Want a programming career? Look no further.

We’ve been teaching people software development and helping them launch programming careers since 2013. In the years since, we’ve learned so much from the people who’ve trusted us with their careers and lives. As our graduates have gone into their second and third web development jobs after graduating from The Iron Yard, many of them have kept in touch with us, and some even continue to visit campus to share their expertise with our current students.

Throughout the years, we’ve modified our web development courses based on feedback from graduates, employers, and our Advisory Board members. The tech industry changes almost daily, and our students need access to the latest programming tools and strategies if they are going to remain competitive when they graduates from our immersive programs.

That’s why we’ve recently re-tooled our courses and have rolled out a revamped version of our Web Development Career Path.

Our Director of Curriculum Design, Giovanni DiFeterici, chatted with our friends at Course Report last week to go a bit deeper into the specifics. Interested in a programming career? You might want to check out this excerpt from their conversation:

Why did you make the decision to streamline the curriculum and focus on the Web Development Career Path?

In the past, we had a few different courses; each one of them was 12 weeks with a single language focus. If it was a Java program, you spent nine weeks learning Java, and three weeks on a final project. If you studied front-end, it was principally JavaScript. Same thing with Ruby, Python, and other courses. Every student who graduated had a lot of domain knowledge in one particular area, but a lot of gaps in other areas which were relevant to their programming career. That can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on the student. So that’s one of the factors in making decisions about changing some of the curricula.

The other factor was creating a much more consistent experience for students. We wanted more predictable outcomes. The idea is that the program has been revamped so that every student focuses on the same material for the first eight weeks. Those eight weeks teach them a full stack focused on JavaScript, to make sure they understand how all the moving parts of web-based software and application development fit together.

Since The Iron Yard was one of the first big bootcamps in the US, what’s the biggest lesson your team has learned throughout the years in terms of creating a new streamlined curriculum?

The biggest lesson boils down to expectation and assumption. Early inclinations of bootcamps, including our own, made a lot of assumptions about what was valuable to a student and to a hiring partner. Those assumptions were from people who originally designed these programs, but were based on their biased love of particular technologies. However, the needs of students and hiring partners is different from what someone might just love about the industry.

What we’ve learned, which has helped to shape this program, is the thing that most people need, and the thing that most people are looking for, is high levels of reasoning skills. Employers need people who can solve problems using technology, and can learn rapidly in a team environment to evolve their set of competencies over time to meet the needs of the business. The reality is that if we teach a finite set of very specific technologies and skills, like focusing exclusively on a particular stack of Java, then every student that leaves the program only knows Java. The very first thing they’d have to do is learn how the company that hired them does everything, and that might mean learning a completely new stack.

Instead of focusing on the technology, we focus on concepts that guide the technology and the ability for the student to learn those things. Teaching how to function in this industry is equally, if not more important than the specific technology that the student has learned.

Want to read more? Check out the full post on Course Report.

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