# Learn Code, Save the World

SkilStak is a unique colearning space and community where members learn to code and create by doing projects they enjoy together.

Since 2013 we have helped hundreds of all ages, backgrounds, and aptitudes learn real skills improving opportunities for internships, college admission, entry-level tech careers, informed executive decision making, and just for fun. Content and community really do provide opportunity.

Study the science of art. Study the art of science. Develop your senses — especially learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else. (Leonardo da Vinci)

Never before has there been a better time to empower yourself. Learn code, save the world.

Congratulations, you found us!

We do very little advertising. Most find us through referrals. We like it that way. We value authenticity, simplicity, and humanity. In fact, we get downright metaphysical in our belief that people are led to us when the time is right. Is the time right for you?

What does SkilStak do?

1. Help others discover what they want to do by experiencing a wide breadth of technology from coding low-level microelectronics to game development and everything in between.

2. Help them learn to do it by matching individual learning style and budget to our meetups, courses, camps, certificates, and labs.

How do I start?

Call or email and we can help you decide how.

Can I come for free?

Yes! The following are completely free:

What can I learn at SkilStak?

A lot. All courses are 16 hours. Courses are usually one hour per week and equivalent to roughly one college credit hour (though not transferable, yet). All have varying amounts of optional homework. If you plan on requesting a formal Certificate of Completion assessment you will need to complete all the homework and eventually sign up for a Certificate Work Assessment. Certificates of Achievement in specific technologies are also available.

Core Computer Science

For those just starting out (usually 7-12, who might still be working on their base typing skills) we have a repeatable courses. These courses are not live streamed, include more hands on lab help, and can be made up (when missed) during any lab.

The following are generally for those 12 and older. A motivated student can complete them all in a year and a half but they can be repeated until he or she feels ready to apply for a Certificate Work Assessment .

  1. Essentials for New Technologists (NEWT)
  2. Fundamentals of Modern Programming (CODR)
  3. Development Patterns, Paradigms, and Practices (DEVL)
  4. Applied Computer Science Engineering (ACSE)

Applications Development

These courses are focused on making applications and therefore require a solid mastery of programming fundamentals. All require a Certificate of Completion for Fundamentals of Modern Computer Programming. They may be taken in any order.

Specializations

These require no formal knowledge of coding and have no prerequisites other than Essentials for New Technologists (NEWT). They may be taken in any order and are often offered as Summer camps as well.

Some titles are technical and might need some explanation. Don’t worry. We don’t mind explaining what they are and why we choose them specifically.

Saturdays and Sundays we also have meetups.

How are courses at SkilStak taught?

Every course is taught in an adapted, interactive college-style (lectures, led projects, forum discussions, and labs). Students leaving SkilStak are fully prepared to take full responsibility for their learning in college and in life.

All courses are taught by professionals with five or more years in the technology industry actively and directly involved with software development and engineering.

All courses are limited to seven students in person. Five remote students are also allowed for a total of 12 students per course maximum. Remote students can always attend in person as well, but won't have priority seating in our main classroom.

What if I miss a course?

Most courses are video streamed and captured for immediate playback any time during the semester. Captures are archived for the length of the semester. Video captures are only available to enrolled students of that course. Students may then optionally schedule one or more lab hours for any questions or additional help needed.

Courses also have a full syllabus and online knowledge base (our equivalent to a text book). Hundreds of hours have gone into creating and maintaining this curated and original content to which our members frequently contribute.

What is a lab?

Labs are one hour blocks of time to work on homework, projects, and certificate progress with limited mentoring. Labs can be reserved for the semester, purchased in 5-lab passes, or paid for at the time (as a drop in).

Labs are also a good way to schedule informal consultation and show-n-tell opportunities for project review to increase the likelihood of passing a Certificate Work Assessment when ready to apply.

Are there any tests?

Sort of. We don’t like the word test because it is so loaded. There are never any tests during a course. We do exercises together and led projects. You are constantly assessing your progress with the rest of us.

💬 Assessment is primarily for the individual, not the institution. Too many academic organizations have forgotten this. Most will not even give you the results of your tests. Think about how crazy that is for a moment.

If you want (or need) a formal assessment you can apply (and pay for) a certificate assessment any time, however. That way you are not paying for it unnecessarily. We have Certificates of Completion for courses and additional Certificates of Achievement for those who dive deeper into specific languages and technologies.

Contact us to request a current list of certificates and requirements and a description of our very unique way of administering them. In fact, if you think you have all the requirements met for any certificate you don’t have to take a course, just go for the cert!

What if I don’t live close to SkilStak?

We have had people from as far away as London request to enroll in SkilStak courses.

Therefore, we accept three online registrations for all courses (beyond elementary level).

The cost is the same but online students need no labs.

Online students get the same priority as others. Private chat and direct access to the instructor online is available to all students, online or otherwise.

What’s going on in May and June?

From May 2nd to June 11th SkilStak will be informally open 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. but there are no courses.

Saturday activities are 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

One lab time is available from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

We do our annual deep cleaning and any renovations in May so some lab times may be affected or closed.

There are some great surprises in store for Summer and beyond. 😁

How about Summer?

This Summer we have something for every age and budget from a single drop-in lab to week-long immersive camp courses to weekly courses that span all of Summer. In addition to drop-in labs, 5-lab passes, and unlimited labs we also offer a reserved weekly lab time.

Summer Schedule

Summer Camps

SkilStak Summer camps provide solid foundations that are connected to our core curriculum all through the year including measurable assessments of what is being learned. We’ll be here for you all year long after Summer is over.

The main portion of week-long camps is in the morning (9:00 a.m. - noon, $400). Camps have an optional afternoon lab component (noon - 4:00 pm, $200). Most will opt for a full-day experience ($600) but the option remains to just come to the morning portion.

Summer camps are not video recorded.

Summer Weekly Courses

Summer weekly courses (eight weeks in all) begin on June 11th and are two hours (instead of one like in Fall and Winter). There is no class the weeks of July 4th and July 16th. In every other way Summer courses are the same as those other times of the year.

Labs can be added as usual but the Weekly Reserved Lab offering gives two labs per week (instead of one).

Saturdays and Sundays we also have meetups.

Can I register for Fall Semester?

We will begin accepting enrollments and registration for Fall semesters on Friday, June 1st during our Fall enrollment open house. First day of Fall semester is Monday, August 27th.

There are a lot of changes in store for Fall so please make an effort to stop by or set an appointment to discuss them if you have been attending SkilStak already.

How much does it cost?

Everyone can afford colearning at SkilStak.

💬 Consider the average cost of a single college credit hour is $594.

Our pricing is designed to be easy to understand yet flexible enough to not unnecessarily charge you when you do not need it.

Prices

Who are you?

The SkilStak community is second to none. It is the biggest reason to join. We have had members of all background, interests, and ages. If you can type you can learn at SkilStak.

Our members do amazing things, leading or starting coding programs in local schools, winning robotics competitions, receiving coveted invitations to elite cybersecurity camps run by the FBI, leading their own Summer camps, interning to design and code intelligent drones, launching games, starting their own companies, providing IT consulting for local small businesses and more.

Parents of younger members (who also contribute to the community and provide network opportunities) include several technical recruiters, chief executives in fortune 100 companies, educators, home-schoolers, engineers, project managers, and more.

Adult members contribute as they upskill together learning new technologies to supplement their current career or build a new one.

Every Saturday night, SkilStak hosts activities for our community (and visitors). Some are educational, some are pure play, all are casual and designed for members to enjoy the community and share it with others. Frequently professionals—including CEOs, CTOs, project managers, and professional engineers—will come share their wisdom, experience, and view of the future with members over pizza.

Field Trip

Field trips provide a fun way to attend career and tech conferences together.

Members can easily keep in touch and collaborate through our invite-only chat server with custom chat bot created by our members.

SkilStak members are hard-wired to pay it forward, as they say. Members independently organize outreach activities for others in their local communities including schools, churches, scout troops, and others.

What are people saying?

People have said some amazing, humbling, things about SkilStak over the years. Hopefully, if you haven’t already heard about SkilStak yourself from a friend this can help.

“Mur and I really, really believe in what Skilstak is about and what you are doing and have done for dozens of young boys and girls. Beyond the coding and the career preparation, Skilstak provides a ‘place‘ for them and gives them the courage to wear their nerd badges proudly. I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that the impact of Skilstak will last throughout their lives regardless of the trajectory each takes.” Mary Muchane

We Love Nerds!

“My son attended the Minecraft camp today and is hooked! He is registered for a coding class now every week! He just keeps thanking us for finding this ‘cool’ place! I highly recommend for kids who love technology and want to learn more!” Jennifer Miller

“I have enjoyed my time learning at Skilstak! My favorite thing is that we are always changing and learning the newest available material for web development. Most of my girl friends don’t like to talk about code, but it is because they don’t understand it. I have found other coding girls at Skilstak, I enjoy figuring out assignments together with them and also working at my own pace.” Bella

Minecraft Tea

“Rob does a fantastic job of engaging and teaching the kids without them even knowing they‘re learning. :) We’ll be repeat customers every time my grandson comes for a visit!” Joni Dunn

“My son has been attending SkilStak for almost four years now. He started out in Code and Play and has progressed to Pro, gaining invaluable coding skills and knowledge every step of the way! In addition to classes, he has served as a TA or teacher’s assistant and aspires to be an instructor as his part-time job during his high school years. He has not only learned several coding languages, but has acquired a valuable work ethic and sense of community and active citizenship. I have no doubt, that he truly has discovered his lifelong passion and career path while attending classes at SkilStak. I am extremely grateful to Rob for providing my son with his incredible coding abilities and life skills, and more importantly, for serving as a mentor and positive male role model to an impressionable teenager! I would wholeheartedly recommend the SkilStak program as an extracurricular activity to any future coders and their parents!” Dena Miller

“Our quiet, unexcitable 11 year old son has been taking classes with Rob and his crew at Skilstak going on 3 1/2 years. These classes are a challenge that school can not provide. He says that they are just fun and he likes creating on the computer. But we see much more! We have seen him become more creative and analytical, confident, independent, and self-sufficient. Mr. Rob has opened his eyes to future job possibilities and the importance of professionalism and good character. As well as legitimate computer programming instruction. He can’t wait to go to the classes!

These classes are more than standard ‘summer camp’ computer classes. Students are expected to actually learn different languages and create programs. They will get certified at their own pace. And the classes are challenging. We highly recommend Skilstak to anyone wanting to do more than ‘play on a computer’”. Happy Mom, Sandy M.

Couldn’t give enough praise to Skilstak and what it stands for! Constantly on top of things, Mr. Rob helps get everyone excited and inspired to code and “save the world!” Honestly though, this place has impacted me so much in just one year. Mr. Rob is as authentic as they come and truly cares about education. If your kids are even remotely interested in technology, you’ll get every penny’s worth and more by attending SkilStak. Harrison, 19 (headed off to college)

How did SkilStak start?

I started SkilStak when the need became so pronounced to me that such a thing was needed, that real, hands-on tech education focused on actual skills of the workplace simply didn’t exist. My sons and scouts would often ask, “Mr. Rob, teach us to code, teach us to build a computer, teach us to hack!”

Nothing was available in 2013. Rather than complain about how bad things were, I decided to do something about it. I took some retirement out early to give it a shot. We have been at it ever since. It‘s definitely been bumpy along the path. Lots of mistakes, lots of learning. It would be easy to go back to a cushy corporate tech job, but I have no doubts or regrets that this has been the right thing to do.

We have explored many possibilities over the years, opening new locations, moving to a “better” location, franchising, and “vending” our services to other organizations. We’ve concluded the best option is to stay small and attract others to us, to help others learn and let them go out and influence others, in whatever role. This has been our best decision. To stay small, personal, and train others to share in their own way. Perhaps we can help you.

Since 2013 many more computer science clubs, programs—even companies—have surfaced and it has been great to watch. I’m very proud to say that many were directly influenced by SkilStak members and parents.

More that ever SkilStak is helping others lift where they stand as we literally save the world by providing better opportunities and communities all around.

To the many who have made SkilStak a reality (my wife and family in particular)—and to the many more to come—I thank you.

“Mr. Rob” Muhlestein (blog linkedin)
/^((Found|Teach|Hack)er|(Men|Jani)tor|C\w+O)$/

Mr. Rob Gnome