Teens learning web development at the library: DevCamp wraps up!

Last Friday, we wrapped up DevCamp, a two-week crash course in web development for teens. Over six days, 24 teens learned the basics of HTML and CSS - with a bit of JavaScript sprinkled on top - and worked in teams to develop websites on topics they selected. On our final day, a team of judges (Erik Mitisek, CEO of the Colorado Technology Association; Frank Daidone, Chief Information Officer for the City and County of Denver; and Angela Sigg, Content Developer for the Denver Public Library) went through to talk with the teams and evaluate their sites for content and design. The winning team - the Pixelators - all won tablets generously donated by Dell.

Here's links to the sites the teens developed. They did astounding work - especially when you keep in mind that these groups had only six days and the majority of them started with zero knowledge of HTML or CSS. The diversity of subjects, approaches to design, and the teens' eloquence when talking about their work were absolutely amazing. 

None of this would have happened without the fantastic group of mentors who participated in DevCamp. Each team was paired with a working professional who generously donated their time and expertise, and there is literally no way in the world we could ever thank them enough:

Alongside all the coding, we also took field trips to Galvanize and City and County of Denver Technology Services to see what it looks like to work as a professional developer, and listened to guest speakers Michael Arestad from Automattic (the guys who make WordPress) and our own Angela Sigg on what it is like to actually move a website from development to production. Thanks to all of these amazing people for taking the time to talk to our group! I'd also be remiss if I didn't also thank Cake Crumbs Bakery for donating cupcakes for our final party and Codepen (a front-end playground for web developers) for donating pro accounts for our instructors during the camp.

While we had a ton of fun, what I'm most excited about is to see what these young people do in the future. We did a survey at the end of camp, and 71% of the teens said they can see themselves working in web development, over 90% feel comfortable using HTML and CSS, and 91% of them have decided that coding is fun. (Also, only one attendee disagreed with the statement "The library is rad," which should renew any faith you may have lost in the youth of today.) These teens did some amazing work - watch out for them in the future!

We plan on repeating DevCamp in the future - if you're interested in activities like this (or know a teen who might be), please keep your eye on Denver Public Library's teen website and the ideaLAB tumblr.

Written by nate on August 1, 2014


FrankW on August 1, 2014


That sounds like it was an amazing couple of weeks! The pics are great!!! Way to go ideaLab and DevCamp!

Craig on May 5, 2015


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