Right now, there are two types of offerings available for people developing their coding skills -- the first is self-guided learning, like Codecademy, and the second is independent programming while asking for help on specific questions on sites like Stack Overflow. We see a gap in the middle -- after a programmer already knows the basics but before s/he has enough experience to be fully independent.
The hackathon today showcased a few perfect examples of questions these users might have -- "unsure how to convert web app to mobile", "integrate Android code with Java code", and "HOW DO? HALP??" Questions like these aren't covered in Codecademy's basic curriculum and will get boo'd off Stack Overflow for being too vague.
We are building Code Up, which is like Stack Overflow meets live pair programming, with an initial use case at hackathons. Code Up is a community of developers who are both teaching and learning from each other.
Developers sign into Code Up with their Github accounts. From there, we pull from Github's API their top areas of expertise (most commonly used languages) and the developers populate 3 areas for improvement. Now the developer is ready to teach or learn from somebody nearby, with the help of our daily scheduling tool and ability to auto detect where the developer is located. After each session, which you can imagine are like office hours, both the teacher + student are asked to rate each other and leave reviews. Eventually, aside from the sign up where the developer selects / edits areas of expertise and areas of improvement, we only need his / her availability before being able to match him / her up with any student or teacher by auto detecting his / her location.
Over time, we envision this as another validator of skills for employers -- a programmer's activity on Code Up is not just an indicator of expertise but also of the ability to teach and the humility to constantly seek to improve. We imagine employers will look at an applicant's Github activity as well as their Code Up rating and reviews to hire more resilient, culture-enhancing employees.
The goal is also, as the app collects more data, to become smarter in suggesting teachers/students who match each other's teaching and learning styles.
We'll have a demo of the app as judges walk around :)