By: Marisa Herman Associate Editor
Former University of Miami basketball player Donnavan Kirk said he had a lot of down time while playing basketball in Japan.
So, he taught himself how to code.
He launched a technology company based on an iOS Application he developed. While playing ball and learning to perfect a new skill set, he told his friend and former teammate’s father, Boca resident Neal Heller what he was up to.
Heller said he asked Kirk if he wanted to stay in Japan and play basketball or return to South Florida and start a new venture incorporating his coding skills into a business.
The two teamed up and started Techknowledgy² Academy, also known as TK2 Coding Bootcamp, Boca’s first coding school. The school is licensed by the Commission for Independent Education, Florida Department of Education.
“We saw a need in the job market,” Kirk said.
The program started its first class in June with five students. There are different courses available including a high school program that will follow the school year from September through June, a 16-week night course program geared toward working professionals and a 10-week class that meets for a full day, five days a week.
The classes are offered inside a suite at Boca’s Atrium Financial Center, 1515 North Federal Highway. Instructors have graduate level degrees in Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering and have served as university graduate teaching assistants, as well as coding instructors.
The academy can accommodate more than 40 students.
“It’s challenging, but I feel like I am grasping what I am learning,” student Morgan Nimmons said.
Nimmons has a college degree and also went back to school for graphic design. She saw online ads for web development and said she wanted to combine design with computers so she began teaching herself.
She said she taught herself HTML, but struggled trying to learn back-end web development. She signed up for the bootcamp after her mom said she saw the program on the nightly news.
Of the experience, she said the teacher is very thorough and provides real world examples to help students master concepts. Ultimately, she said she would like to become a front-end web developer.
“I like graphic design, but this more challenging,” she said. “It is always changing.”
Kirk said the team begins looking for freelance work and other jobs for their students when they hit the five week mark of the program.
Once students complete the course, they are qualified to be entry-lever or junior level coders.
Heller said the class is for both aspiring techies and people who want to get into the world of technology.
He said he chose Boca for the school’s location because it is hometown and because the closest coding school is in Miami. The first class of students were from all over parts of Palm Beach and Broward counties.
For more information on the academy and courses, visit www.tk2code.com or call 561-295-8325.