Replacing Tech Degrees with Hands-On Learning with Darwish Gani

“You gotta pick where you want to go, if you don’t, you’re going to go nowhere.” – Darwish Gani

In this episode of Nat Chat, I’m joined by Darwish Gani. Darwish started down the investment banking path in college, but as he approached graduation, decided he wanted to work on something he was more passionate about.

After starting one company and working as a product manager at another startup, he started an alternative education company focused on supplementing college students education with more programming training and experience.

That company, Horizons, offers summer programs for students to get an intense hands-on programming boot camp and apprenticeship over the summer. And their latest experiment, Horizons One, is a two-year tuition-free program to teach students everything they need to know to work in tech, and then set them up with a co-op program where they can apply those skills hands on.

We talked all about how Darwish started this company, what the motivation was, how students learn during it, how students can self-educate, why STEM jobs don’t get the same sex appeal as traditional industries, and some of his goals for influencing how young people learn and enter the workforce.

Some of the topics we covered:

  • How Darwish started a technology school and learned how to teach programming
  • The importance and tactics of proper networking
  • The power of finding your direction in life and taking action on it
  • Darwish’s advice for students who don’t yet have a set career path
  • Advice from Darwish on good software engineering, and why schools teach it poorly

Also, registration for Horizons One, the two-year co-op program, is currently open until the end of June. So if you check it out and think it looks like a good opportunity, I would definitely encourage you to apply. I don’t get any kickback or anything, I just like what Darwish is working on and think it could be a great opportunity for anyone listening

Please enjoy, and reach out to Darwish on LinkedIn!

If you’re interested in college alternatives, definitely check out my interview with Taylor Pearson on getting apprenticeships, as well as my interview with Charlie Hoehn on getting your dream mentor.

Links from the Episode

Find Darwish Online:

Mentioned in the show:

Books mentioned:

Show Topics

1:36 – Intro to Darwish and Horizons.

8:18 – Darwish telling his story and him speaking on how he got interested in helping people with technology education.

15:12 – How Darwish got in the habit of networking and reaching out to people.

17:57 – Darwish speaking on how he found the confidence to start his company after college.

19:04 – How Darwish’s school shows it’s students a new perspective and gives them a renewed sense of confidence.

20:34 – Darwish’s favorite speaker that has been brought in to speak to his students and what the speaker showed them.

22:15 – How Darwish learned to teach students and start his school.

24:17 – Darwish speaking about how his school is based on teaching JavaScript currently. He is also speaking on the supply and demand of certain jobs here.

30:07 – Darwish’s thoughts on existing computer science programs and how they teach students.

33:25 – Darwish on how Horizons students work and him speaking on how the Horizons programs are honed to teach more important skills compared to a traditional program.

35:49 – Some of Darwish’s favorite books that have shifted his mindset and taught him the most and him speaking on the importance of picking a direction to where you want to go.

39:29 – Darwish’s top priorities other than running Horizons and how he stays balanced between them.

44:20 – What Darwish going into detail on what he wished he knew sooner and what advice Darwish would give to people who don’t have a set career path yet.

47:54 – Darwish speaking on when applications are available for Horizons and where to find Darwish online.

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