Table XI is proud to be mentoring three students from the Starter League, an intensive 12-week dev training program based out of Chicago's exciting new tech incubator, 1871. In addition to rigorous coursework in web development, design, and HTML/CSS, the Starter League pairs students with professional mentors from their fields of study.
Erik Schwartz (whose wife, Smith, is a Starter League alumna and current TA) and I will be mentoring web development students, while Ed LaFoy has been paired with a design student.
My mentee, Alejandro Acosta-Rubio, is a 19-year-old Venezuelan native who felt that his traditional university wasn't fast or relevant enough to prepare him for a career in web development, so he moved from Miami to Chicago and enrolled in the Starter League. He's arming himself to be a triple threat, taking web development, UX/UI, and HTML/CSS—only one of two students this session to take on such a load. Though his original plan was to return to Miami, he's quickly falling in love with this city, and hopes to stay here after his time at the Starter League is up.
Erik's mentee, Mike Chau, graduated with a degree in finance from Illinois Wesleyan University in May. He was gainfully employed for about two months before realizing that the Fortune 500 world wasn't for him, and that the job market for finance majors isn't great these days. He had programmed a bit as a hobby in college and enjoyed it, but never threw himself fully into it. However, he jumped at the opportunity to join the Starter League, and tells the story better on his blog.
Ed's mentee, Christopher Lindsey, runs Ear2Ground Media, a consultancy servicing the entertainment, hospitality, and lifestyle arenas. An entrepreneur, he joined the Starter League not to become a developer, but to be able to better communicate with the developers he hires. He's currently taking the front-end class, but plans to follow up with web dev and Ruby for designers.
"I have chosen Starter League because it is a hub of passionate energy for technology and entrepreneurial spirit. The atmosphere and culture seems infectious, and will inspire and motivate me to further myself personally and professionally," he says, and it's hard to disagree with that. For myself, being a mentor also provides an excuse to hang out at 1871, the epicenter of Chicago's burgeoning digital startup scene. It's a beautiful and motivating space.