From going by the book to the adventure of a lifetime: Nick’s story

Nick Pizzo followed the plan. He graduated from college with a degree in business and started his career in accounting doing financial statement audits and tax work.

“I had very much taken the ‘check the box’ route – go to this school, go to that college, get the job,” he said. “I was confident that with accounting, I would never be unemployed, but after a full 10 years, the monotony was setting in; I wasn’t being challenged intellectually.”

All of these factors began to add up for Nick, and he decided that it was time for him to change career paths. He always had an interest in tech, and is savvy with computers and all types of operating systems. As an added bonus, his group of friends from high school had all gone into the tech world, so choosing to explore a career in tech was a natural fit.

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From waiting tables to Army contractor: Fabian’s story

After waiting tables for two years and waiting for a the right career opportunity to present itself, 26 year-old Fabian Murillo found that the inspiration he’d been looking for was almost right in front of him.

“I was living in Charleston and my roommate and I were taking courses at the community college; I was doing Criminal Justice and Communications, and my roommate was doing IT,” Fabian said.  “One evening I just picked up one his textbooks and started flipping through it. It hit me so quickly, ‘I’m on a computer all the time, why have I never looked at computers before?’”

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Advisory Board Member Spotlight: Lifeblue

Building a local Advisory Board is critical to the success of each of our campuses, and we are lucky to work with some pretty amazing companies across the country. Advisory Board members play an instrumental role in our students’ experience, and help us keep our fingers on the pulse of local hiring needs and employer priorities.

In Dallas, we are proud to call Lifeblue, a digital agency that specializes in high-end web development, an Advisory Board member. Not only do we value their insight into the industry, they are actively involved with our students giving guest lectures and have even hired two amazing #IronGrads as junior developers!

We recently caught up with Lifeblue’s co-founder Russel Dubree to learn more about the company’s vision, their experience hiring junior-level developers and the emphasis they place on lifelong learning. Below is more from our conversation:

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Journey to new horizons: Jonathan’s blog

Jonathan Colegrove is a current student in our Ruby On Rails course on the Tampa Bay/St. Pete campus and has been documenting his experience learning how to code on his blog.

After trying to learn to code on his own, Jonathan decided that the only way he could break into the development world would be by immersing himself and attending The Iron Yard full-time.

Read Jonathan’s blog post about the first week of his cohort below:

Journey to New Horizons

I just started school at The Iron Yard in St. Petersburg, FL last week, & have to say I’m impressed.

After deciding to switch from teaching English in Taiwan to software engineering, I tried to learn it on my own for free through theOdinProject.com (a wordy, but good site). Most of the material linked to CodeCademy (very useful site), others to Ruby Monk (too annoying & harder to navigate). I found Derek Banas’ concise videos later (absolutely amazing) later.

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Welcome to learning programming on your own

There were a lot of “bang my head against the wall” moments, only to discover super-simple solutions. I realized I could advance much faster through a bootcamp, but didn’t want to take out a loan. I felt I was getting somewhere with my current skill level though, & wondered the next step.

LaunchCode, I thought! What better option than a program that placed accepted applicants in “lower”-paying ($15/hr) jobs ($15/hr is more than all my previous jobs!) for 3 months, followed by $25/hr, with no risk?! Turns out there’s a lot of competition, & that meant “learn more.”

Next I applied at an internship, which had a coding challenge. Following that, they mentioned Test-Driven-Development. How did one make tests? After hours of trying to muddle-through, I realized it was time to take out a loan.

Long story short: I ended up in St. Petersburg, FL @The Iron Yard. It’s been a week so far, & while much is review, there has been some important new material (specifically flexbox in CSS) & a WHOLE LOT of practice! (PS: “a lot of review” = 85% of everything I’d previously learned in a couple months covered in a few days!)

The new material combined with practice doing their detail-intensive projects has been absolutely beneficial. It’s also been an educational experience because The Iron Yard requires you to use a Mac (I’d previously only used Windows). Working alongside others has helped productivity so when 1 gets stuck we can bounce ideas off each other. I’m excited to keep on learning & can only imagine the depth of knowledge + experience I’ll achieve if we keep at the same pace for another 11 weeks!

Follow along with Jonathan’s journey here.

Introducing cost of living loans

Attending The Iron Yard is a big commitment. Our graduates often tell us that the experience is life-changing, but also that it’s one of the hardest things they’ve ever done—and that difficulty extends beyond the classroom.

As we’ve said before, we believe that the best format for launching a programming career in a short amount of time is in an immersive environment where you can devote 100 percent of your focus on learning how to code. Even though our courses are only 12 weeks, the full-time schedule and long hours mean almost all of our students quit their jobs, foregoing the income they would have made during that time. This reality has meant some students simply haven’t been able to take our courses, even though they’ve been accepted into the program.

We’ve been working long and hard on a solution and are excited to announce that we now offer cost-of-living loans at almost all of our campuses.

Through our financing partner, Climb Credit, students will be able to finance up to $3,500 of living expenses incurred while they’re taking a course, giving them the freedom to focus their full attention on becoming a professional software developer.

Removing the cost-of-living barrier is a major step forward in helping even more people launch careers in programming. To learn more, reach out to your local campus or email our Student Success Team. (You can also call or text our Student Success Team anytime.)

Returning to the Classroom: Tajaa’s Story

Tajaa Long has always been passionate about education – both her students’ education and her own. She began her career as a math specialist at a public elementary school in St. Louis, and indirectly, it was her students that got Tajaa thinking about learning how to code.  

At one point, Tajaa’s students were having trouble with two-step equations and she was on the lookout for new, innovative approaches to help them master the concept. When she came across Code.org, she downloaded several exercises to help kids work through two step problems, learn to follow instructions and think strategically. The first one she tried – a maze where the students had to write directions to move through it – was a gamble. “I thought, ‘even if it doesn’t work, at least it will be a new learning experience for them,’” Tajaa said.

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Code schools play integral role in Indy’s future

The Iron Yard’s campus director in Indianapolis, Emily Trimble, recently contributed an article to TechPoint discussing the important role code schools play in developing the junior-level talent that local employers need to hire. Emily makes the case that not only are code schools a crucial part of Indy’s tech ecosystem, the students graduating from these programs bring a fresh perspective to development teams that are extremely beneficial to employers – and we couldn’t agree more.  

Read the full article, including Emily’s insights on the Indy market and success stories from some of The Iron Yard’s local graduates, below:

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Student Story: Ryder Timberlake

Ryder Timberlake doesn’t speak like most people, but then again, Ryder Timberlake doesn’t do anything like most people. He doesn’t temper his enthusiasm, either in conversation or in his pursuit of things he enjoys.

As an undergraduate, he followed his enthusiasm for Linguistics and Spanish by double majoring in both, later, he’d also pick up a Masters degree in Spanish Linguistics. “I come from an academic family and I’m sure that played a role. Languages was just what I was interested in studying.”

Despite the connection between studying languages and programming, it was actually a fairly winding road that lead the 31 year old to the February 2016 Back-End Engineering Course at our Indianapolis campus.

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From massage therapist to developer: Hannah’s story

At 26, Hannah decided she was ready to start using her brain over her brawn – in part because she was already developing arthritis and carpal tunnel after six years working as a Massage Therapist. Her desire to find a career that could lead to more opportunity, and to have a job that was challenging her on a daily basis drove her to look into code schools and attend The Iron Yard. “I just was tired of going home and being in pain everyday and not being happy with what I was doing. I did some research on careers that weren’t going anywhere, and coding was number one.”

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