Showing articles with the tag(s): 'business'

A New Direction

I know it has been quite quiet here at Polycademy. I've been working on a startup called Matrix AI (, and now this is my current direction.

Thanks to all the students, mentors and partners who worked with me on Polycademy. It was a great experience, and I learned a lot both technically and educationally. I hope you all do well on your own path whether it involves web application development or otherwise.

This website will be left operational for posterity.

For my new project I'm working on a new operating system for the cloud and internet of things. If you're interested in this field, feel free to contact me.

Posted by CMCDragonkai on 2015-03-04 15:05:11 Tags: business Want to Comment?

Finishing 2013 classes for Polycademy

It has been a while since our last blog post, but we've had quite a bit of activity here for the last several months.

When we finished term 1, our students created various MVP versions of their ideas. Two of them can be seen online: Buhloon and ChessDimensions. The students found out that learning software development is an arduous process. But it's something that can be learned with commitment, and also something that allows you to create original applications in a short amount of time. It's also a life long learning process, since they've only scratched the surface of application development.

After and during term 1, we learned new development techniques. We wanted to streamline some of the course content, since during term 1 we transitioned between static web applications to more dynamic interactive applications, facilitated by single page frameworks such as AngularJS.

Term 2 unfortunately didn't run, since I was finishing up University examinations as I was about to graduate from the Australian National University. Once I had graduated, I decided to move Polycademy to Sydney.

So Polycademy is now located at the Vibewire co working place. It's in the heart of Sydney, close to Fishburners and Central station. This place is designed for social enterprises and organisations, so we're in good company.

Just before I launch into talking about what's happening in term 3, I want to point that we finished building an application for a client. It's called Dream it App ( It's a platform for people to generate and discuss ideas for new web, mobile and desktop applications. If you have an idea for a cool application or if you already have built applications, add it on Dream it App and try get people talking about it.

It took about 2 and half months from start to finish, and it's a full single page application built on top of PHP, AngularJS, and Bootstrap. We learned that building large scale single page applications is much more difficult than static web applications. Static web applications refer to when the "view" (what you're seeing) is pretty much generated completely by the server side environment. Then people generally use jQuery to spice things up and make a few things dynamic. It was difficult because the javascript development practices haven't really been standardised, so we are often juggling competing best case practices. Every development company has their own opinion on javascript architecture and workflow. For example there are 5 different package managers for client side javascript: bower, ender, volo, component or jamjs. Of course there's the problem of browser incompatibility. Every browser has their own idiosyncrasies that you have to shim or monkey patch. These problems are being flattened with the introduction of Yeoman, RequireJS and Grunt, but JS development is still quite fractured. Regardless, it was great experience. One thing that tends to happen after producing something new is that you experience overruns that produce new code that can be reused in other projects. Some of these are on my gists, such as Masonry with AngularJS, Disqus with AngularJS.

Now in term 3, Polycademy has been working with Mustafa Sharara a student from Qatar on creating a new service coined SnapSearch. SnapSearch will help developers and site owners make their dynamic, interactive and HTML5 web applications indexable by search engines. Currently major search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo cannot index or get incorrect results from their index when they send their robot to index dynamic sites, SnapSearch will prevent that problem, and remove any economic disadvantages when using single page application frameworks. Hopefully this will usher in a world of web 3.0, where every site can dynamic and interactive. More news on SnapSearch will be posted here in the future.

In preparation for 2014, we are going to be redesigning For now, we've updated the course page with new content regarding the course content. Some of the major things include: Asynchronous Programming, Automated Development Environment Deployment using Vagrant and Chef, Build Automation using Grunt, Polyglot programming involving PHP, JS, and Ruby, Behaviour Driven Development with Codeception, Concurrrent Programming using Gearman and Redis Message Queues, and Authentication and Authorisation with PolyAuth.

But of course with so much course content, we have to be flexible depending on what kind of technology stack is suitable for the application that students want to build!

Upcoming blog posts should be more regular as I can talk about various technologies and what we're doing with them.

Posted by CMCDragonkai on 2013-10-02 09:15:25 Tags: teaching coding business coworking events Want to Comment?

Bootcamps also teach you how to learn

Recently ComputerWorld in NZ published 2 articles ("Bootcamp approach won't create IT professionals" & "") comparing a 3 year university degree versus a 3 month bootcamp. They asked the question would a bootcamp work in New Zealand?

One of the commentator's opinions is that in university you learn how to learn, but in bootcamps you simply get technical training and that's it. I beg to differ.

I decided to explain in the comment section just how bootcamps teach you how to learn as well:

The best developers I find are the ones that are self-taught. It doesn't matter whether they are university trained or bootcamp trained or both. In the end everybody has to commit to life long learning, especially in the development world when technology changes so fast and your current skills become outdated in 5 years or so.

Therefore my bootcamp endeavours to teach how to learn. The students of Polycademy "learn how to learn" as well. While we may focus on a particular technology stack, that stack is simply used in order to illustrate or demonstrate a concept. Yes the students of a bootcamp hit the ground running. But they hit the ground with the understanding that there is so much more to learn, we don't teach them everything in 3 months. It's impossible. I doubt a university teaches them everything in 3 years either. However the 3 months gives them confidence, an overview, and skills to take themselves forward in their career, startup or whatever life goals they want to pursue.

I think the comparison between a 3 month bootcamp and a 3 year uni degree is somewhat unfair and apples vs oranges. In a 3 year uni degree, you do not spend 24/7 studying. A lot of that time is spent partying, working, procrastinating, daily life stuff and finally a bit of studying. In our 3 months, there's a reason why it's called a bootcamp. It's intensive. In that 3 months time, I've calculated myself that it was worth (in terms of just contact hours) more than 4 uni 6unit courses (Australian terminology). We don't have the advantages of time that university has. We have barely the kind of funding a university has. We only have 3 months, so we focus on what we do best. Teaching and learning and collaborating. I'm sure if our students spent 3 years with us, they would learn more if not comparably with a university. Think about in this way. After those 3 months, they can pursue other paths, perhaps more learning, perhaps on the job learning. But we have definitely condensed their learning time and made them a lot more productive and confident versus spending 3 months at university.

Posted by CMCDragonkai on 2013-05-11 08:22:29 Tags: teaching coding business Want to Comment?

Coworking in Canberra Again!

Polycademy is currently looking for companies/entrepreneurs to share the cost via coworking of our office. You'll have it pretty much to yourself throughout morning to afternoon. I may just use it at night.

It's a grade A officespace in 7 London Circuit Canberra, a room that can hold 5. It has dedicated bandwidth (wireless and wired internet), receptionists, air conditioning, furnishings, furniture (3 desks, 5 chairs), wireless projector and a whiteboard. There's also enough power outlets for several computers. This place is close to the city, and you'll be working next to various consultancies.

The place is currently worth 4800 every 3 months. However I can provide it to you for about 1400 per month (no contract). This includes the whole package! You can store whatever you want in the room.

If you’re interested, contact me at I can take you up for a look.

Posted by CMCDragonkai on 2013-05-07 20:57:13 Tags: coworking business Want to Comment?

Starting Class

Class started on Monday 4th of February with 3 students. Then on Tuesday, we had our 4th join us. Welcome to Polycademy, Ash, Matthew, Tim and Phuong. Since Polycademy focuses on a project based course our first day was working on the ideas that all the students came in with, and turning them into concrete feature sets. We then turned these feature sets into a technology stack which included the generic solution stack to run any web application, and the technology stack that is used to solve their particular domain problem such as external APIs including Mailchimp, Google Maps.. etc.

Class Photo

We also began our agile workflow, which meant that in every session, we have a scrum asking ourselves three questions:

  1. What have you done since yesterday?
  2. What are you planning to do today?
  3. Any impediments/stumbling blocks?

All of the students have different ideas for their web apps, and their all very exciting. I can't tell you them in detail, but there's an assortment of apps dedicated to productivity, parking, children and games. One thing is for sure, I certainly surprised people with the amount of work they'll have to do at home and at class to get their application done. But I believe they will be ready.

At home, students are asked to read through Polycademy's devhub wiki. It provides them with more detailed information and areas of exploration. It's currently private to Polycademy. Think of it as a never ending online textbook. For the next 3 weeks, we'll go through Vision & Plan, Solution Stack (involving IDE and builds/testing), and Web Design (involving User Experience Design and User Interface Design and Photoshop).

One thing I asked the students to do, was to write a blog on their experiences. I'll probably need to incentivise this activity! When I have the urls, I'll be plugging them obviously!

Finally we're all going out for a meeting at a bar this Saturday afternoon so all the students can meet their mentors.

Posted by CMCDragonkai on 2013-02-06 14:56:19 Tags: teaching business notices events coding Want to Comment?