What to expect from the DockYard Academy: Q&A with Instructor Brooklin Myers

Image of Brooklin Myers
Cynthia  Gandarilla

Marketing Manager

Cynthia Gandarilla

You can learn more about the DockYard Academy and sign up to stay up to date on the latest (including news about our first cohort) here.

Within the Elixir community, junior developers are far outnumbered by their mid- or senior-level counterparts: Only about a quarter of respondents to the 2020 ElixirConf Community survey said they’d used Elixir for less than a year.

At DockYard, we’re committed to expanding the Elixir community, increasing diversity among Elixirists, and widening the talent pool for Elixir developers. That’s why we’re launching the DockYard Academy.

Led by instructor Brooklin Myers, the Academy will welcome junior developers from all backgrounds and equip them with the skills they need to begin working as Elixir engineers.

We asked Brooklin to answer a few questions about his background, what he has planned for the Academy, and what students can expect from the 90-day course. Here’s what he had to say:

1. What’s your background?

I’m Brooklin Myers, a technical content creator with experience in the tech industry as a web and mobile developer. I’m the host of the Elixir Newbie podcast and write about Elixir on ElixirNewbie.com. Since entering Elixir, I’ve focused on helping new developers, and DockYard Academy has been a perfect opportunity to continue that mission.

As a boot camp graduate, I empathize with the struggle to enter the programming industry without a computer science background. With that in mind, I aspire to make technical concepts approachable for beginners. In addition, having transitioned to Elixir from JavaScript, I tailor lessons to help students from an object-oriented background transition to functional programming.

2. How would you describe the DockYard Academy to someone who’s never heard of it before?

DockYard Academy is a fully remote programming academy focused on providing practical experience to prepare students to enter the tech industry. We offer a three-month full-time course with a dedicated teacher and collaborative cohort. Our open-source curriculum covers topics such as Elixir, Phoenix, LiveView, OTP, and commonly used libraries.

Our content aspires to be friendly, supportive, and approachable. Students will have the full support of their instructor and peers as they collaborate through interactive instruction, relevant exercises, and engaging projects.

3. What can someone expect as a DockYard Academy student?

For the first thirty days, students focus on Elixir fundamentals to lay a solid foundation to build on throughout the rest of the course. Students will gain a fluid familiarity with how to apply Elixir syntax and the basics of OTP to solve practical problems.

With this foundation set, students will spend the next thirty days on project development with Elixir. Students will leverage the Mix build tool, ExUnit, Ecto, APIs, and external libraries in the Elixir ecosystem to build functional, well-tested projects.

Next, we will focus on web development with Phoenix during the final thirty days. Students will expand their technical stack to include Tailwind, Alpine JS, LiveView, PubSub, GraphQL, and other tools beyond the core Elixir language.

The course will be subject to constant change and revision from community feedback. As a result, the technologies mentioned above may change to represent the latest tools used by Elixir developers.

4. How will the Academy set them up for success once they’ve finished?

Graduates will be qualified Elixir/Phoenix developers with a portfolio of academy projects to demonstrate their ability to potential employers. In addition, students will learn industry best practices and collaboration tools to be effective members of their future teams.

Dockyard will assist students with job placement via our robust network within the community. In addition, we will offer our top students an optional three-month paid practicum where they can gain production-level work experience with DockYard.

As the Academy matures, we hope to create a growing community of alumni on the DockYard Academy Discord, where they can receive support from peers and mentors throughout their careers.

5. What kind of background should someone interested in joining an Academy cohort have?

DockYard Academy aspires to be approachable for beginners and guide them through programming concepts to help them become qualified and capable Elixir Engineers.

However, students should be comfortable using a computer. In addition, I highly recommend students prepare by going through our getting started guide and working through some of the curriculum material. That way, potential students can determine if the content suits their learning goals and develop their fundamentals before starting the course.

6. Why would you encourage junior developers to consider pursuing and studying Elixir over another programming language?

Companies are hungry for Elixir developers. Because the language is young, the market is less saturated, and it’s easier to stand out as a new developer.

While young, Elixir has a deep history, being built on top of Erlang and OTP. It’s incredible for building highly concurrent and fault-tolerant applications. More and more often, it’s the best choice to solve problems in distributed systems, machine learning, embedded systems, and more.

Beyond being a pragmatic choice, working with Elixir is enjoyable. The community is incredibly supportive, and the ecosystem allows you to be highly productive. Jose Valim and the Elixir team took the best ideas from various languages to ensure Elixir meets the demands of modern developers and continues to be a joy to use.

7. What’s something you think everyone considering joining the DockYard Academy should know?

Anyone can learn to program. If you feel like you can’t, then I want you to know you can. Programming welcomes folks from all backgrounds. All that matters is if you enjoy programming, learning, and problem-solving.

Functional programming has an undeserved reputation for being harder, math-heavy, and overly intellectual. However, in reality, functional programming with Elixir can be more intuitive for beginners than object-oriented programming.

Of course, people will have different starting points and progress at different paces. But that’s part of what makes programming awesome and collaborative. Different people excel at different things. Classmates will lean on each other’s strengths to be better together. The same is true in the workforce.

8. Anything else to add?

I’d like to thank those who’ve read this far. If you are considering joining DockYard Academy or know someone who would be a great fit, please contact me. You can email me at brooklin.myers@dockyard.com or follow me on Twitter @BrooklinJMyers for DockYard Academy updates.

Soon we’ll have more information on how future students can sign up for the Academy. But, for now, we’re looking for beta testers, and I’m happy to personally sit down with you and set up the course and provide 1-1 mentorship opportunities.

I hope you join this fantastic community. We might sometimes argue about silly things like tabs vs. spaces or Vim vs. Emacs, but ultimately we’re all part of the same tribe of people trying to make the world better through technology.

Find more information on the DockYard Academy here, visit the DockYard Academy GitHub page to find the Open Source curriculum, and keep up with the latest from DockYard by following us on Twitter and LinkedIn and signing up for our newsletter.


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