New Americans code blog

We will post periodic news here about our training program, our students, supporters and donors. If you have an idea for a blog post, please email us at info@newamericanscode.com

New Americans Code adds Craig Kofoed as instructor

We are very pleased to announce Craig Kofoed as an associate instructor at New Americans Code. For several months, Craig has occasionally helped refugee students and he is a good person and skilled programmer. Craig has helped many students due to his expertise in HTML, CSS, JavaScript and Git. Most recently, he helped Alexander G. Burakoff learn Git repositories and version control via command line. Craig works at ChargeIt Pro, where he is a technical support team leader. Always adding to his skills, Craig is learning the Aurelia JS front-end framework and is founder of Boise Hacker Hours, a weekly meetup of local developers and programmers. Like many top programmers, Craig is primarily self-taught - an example of how anyone with determination can become proficient and help others find their own path.

Craig Kofoed Boise Web developer

Craig Kofoed, associate instructor.

PI515 refugee code program for children a model for others

Starting a new business is hard - especially if it hasn"t been done before. There is no code school or job training program in the United States dedicated to teaching refugee adults, so we've had to design our own curriculum, pedagogy and structure. There is no such thing as a National Association of Refugee Code Schools where we can turn to for advice.

Still, there are other people with similar passions and motivations. New Americans Code is active in social media and we are very happy to have met Nancy Mwirotsi, founder of PI515. Founded in 2014, PI515 is a 501c3 afterschool class that teaches basic coding and web development to about 70 children in Des Moines, Iowa. PI515 works in partnership with local schools and other organizations, serving mostly refugee children in grades 7 through 12.

Founder Marty Johncox recently had a great conversation with Nancy, who generously provided advice on funding, administration, curriculum and outreach. Many of PI515's challenges and opportunities are the same as New Americans Code faces, while others are different. More than anything, it was inspiring to speak with someone who has a similar mission and passion to teach technology and coding.

New Americans Code and PI515 are at the forefront in an emerging trend in the globalization of education. We have to figure out things as we go, try different approaches, create best practices and reach out and find others who share our ambitions and aspirations. Anyone involved in this understands the fulfillments and challenges.If anyone reading this is considering a refugee code training program in your community, please reach out to us!

PI515 code school students in Des Moines Iowa

PI515 teaches refugee children how to code.

Thanks to Pixel and Line for giving us a place to hold class

The ultimate "consumer" of New Americans Code is the local technology community; we will provide it with people who have a basic level of instruction in coding and can work in a trainee entry-level position, or continue their education at a local school.

So support from the local technology community is important. New Americans Code is very pleased to have Pixel and Line provide us with a consistent meeting place. Pixel and Line is Boise‘s largest software agency, focusing iOS and Android mobile apps, web-based applications, websites and UX/UI design.

"We think your school is a good cause so we want to support it," said Nick Crabbs, a principal. "But theres also some self-interest - we need good developers and maybe someday some of your students can work here."

Pixel and Line demands developers at a very high level and its employees spent years developing their skills, so it may be a while before our students move from their classroom to their work room. Still, it‘s good for our students to meet professional developers and visit a nice work place like Pixel and Line. Our curriculum adviser, Wyatt Arent, is a backend developer at Pixel and Line.

We had been holding classes at the Boise Public Library, which has also been very kind and generous to our training program. We will return to the library occasionally, such as for Hacker Hours Boise and other meetups. But we are thankful to a local tech company for helping incubate our program.

Pixel and Line provides space for refugee code school

A recent class at Pixel and Line in Boise

February 29, 2016 board, refugee coding training, news
News release: Governing board, curriculum expert announced
Boise refugee web development training program New Americans Code names executive board and curriculum adviser

Board members bring expertise in business, philanthropy, refugees and technical education; curriculum adviser will ensure the program teaches up-to-date technologies

February 29, 2016
For more information:
Marty Johncox, New Americans Code, 208-658-9100

New Americans Code, a training program dedicated to teaching refugees basic coding and web development skills, announces three new board members who will guide the program as it incorporates and seeks nonprofit status.

Douglas Metzgar, Max Mohammadi and Jake Overall serve on the board of New Americans Code, which started teaching web development classes in Boise.

Metzgar is president of Meshwork Consulting, a local marketing firm, and has decades of experience in marketing and communication in the high-tech industry. He serves on the board of Life’s Kitchen and holds an MBA from Boise State University.

Mohammadi is a Boise entrepreneur and leader in local charitable causes with knowledge of the local refugee community. He was a proprietor of the Cazba Mediterranean Restaurant and founder of the Feed The Need Thanksgiving meal drive.

Overall is a founder of Boise CodeWorks, the Treasure Valley’s web development bootcamp. Overall received his BAS from the University of Phoenix. Overall is working to supply the local tech industry with trained workers.

“As a board, Doug, Max and Jake bring experience in nonprofits, business creation, philanthropy and coding education, which will prove very valuable in guiding New Americans Code,” said Marty Johncox, founder of New Americans Code. “New Americans Code appears to be the first training program in America dedicated to help refugees train for careers in Web development and we are off to a good start with a this board.”

New Americans Code has also added Wyatt Arent as a curriculum adviser. Arent is a Web developer at Pixel and Line in Boise, where creates the back-end structure for website and mobile apps with PHP,JavaScript,NodeJS, Composer, JSON and Git version control. He is also proficient in front-end development with HTML5, CSS3 and Angular JS and works in Agile/Scrum. He studied computer science and finance at Boise State University.

New Americans Code started Jan. 1, 2016 and has been teaching pilot classes with five students, meeting nine hours a week. Global Talent Idaho and the Idaho Office for Refugees have helped New Americans Code by referring qualified students.Johncox is preparing to apply to the Internal Revenue Service for 501c(3) nonprofit status.

For more information, visit www.newamericanscode.com

Twin Falls City Council participates in effort to create local plan for refugees

At the suggestion of Magic Valley Refugee Advocates, New Americans Code founder Marty Johncox recently sent a letter of support to the Twin Falls City Council. Magic Valley Refugee advocates has joined with faith communities, businesses and individuals to participate in formulating a strategic plan to integrate refugees and immigrants into the Magic Valley Community.

February 23, 2015

Dear mayor and council members,

It has come to my attention people in your community are working on a strategic plan to integrate refugees and immigrants into the Magic Valley Community, and you have agreed to participate in formulating this plan.

I want to thank you for this effort, both as a citizen of Idaho and a business owner. I have recently started New Americans Code, a training program dedicated to teaching refugees basic web development and coding skills. You can learn more about the effort at www.newamericanscode.com, www.facebook.com/newamericanscode and Twitter @americanscode. The program's goals are to provide the technology industry with more trained workers and to provide a career path to refugees with the aptitude and determination to learn coding and web development.

Initiatives like New Americans Code depend on general community support, including the support of local businesses, governments and citizens. Refugees have faced incredible hardships and are as talented, ambitious and intelligent as the native population. Like anyone else, they want to become productive members of society and support their families doing meaningful work.

We all have a role to play in integrating newcomers into our society and providing reasonable assistance to help them reach the American Dream. I am pleased to see your city moving forward in its own way and I look forward to seeing the progress of your plan.

Thank you,

Marty Johncox, Boise

Founder, New Americans Code


Students learned CSS flexbox, made connections at coding meetup

Students had a terrific time last night at Hacker Hours Boise and met people in the local tech community while learning. Here, Wyatt Arent, who attended Hacker Hours Boise just hoping to learn, found himself teaching how to correctly use the CSS flexbox property. Students are recasting their resumes into HTML pages for their first class project so Wyatt was a huge help. Wyatt is a professional backend developer at Pixel & Line in Boise. Hasan Al Rubaye, who taught computer science in Iraq, is brushing up on his HTML and CSS and also contributed to the lesson. How great when people like that share their competence and knowledge with New Americans Code students!

refugee coding lessons in Boise

Wyatt Arent of Pixel and Line (standing, right) and Hasan Al Rubaye (standing, left) teach refugees and Boise developers about CSS flexbox in Boise, during a Hacker Hours Boise meetup

Making connections in the local tech community

While New Americans Code works primarily on teaching refugees basic coding skills, another goal is to help bring students into the local tech community, where they can meet people currently working in the industry and learn from them. For that reason, our class on Tuesday, Feb. 16 will visit Boise Hacker Hours, a great group of local technology enthusiasts. Some in the group are very advanced and some are just beginning, but a common desire to learn, share and grow motivates every member. Constant study and learning goes hand-in-hand with a career in technology and good practitioners are constantly attending meetups on specialized topics. In Boise alone, there are groups dedicated to Python, .NET, frontend development, data science, JavaScript, Angular JS, Java, PHP, cloud computing, MeteorJS and more. Hacker Hours is more general-purpose, with attendees typically working on web development projects and related frameworks. No matter how high the level of expertise, everyone attending a meetup knows there is always someone who knows more than they do in some area; they gather in the spirit of learning from each other and becoming better at their craft.

February 7, 2016 curriculum, class meetings, CSS3, HTML5
CSS specificity and positioning lesson now published

Lesson 4, covering positioning in CSS and the CSS specificity hierarchy, is now available. Positioning in CSS can be very tricky. We cover some of the basics of the position property, including static, fixed, relative and absolute positioning. We will also cover the basics of the specificity hierarchy, which is how CSS determines which styling rules take precedence and can override other styling rules.

coding school lessons

January 28, 2016 curriculum, class meetings
Updated schedule

We have set up meetings at the Boise Public Library Hillcrest Branch. If you have missed some class, or just heard about the program, come anyway. We may be able to tutor you individually to bring you up to speed. Also, you can review past lessons on the Curriculum page.

  • Sunday, January 31, 2p to 5p
  • Wednesday, Feb. 3, 6p to 9p
  • Tuesday, Feb. 9, 6p to 9p
  • Wednesday, Feb. 10, 6p to 9p
  • Sunday, Feb. 14, 2p to 5p
  • Tuesday, Feb. 23, 6p to 9p
  • Wednesday, Feb. 24, 6p to 9p

Also, thanks to the Boise Public Library for giving a place to learn!

First lesson PowerPoint now available as PDF

Our first lesson plan is now available in our lesson list. It covers the basics of object oriented programming and server-client relationships.

First meeting a success with seven prospective students

We had a great informational meeting at Jannus, Inc. this evening and will begin classes Tuesday, January 26, at the Boise Public Library Hillcrest Branch. We have seven people interested in learning coding and web development and they have varied backgrounds in IT, programming, graphic design, computer hardware and more. They come from the Middle East, Africa and Asia and are ready to begin class learning principles of Object-Oriented Programming and the server-client relationship. If you know of any refugee who might be interested, send them to us! The only things required are intermediate English proficiency, basic computer skills and a passion to learning web development and advance themselves. Also, thanks to Global Talent Idaho and Creating Economic Opportunity (formerly META) for their help.

refugees in Boise meet to learn code