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Along with Mozilla Indonesia Community, Garage Script Helps More People Learn Coding Skills

Recently, Mozilla Indonesia Community and GarageScript, a non-profit startup from San Jose, California, joined forces to provide “JavaScript Fundamentals” courses. The course is aimed at not only those interested in coding but also anyone who wants to learn how to code regardless of age or educational background. What is interesting is the course is available for free but encouraged to participate in person. What follows is an excerpt of brief interview of Akhlis (Ak) of Mozilla Community Indonesia and two representatives of GarageScript, Alvin (Al) and Jeffrey (J), who came to Jakarta, at the course last Tuesday (14/8/2018) at Mozilla Community Space Jakarta.

Ak: “Can you tell us a succinct background of GarageScript?”

Al: “We started around 2 years ago. It all started from our founder, Song Zheng, who wanted to teach his girlfriend (now wife) Yoojin how to code. After helping Yoojin getting a full-time software engineer job, he realized he could help more people. With high unemployment rate, low-paid jobs, and people wanting for a career change, our founder created GarageScript. Initially there were only two participants and later these two taught two other new participants. I myself joined GarageScript in December 2017. Jeffrey joined a month before. Since then, we have been learning and teaching JavaScript.

We volunteer teaching JavaScript at Santa Clara Northside Branch Library every Saturday for two hours. We attracted participants by announcing our upcoming meetup on Facebook and Meetup.com. Students who have advanced in our course are asked to be mentors for new students. Participants are usually people who have a thirst for knowledge, willing to learn and aim to become as software engineers.”

J: “We learn how to code at GarageScript in a peer-to-peer fashion. We learn effectively as we demonstrate concepts and best practices to each other as we build fun projects. For instance, I learned how to code better by building GarageScript features that help people learn about JavaScript fundamentals. For those who want to learn more, they dive into more complex topics in our curriculums, but for beginners, we make sure they have solid understanding in fundamentals such as OOP, functional programming and recursions. Most importantly, once they have learned something they can teach others. We found out you learn best by teaching.

To accelerate this initiative, we would discuss our achievements on a weekly basis, also known as Sprints, and set a new target for the following week. Everyone in the group takes turn to lead the discussion.”

Ak: “What is it that motivates GarageScript's mission?”

J: “After our founder taught his wife how to code, he realized the opportunity to help more people around him. Currently as a senior engineer at PayPal, he selflessly invests his own paycheck to help people in financial need transition into tech through GarageScript. Through consistent hard work, GarageScript has helped students get offers at companies such as Google, PayPal, and Nike, to name a few. I wholeheartedly consider myself lucky to work with someone this passionate about helping others. He has helped me grow to be a more technical, patient, less selfish and overall, more caring person. I feel more obligated than ever to help others with my time, as much as possible, through coding.”

Ak: “In Indonesia, where can people learn with GarageScript?”

Al: “GarageScript will be available to teach at Mozilla Indonesia Community Workspace during the weekdays starting September 3rd 2018. You can get more information by visiting Mozilla Indonesia Community’s site.”

J: “Mozilla Indonesia Community Space is a keystone partner in our endeavor as they have audiences who are interested in coding and we have members who are eager to teach. This works out well for all participants because we all share a common goal.”

Ak: “Why Indonesia?”

J: “At first we were planning to be in Malaysia but there seemed to be a bureaucracy problem. Luckily, our friend Soma offered us to start here... The community sprouted in Lippo Karawaci, Tangerang, in Soma’s living room. We have been meeting on weekdays to learn and teach how to code from 9AM to 5PM. To expand, we have shifted our focus to continue our efforts in Jakarta.

Al: “We want people to learn at their own pace. Jeffrey, for example took part in a bootcamp in San Francisco, which the learning speed is much faster. The bootcamp lasts for 3 months and after it ended, students are expected to get an engineer job. However, it is a on going process to be a seasonal engineer.

For that reason, we want people to learn on their own pace without having to feel stressed out under competitive circumstances as we understand they already have many responsibilities such as taking care of children, providing basic necessities for loved ones, all the while transitioning their career paths.”

Ak: “How many students at GarageScript in Jakarta now?”

Al: “So far, there are 5 of them. And 7 more are coming in next week. At current rate, we estimate our community to grow very fast as similar patterns have happened with our San Jose branch.”

Ak: ”What is the next plan of GarageScript in Indonesia?”

Al: “Open regular JavaScript workshops at Mozilla Indonesia Community Space on weekdays. What we teach is the curriculum we have developed, everything ranging from JavaScript fundamentals to Front-End frameworks like React, to database and server-side scripting. In short, we started with fundamentals and jump into building useful apps that can provide value to people. Our mission is to create and make sustainable JavaScript learning and teaching community with GarageScript.”(*/Akhlis)