Jeffrey Cohen
Jeffrey Cohen

Adjunct Lecturer of Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Print Overview

Jeffrey Cohen is currently the Chief Instructor at The Starter League in Chicago. He teaches the beginner-focused Web Development course. He is also a Lecturer at the University of Chicago in the Computer Science Professional Program (also known as the Masters in Computer Science program). He has worked with object-oriented programming languages and application frameworks for more than 20 years. In 2008, he started Purple Workshops, conducting beginner-level workshops in Ruby, Rails, and agile software techniques.

He is co-author of the book Ruby on Rails for .NET Developers published by Pragmatic Press in 2008. He speaks at a variety of technical conferences throughout the year. He is a Ruby on Rails core contributor, teacher, and writer.

Jeffrey started learning computer programming in high school in the mid-1980’s by using BASIC on a Commodore PET-32. He then learned 6502 Assembly, Pascal, C, C++, Prolog, PL/1, and a variety of Microsoft architectures including MFC, ATL, and .NET for both Windows-based desktops and ASP.NET web applications. In 2005 he ventured into open source languages and communities, notably Ruby and the Rails framework.

He believes in agile software strategies, project-based learning, and opening the world of computer programming to folks from all walks of life, by curating an inclusive, beginner friendly classroom culture and curriculum.

Print Vita
Bachelor of Science, 1992, School of Speech, Northwestern University

Academic Positions
Lecturer, Computer Science, The University of Chicago, 2013-present

Other Professional Experience
Chief Instructor, The Starter League, 2011-present
Sr. Software Engineer and Lead Developer, Leapfrog Online, 2006-2011
Lead Developer, Crate&Barrel, 2003-2006
Sr. Software Developer, InstallShield Software, 1998-2003
Lead Developer, SSIS, 1997-1998
Software Developer, Med-E Systems, 1995-1997
Software Developer, IRI, 1994-1995
Software Developer, American Theological Library Association, 1992-1994

Print Research
Cohen, Jeffrey. "Open Source Community Values." PragPub Magazine, September.
Cohen, Jeffrey and Brian Eng. 2008. Rails for .NET Developers. Pragmatic Bookshelf.

Print Teaching
Full-Time / Part-Time MBA
Introduction to Software Development (KIEI-924-5)
This short course is geared for non-programmers who will be founders of, employed in, or consulting to companies that are "tech-enabled". Building an understanding of not only the language of the modern web, but also the processes involved in programming projects is essential in all aspects of technology companies' strategy and general management. This course is the prerequisite for KIEI-925.

Students will learn how to build and deploy their own "static" website, gaining essential coding literacy and experience with modern tools and nomenclature. Students should expect to spend 6-8 hours a week on assignments. IMPORTANT: Attendance is a significant part of the grade, and all students are especially expected to attend the first class.

Startup Programming and Management (KIEI-925-0)
This course provides students with an introduction to web development and software project management. Students will learn:

* the key concepts of programming and application development
* the essentials of the Ruby on Rails web framework
* the core principles of agile management
* how to use Git and other go-to tools of modern tech companies

By the end of the course, students will be able to build a functional prototype of a simple database-backed web application and deploy it to a production server. Perhaps more importantly, students will gain a literacy in the concepts that go into building a technology product; which will allow them to ideate more constructively, converse more effectively with developers, and manage teams more efficiently.

An interesting aspect of this course is that it will itself be managed as an agile project, using tools such as GitHub and Pivotal Tracker. Other features include:

* unlimited access to screencasts tailored specifically for the course
* lectures will be interactive, with short pair exercises sprinkled throughout
* optional (but strongly encouraged) weekly discussion sections with the professor to reinforce concepts

This class is recommended for students who plan to start web-based businesses and want to understand what goes into developing an MVP. This class is also recommended for students who want to join start-ups and need to understand the technical aspect of the business in order to communicate with the development team. Students will be expected to have Mac, Windows, or Linux computers that they can complete homework and projects on (detailed instructions on setup will be provided).
Students must have completed KIEI 924-A or KIEI-924-B or have consent of instructor to add this class.