Digital trade school Code Fellows names Amazon vet CEO

Kristin Smith

Kristin Smith

Kristin Smith, a former vice president at Zulily who previously spent eight years at Amazon.com, has been appointed CEO of Code Fellows. Meanwhile, Co-founder Will Little — who oversaw the organization after president Brent Turner moved to Rover.com — is taking on the CTO title.

The Seattle company operates a “digital trade school,” an immersive bootcamp of sorts in which professionals pick up pertinent skills in areas such as iOS development, Ruby on Rails and Python.

At this point, Code Fellows operates just in Seattle, though Smith hinted that new cities would be coming online as part of her job.

“Code Fellows has quickly established itself as one of the strongest digital trade schools in the country, with a solid reputation for polishing developers into diamonds,” Smith said in a release. “I’m excited to continue working with Will and our amazing team that’s committed to helping people achieve their technical career goals and improve their lives. I’m also looking forward to expanding our reach, and fostering the advancement of tech talent in other high-demand markets.”

The appointment of Smith comes a few days after New York-based General Assembly, backed by Maveron, Jeff Bezos and others, announced a new location in Seattle.

Code Fellows puts its money where its mouth is, guaranteeing that those who go through the program will find work. Since its launch last year, 165 software engineers have graduated from its eight-week intensive courses with an average starting salary of $75,600 per year. The top reported salary offer for a Code Fellows graduate last year was $155,000.

Here’s more from Smith on why she took the job.

I’ve felt the real pain of not being able to find enough software development talent. At both Amazon and then zulily, the single biggest limiter to the amount of value we could create as a team was how fast we could find and hire software developers. At Code Fellows, not only are we poised to not only help ease this tech talent shortage, but we also spend each and every day teaching practical skills that become super powers that allow people to change their lives. It’s a very rare opportunity to be a part of something that has immense business value and is so personally rewarding.

  • Alec Matias

    As an alumni of the very first Code Fellows bootcamp and CEO of my own company, you can take it from me that Kristin is going to be awesome at the helm. She embodies the spirit and soul of Code Fellows’ mission to enrich the lives of hungry and curious people. Congratulations, Kristin!

  • jbkly

    Congrats! Looking forward to seeing how Code Fellows will grow under Kristin’s leadership.

  • Ivan Lesko

    Kristin deserves this title! She was a huge help in me landing a job within a month of graduating from Code Fellows!