Julien, Head of Community at Wild Code School, talks about the importance of communities in 2021

Published on 20 January 2021

Reading time 8 minutes

The Covid-19 health crisis will have encouraged our communities to evolve and use new technologies in order to survive. What is the importance of communities and why is it necessary to preserve them? Julien answers us in this dedicated interview!

Hi Julien, could you introduce yourself a bit? What have been your professional and personal experiences so far?

Hello! Well, I’m now part of Wild Code School’s Central Team. But if we got a bit back in time, after studying audiovisual production I started my career in the music industry: first with a Concert Producer, then in a record company as a Digital Sales Manager for many independent classical and jazz music labels.
Then, I became very interested in the design and art areas, so I participated in the organization of events focused on contemporary creation. This allowed me to meet the people with whom I had the opportunity to co-found Ultragramme, a graphic design studio for art, culture and businesses.

How have you met Wild Code School? And how did you go from student to Head of Community?

As communication jobs are constantly evolving, it became even more necessary for me to know how to code -- or at least to be able to interchange and share easily with developers. 2015 was the very year I heard about Wild Code School. It was on the radio at lunchtime, on France Inter, a French radio. I was immediately seduced by the idea of learning how to code in five months in La Loupe (France) with green and grass everywhere. So, I followed the application process, like everyone else, and a few months later I moved to Région Centre, where the school was located. Then I became a Wild Code School student, at the La Loupe campus, our parent company. At the time, there was only this campus.

I immediately embraced the Education vision of Wild Code School. So as a student, I gave a lot of feedbacks to the Central Team to contribute to the continuous improvement of Education. With only one campus, it was easier than it is now: there were fewer students and everything was new. Anyway, I guess that's why the school made me join the team as the first Campus Manager for the Orleans Campus, the city where I grew up.

Today, I am Head of community. In overall, my role is to help build a community based on mutual aid on all our campuses, which makes potential candidates want to join it.

In overall, what could you tell us about the importance and the stakes of the communities before and during the Covid-19 health crisis?

There are an infinite amount of communities, and you can easily become part of many of them. I personally think that I am part of the living beings, the earthlings, the Parisians, the cyclists, the Wild Code School’s alumni or even the fans of English musician Aphex Twin. And the list goes on and on... All these groups define me geographically, socially, culturally, physically, and even on my artistic and aesthetic sensitivity. And they all bring me different things according to my own needs. So all Wilders are also individually part of several social-cultural groups. They have their own interests, histories and issues. They may come from countries that are far from each other, and which have different cultures and customs, but they all share at least a few common points:

  • They have all been sensitive to the values promoted by Wild Code School
  • They all learn a new profession
  • They all go through the same tests related to our training courses

So as leader of this community, one of my first tasks was to understand what might interest them as a group. I exchanged a lot with the students, with the elders, I also sent surveys and tested different things. And from all of this, here is what came out:

  • Wilders are a source of support during and after the training
  • They organize a collective technological watch to keep being up to date
  • It is also a network where job offers and professional opportunities are shared
  • But also a social network with very nice friendships that were born during the trainings

My mission is therefore to facilitate these exchanges by creating the appropriate rituals or by equipping them with the right tools.
Whether before or after the health crisis of 2020, the stakes remain the same, only the means have had to be reviewed and rethought to do things a little more remotely.  

Would communities be a good way to get rid of loneliness and social isolation which a majority of employees have been facing since the implementation of the Covid-19 health measures?

The health crisis will have brought us face to face with ourselves for sure, with our questions, and often with loneliness. Joining a group of friends after a working day is no longer possible, nor are easily meeting new people and writing new stories. We must therefore deal with what is offered to us. As experts in problem solving, it didn't take Wilders too long to set up Discord servers which, unlike our usual tools, allow voice chats. These almost give the illusion of being all together in the same place, making jokes and having fun just like before. But I can imagine that many other communities have unfortunately not had the same reflex to overcome their loneliness.

In your opinion, what are the possible perspectives for today's communities?

We're not going to go back over everything that the World Wide Web has made possible. However, it is amazing how groups of people with a common interest easily identify themselves and exchange and share common things despite the distance or all their differences. To give an example, I have an Indian motorcycle, a Royal Enfield. This one is sold all over the world but many of its users are Indian themselves. And every day, or almost every day, I can share advice or ideas with people I will probably never meet but who share this common passion for the brand. With our remote campuses, the Wilders community is growing in the same way. Whether they are in Minsk or Bordeaux, our alumni are working on the same tools and can provide each other with technical assistance or moral support when needed.

To come back to you a bit, you are in touch with Wild Code School’s students everyday. According to you, what are the main pillars that make the Wilders community so cohesive and united?

In my experience, there are many things that bring the Wilders’ interest and help build this beautiful community. First and foremost, this is a source of mutual aid. Many of our students work with the same tools and encounter the same problems during their training and even after. Therefore, they naturally share advice and best practices, organize a collective technology watch to stay up to date, and also share many job offers and different professional opportunities. But the Wilder community is also a very large social network. Wild Code School brings together people with common training issues. And despite their different backgrounds, ages or cultures, they all gather around Wild Code School’s values: Passion, Innovation and Humanity.

Could you share with us an extraordinary moment lived by the Wilder community?

I instantly think about Wild Fest that took place in October 2019. For the 5th anniversary of Wild Code School, we gathered many alumni from all our campuses at Château des Vaux in France, close to where all this wild journey began (La Loupe). Just like a festival, our Wilders were partying and having fun around several games, and more specifically a hackathon organized with Enedis and the Région Centre. They really had a good time all together. Organizing such a weekend was a very tiring exercise, but it was really worth it!

Are there any similar projects coming up?

The current situation will not allow us to organize such physical gatherings in the short term... So we are thinking about more local or online alternatives, but all this needs to be thought and imagined.

Thank you for all of your answers! If you had one last word to share with our Wilders, what would it be?

Since last September, I've gathered around me a nice group of ambassadors. I want to salute them. Once a month, we think and brainstorm together on various community issues. If you'd like to be part of it, just contact me and I'll tell you more about it and about how you can join us.

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