew! We are excited to welcome you to CodeNow! You have shown us your interest in giving back, and we look
forward to working alongside you to help shape the tech minds of the future! It is through the help of technology
professionals like you who choose to share with our students your time, expertise, and enthusiasm that we can have an
impact. The workshops are challenging but stay positive and remember that we all started from scratch – students just
need to keep at it! They have the ability, and you’ll provide the knowledge and guidance they need to unlock their full
CodeNow provides youth with an entry point into computer programming. We collaborate with local tech companies to
offer out-of-school coding instruction to high-schoolers. Volunteer trainers (YOU!) contribute by sharing with the
students their knowledge and experience of coding. Together we show students that there is nothing mysterious about
programming. And that the only things standing between them and a career in computing are passion and hard work.
FOUR LEVEL OF CODENOW
Workshops - In-person, weekend sessions where students are taught by local tech professionals. Students will acquire
and refine their knowledge of coding, design, and product management.
Online Portal - The learning continues with access to continuing education and activities as part of the online CodeNow
community. Members will have access to their role models and mentors from their workshops, and professionals in
different tech fields around the country.
Hackathons - An intensive weekend of collaboration, learning, and fun where CodeNow community members come
together to solve real-world problems.
Summer Competition - A competition where all the learning, mentoring, and practice comes together to showcase the
incredible skills that have been obtained by our junior designers, programmers, and budding entrepreneurs.
The workshop for which you have volunteered occurs over 4 in-person weekend sessions (Saturdays and Sundays).
Workshop sessions start at 9am and end at 4pm. However, volunteers will arrive at 8am for a Saturday session and
8:30am for a Sunday session to help with setup. Also, plan to stay for an additional 45 minutes to an hour after the
students leave so you can participate in our trainers’ download session and assist with cleanup.
What To Expect
Show up to the workshop on time and ready to teach & learn. Make sure to get a good night’s sleep! You will working
students individually and in small groups. For certain topics, that you are passionate about and/or you have solid
2. knowledge of, you may be asked to present to the entire group. Students will be learning HTML, CSS, and Ruby on Rails.
They also learn the basics of application design, product development, and how to identify and solve meaningful
problems. We move fast during the workshop since we need to cover a lot of material in a short amount of time. But
learning doesn’t take place at the expense of fun! Interactive learning activities are a staple of the CodeNow Workshop
experience and take place throughout.
The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short
breaks. These intervals are named pomodoros, after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer. The CodeNow curriculum is
similarly broken-down into 25 pomodoros with 5 minute breaks. Each day of the workshop includes 10 pomodoros, a
1-hour lunch, a morning icebreaker, and end of day wrap-up session.
My name is Harsha Murthy, and I’m excited to welcome you to CodeNow!
I’d like to take this opportunity to give you an overview of the curriculum portion of the workshop and provide a glimpse
of the student experience and outcomes.
The curriculum at CodeNow is designed to give students a boot camp style experience with measureable outcomes and
Students will learn these technologies:
Level One begins as soon as a student is accepted to the workshop. During the pre-workshop phase, students will get
exposure to basic ruby, HTML, & CSS. This way, they won’t begin the coding section of the workshop completely blind.
Volunteers will be given access to the same pre-work assignments on Lantern so you can see exactly what the students
are working on before the workshop.
● Problem Solving and Product Development. On day one, students will learn how to view the problems they see
around them as opportunities to create solutions instead of things they just have to "deal with". They'll be
introduced to the process of getting to the bottom of the problem, and thinking of a solution for the problem in
terms of a web application. They'll break up their proposed solution into manageable features. They'll then
decide which feature to build first based on how much value it delivers to the user. This is the feature for which
they will complete sketches. They go home on day one with a solid understanding of the problem they're trying
to solve, how to solve it using a web application, how to pick which part of the solution to build first, and how to
plan out what’s going to be built before writing any code.
3. ● Web Development Basics. On day two, students will learn the basics of HTML and CSS. They will learn that what
they envision in their mind’s eye doesn't always translate perfectly to what they're able to build. When they
leave week one of the workshop, students will have a static, front-end prototype of the to-do list timer screen of
their app. It will be fully styled and have real information in it. It will be pushed live to the web using GitHub
pages. They'll be able to share the link with family and friends to show them what they have built so far and walk
people through the process they took to get to that point.
● Application Development. On day three, students will begin learning about the Rails framework. They will get
an understanding of the power of database backed web applications. They'll port the HTML and CSS code they
wrote during week one into the Rails application to make it dynamic. This means when they leave the workshop
on Day Three, students will be able to add, edit, and check off to-dos from their application.
implement the 25 minute timer that's used for the Pomodoro technique. Their app currently requires them to
go to multiple pages to add a to-do or mark it as complete. They'll learn how to consolidate these features into
one page so they can add, edit, and mark to-dos as complete as well as time their work all on one web page.
They'll then create Heroku accounts and use their knowledge of Git to push their apps live to the web.
When they leave day four of the workshop, they'll have multiple commits to their GitHub profile, a functional
Rails application pushed live to the web, and a solid understanding of problem identification, solution ideation,
how to use a text editor, the command line, HTML, CSS, and how to build a basic CRUD application using Ruby
4. An Introduction To CodeNow’s Impact
Hey there. I’m Neal Sales-Griffin, CEO of CodeNow. We empower teenagers to solve meaningful problems with
technology. I’d like to share my story with you to illustrate why you should care about our work.
As a mixed-race low-income kid growing up on the Southside of Chicago, I struggled to find my place in society. But with
determination and help from a supportive family, I earned acceptance into Northwestern University, where I served as
student body president and started multiple businesses.
After graduating, I discovered my passion for making software that helps people while working as an investor and
entrepreneur in residence at a venture capital firm. Through this work, I realized the necessity of a technical skill set to
be a successful business starter. I promptly abandoned my cushy post to learn how to code and design my ideas.
After a year of full-time personal study and practice learning software development, I made it my mission to help others
do the same. In 2011, I founded The Starter League, one of the first coding bootcamps in the world. With this pioneering
model, I’ve helped thousands learn to solve meaningful problems with software.
I believe we must provide the same opportunities that helped me succeed to as many kids as possible. I joined CodeNow
as CEO to do just that.
I need you to believe that my story isn’t an outlier.
I’m tired of people telling me I’m lucky. I’m sick of people telling me I’m special, or that “I’m not like the rest of them.”
I’m just a case study we can deconstruct, bottle, and share with thousands of people out there we can reach through our
I need you to believe we can provide the resources, pathways, and supportive environments to unlock the potential in
every kid who’s willing to show up and give it their all.
At CodeNow, we’ve designed a program and curriculum where young people with no technical background can learn the
fundamentals of how to build software. The ability to do so has many benefits beyond the prototyped web applications
that get built. Understanding software development instills logical reasoning, communication skills, and confidence in
navigating the new digital world.
Unlocking our students’ intrinsic motivations to solve problems for themselves, for people they care about, and in their
communities through technology is an empowering ability to imbue in them. These skills are among the most valuable
that today’s younger generation can obtain.
We believe the next step in the movement to promote computer science and coding is to address the broader spectrum
of software development. This includes design and product management, but most importantly it addresses the WHY as
much as the HOW behind coding.
Think about what you most enjoy doing, and how you discovered that it’s something you love. Now imagine unlocking
that moment for someone else when they’re just a teenager. It’s life-changing.
CodeNow creates moments like this for thousands of people.
They need our support and investment to help them become future coders, designers, product managers, and
entrepreneurs. We have to do more than arm them with pickaxes and say “go get a job.” It’s a disservice to dangle
carrots like fancy benefits and fat paychecks. Harnessing young people’s intrinsic motivators will reveal how badass they
are when they have a real problem they’re passionate about solving.
Now’s our chance to make a real difference. We hope you’ll join us on our mission.
- Neal Sales-Griffin