Minister Koenders spent Monday visiting the Marineterrein in Amsterdam, where the Dutch EU presidency is held as of January. He visited The App Academy and a number of tech companies located in the old part of the former marine base, right behind the National Maritime Museum.
Minister Koenders, along with the army of the Dutch press, took a walk around the historic dockyard and was presented to four companies who work at the Marineterrein. The old part of this marine base is mainly populated by companies from the tech and innovative sectors. Crosswise Works, Glimworm and Tree Ground Solutions spoke five minutes with the Minister about their innovative projects, after which he spent an extended visit to the classroom of The App Academy.
Minster visited a lesson at The App Academy
Koenders attended a lesson in which he saw how The App Academy teaches students to become an app developer in a three-months bootcamp. The App Academy is the Dutch coding academy where students learn how to develop apps for iOS, Apple's mobile platform.
The Minister wanted to know whether you need to have a background in programming in order to do this course. “No”, replied The App Academy founder Martijn Wuite, “having talent for tech stuff and strong perseverance is enough for succeeding a bootcamp.” He added that the students already start building apps for a client during their training so they immediately learn what it's like to work with deadlines. The bootcamp is customized in terms of what companies expect from graduate app developers.
Foreign students: there is no such training in their own country
Koenders stressed the importance of innovation and talked extensively with the students. He was impressed with the fact that some of them had no technical background and had yet been able to become an app developer in such a short time and that The App Academy had helped 90 percent of its students to find a job. He spoke with a cook, an entrepreneur and an actor who had had daily jobs which they wanted to change. The actor told his story of how he is working as an assistant trainer at The App Academy now after completing the bootcamp in 2014 and working as a junior app developer afterwards. The Minister also spoke briefly with Italian and Croatian students who said they could not find any equivalent training in their own country and had therefore chosen The App Academy.
The Minister would have liked to stay longer, but the visit had already run-out and a large group of people, including the Mayor of Amsterdam Eberhard van der Laan and his entourage were waiting for him outside for the opening of the EU cultural program. Apparently it was a swell time at the tech neighbours!