The Early Days – A Quick History

Codecraft Works, LLC was founded by myself, Shannon, and Josh Landin in 2011 as a web application design and development consulting company. At the time, we enjoyed designing technical solutions for a variety of business problems and working with entrepreneurs, small businesses, and nonprofits. When I recognized a “screen time” problem in my own home, I approached a good friend, Laurie Giniewski, about partnering up and working on a solution. In July of 2013, Laurie and I started the nonprofit Codecraft Lab, now know as Codecraft Foundation, to support critical, high-tech mentoring services for all kids no matter their socio-economic background.

Codecraft Foundation continues this critical mission to increase access and expand the technical skills pipeline beyond the constant barriers created by financial inequalities and easy access to qualified mentors and curriculum. Today, Codecraft Foundation is led by an active, all-volunteer board of directors and a small army of incredible students, community members, and industry advocates across Brevard County.

Rockwell Collins, IBM, Northrop Grumman, ALTR, Embraer are sustaining sponsors providing support for the Codecraft Foundation mission through the volunteers and critical funding to support students, impact the STEM talent gap and expand the narrow computer science pipeline increasingly felt across the country and the world. Consider volunteering time or providing financial support along with other signature sponsors like Indian River Networks, Certified General Contractors, and ALTR.

STEM jobs are not going away, specifically in computing. There is a huge and increasing gap, estimated by the US Dept of Labor at 1.2 million computing-related job openings by 2020, between the number of available jobs and qualified workers to fill them. As you read this, consider how your company, community, school, or family relies on technology and deep technical talent every single day.  An Apple “apocalypse” video released this year used humor to bring awareness to this same serious subject. If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out!

Students sign up for a course near you, parents and teachers can facilitate learning opportunities, and industry professionals can give back with time, talent, or funding to impact the future economic opportunities of young people while again supporting the future of innovation on the Space Coast and beyond.

2017’s Notable Accomplishments

In January, Codecraft Works launched a yearlong an R&D effort surrounding the creation of a web-based software platform to extend the impact of access to high-quality STEM, specifically computing, curriculum and expert mentors without location constraints.

February brought the exciting collaboration and sponsorship of CCPC SECME Regionals at UCF. This year’s competition and participation are proving to be even bigger with over 90 registered teams in Orange County!

March supported the fantastic launch event of the Groundswell co-working and startup incubator in the rehabbed skatepark in Melbourne as we continued construction on the new Codecraft headquarters just next door on Irwin Street.

April finalized the construction of our new, and totally amazing headquarters near downtown Melbourne, Florida, in the nick of time! Codecraft staff pitched in for an EPIC – all hands-on-board move effort. Innovators and grinders involved in startups know you wear a LOT of hats and we are no exception. We clean toilets, write code, analyze data, balance the books, answer the phone, and MOVE the entire headquarters ourselves. It was hard work but, incredible and totally worth it! Have you seen the new space in Brevard?

The Foundations 2nd Annual Space Coast Codecraft Computer Programming Competition (CCPC) and the new facility launch party were very well attended, supported, and so very fun. Our continued gratitude to Indian River Networks, Certified General Contractors, ALTR, Black Hole Makers, Eniki, Codecraft Works, Liz Cowie Photography, Susan and Ron Winkler, Kim and Bud Deffebach, and Katie and Denny Stewart. The 2018 CCPC Event is on the books for Friday, April 27th and we have some really exciting partners, announcements, and awards planned.

In May we did some regrouping, and then spent a lot of time finalizing and training for another out-of-this-world Codecraft Camp season.

I Scream! You Scream! We all Scream …
for CODECRAFT CAMP!

June & July Codecraft Camps launched with momentous success in both Brevard and Leon Counties to a record-breaking number of students – achieving notable impact. We don’t just teach kids how to code, we teach them why and then help them bridge their passions for any topic from games or animals to social change with modern engineering, computer science, and cybersecurity skills. And, of course, we don’t do this alone! Many thanks to Florida State University’s College of Communication and Information and Florida A&M University’s Center for Public Computing and Workforce Development, Codecraft Foundation, Domi Station in Tallahassee, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida for your continued support of underserved and equitable access to innovation.

After many months of training, on and off the job, August resulted in the Certification of our first group of Codecraft Educators! These amazing mentors not only built their own skills but helped us to pilot, test, and apply an alpha version of our Codecraft Continuing Education Courses too! The beta launch of this series of four, university-accredited, online-only, technical courses will introduce computer science, game development for training or education, web development, and software engineering to educators, entry-level professionals, and adult learners early in 2018. More information about these online courses, the credits earned, or apply for access to the 2018 cohort is coming soon! To be the first to hear about it, reach out now.

In early September, after months of continued on-the-job customer interviews and relationship building, value proposition design and re-design, business analysis, systems analysis, technical design, technical development, continuous testing, integration, and many technical course iterations and additions, the alpha launch of our web-based technology platform for the co-creation of cross-curricular, standard-aligned computer science, engineering, and cybersecurity education was launched.

This web-based platform community allows for the growth of impact on a social mission everyone at Codecraft remains hopelessly passionate about and additionally scales support for partners in education across the state of Florida in three counties. As with all great technology, there are no boundaries.

If you are interested in being a summer camp program host site, we’d like to work with you! We’re also adding new partners in education interested starting a club or course at your school. If you are a parent simply looking to change the conversation and engage your child – we are here – find an opportunity to get your student involved! Let us help you go from frustration over too much gameplay or screen time to becoming the champion of a positive “how it’s made and why it matters,” conversation and practice. Get involved and get in the know!

October was all about ACTION! We put action and quality behind every course, partnership and relationship. The new Codecraft web-based learning platform is helping to support more than 28 programs, 30 educators, and 700 students weekly across 3 counties!! Students get consistent and recurring access week after week to top-notch and fun computer science and programming courses and support which enables them to build skills over time and create positive and meaningful relationships with both mentors and technology.

If your school is not running a Codecraft Club yet, please reach out to us for information and technical support!

Throughout November we continued daily operations, course and software development, and still somehow found some time to get involved in a few community events too! Codecrafters were delighted to support the Barnes & Noble Mini Maker Faires in Leon and Brevard counties, and spend a very exciting day listening to, learning with, and presenting to over 120 Brevard Public School Educators at the STEM Innovation Day hosted by Northrop Grumman. Lot’s of enthusiasm and positive energy in that room and we remain excited to have been a supporting part.

And, here we are! What a wonderful year and December rolls right around again, so quickly! Codecraft is delighted to finish out the 2017 year by going after the last of a couple big goals joining the Computer Science Teacher Association and inviting third-party reviews of our growing body of curriculum and content by multiple independent reviewers from industry and academia. We believe this will continue to allow substantive growth into the field of continuing education with Florida Institute of Technology and a national audience of computer science education advocates.

Looking to the Future

By dedicating efforts to scaling impact on all fronts – technology, curriculum, and service – more people will gain access to empowered tech knowledge and CS education than ever before in history in a time when this exact knowledge is hypercritical. As Codecraft continues it’s engagement campaign through 2018 and beyond, boundless inspirations in every student project, question, struggle, and achievement reflect the success of another year well spent.

We encourage and strive for balance in all aspects of daily life! Pick up an instrument, play your music a little loudly, go on a hike (outside!), sit on the beach or grab your surfboard, and then dedicate time to a Codecraft Course like Python, Web Master, or Level Up Game Maker and meet up with your friends at a Club, Lab, or Camp. Take a Codecraft Course and learn to make rather than simply consuming the technology and digital information built and curated for you by others! Prioritize opportunity for yourself and for your family to also build, learn, and practice the foundational, in-demand, technology skills of our modern society.

Until next time, please accept my sincere gratitude for your part in the impact and success that well spent time and effort does produce! To our Students, Parents, Educators, Innovators, Entrepreneurs, Advisors, Mentors, Volunteers, Staff and all of the AMAZING extended members of the Codecraft Family – thank you, from the bottom of my heart. With all of you, 2017 has been a wonderful year!!

Wishing you a very happy and healthy 2018,

Shannon