December 10, 2019

Community Partner Spotlight: TradeZero

TradeZero class full of students asking questions

TradeZero is a stock-and-option brokerage firm with locations in Brooklyn and the Bahamas. Since partnering with The Coding Space in September of 2019, they have sponsored three hours of coding classes for middle school students every week at IS 136 in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Sunset Park. We sat down with Dan Pipitone, co-founder at TradeZero, to learn more about his inspiration for becoming a community partner with The Coding Space and his passion for giving back to the community.

Why did you want to work with The Coding Space?

DP: Being a good corporate citizen and giving back to our community has always been important to us. TradeZero has two locations, one in the US and one in the Bahamas. In the Bahamas, we’re the largest sponsor for a charitable organization called Hands for Hunger. 

After launching in Brooklyn, I had the idea for creating an after-school coding class for a school near our office in Sunset Park, where they didn’t have the resources to teach coding. The vision was to start with one grade and, if it was well-received, we could expand to sponsor two grades and eventually another school. The Coding Space was a perfect partner to help us achieve these goals.    

What excited you about The Coding Space’s approach to learning? 

DP: I think most schools do a great job of educating our kids with conceptual knowledge, but there isn’t as much of a focus on the hands-on application of applied knowledge. I feel coding is a skill they can learn from school and immediately translate into some sort of employment.

As a co-founder at a Fintech company, everything we do is online. We have various applications that run on web, mobile, and desktop, all requiring the skills that we’re looking to teach by partnering with The Coding Space. 

We were also inspired by The Coding Space’s approach to experiential learning and field trips. Our students go on two field trips to provide perspective on what coding in the real world could translate to. The first field trip is to our office, right around the corner from their school, to experience a trading floor and meet our engineers. The second field trip will be to the New York Stock Exchange. We’re excited to show our students two steps beyond the classroom, to see what the possibilities are from learning to code. 

What do the success rates look like in this program?

DP: Out of a class of twelve, we have eight-to-ten kids who attend every week and are very engaged. We look for consistency, engagement, excitement, and retention. But the proof will be in the program, and we hope that all the students will come again next year.

TradeZero instructor teaching class

Has anything about working with The Coding Space surprised you?
DP: I was thrilled to see one of the classes has twelve kids, eleven of whom are girls. We were really surprised and excited to see this gender representation, considering the current minority of women in technology!

Our team at The Coding Space is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work with TradeZero to create free after-school coding classes for the students at IS 136. To learn more about the Community Partnership Program with The Coding Space, please visit this link.

What students from IS 136 have to say about learning from TradeZero and The Coding Space:
“Coding is a great program. I like how challenging it is and how fun it is.” —Marcelino N.

“Coding is challenging but that’s the fun part, figuring it out. And, you end up with an amazing game!” —R.A. 

“My experience with The Coding Space is that you learn a lot and it is very fun. This is such an amazing program.” —Matthew C.