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Hacker School residency

Update (March 25, 2015): As of today, Hacker School is called the Recurse Center. Everything in this post still applies!


Hacker School is a project-based, self-directed, immersive three-month school in New York for becoming a better programmer. The idea of Hacker School has appealed to me since I first heard of it a bit over a year ago, and the more I’ve learned about it since, the bigger a fan I’ve become.

Last September, Nick from Hacker School cold-emailed me to ask me to apply to their fall batch. The world’s tech recruiters could stand to learn a lot from Nick’s approach. I could tell that he’d taken the time to find out what I was interested in before contacting me, because he specifically pointed out that two of the people in their new residency program, Stefan Karpinski and David Nolen, had interests that would mesh well with mine. Nick’s email made it clear that they didn’t want me there because I would fill a quota, but because I was me, and because he thought I’d enjoy working alongside other people who were doing interesting things. It was incredibly tempting. Unfortunately, I couldn’t apply, because I couldn’t justify leaving my graduate program for three months, but I told Nick that I’d apply if Hacker School was still running when I finished my Ph.D.

I thought that would be that. But then, Allison from Hacker School wrote to me a couple of weeks ago with a very exciting request: she wanted to know if I wanted to join the Hacker School residency program this summer. This would be a much shorter commitment — only one to two weeks — so I wouldn’t have to wait until I finished my Ph.D. to do it. I said yes! The dates I’ll be there aren’t certain yet, but I’m hoping it’ll be for about one week at the beginning of the batch and one week at the end.

At one point, Hacker School described their residents as being “the world’s best programmers”. If that’s what you’re expecting from me, you’re going to be sorely disappointed: I’m a programming languages researcher, which is not the same thing as being an expert programmer! I only recently finished putting in my ten years. But I’m hoping I can bring a lot to Hacker School anyway. I’d love to introduce people to some programming languages research topics, or to talk about anything that I’ve touched on so far in this blog. Hacker Schoolers and potential future Hacker Schoolers, help me out: what kinds of things do you want to do this summer?

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