Coding Autism is a full-service professional coaching and training company that trains adults on the autism spectrum in professional skills such as software engineering, quality assurance, and web development. Coding Autism also assist their graduates in finding employment within the software and technology industries. Coding Autism does so by providing services such as immersive programs and bootcamps, resume workshops, career counseling, interview preparation, and coaching/mentorship, all of which is designed around providing an environment where people on the spectrum can thrive.
Brief Background on Autism
What is Autism?
Autism is a complex developmental condition that typically appears during early childhood. It effects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. People on the autism spectrum also display a tendency towards restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests or activities
In 1994, autism was redefined as being a wide spectrum of conditions ranging from non-verbal and more significant impairment, to Asperger's Syndrome, which is considered to be a more "high functioning" version of autism. Some notable figures who are or are speculated to have Asperger's Syndrome are Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Tim Burton, Temple Grandin, and Bill Gates.
Autism in the Workforce
Research has shown that typical autistic characteristics such as attention to detail, affinity for repetitive tasks, and introversion are all traits that lend themselves to becoming a successful employee within the tech industry. For this reason, some researchers have dubbed autism the “Geek Syndrome”. With the $50k+ average annual salary for entry-level, full-time web developers, tech is an attractive industry to pursue careers in.
Over the last decade, companies such as Microsoft and SAP have implemented autism hiring initiatives. This was done not to combat autistic unemployment, but because they have seen that adults with autism can be exceptional employees and drive innovation when provided the right structure, mentorship, and on-boarding.
Positive Characteristics of Autistic Employees in the Workforce
Why We Started Coding Autism
It is completely unacceptable that our autistic community is experiencing an over 80% unemployment and underemployment rate. As passionate advocates who have either been diagnosed with autism ourselves or have family members affected with autism, we understand that with the right resources, training, coaching, and environment that individuals with autism can thrive in the workforce, demonstrating themselves as highly qualified and dedicated employees.
By founding Coding Autism and launching the ASPIRE Web Development Immersive, we are moving one step closer towards slashing the 80% unemployment and underemployment, and in turn creating highly qualified, skilled, and eager to work autistic employees to fill job vacancies in the tech industry.
What Is Coding Autism Going to Do?
Your investment will go towards the development of Coding Autism’s first web development bootcamp, the ASPIRE Web Development Immersive. This is a 15-week, full-time course where students will be learning the fundamental skills necessary to secure an entry-level web developer job. We cover both front-end and back-end skills, along with Quality Assurance and SCRUM principles. By the end of the course, students will walk away with a portfolio of full-stack web applications which they can use when applying to their first developer jobs.
A = Autism Specificity
Every aspect of Coding Autism is designed to best fit the needs of learners on the autism spectrum. With small class sizes, on-site occupational therapists, and special emphasis on interpersonal communication and collaboration, we are able to best set our students up for succeed in the real world.
S = Social Skill Building
Oftentimes the greatest barrier for Autistic employment is not knowledge or skill proficiency, but deficiencies in social skills, such as making eye contact or reading social cues. To best ensure that our students can succeed in the workplace we place a special emphasis on social skill building. This also encourages students to build new friendships among their peers and build a network that will stick with them long after they graduate.
P = Portfolio Building
Students come out of Coding Autism with a portfolio of full-stack web applications, which will be what they show to employers to demonstrate their proficiency. We give our students the freedom to build applications around whatever subjects they are most passionate about, allowing them to experience the magic of seeing their passions come to life.
I = Integrated CurriculumCoding Autism’s web development immersive is a full-stack program teaching our students foundational front-end and back-end web development. We also incorporate QA (quality assurance) and SCRUM principles, so that our students can be exposed to the greater ecosystem around software development.
R = Real-World Preparation and Coaching
We set our students up with the tools they need to succeed in a world that is not necessarily built for them. The real world can be daunting for an individual with autism so we work with our students to ensure that they are prepared for the real-world in all fronts from personal financial management to arriving to work prepared and on-time.
E = Employment
By the end of the program, our students are setup with the tools they need to not only stay financially self-sufficient, but grow into a long term career where they can flourish. We help our students find the employment opportunities best suited to them through on-site career counseling, corporate partnerships, career fairs and more. We also help them build their resumes and practice for interviews.
What Problem Does Coding Autism Solve
Coding Autism solves three major problems.
1.) The Un/Underemployment of autistic adults:
According to a 2013 report published in the journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, only 20% of autistic adults work for pay, the vast majority of them making only minimum wage and averaging at $8.10 per hour. A lot of this research attributes to the lack of educational resources provided to autistic adults once they complete high school as well as the "ageing out" effect that takes place when an autistic individual turns 21 and loses all federal funding through the IDEA act and other federal funding for individuals with disabilities. Without the proper guidance, mentoring, and educational resources geared specifically to individuals on the spectrum, history has shown and proven itself that autistic individuals struggle with the transition into adulthood and end up not reaching their highest potential.
With a program like CA, we alleviate the concerns people with autism (and their families) have about finding employment.
2.) Satisfying job vacancies from technology and software companies
In the US today, IT/Computer jobs are expected to increase by 22% by 2020. Additionally, there are over 500,000 vacant technology jobs currently available in the United States ranging in professions from software engineering, website development, app development, etc.
Although there are an excessive amount of job vacancies and openings in the United States technology sector, many Americans are either unfit for these positions, do not want to relocate to these positions, etc. These results inevitably result in many hiring companies carrying out (offshoring) their recruitment practices abroad, which requires not only a VISA, but it is also more expensive way to conduct recruitment.
With a program like CA, we can train adults with autism (who back by research have proven to thrive in technology and software positions) in skill sets that will make them attractive and qualified candidates for many of the vacant positions available in the tech industry today.
3.) Lack of educational programs available for autistic individuals after high school/become adults.
Once people with autism turn 22, they "age out" of many government benefits, such as the IDEA act . This puts them in a position where unless they have supportive families to guide them in the right direction, they tend to stagnate. Also, the majority of educational programs from universities to career transitioning programs are not catered to autistic learners, thus leaving them at a disadvantage.
We want to solve these problems with Coding Autism.
Why Coding Autism is Unique
Coding Autism in unique in the fact that there are no other companies that provide the hybrid combination of autism specificity, and immersive coding instruction that trains individuals in entry-level coding skills, and on-going career counseling and job placement services. In short, Coding Autism is a one-stop shop for adults with autism who want to learn a valuable professional coding skill set, obtain quality mentorship/coaching and career counseling, and job placement in the tech industry.
What is Coding Autism's Value Proposition
Coding Autism's value proposition is as follows
1.) Autism Specificity
3.) Career Preparation and Training
4.) Portfolio Building and Job Placement
5.) Socialization and Networking
Describe Coding Autism's Primary Competitive Landscape
Coding Autism’s competitive landscape consists of three companies: 1.) Specialisterne, 2.) General Assembly, and 3.) Coding Dojo. Specialisterne is a company that provides career and talent development for individuals on the autism spectrum while General Assembly and Coding Dojo are traditional coding boot camps that train individuals in entry-level coding skills so that they can find employment within the software and technology industry.
What is Coding Autism's Competitive Advantage?
Coding Autism's competitive advantage comes from the autism specificity that is involved in their programs. Coding Autism offers small class sizes, autism specialized learning, networking and job placement opportunities catered to diversity and inclusion hiring initiatives, lifelong coaching and mentorship, and a community for individuals with autism to interact and feel comfortable in, all of which is partially or not covered at all by our competitors.
Why Coding Autism Will Be Successful
1.) There is research from reputable sources that states that the characteristics of individuals on the autism spectrum have a positive correlation with the characteristics of the successful software employee.
2.) The statistics show that un/underemployed autistic individuals are there to satisfy the job vacancies in entry-level and upper level positions in the United States.
3.) That there is a rapidly growing number of autistic individuals in both the United States and the world (1-68 born today).
4.) We have an excellent and passionate team of co-founders and advisors that are willing to work day and night to make Coding Autism a success.
With the current problems in both the autism community, I am very confident that the above features will make Coding Autism a successful and thriving business with major social impact in the autism community.
What are Coding Autism's B2C and B2B Consumers?
1.) Parents of autistic individuals
2.) Autistic individuals
1.) Coding Bootcamps
2.) Non-profit organizations
4.) Government Programs
Where Does Coding Autism See Itself in 5 Years?
1.) Expanded throughout the US in major tech cities such as San Francisco, Denver, Austin, Seattle, New York, Boston, and Los Angeles. Potentially can expand global to areas in Europe, Asia, and Australia.
2.) Having online and hybrid course offerings for their students
3.) Incorporating children and teenager programs within their business model
4.) Expanding our program offerings outside of tech in various industries such as accounting, sciences, engineering, etc.
5.) Developing a global alumni and mentorship portal that Coding Autism graduates and students have exclusive access to
6.) Developing partnerships through OPM's with college universities to build out programs specifically designed for autistic students
7.) Filed as a certified B-Corporation and having a non-profit wing of their business
8.) Training and employing 1500 adults on the autism spectrum and be partnered with over 250 companies for autism recruiting efforts.
Winner of the California Lutheran University New Venture CompetitionApril, 2016
Austen Weinhart joins Coding Autism as their COO and first co-founderMay, 2016
Coding Autism Becomes Sponsored By Hub 101June, 2016
Coding Autism Builds an Advisory TeamJuly, 2016
Coding Autism CEO Oliver Thornton Joins the CLU Autism and Communication Center's Advisory BoardOctober, 2016
Winner of the 805 Start-Ups Expo at Hub 101October, 2016
Coding Autism Participates in Tech Week Los AngelesNovember, 2016
Coding Autism Participates in Autism Speaks Orange County WalkDecember, 2016
Coding Autism Makes Regional Semi-Finals of the Global Social Venture CompetitionDecember, 2016
Coding Autism Makes the ASU Innovation Open Semi-FinalsJanuary, 2017
Coding Autism Announces Their ASPIRE ProgramFebruary, 2017
Coding Autism Participates in the Central Coast Innovation AwardsMarch, 2017