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Code Chrysalis: Development-Focused and Progressive

At Wahl and Case, our core values inform everything we do, every step of every process.  When we met Code Chrysalis co-founder and CTO Yan Fan at Slush Tokyo last March, we couldn’t believe our luck in finding another great startup whose values resonate with our own.


Yan and co-founder CEO Kani Munidasa have brought their rendition of a coding bootcamp to Japan after having gone through and worked for a similar program in the US called Hack Reactor. From across the Pacific, they recognized the supply of software engineers in Japan is dramatically outpaced by demand. Here are some of her answers to questions about the Code Chrysalis program and how it come to Japan.

 

――What can students expect from the course?

The first thing you need to know is that we don’t take beginners. We expect people to have already self-taught or to know a certain level, because I don’t think people need to pay us to teach them what they can learn themselves online for free really easily.

As for when you go through the program, it’s a completely project based curriculum, and we teach full stack JavaScript. You’ll be familiar with the front-end, back-end, as well as databases, CS Fundamentals–all the tools that you’ll need to become a professional software engineer. On top of just coding skills, we also teach these kind of qualitative skills that I often think we in Silicon Valley take for granted, like being able to and understanding how to work on an agile team environment that is efficient and fast and communicative. A lot of these things we’re also trying to bring to Tokyo, and really help change the way they’re developing software here.

 

――What are some of the challenges you think the Japanese scene is facing or has faced?

One of the things that made Tokyo really strong when it came to hardware was its perfectionism. Japan is such a perfectionist society, and unfortunately, that does not translate well when you’re making software. So when you’re doing software,  I think you need to engage in this idea of constant feedback. You get feedback from the market and then you make it better. For a lot of people, this concept is new and it’s uncomfortable. The idea is like you are always coming out with an imperfect product. And we’re trying to change that thinking into it’s not like an imperfect product, it’s a great product and you’re just making it better and better.

Another issue that people have is that they are too used to the code base and the structure that they are in. When you remove them from that structure, I think a lot of them get lost.

Another really big issue is English skills. In order to become a competitive software engineer, you need to be able to speak English. Not only to stay on top of what’s going on, but to read documentation that’s really important.  And to be connected with the global software engineering space. Those are some of the things that are keeping Japan behind.

And then, I think software engineers here (in Japan) are kind of thought of as a cost center rather than a profit center. You see, the way that Silicon Valley thinks–they see engineers not just as being a building force but also a creative force. And being able to work with software engineers, having software engineers work closely with products to create a more perfect product itself-I think that still needs to be communicated to Japan. Software development now is not just about having a bunch of demands and giving them to some engineers, but more working together with the engineers to create these sound products. Those are some of the things that we’re trying to tackle.

 

――What are some success stories in your history with bootcamps?

There are a lot success stories that I can think of.  I started getting more into education because my initial students, the ones that I taught when I was in SF, are now software engineers themselves. And they are people I was considering hiring for this to bring over. And it’s great seeing them out there doing amazing great things. One of my former students is currently helping with a bootcamp in Spain.  It’s cool to see everyone scattered about in whatever part of their journey.

 

――How is the response so far (as of Slush Tokyo 2017)?

We’re having an event, so far we’ve had 60 people RSVP.  Of those, at least 10 of them are women. I don’t know if it is because they see that the person running it is a woman, but it’s really promising.  Our first class is eight people, so really we just need 4 of those to be women. I thought it was going to be a huge uphill battle but it looks like it’s really doable. I am super excited.

 

Wahl and Case Values

Ambitious. Sense of Urgency. Rational. Transparent. Team Oriented. Development-Focused. Progressive.