Welcome to Hack School

The future will be built by code. But it can be intimidating to know where to start. Hack School is here to help you get started. We’re a “Zero to Hero” program, meaning that we expect no prior coding or web development experience. To prevent structural barriers, we are absolutely free of costs and applications.

Over the next 7 weeks, we’ll teach you how to build a real-time chat app in modern full-stack JavaScript. Technically, you’ll learn what it’s like to build and deploy software in the real world. Professionally, you’ll gain valuable new skills and an awareness of the tech world at large. Personally, you’ll make amazing new friends.

We hope to open up an entire new universe to you, especially for those without easy access to a mentor, or for anyone feeling out-of-place in the tech community. Hack School is your place to learn without limits.

Let’s get started.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

What qualifications are needed to join Hack School?

None! Previous programming experience would be very helpful though, and any web development background would accelerate your learning. That said, one of our principal goals is to empower students who would not normally have the opportunity to explore web development. We especially encourage you to come out if you have doubts about your qualifications. Impostor Syndrome is real, and we’re here to help you fight it.

What's your weekly schedule?

We’ll meet every Wednesday from 7-9 PM.

I can't make that schedule, but can I still follow along?

Absolutely! We’ll post all materials, including full explanatory blog posts to this website. We also encourage you to come out to other ACM Hack events this quarter, including Hack Nights, Local Hack Day, and Hacker Expo. More details will soon follow on all of them.

Will we be with partners or in teams?

Pairing or teaming up is optional, but highly encouraged. We believe a group size of 2-4 people, with each building their own copy of the app, would work best. If you’d like a team, but don’t yet have suitable teammates, we will help you form groups before our 2nd session together (so that you can meet everyone during the 1st session).

What kind of learning atmosphere can I expect?

We will actively maintain a culture of mutual respect and kindness. We encourage listening openly and honestly, assuming good faith, and speaking kindly. Anyone who adversely affects this environment for the people around them will be asked to change for the better or else leave. Harassment of any kind will never be tolerated.

Example of a good interaction: A: “Hi, I haven’t used JavaScript before. How do I run it?” B: “No worries, you can just open up Google Chrome, open the developer tools (DevTools for short), then click on the Console tab, and type some JavaScript, followed by pressing the Enter key.” A: “Great, thank you!” B: “You’re very welcome!” A: “Also, FYI, it looks like you’re about to run out of battery on your laptop. If that happens often, I’ve found that Safari is much nicer than Chrome on battery life.” B: “Whoa, that’s a big help, thank you!” Persons A and B are helping each other out kindly. This is the culture we want and will actively work to maintain.

Example of a bad interaction (based on an actual one, sadly): A: “Why are you on Pinterest?” B: “Oh, I’m finding a gift for my dad, and Pinterest’s design is also an inspiration for some ideas I have for the chat app—” A: “That’s such a girly interest to have. See, in my spare time, I learn more about circuits and radio designs. What are you doing in EE?” Person A above would get kicked out of Hack School very quickly (and actually ended up switching out of EE). Person B ended up doing very well in EE and beyond.

Is diversity a concern?

You bet it is! We have reached out to groups like ACM-W, WATT, SWE, PAQ, NSBE, and SHIP throughout this fall and will continue to do so. Our line-up of teachers and teaching assistants is already more diverse for it, and the leadership of these organizations is encouraging their members to join Hack School.

The world of tech is missing out on a lot of wonderful ideas and impact. We want to change that. We welcome your feedback at any time (including now) for how we can do better.

If you have any questions not answered above, please post them on our Facebook group: UCLA ACM Hack School

For any topics that need to be discussed privately, please email Ky-Cuong: kycuonghuynh@ucla.edu

Written on October 3, 2016