Hi! I’m Wahid Tanner, the founder of Take Up Code.
Take Up Code was founded in early 2015 in Florida and began offering live classes through a local co-op workspace. The classes were designed to teach real computer science programming skills through game development.
Why game development?
Because games are fun. They’re fun to play and even more fun to build. These are not the blockbuster type of game created by major game studios. Those take a full team of software engineers, designers, graphic artists, music composers, etc. many years to complete. The games that Take Up Code uses are much simpler. Usually text based with no graphics at all. But that means you can actually understand everything about the game. And once you know how to build games, then you can build anything.
About a year before this, I started offering live programming courses through what I was calling Fantasy Dev. I always liked fantasy role playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons and thought this would be a good way to teach programming. For about nine months, I held a class every other Saturday and recorded the class. Eventually, I needed more material to teach and stopped the classes to prepare.
When the classes resumed, I changed the name to Take Up Code and formed an official corporation. There was also less focus on recording videos and more effort going into creating live classes.
There’s a need to bridge the gap between all the theory you learn when going to a four year university to study computer science and all the coding bootcamps offering anywhere from eight to sixteen week intensive website developer programs.
Attending a college takes a full time commitment. Even night classes can be stressful. I wanted to offer something that you would find fun without all the stress. And coding bootcamps are purposefully designed to be stressful. Add to that the cost of a bootcamp is more than most used cars and the fact that they all focus on the same thing – web development, and there’s a real need for affordable education that gives you a full range of skills. The types of skills in demand.
In 2015, I started the free Take Up Code podcast on iTunes and it quickly became one of the top ranked podcasts in the Software How-To category. Early episodes were used to promote the live classes.
In late 2016, I moved to New York and recently reformed Take Up Code in Delaware and New York.
I studied electrical engineering in college in the late 1980’s and knew very little about programming back then. I know it’s possible to learn how to program outside of traditional colleges because that’s exactly what I did. And I know others who also did the same thing.
It took me a long time to become a good programmer. I started with the C language back when DOS was still popular and most computers couldn’t even run Microsoft Windows. A lot has changed over the years but I’ve kept up with the changes. You’ll learn that becoming a programmer opens up more opportunities for you to learn new skills. The learning is ongoing.
I’ve worked at many large and small companies since then as a software engineer. Microsoft was one of the big ones. I spent eight years working in the Windows Server group building large scale software features of the operating system. I know what skills are needed by large, high-tech companies and can show them to you. These skills are usually not being taught in colleges. And bootcamps aren’t covering them either.