As I have said in my introductory post, I am a student at CODE University of Applied Science (in the following simply called ‘CODE’). I want to tell you about my journey at this institutions; I will update this thread after every semester. As of the time writing this, I am in the second semester, so you’ll find my impressions on the first semester down below. Feel free to ask me any question about CODE, here or privately. I will answer whatever I can!
I will try to be as close to reality as I can be but be advised that my recollections may be false in a few points. I will also try to be as honest as I can about CODE.
Now, before we start, allow me to give you the run-down of CODE. CODE University is a private university in Berlin, Germany. Founded in 2017 by Thomas Bachem, Manuel Dolderer, and Jonathan Rüth. CODE gained state recognition in July of 2017 and is currently working on having their study programs accredited. CODE is offering three different courses: Software Engineer (SE), Interaction Design (ID) and Product Management (PM); Each of these is resulting in their own Bachelor of Arts. The first semester had a total of 88 students enroled, selected from roughly 2000 applicants.
When I applied to CODE in June, they were yet to get their state recognition, so my application was a leap of faith. The application functions in 3 steps - at least back when I first applied. The first part is basically telling CODE about yourself. Talking about your hopes and dreams, your aspirations, your inspiration, you get the idea.
I shouldn’t talk too much about the second step here, as I’ve been asked to keep details to myself, but this step involves a challenge to be solved by the applicant, to show how they think and how their decision making works.
The third step is the in-person meetup with other applicant and some of the staff; Nowadays this happens directly on our campus, but before we had this campus it was usually at a co-working space or even at a partner company. Food and drinks are free here ;). This step is used to see how the applicant cooperates with other applicants.
And if everything goes well, you’ll get your confirmation in around a week or two, after the staff has carefully reviewed every applicant, and discussed whether or not they’d be good additions to CODE.
Now, I should probably say, I never expected I’d make it. I was confident that I’d reach the second phase, but I was doubtful I’d get access to the ‘hackathon’ in Berlin, and after that, I was pretty certain I didn’t make it - just, you know, my gut-feeling. Suffice to say I was wrong, and happily so! I got accepted to study at CODE, and so I did.
And then everything started. The so-called ‘Onboarding Days’ happened. We were to meet at a conference in Hamburg, the Code.Talks. We were to get free access to this conference and use the talks as we pleased, meeting each other along the way, and even participating in a small, CODE focussed, where Thomas Bachem would share his vision with us. (I should mention, I had already met Tom before this, he was partaking in my ‘Admission Day’, which is what they call phase 3). Manuel and Jonathan also said a few words, gave us their thoughts and their vision, told us about the idea behind CODE and so on, and so forth.
The next day we also visited the XING headquarters, as they were one of our company partners, and got quite the nice reception there.
We were to stay in Hamburg for two days, and then we were leaving for a mystery place. We weren’t told where we’d go, or what we’d do. Once we left, we drove for a few hours in two busses, until we reached the WildLand Natural Resort in Hornbostel, in the middle of nowhere. Most of the students were going to sleep in a big tent, but the tent couldn’t hold everyone, so a few were basically reassigned to in-door field beds.
Now, why were we at WildLands? Well, simple: it was both for team building and for focussed working. We were supposed to get to know each other proper, all the while deciding what we wanted CODE to be all about. Create our own mission statement if you so want. I should also mention here that the university supplied us with two goodies at this point: CODE branded backpacks, and a yearbook that was actually a sticker album.
After a total of 2 nights spent in the wilderness, we were once again loaded into busses and taken to Berlin. There we went our separate ways, and we were supposed to regroup the next day at campus, meeting a few company partners at the construction site that was going to be the place where we were to study.
A few weeks later the semester actually started. Everything was disorganized, as you’d expect from a nearly launched university. It really wasn’t all that bad, even though schedules changed an awful lot in the beginning, even though there was a lot of confusion as to what was happening.
Now, let me tell you about what actually happened in the semester. This was the first semester of the first batch of students. We were going through an ‘orientation semester’, this meant we were going through three projects á three weeks, one time doing the work of each role. We were thrown into the deep end there, supposed to figure out how we wanted to do things, and for the most part, I gotta say: this worked.
Complimentary we would have a few STS (Science, Technology, and Society) lectures, which would be basically mandatory, alongside with what we’d call “Guilds”. Guilds are places where people of the same role would talk about problems they faced in their project, they’d usually have a little bit of informational presentation, too, with information provided by the professor.
Now, in the second semester, they promise to be way more organized and I am confident they will be. I am still more than glad that I choose CODE over a traditional university, and with accreditation of my to-be degree on its way, I can happily say that there has been no regret so far.