Inside of Algolia, we usually send out an email update when an event or workshop has happened, to let the team know how it went. Since these events often involve the community, and we like to share the way we work, I’m posting the summary here too
As you may know, I spent the beginning of the week in southern France to organise a workshop and give presentations about Algolia in two code schools. Here’s a recap of my trip:
What are those schools?
Wild Code School is a French code bootcamp that started a few years ago in La Loupe. They expanded quite fast, as they now have opened schools in 6 other locations.
The bootcamp lasts 5 months, during which the students learn to develop from scratch: each school focuses on a specific domain (e.g. Android or Web development), and after the 5 months students get a state-recognized “Software Developer” certification and look for internships in local companies.
Why doing an Algolia intervention?
Tim (@pixelastic) knew the cofounder Romain Coeur, who asked him if he could do an external intervention in the Toulouse school (where they train Android developers) to introduce Algolia to the students and demonstrate it with a live-coding.
Tim proposed me to do this demonstration, which I turned into a workshop where the students had the challenge to build the Amazon Android search experience in a few hours; a challenge that was easy to accomplish using our new InstantSearch Android library
Romain also proposed to also do an intervention in the Bordeaux school, to introduce Algolia to students that train in web-development. As I was already going to Toulouse, we planned this intervention the next day so I could handle both during the same trip.
##How did it go?
For the Android school, I did a presentation on https://twitter.com/romaincoeur (Based on @jeanedern.lorillon and @alex’s WolvesSummit slides) to the students, after which we spent the afternoon building a search interface similar to Amazon’s.
The presentation went well, and there are some pictures on Twitter:
After the presentation, we spent the afternoon on the workshop I had prepared.
I had written a subject with guided steps to build the app, and gave each student an Algolia account with preloaded data so they could interact with the dashboard, configure their index, and potentially use that account for future Algolia projects.
The feedback was very positive, students were impressed by Algolia’s features and developer experience! At the end of the workshop they said they had a great time, and they tried to convince their teacher that they should use Algolia for the school project they were currently developing, after they understood how much it could bring \o/
For Bordeaux I didn’t prepare a workshop - there were 3 times more students than in Toulouse and I didn’t feel as confident handling a web-dev workshop -, but I presented Tim’s Marvel Search project through his Super Powers with APIs presentation. I then demonstrated how easily one can add Algolia to a site using instantsearch.js by doing the Smashing Magazine live-coding that Tim and AlexC presented at Serverless.
The students enjoyed the presentation, many were impressed by what one can build with APIs. I encouraged them to come up with ideas of projects they could build using APIs as building blocks, which started an interesting conversation where students gave ideas of potential apps/services and we discussed how they could use APIs to build those. A few students even came talk to me after the live-coding to tell me about projects they had that could use APIs or benefit from a powerful search!
Likewise, they enjoyed the live-coding: some were quite impressed that given the right data and a webpage, I could implement a great search experience in 15 minutes. They asked quite a few questions regarding the tools we provide, our business model and pricing, or regarding geo-data as some were working on geo-related projects.
10 students that are currently looking for internships had a hands-on experience of Algolia, after which most were thinking of other projects they could use Algolia on. All were thrilled to receive Algolia community shirts and stickers!
I took the opportunity of being in Toulouse to meet with Frank Taillandier, one of our friends in the local area. Frank is very active in the static site generators community, and two hours after we met he was pushing for Algolia search in Jekyll’s new plugin directory o/
My intervention was in front of a bigger audience: the current batch of students that are near the end of the bootcamp, the next batch that had just started, and some freelance developers from the nearby coworking space that were invited (in total 30-40 persons).
I also had some stickers and community t-shirts, which I proposed to give to anyone asking a relevant question or proposing an idea of project using APIs. I was pretty lucky with the swag, as I had exactly enough t-shirts for everyone interested!
We have new community members in both cities, expect to see some Algolia community t-shirts if you wander through Toulouse or Bordeaux the following months!
It was nice to meet Frank in Toulouse, it was also an opportunity to discuss a conference he’s preparing where @lucas.cerdan may speak.
Finally, in both schools the teachers welcomed my interventions. In each school they told me that they were glad we could come present Algolia to their students, and that they would love to do it again with the next classes
I read this far, what do I get?
You get a cookie!