Coding for GOOD: The Results are In, Meet Our Winner

This content was produced by GOOD with support of Apollo Group

Last October, GOOD and Apollo Group announced the launch of Coding for GOOD, an opportunity to gain skills in coding and, for one lucky participant, a chance to work with us here at GOOD. The program is our effort to bridge the skills gap through real-world application.

Participants had eight weeks to take sixteen free coding lessons and submit a final project using the skills they learned. This past weekend the top three finalists were flown to Los Angeles for a hack-a-thon at the Google offices.

And now, after months of learning lessons and a busy weekend of developing, we are happy to announce that the Coding for GOOD winner is...

...Brian Bonus. Currently a television editor in Los Angeles, Bonus has always been interested in software engineering and on his own has taken an Udacity class, learned programming language Python, and has even taught himself Java. After learning about the Coding for GOOD program last fall, Bonus also added HTML/CSS and Javascript to his self-taught skills.

Bonus sees coding as a greater opportunity and says, “What really excites me about coding is that technologies are always changing, but at the same time, it’s really just a tool to solve problems that really matter in the world.”

Along with his teammates at the hack-a-thon, Bonus created an educational tech program. He says, “The general premise was to create a tool where teachers could pull videos from YouTube very easily and incorporate that into a lesson. So that they could use new tech as a means to educate and then the students could use their smartphones to interact with the lesson plan.”

And their idea paid off – Bonus and his team won the best teamwork category, walking away with a Nexus 7 from the hack-a-thon. Bonus says, “It meant a lot to me, because it was validating the fact that even though I’m inexperienced, I can still contribute and that good ideas can come from lots of places.”

GOOD senior creative producer Ewan Anderson congratulates Bonus.

Having never been to a hack-a-thon before, Bonus wasn’t sure what to expect but says, “The spirit of collaboration at this hack-a-thon was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in my professional or personal life. There’s something really electric about a bunch of people coming together trying to come up with cool ideas and then actually execute them in a really short period of time.”

Left to right: GOOD account manager Chelsea Spann; Coding for GOOD finalists Corey Speisman and Ada Ng; winner, Bonus; GOOD Chief Technology Officer, Doug Sellers.

Looking back Bonus says, “I think what was important about this weekend was to see how much you can do in a short time frame and that the experience is really creative, collaborative and so much fun. There’s so much potential as long as you continue to work and learn new skills effectively.”

So what’s next? Bonus will be attending Dev Bootcamp in San Francisco, something he’d planned to do win or lose, before joining the team here at GOOD.

Have a desire to teach yourself a new skill like Bonus did? Even though the contest has ended, it's not too late to learn to code. The sixteen free Coding for GOOD lessons will remain available online, go here to get started now.

via Douglas Muth / Flickr

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