Berlin now has a tech-dedicated college in the shape of the Code University of Applied Sciences – CODE – which is slated to open later this year offering courses in software development and interactive design to around 100 students. The founders, developer entrepreneurs Thomas Bachem and Manuel Dolderer, have launched the tech school in response to what they believe is the failure of classical German university programmes to provide enough qualified people to work in the digital economy.
Bachem and Dolder say their view is supported by a body of Internet and start-up-types and they have managed to recruit two dozen of them to back the venture. CODE’s teaching roster also includes a number of respected professors, researchers and lecturers, among them Dr Sven Ripsas, professor of entrepreneurship at the Berlin School of Economics and Law, Dr. Diana Knodel, TU Berlin visiting professor, and Hartmut Wöhlbier, professor for interactive media at Mannheim University of Applied Sciences.
The college is promising a project-orientated and challenge-based ‘learning experience’ that will enable students to ‘develop professional competences as well as communicative and social skills’. CODE is planning to introduce an ‘income-adjusted tuition model’ to attract the most talented students regardless of their personal financial background. The college is charging tuition fees of €27,000 for a three-year bachelor’s degree, which students can repay at a rate of €747 per month.
To date, the college has attracted 400 applicants to the English-language-based degree, while unnamed financial backers, many from the Berlin start-up scene, have stumped up a reported €5 million for CODE to date.
CODE says it wants that investment to produce people with ‘digital pioneer’ mindsets. That would be someone with excellent skills and deep knowledge in their field of expertise ‘but who additionally is eager to explore the yet unknown possibilities of the digital transformation our society is experiencing’.
There does appear to be a need to produce a greater number of qualified digital media workers. According to the German Federal Association for Information Technology, there were 51,000 digital sector job vacancies at end-2016, up 20% year-on-year.