Community Update  ·  February 01, 2021

CodeDay Labs: What’s new for 2021?

Tyler Menezes, Executive Director

Applications for CodeDay Labs 2021 are officially open! We’ve made a number of changes from last year’s highly successful program that I’d like to share with you today.

Whether you’re a returning mentor, or a student who didn’t get in last year who’s considering re-applying, get ready for an excellent summer!

Bootcamp + Polish Weeks

The biggest change in 2021 is in the length of the program: for students, it’s increased from 4 to 6 weeks. (For mentors, the commitment is now 5 weeks.)

The first week of CodeDay Labs will now be an on-boarding bootcamp, where students will learn the languages, frameworks, and tools they’ll need to know to complete their project, so they can hit-the-ground-running once they start meeting as a team.

CodeDay will run these bootcamps for all teams that are using common tech stacks. (Mentors with unusual tech stacks can provide a list of reading or tutorials to complete.)

Teams do not meet with mentors during the bootcamp week, so the mentor commitment is only increasing from 4 to 5 weeks.

The new last week of the program gives teams time to finish integration and testing, polish their Github project, and create an excellent tech talk.

New Intermediate Track

For the first time in 2020 we broke Labs into two tracks — beginner and advanced — and in 2021 we’re adding one new track: intermediate.

The intermediate track is for students who have taken introductory CS coursework, but are not familiar with real-world software engineering. Students will still work with a professional mentor, but they’ll work on more limited projects where good guidance is available online.

This will also help us make sure all team members are able to contribute equally.

For both students and mentors, there’s still just one application for these two tracks. We’ll recommend either the Intermediate or Advanced track as part of the application review.

Beginner Track Fee (Many Scholarships Available)

The beginner track is designed for high school and first-year college students, and is mentored by older students who’ve previously interned at tech companies. Unlike the advanced track, which is volunteer-based, about half of these mentors are paid.

Last year, our biggest limitation was mentors: we couldn’t find funding for more paid mentors, and couldn’t find enough who were willing to volunteer.

Because the beginner track is more like a summer program than a traditional internship, we’ve added a small fee — $250 — only to the beginner track.

Scholarships are very available: we’re expecting about 40% will receive one. There is no application fee, and no commitment needed until you confirm your spot. You will not be asked if you need a scholarship until we make an offer — admissions are solely based on merit.

20-40 Hours a Week

In 2020, we allowed students to select a time commitment of either 10, 20, or 30 hours a week, however we found that (a) not many students selected 10 hours a week, and (b) those that did weren’t able to get much out of the program.

In 2021, student applicants must commit to working either 20-30 hours a week, or 30-40 hours a week.

We believe this still offers enough flexibility to students who are working to put themselves through school, but please get in touch if this creates problems for you!

College Partnerships

We’re now working with a number of colleges to directly fund spots for their students who aren’t able to get a traditional internship.

More Changes

  • We are reducing the number of prototype demos due
  • The weekly feedback now more closely aligns with how real companies do performance reviews
  • We’re making it easier for students to ask for help from CodeDay Labs coding help when their mentor is busy, and making it easier for mentors to refer their students to us
  • Mentors will have access to a mentor portal and weekly updates to make sure they’re aware of what’s going on
  • We’re developing new resources to make it easier for mentors to propose projects that fits students needs
  • Students can expect more cross-team events where everyone can get to know each other

Interested? Apply now at https://labs.codeday.org/

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