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How Kodeco Boosts Mobile Development Careers: Q/A with CEO Matt Derrick

How Kodeco Boosts Mobile Development Careers: Q/A with CEO Matt Derrick

Bethenny Carl
Website Planet interviewed Matt Derrick, CEO of Kodeco and tech veteran with over 20 years of experience building and leading teams both in technology startups and established organizations.

We learned how Kodeco, an online learning platform for mobile development with 20 full-time members and 300+ content contributors (all fully remote), is designed to help mobile developers achieve their goals, whether that’s building their first app, or becoming a respected expert in their field.

Let’s introduce your platform to our audience. What courses do you offer?

We have built up a library of thousands of books, videos and articles covering iOS, which is Apple’s operating system, and Android, which is administered by Google.

Much of our content is organized into learning paths, which lead you through the content one concept at a time. An important aspect of learning is doing, and so the tutorial is at the core of our learning, where you build an app or project as you progress through the material. At the end of many of our tutorials, there are challenges or quizzes to make sure you have retained the knowledge throughout. If you prefer to learn by reading, you can select the topic and there are scores of books and articles that can help you. If you prefer to learn by watching videos, you can do that as well.

Finally, we offer niche topics, such as Flutter, Kotlin, Dart, Server-Side Swift, Game Technologies (Unity, Godot, etc.), and even soft skills that are non-technical but teach you how to grow in your mobile development career.

What makes you stand out from the competition?

This isn’t a startup that launched earlier this year using AI-generated content–we’ve been at the forefront of mobile development education for over a decade, back from when our site was known as raywenderlich.com. This long-term perspective allows us to know which topics a learner must know, versus which ones might seem trendy, but are ultimately not helpful for a learner.

Secondly, the mobile experts that create the content are the premier mobile developers in the world–the bar is very high, and the tryout process is intentionally arduous, to even submit an article to our site. That is because we want the quality of content to be the absolute highest for everything we produce. In fact, many of the content contributors today first learned mobile development on raywenderlich.com, and now have come full circle.

We also take special care to keep our content updated. There is nothing more frustrating than to read or watch something, only to discover that it no longer applies to the latest version of the operating system. That’s why at Kodeco we make such an effort to keep our content fresh and accurate, and it’s one of the things we are known for. Moreover, every piece of content produced goes through multiple iterations of review and revision prior to publishing to ensure technical accuracy and learning alignment.

Finally, it’s important for us to make this affordable. There are many competitors that charge tens of thousands of dollars for bootcamps, for example. Our bootcamps, which are led by world-class mobile developers, cost less than $3,000, for a program that is even better than what larger companies are offering.

All of these things, and more, let us stand apart from the mass of low-quality or AI-generated content that exists throughout the internet. It also sets us apart from large companies that allow any content to be propagated without an editorial control process, or those that charge huge amounts of money to learn. Learners who come to Kodeco know that they are receiving the best mobile development education at the best value possible.

What is your mission?

The mission of Kodeco is to be the best online learning platform for mobile developers at every step of their career, all the way from building your first app, to becoming a respected expert in your field.

What’s Your Story? What sparked the idea, and how has it evolved so far?

The company was founded over a decade ago by Ray Wenderlich. He created mobile apps very early in the development of iOS, and then discovered that he enjoyed teaching people how to make apps more than making them himself. His blog, raywenderlich.com, grew rapidly to become the number one source for mobile development. As it grew, Ray realized that he enjoyed creating content, not running a company. I came in as CEO at the beginning of 2021 to continue to build and scale the company.

How do you envision the future of your industry?

There is no question that generative AI is going to have a significant impact. Whether that impact is negative or positive for learners is hard to say at the present. We already see competitors that are ‘turning AI loose’ to create content of questionable quality. If that’s the direction, it will ultimately be very harmful to education and learners. However, if AI can augment and help speed up learning for experts to provide to learners, it could be a net positive.

At Kodeco, our content experts are at the center of everything we do. And as we roll out more bootcamps–where experts mentor learners throughout the curriculum– we can use AI to make our experts more efficient. It’s not just raw knowledge–we want to leverage the incredible knowledge and experience that our content experts have, so that they can share that with our learners. That will allow us to positively impact the next generation of mobile developers and stay relevant in a world of generative AI.

What are your plans for the near future?

Recently, we’ve been rebuilding our content so that it is intentionally structured around competencies and learning objectives. This allows us to create lessons and learning modules that, when combined with assessments, provide learners with certifications that document their mastery of a subject. It represents the forefront of educational theory, ensuring learners enjoy the most optimal experience throughout their educational journey.

Practically, that means if a learner wants to browse our topics and study from our library of content on their own, they can do that. If they’d prefer to progress through learning paths with a mentor guiding them, grading homework and project submissions, they can do that through on-demand bootcamps. And if they prefer to learn in live sessions, alongside a cohort of other learners, they can do that via our live bootcamps. Regardless of how they learn, this consistent content creation process ensures that the outcomes are the same–they can build their first app, achieve their first job in mobile development, or grow in their mobile career.

For larger teams and companies, we’ve built a powerful analytics suite that allows them to determine how their teams use the materials. They can even select specific content to create ‘playlists’ for their teams to progress through. We also offer fully-customizable workshops where one of our content experts will walk their teams through a specific challenge that they are encountering, or teach them a new concept that is impactful to their business. We anticipate that this will continue to grow as companies look to stay competitive in mobile.

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