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S4E20: Projects and Portfolios: a Hands-on Approach to Learning to Code With Ashu Desai

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Ashu Desai is the founder of Make School, a computer science college in Silicon Valley that trains students for careers in software development.

After a childhood in Singapore and Hong Kong, Ashu moved to Silicon Valley at age 10, where he was bitten by the tech bug. He has been building apps since age 16 after getting involved in the computer science program at his high school and self-teaching coding languages.

Ashu attended college for a year, but didn't find the focus practical enough, and dropped out to build his own projects. This experience is also what inspired him to found Make School, a product-based approach to learning that focuses on teaching real-world skills.

In our conversation, Ashu talks about the importance of a practical education, how Make School works, and tips for getting a job once you're ready.

Key takeaways:

  • College isn't always the best way to learn coding. Hands-on learning is much more valuable than theory. Build your own projects and learn by doing, or attend a coding-specific school based on real-world skills.
  • Having a portfolio is more important than a resume when you're looking for jobs. Companies want to see real examples of what you can do. And the more unique your portfolio projects are, the more interested they'll be.
  • The most unique ideas are ones that are impactful in industries besides tech, like farming, health etc. Identify a problem and use tech to solve it.

Links and mentions from the episode:

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Special thanks to this episode’s sponsors

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