CodeDay Labs Volunteer Helpdesk
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Do students get a choice in what project they work on?
Students have the chance to express their preferences for projects as part of our matching process. Here's how that works:
- During the application, students provide information about their interests and career goals.
- After all acceptances are sent out, we use student preferences to generate a list of ~20 recommendations for projects for each student.
- Students rank these recommendations by order of preference.
- We use a matching algorithm to generate final project assignments. (In the past, about 90% of students got one of their top three choices.)
How much CS knowledge do CodeDay Labs students have?
For the advanced track: These students are close to being ready to graduate and pursue an entry-level position. To get into the track, students must show:
- Technical knowledge of:
- Data Structures: Trees, lists, dicts, hashes, sets
- Simple use of APIs and SDKs
- Integrating systems
- Have built complex projects oustide of classwork. (e.g. Hackathon projects.)
- Have the ability to ask good questions to Google and to other people. Can read an error message and start researching the cause without direct guidance.
- Demonstrated ability to apply skills they learned in school with minimal guidance.
- Have the ability to work collaboratively through tools like Git and Trello.
For the intermediate track: Similar to the advanced track, but with relaxed requirements for the complexity of projects they've built outside of class and debugging skills.
(For industry mentors: don't worry about whether your project is better suited for the intermediate or advanced track. We'll assign it to a track based primarily on the amount of resources available for students to solve their own problems online.)
For the beginner track: Students have AP CS level experience, either from the class or other means (CodeDay, online courses) -- they're able to write functions, loops, classes, etc. They won't have much experience with architecting a project or debugging their own errors.
(Industry mentors are not assigend to beginner track teams.)
What if my organization would like to sponsor this program?
Please contact us! We are a nonprofit and social good organization, and have opportunities available.
When will I know who my team is? Do I need to do anything before I start?
Teams will be introduced the Friday before the bootcamp week starts. No team meetings will start until a week later, after bootcamp week is complete and everyone has some experience in their tech stack.
There's no pre-CodeDay Labs work required!
What's the difference between the intermediate and advanced tracks?
Students in the advanced track have more experience building projects outside of classwork, and more technical knowledge. We expect these students to be better able to have a conversation about the relative benefits of technical choices and to debug their own problems without guidance. These students tend to be close to graduation (although they don't need to be).
Students in the intermediate track require more guidance when making technical or architecture choices, and need more help with debugging new problems. They tend to be college sophomores or juniors.
Both tracks have the same mentors, however we assign projects with a more clear-cut structure, and more online resources, to the intermediate track.
Are students being paid for this experience?
Generally no, this program is an opportunity for students without a paid internship to gain experience working on a project with industry volunteers like yourselves.
There are a few students who receive some sort of payment through a third-party:
- Students who receive funding through a school/city/state-funded program.
- Students who are matched with a sponsoring company offering a stipend.
We'll let you know if either of these apply to your students. Regardless of funding, all students do commit to treating this like a normal internship.
What happens if there is an issue with students during the program?
If any issue arises during the program that a mentor feels they cannot handle, they can ask for help from our dedicated Mentor and Program Managers throughout the program. Examples of issues may include a non-responsive student, conflict with students or technical problems. More info on protocols will be included in the Mentor Training.
What if I want to continue to mentor my students after the summer?
You're welcome to stay in touch unofficially!
You may also want to consider volunteering for our partner organization, Mentors in Tech (MinT).
Do the projects have to be CS-related?
No, we encourage projects that aren't specifically CS-related! In past years, mentors have had teams working on hardware projects and a variety of data science-related projects. We will work with you to ensure there are students interested in your projects. In some cases, CodeDay can support the hardware purchases.
How much work should be involved in the projects?
A team comprises three students who have committed between 20-40 hours a week for 5 weeks. (Not including one bootcamp week where we'll get them familiar with their new tech stack.)
So in total, most projects should include enough work for between 300-600 hours of intern-level work. (Not sure how much an intern can do? Plan for, in the worst case, about 50% of the output of a junior-level engineer, although many of our students will exceed this.)
One strategy many mentors use when planning their project is to come up with a base deliverable, and have a number of possible "stretch goals" in mind.
What if my employer wants to hire these students?
If you're a mentor, career advisor, workshop host, etc. you're welcome to try to recruit any students you meet.
If you're not a part of the program already, or want to reach more students, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Please note that we won't work with companies paying below market rates.)
Can students propose a project?
No, unlike at our CodeDay and Virtual CodeDay events, students do not propose projects at CodeDay Labs. (When we've tried this in past years, we've found that students don't know enough about industry technologies to come up with a project that challenges them.)
Are mentors paid?
For the intermediate and advanced tracks: No, our mentors are industry professionals who want to pay forward their experiences and help current CS students get a taste of some of the real-world challenges faced by professionals in the technology industry.
For the beginner track: In recognition of the extra work required to mentor beginners, some beginner track mentors are paid as contractors. (However, many are still volunteers.)
Do mentors propose the projects? What is the deadline for proposals?
Our team works with mentors to create a detailed project proposal. (You don't need to have a detailed project proposal when you submit.)
We hope to have all project proposals finalized in early June. We will work with you to ensure you have a proposal ready by the needed date.
How are timezones factored into team formation in CodeDay Labs?
Except in special cases which are cleared with a team's mentor, your entire team will be within 3 hours of each other. So for example, your team might have a member in California and New York, but it would not also have a member in Shanghai.
Is this all online? Can I meet with my team in person?
CodeDay Labs is designed to be an online experience, and it's unlikely you'll be geographically close to your entire team.
In the case that you are close to team members, you're welcome to meet them if you'd like, after consulting public health and safety protocols.