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About Actualize

Actualize was founded by Jay Wengrow, a well-known coding educator and author. Here’s how Jay tells his story about founding Actualize:

Before becoming a software engineer, my background was originally in education, so I've always viewed the world of coding education with an educator's lens.

I’ve found that there have always been gaping holes in the system for educating new software developers. I believe that the biggest such problem is that schools are staffed by people proficient in coding, but not in teaching. The art and science of teaching requires a completely different skill set than that of engineering. It's possible to acquire both skill sets, which is what we have at Actualize.

Good teaching involves multiple components. Here are just some of them:

Curriculum that's well thought out

Naturally, there is the matter of the technical curriculum itself. For a student to truly grasp the material, complex concepts need to be broken into small, bite-size chunks. Additionally, these chunks need to be put in the right sequence. Students also need to put in the right amount of practice to synthesize each idea before moving on to the next one. While all of this may seem obvious, most coding instructors put little thought into doing it right. As a result, students get lost and confused, and even those who “get” it don’t attain the proper depth of understanding. At Actualize, our instructors meet regularly to hone all these details in the curriculum to ensure students have a great experience learning the material.

We wrote the book on how to teach programming

Our book covers some of the best practices on curriculum and instruction that we've honed over our many years of teaching.
You can download the book for free below.

By submitting your email, you will receive additional communication from us on learning to code as well as the coding bootcamp industry.

Engaging and clear instruction

Another important item is the manner of delivery of the education. Teaching can take place through self-paced means such as books, articles, or pre-recorded videos, and while these have their place, they don't hold a candle to live teaching. But even when a class is taught by a live instructor, well, there are instructors and there are instructors. Is the instructor engaging and clear, or boring and muddled? Actualize instructors are vetted not just for their technical understanding of software development, but also for their abilities to teach in a live classroom setting.

A personal connection is key

But even more importantly: is the instructor merely broadcasting to an audience, or does the instructor know the student personally and how they are progressing? This makes a world of a difference for a student's success. Unfortunately, most people shopping for a coding school don't even realize that they can have a teacher who actually knows, cares about, and works personally with them. Actualize classes are small enough for instructors to meet with each student individually on a weekly basis, which allows them to ensure everyone's success in their learning goals.

Learning how to learn

And then there’s an entire discipline within coding education that is not even on most teachers’ radars at all. I'm referring to the *meta* skills involved with learning to code, and are the skills that make a student *self-sufficient*. It’s not enough for a software developer to learn a particular set of languages and technologies. A software developer needs to know how to learn on their own once they’re already in the field and don’t have a teacher to hold their hand. Therefore, it's not enough for a course to impart information about a particular topic. We need to instill within a student an *entirely new way of thinking*---an approach to learning new things and solving new problems.

Contrary to popular belief, these meta skills *can* be taught, and we don't need to let each student pick them up after only years of experience, if at all. I would even say that learning these skills is the most important thing for someone to be successful in a technology career. At Actualize, we have developed a complete approach to building the skill of learning how to learn, which we implement from the very start of the prework and carry on throughout the entire program.

The Actualize difference

When I look around, I don’t see any university or bootcamp focused on the aforementioned items. And that’s why I started Actualize.

Besides being top-notch software devs, our instructors are all expert educators, and optimizing the quality of student education is our very lifeblood. And our education is bidirectional - we don’t just deliver information to you. We keep cohort sizes small and get to know you personally. Our instructors and career advisors work with you, see you and your progress in action, and use that feedback to personalize your plan of growth.

This is what I believe education should be, and no one should settle for anything less.