Jeff Casimir believes he can train anyone with the passion and will to learn to be a professional software developer. He goes so far as to say if you don’t make it (and you are really working at it), he’ll consider it a personal failure if you don’t. Also, he’s partnered with LivingSocial who is eager to hire graduates of the program, paying you to learn whether or not you qualify for a job at the end.

I interviewed Jeff yesterday and posted an article about the Washington DC Hungry Academy program on the RailsBridge Open Workshops blog. I’m skeptical that you can got from “I’ve never coded” to writing production code on a web app like Living Social in 5 months, but if you have a passion to learn, go for it. At worst case, you’ll get some great training and experience and be on your way to becoming a software developer.

Jeff is a dedicated and imaginative teacher who has taught middle and high school before starting his business training software developers. I don’t doubt his skill and am eager to see what happens with the program. I believe that people need a lot of experience writing a lot of code before they would be ready for a typical job. Of course, I also believe that there are a wide variety of code writing projects in any software company. I’m sure that Living Social has quite a bit of code that needs to be written. My guess is that they plan to find starter projects for less experienced developers, if the folks who finish the program show that they are good learners. In any great software development class, you write quite a bit of code, so Jeff and other program mentors from LivingSocial will get a chance to see how people approach new challenges, ask good questions, work through problems and write code. As software developers, we are always learning new tools, frameworks and languages, and whole new patterns of development as the hardware underneath us radically changes in capability and the people who use our software change how they use it and what they want to do.

If you are in the DC area, or willing to move there for 5 months, and think you want to become a software developer or simply switch from building desktop apps or servlets to writing web apps in Ruby on Rails, I strongly suggest you check this out.