With sites like Codecademy and Stack Overflow, there are plenty of ways to learn programming and get help online — but there’s nothing like a live human being who can answer your questions and look at your code, according to the co-founders of a new website called HackHands.
One of those co-founders, Forest Good, described the site as an “Uber for programming” — in other words, it allows you can get programming help at the moment that you need it. The company has built out a global network of mentors, so Good said you should be able to visit the site at any time, describe the problem that you’re facing, and then get connected to a mentor within 15 minutes. The two of you are connected via video chat (powered by TokBox), and you can also work on the code together in a collaborative text editor (or just share the relevant screen on your computer).
Good said that there’s a “spectrum” of users that HackHands is targeting. On one end, there are people who have never coded before. On the other end, there are people who have just graduated from a programming bootcamp. Wherever they are on that spectrum, they’ll probably have moments when there are concepts or problems that they can’t figure out on their own, so they’ll appreciate talking to an expert.
For now, HackHands is focused on Ruby on Rails, and Good said all of its mentors are vetted based on both their communication and programming skills. (“I have a personal relationship with all of our experts, and we have some plans to scale that as well,” he said.)
Co-founder Geraldo Ramos said the goal is to offer something that’s both fast and affordable, with easy-to-understand pricing. HackHands charges $1 per minute for each session, although there’s a five-minute grace period where either party can back out without any charge — if, for example, the expert realizes that they can’t help with a specific problem or topic after all. Customers will also be able to tip based on their satisfaction. To offer further incentive for expert participation, HackHands will create leaderboards where the most active mentors are both celebrated and financially rewarded.
HackHands was created by 6PS Group, a web development agency that trying to move to more of an incubator model — if HackHands and subsequent projects are successful, 6PS plans to spin them off into separate companies.