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The Hive in Helsinki aims to make coding cool for everybody

Adam Pilkey

08.12.18 3 min. read

No more pencils! No more books! No more teacher’s dirty looks!

Kids all over the English-speaking world know that rhyme. And tech companies seem to know it too. They’re embedding the idea in the pedagogical approach of a new coding school located in the heart of Helsinki.

This week at Slush, Supercell CEO Ilkka Paananen announced that F-Secure and several other companies are launching The Hive – a tuition-free private school that aims to make learning how to code accessible, practical, and inspiring for young people. It’s based on the same principles used at the famous 42 school in Paris.

The Hive won’t use traditional teachers, lectures, and course books. Instead, it uses peer-to-peer learning and evaluation frameworks intended to teach students to code and work together. It motivates students by offering game-like progression through the program and allows them to work on their projects 24/7.

Its intent is to teach students to build careers rather than take tests or earn credentials and degrees. It’s the kind of hands on experience that traditional schools struggle to provide. But it’s a necessity for many companies in today’s tech-hungry business environment.

Maaret Pyhäjärvi, a Senior Manager for F-Secure’s Windows Endpoints R&D, became passionate about sharing different, positive approaches to learning coding after having negative experiences studying computer science in university.

Maaret now hosts various workshops, courses, and lectures about coding, and sees a lot of positive potential in The Hive. “I think having a place actually designed for students to learn together is great,” says Maaret. “Young women don’t get into coding at the same rate as men, and The Hive sounds like a great way to make the field more appealing for young women who might feel alienated from a traditional computer science education.”

F-Secure’s Risto “Ripa” Kumpulainen, a Principal Quality Engineer, thinks the school will prove popular with students and make companies stronger by attracting more diversity to software development teams.

“Software engineering is a creative art that needs teamwork and a human touch, so I think educating people to do that will help change misconceptions about how good coding is actually done,” says Ripa. “When I studied in a polytechnic, the lack of real life coding experience didn’t help me find a job. That was years ago and I think things have changed now, but The Hive seems to be taking hands-on learning to another level. I would apply if I was a bit younger and looking to start a career.”

The school’s learning program lasts for about 3 years. About 150 positions are open each year for applicants ages 18-30. There are no formal education requirements. But the application process is competitive. Students will need a self-driven, entrepreneurial mindset in order to make it through the “swimming pool” bootcamp.

Maaret thinks The Hive is a good complement for the education programs she’s personally involved with. “My experience with teaching programing has shown me there are really significant numbers of 40+ women with professional experience and domain knowledge who are making the jump to coding and always ready to learn more. The Hive is a nice complement for those courses and if they capture even a small portion of the female coders in wait, it’ll be a huge benefit for the IT industry. I’d be surprised if my team didn’t include The Hive graduates in a few years time.”

Applications for the first year’s intake open on January 15, 2019. Anyone interested in applying can learn more on The Hive’s website.

Adam Pilkey

08.12.18 3 min. read

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