We tried to forget everything we knew about what a school was and reimagine what a school could be...

It’s an idea that’s pretty ingrained it our society that assumes misery and discomfort must be more effective than anything fun. We glorify people who work 100 hours per week, and assume that hard work and enjoyment are mutually exclusive — we work hard now so that we can have fun later, when we retire. We’ve built our program from the ground up not by looking at the way things have always been done, but by digging deep into educational psychology, motivation and high performance. We tried to forget everything we knew about what a school was and reimagine what a school could be.

We know that when people are in their ‘flow’ state — when they are inspired, motivated, supported and eager to learn, they can accomplish so much more than they would in a normal day. So we set out to create an environment that helped get people into a state of mind that fosters accelerated learning.

Our program doesn’t have chef prepared meals, daily yoga and meditation, and beautiful surroundings just for the sake of ‘infuriating’ people, or because it makes for an incredible experience (although that’s definitely a perk). We do it because when you remove people from the distractions of everyday life, keep them nourished with high quality food, movement and meditation, and when you give them a beautiful natural environment to surround themselves with while they learn, something amazing happens…

People learn very fast.

It just makes sense when you think about it. We take away all of the mental distractions (cooking, cleaning, commuting, miscellaneous chores) so that people can focus on just one thing — learning to code, surrounded by other professionals, entrepreneurs and creatives in an environment that inspires them.

Sure, a beautiful environment alone isn’t enough to help people build digital skills fast. You also need to have a comprehensive course, that is grounded in practical code challenges not just memorising syntax; experienced mentors who are engaged with their students and love their job (and when they are living in a beautiful pool villa with all the above mentioned perks, that part comes pretty easy) and who are willing to support and nurture people’s skills long after the course has ended. But once you’ve done all those things, these little extras really take things to the next level.

To thrive in this digital world we’re going to need to work hard, learn new skills, and adapt to change… why not do it in an environment that’s backed by science and blissfully enjoyable.

The final thing that this structure creates is an environment that is inclusive to everyone. We’re trying to tackle head on the gender and diversity gap in tech, through a variety of specific initiatives like providing partial scholarships for women and anyone who has faced personal hardship, as well as the culture at our company. There’s a lot to be gained from spreading tech skills and knowledge beyond the exclusive (and predominately white male) group who’s holding on so tight to it now. We’re proud of the fact that 80% of our students so far have been female, and when you compare that against the broader statistics we know we’re doing something right.

- Emilio & Tina, Co-Founders of Institute of Code