Spring Break Coding Program

Qwasar programs at UC Berkeley
Classes cancelled? Bored? Fed up of the Coronavirus? Despite the shut-down, join us for a week of coding. Support a UC Berkeley startup as we run beta testing! All you need is a computer and a webcam. You'll join meetings virtually and we'll set you up in small groups around campus.
how to get software development experience

Immersive (and mostly remote) Spring Break Coding Program

Nothing to do over Spring Break and bored? Help a UC Berkeley startup test their platform! Join our immersive and mostly remote Spring Break Coding Program.

We’ve developed a week-long, immersive course for learning how to code and we’re testing an online format.

No previous experience is required! If you’re not from a technical background, don’t be intimidated – dive in and learn the basics with fellow Berkeley students.

Active Learning & Learning by Doing

It’s time to get your hands dirty and dig in to the technical world! Learning by doing is the best and most enjoyable way to learn how to code. Our immersive course is entirely hands-on learning, complete with projects, challenges, and exercises.

This is a high-participation course: you’ll work directly with fellow Bears, helping them and reviewing each other’s work. You’ll be immersed into the world of software and come out not just with technical skills, but with a better understanding of what’s behind the web.

Program Content

In the first couple of days, participants will familiarise themselves with software tools, the coding environment and computer terminal, and how to navigate basic commands and concepts. We have a built-in coding environment so you can code in your browser without having to download any tools or software.

Participants will be given projects and exercises in JavaScript.

What You’ll Learn

This course covers the following topics:

  • JavaScript
  • Data structures
  • Loop statements
  • Variables
  • Libraries
  • The tools and environments used by software engineers
  • Coding “norms” or standards for writing good code
  • Basic algorithms
  • How to structure your code
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Program Dates

Monday, March 23 to Friday, March 27, 2020

Program starts at 10am on Monday.

What Sets Us Apart From The Classroom

Immersive & Active

It’s up to you to figure out what you need to do! We don’t give you detailed instructions or easy answers. You’ve got to work together, be resourceful, and figure things out on your own. Each project is a challenge to be overcome!

Experience that Counts

With our learning-by-doing approach, you get experience that helps your to prepare for the real working world, no matter whether it’s in a technical role or not. Learning to be resourceful and to problem solve are skills applicable in any job.

No A's, B's, or C's for 'Grades'

You don’t get grades and there is no concept of an A, B or C with our program. The point is to learn, to grow in your knowledge and understanding by hands-on doing. Your software does what it should, or it doesn’t and you need to fix it.

UC Berkeley Spring Break Coding Program 1

What to Expect

Participants will use our learning platform to progress through a series of projects. Projects will have instructions and outline what 'software' or code needs to be built for each project. Once a project has been completed, it is submitted for review where those who have already completed the project will review submitted work, following specific questions and criteria in the peer review element of the learning platform.

During review, submitted work will either pass or need fixing. Participants who do not pass a project will fix the bugs and errors in their work, then re-submit it for review. Participants can move on to subsequent projects and continue in the process. Some participants will learn concepts faster than others, and the course has more than enough content to accommodate fast learners. You won't be disappointed if you go quickly! We have a small team of software engineers on board who will review the work of those who advance quickly.

Program Schedule

Monday Kick-off

We’ll kick-off the program with a remote program meeting, you’ll meet the founders as well as Professor Greg La Blanc, and we’ll have you introduce yourselves via video conference to the group. We’ll show you how the platform works and what to do when you have questions.

Group Meetings

We’ll assign you to work in groups and set a designated meetup location. Once you meet each other, you’re welcome to move locations and set a group meeting schedule as you wish. You’ll benefit from working together in person! You can work with friends, just let us know on the signup form.

Morning & Afternoon Program Meetings

At the beginning and end of each day, we’ll have a program meeting and check-in via video conference. We’ll have updates to share for each day and a tip or two to help you along. Share your joys and frustrations with fellow learners! It’s important to celebrate when your code works 🙂


If you have questions about the program, please contact Jennifer.

Want to continue beyond Spring Break?

Not a problem! We’ve got enough projects and tracks to last a year 🙂


What are the program hours?

There will be a quick program meeting at 10am and 4:30pm each day; other than that, it’s up to you and your group to work throughout the day to accomplish each day’s exercises and challenges.

Can I sign up in a group or with friends?

Yes! Please indicate on the signup form that you’re signing up in a group – we have a specific question for that. Include the names of people in your group on the form.

I’m not a Berkeley student. Can I still sign up?

Sure, as long as you’re up for the challenge of working with Berkeley students!

I’m not in the Berkeley Area. Can I still join?

Yes of course! The program is remote, so join from anywhere, even if you’re on the East coast!

How much does the program cost?

$0. It’s free! We’re beta testing and we’d like your feedback at the end of the program. We’re trying to make the coronavirus situations a little better too 🙂

Register Now

Sign up for our Spring Break Coding Program today, and encourage your friends to sign up too.