Five years

Five years ago today, six brave souls entered a small NYU classroom for the start of a so-called “writers’ retreat for programmers.”

The whole thing likely seemed as improbable to them as it did to those of us organizing it: A group of people coming together just to learn and code with each other, full-time, without teachers, grades, or a curriculum.

We’ve grown in many measurable ways since that first batch in 2011: We’ve programmed with over 800 exceptional folks who traveled to RC from more than 40 countries. We’ve helped hundreds of new and experienced programmers find jobs. We’ve launched new experiments including a residents program, a programming journal, a research lab, and free mentorship for new programmers.

But it’s the harder to measure things – seeing people finally see themselves as programmers, accomplish things they could never have done before, and change how they treat themselves and others – that make us really proud.

In general, we prefer to focus on how we can improve RC. Today, however, we’d like to take a look back and thank our community. So, thank you to those first six Recursers and the hundreds since who took a chance on us, and who have made RC what it is today.

The first five years of RC

Founded in 2011, the Recurse Center is a free, self-directed, educational retreat for people who want to get better at programming, whether they’ve been coding for three decades or three months. The retreat is free for everyone, and offers need-based living-expense grants up to $7,000 to women and people from groups traditionally underrepresented in programming. The retreat is funded exclusively through recruiting partnerships.