This article is courtesy of DE, and was written by Lindsay Pondraza.

Zip Code Wilmington graduated its second class last Friday, and the school’s educators said with each cohort, they’re getting the recipe for a successful coding bootcamp down to a science.

“With each prospective class, we get a little better and they get a little stronger coming out,” said Anthony Pisapia, the head of school.

The proof is in the numbers: The second class began with 31 students, four of whom dropped out in the first five weeks, and 27 graduated last week. Of the graduates, 24 have been placed in apprenticeships or jobs, and Pisapia said Zip Code is working with the remaining three on getting them placed.

The first cohort graduated 16 programmers, five of whom were offered permanent jobs while 11 got apprenticeships. They arrived at Zip Code with an average income of $24,000 and left with an average of $54,000.

So what’s the first key ingredient?

“Coffee!” quipped Tariq Hook, Zip Code’s director of education, a man we once called the “Big Bad Wolf” of code.

That, and learning by doing. But Hook said getting students to learn has required a few important teaching components, aside from java of the bean variety.

He said he’s learned not to get caught up in spending too much time going over semantics when the real learning happens when students apply lessons in their work.

Finding the right pace for covering subject matter has also been important, Hook said, as well as avoiding overwhelming students.

“We’re very aggressive trying to hit benchmarks for topics we cover,” he said. “And then some people start to not love programming anymore.”

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