Upon arrival in Cali, Colombia we had no idea what to expect from the entrepreneurs in the AITI program from a technical standpoint. After an initial technical evaluation and subsequent lab sessions it became clear that this is a group of bright, talented and motivated individuals. While most of the entrepreneurs are still undergrads, a good number of them have already graduated and have professional work experience. Furthermore, some have even started their own businesses in the mobile technology realm.
The first week of the program was a Java "bootcamp" in which we reviewed some of the most important topics in software development. The pace may have been a little slow for some of the more experienced programmers, but nonetheless we wanted to make sure everyone was on the same level before digging deeply into the Android framework. Initially the entrepreneurs were working on their lab sessions individually, but we took several steps to encourage collaboration. For one, we reconfigured the seating arrangement in the laboratory from a lecture-style seating to group seating around tables. We also told them that they should discuss the project at hand with their group and design the solution on paper before they started coding. This lead to increased dialogue and various discussions. The entrepreneurs are now working effectively within their groups and we are very happy with the results.
This week we begin the Android curriculum. The entrepreneurs are eager to start this next phase of the program. We see unlimited potential in this group and are excited to see which ideas they propose for their final projects.