Three years ago, a few university students in Gainesville had the idea to make music more accessible online while fairly compensating the music industry for its songs. That moment of inspiration blossomed into one of TIME Magazine’s 50 Best Websites of 2010: Grooveshark.
Now, the same Grooveshark that streams free music to your computer offers a free technology education, too, in hopes of sparking the same kind of inspiration that led former University of Florida students Sam Tarantino, Josh Greenberg, and Andres Barreto to found one of the most successful internet services to date.
Grooveshark University, a free semester-long lecture series offered to intermediate programmers at the college level and beyond, brings some of the company’s top programmers into the classroom to teach students about cutting-edge technology used by Grooveshark, including HTML5 web standards, Python programming language, and mobile application development for platforms like Android.
“We feel that we’ve gotten so much from Gainesville, so we’re committed to the growth of our city and turning it into our own little tech center on the East Coast,” said Pavle Stojkovic, director of hiring at Grooveshark.
Grooveshark University was the brainchild of senior software engineer Paulo Da Silva, with the collaboration of Greenberg and Dan Rua, president of Gainesville Area Innovation Network (GAIN). While in the planning stages, the project was designed to help potential interns ease more quickly into the fast-paced Grooveshark workplace, but ultimately Grooveshark University founders decided to open the course up to any intermediate programmer wishing to polish their techniques.
“When we first started talking, Paulo was primarily interested in taking a teaching role, keeping people up-to-date with technology and Grooveshark,” said Stojkovic. “It grew into this concept of a program to simply better peoples’ skills. Now our goal has shifted to improving Gainesville as a whole and improving peoples’ own project ideas.”
Applying to Grooveshark University is free and open to everyone, though it retains a competitive, internship-style format designed to push its students to create practical innovations of their own.
“It’s pretty demanding,” said Stojkovic. “This semester, we started with 25 students, and we whittled it down to 15. We wanted to filter it down to the people who are really dedicated. We offer a real-world, environment-based experience–including one-on-one personal time with Grooveshark’s top developers. It’s everything you can’t get in school anywhere else.”
First semester and beyond
This fall marks the inaugural semester for Grooveshark University, which provides students with 12 weekly seminars scheduled to align roughly with the academic calendar of Gainesville’s colleges and university.
While this first semester amounted to what Stojkovic calls a “trial run” for the program, Grooveshark University received over 50 applications for its 25 seats despite having recruited for only two weeks. With triple the time to recruit for the spring semester, Stojkovic is expecting “many more applicants” to be competing for these coveted spots.
“We’re active in the community, and we get a lot of face-time with people around town,” said Stojkovic. “We have been going out to classrooms and meeting with professors to talk to the people who would be interested in this program.”
Already during this semester’s weekly meetings, professionals from the company’s Android mobile team and systems team have presented to Grooveshark University’s students, and programmer Paul Nickerson demonstrated the ability to play 3D games using HTML5 web standards. However, Grooveshark University isn’t limiting its focus to technology.
“We want to do a course every semester, and we definitely have different ideas for this upcoming summer,” said Stojkovic. “We’re definitely looking past developers to covering marketing and PR as well.”
The program will be recruiting for its spring semester from November through December, right up until the first few weeks of the New Year. Intermediate programmers serious about learning the latest technologies should send their resumes to email@example.com.
Grooveshark at the CIED
Grooveshark University’s campus is none other than Santa Fe College’s Center for Innovation and Economic Development, or CIED, which offers meeting spaces with the newest audio-visual technology for businesses.
“CIED has been awesome. It’s the perfect amount of space, and they have the equipment we need for the type of large classroom setting we want,” said Stojkovic.
Grooveshark’s founders, Greenberg and Tarantino, met at an entrepreneurship club at the University of Florida, and Grooveshark University continues their legacy of innovation. Partnering with the CIED, with its goal of fostering start-up businesses in the community, “just made sense.”
“The CIED is already doing a great job of promoting entrepreneurship in Gainesville, and we just wanted to supplement what it was already doing and add a little more tech insight,” said Stojkovic. “We see a lot of students who might be a good fit for Grooveshark, but we also see students who pair off and start their own ventures who will need support.”
For more information about the CIED’s facilities, or about incubating your new or growing business at the CIED, please contact Dug Jones, 352-395-5269.
~ This press release was written by Allison Griner, Communication Specialist, College Relations
- Dug Jones, for information about the Entrepreneur Incubator at Santa Fe’s Center for Innovation and Economic Development, 352-395-5269 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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