“Proud to be part of the network, looking forward to new partnerships”
David Giron, Director and founding father of Codam Coding College in Amsterdam, joined the campus during its inception in march 2018 and has been lucky enough to have a great impact on its development. Codam is the only peer-to-peer institution in the Netherlands.
Hi David! Could you tell us about your backstory and how did you become the Director of Codam Coding College in Amsterdam?
I have been working in education my whole life. I’m even part of the few people who were there at the very beginning of 42 in Paris! I was assisting the head of studies before being in charge of the education team. After five years, I was ready to speed up my game, I had a good connection with the Dutch team during the creation of Codam Coding College and when they offered me the position as Director, I really dove into it with no regrets: it’s wonderful what I’m doing here.
Are you still thrilled to be part of the network of 42 partner campuses?
I’ve realized the potential and the impact we can make as a network together. We are spread across the world — more than thirty campuses at the start of 2021. I’m just amazed and excited by all the possibilities we have as a network. I’m really proud to be part of the network, and I’m looking forward to new partnerships with partner campuses. We are bigger than the sum of all of us!
Codam Coding College is not afraid to promote gender equality for a better place to study. How are you achieving this goal?
I studied in a school that had 90% men. It was a boys club. I don’t want that for the future generations, neither for the future of my children. I want a place where everybody can live in peace and can be respected and I believe that starts with gender equality. When I joined Codam Coding College at the very beginning of the project, I wanted the school to be inclusive — and I meant it.
We made gender equality part of our DNA and you can see it in everything. From the way our building is designed, till the way we communicate with our stakeholders. We have thought about everything. For example when we designed our building we made sure everyone would feel welcome, you can see that in our colours, the sizes of our windows, the toiletries we offer in the toilet and so on. We also organize women only check-ins and events for example to lower the threshold. I’m proud to say that we almost have a 50% gender balance in our Selection Piscines for 2021.We want to make this mainstream and not the exception anymore. I’m sick of the stereotype that programming is something for men and a man’s world, and we are not talking about gender diversity alone, we are thinking beyond that. Think of cultural diversity, racial diversity, religious diversity and people with a disability.
What was the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on your admission process?
The COVID-19 crisis has hit everyone. We were lucky enough to be able to run the selection Piscine during the summer 2020 onsite in the building. Obviously the health and security was drastic, but it did work. We were able to recruit our third generation of students. We are happy and are looking forward to the next ones, starting with our next summer Piscine in 2021!
What do you wish for the future of education?
I wish education stops being plagued by conservatives. The paradigms need to shift: students need to master the ability to learn! Trying to teach students with century ago methods just for the sake of it is outdated. It even damages capacities of what students could do. Right now, we need people who are trained fast, who are efficient, flexible but also who are able to adapt. What makes sense today is the capacity to be able to tackle anything thrown at you, including new technologies, new libraries, new languages and new documentation. Being able to learn and to try something new right away, without the fear of failure, without the fear of not finding what we are looking for, is most valuable and what companies need at the moment.