There’s never been a better time to start a programming career

We’ve all seen headlines in the news that claim “tech is a hot field.” In fact, we’ve published articles with similar titles on this blog. But is it true? Is right now a great time to start a programming career?

Based on our first-hand experience over the last several years, we can say with confidence that there is overwhelming demand from employers and that thousands of our graduates have landed great jobs in technology—so yes, it’s a great time to start a programming career.

A recent report from Glassdoor confirms that our experience is part of a nation-wide trend.

Glassdoor is a site that “holds a growing database of millions of company reviews, CEO approval ratings, salary reports, interview reviews and questions, benefits reviews, office photos and more.” But get this—they employ real economists who study their own data and data from public sources so they can identify major trends happening in the job market.

Their chief economist, Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, released a report called Looking Ahead: 5 Jobs Trends to Watch in 2017, and it had several pieces of valuable information for people who want to start a programming career.

Let’s take a look at what Dr. Chamberlain discovered. Read More

The Iron Yard in 2017: Strong, ambitious and focused

With 2016 at a close, I’ve taken the time to reflect on The Iron Yard and the amazing journey we’ve been on with so many incredible students. It’s been a rewarding process and I want to share my thoughts with you as we dive into an exciting new year.

First, in 2017, the code school industry will turn 5 years old. In that time the market has grown from a handful of players to over 90 full-time schools and tens-of-thousands of graduates. At The Iron Yard, we will enter our fourth year of operating as one of the first national code schools. Our mission remains to create real lasting change for people, communities and companies through technology education, and we consider it a privilege to be a part of a growing movement that is changing so many people’s lives. Read More

Want a tech job in your city? Consider code school (but do your homework)

Last week I took time to read the Bloomberg article, “Want a Job in Silicon Valley? Keep Away From Coding Schools.” I couldn’t help but feel disappointed in the reckless way that it seems some schools have approached such a serious endeavor like education.

At the same time, I was struck by the broad brush the reporter used to paint the code school industry and the implications it could have on readers around the country—not just in Silicon Valley—who are considering or have already chosen a code school as their path to a new career in software development. I’ve personally been involved in helping literally thousands of people change their lives by launching new careers through learning to code, so I thought it would be helpful to take a look at these issues from another perspective.

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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.)

Popular methods to learn programming

When choosing to learn programming, students have a wide array of options available to them. From a traditional college experience to online classes to immersive bootcamps, every option has positives and negatives and truly depends on your learning and career goals. To make the best decision, evaluate your goals and review which method makes the most sense for you.

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From dancer to developer: Heather’s story

I’m often asked, “what types of people go through The Iron Yard?” Having met hundreds of our graduates personally, I know first-hand that there isn’t a single mold our students fit. This week, I caught up with Heather Conley, a graduate from our Atlanta campus, who is a great example.

Before attending The Iron Yard, Heather had turned her passion for ballet into a career as a professional dancer and arts administrator. After several decades, though, she began to realize that she had hit a ceiling in career growth and started to think about new opportunities. Code schools first came onto her radar after she read an article about bootcamps and she then explored several programs. After going to an open house at The Iron Yard, she knew from both the welcoming environment and her interactions with the staff that it was the place for her. The decision was reinforced by meeting a graduate and hearing about the job that graduate found shortly after completing the program.

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Stories from the field: Houston alumni roundtable

As companies grow and change, it’s not uncommon for the people at the ‘top’ (like executives) to lose touch with the people on the ground—the customer, and in our case, the students. Over the last few years, The Iron Yard has grown into a national school with more than 20 campuses, but I know first hand that the people leading this company work hard to stay in touch and involved with the students we serve each day. 

One way we do that is through roundtables, which are informal discussions where we gather students and alumni to hear their stories and listen to their feedback on The Iron Yard experience. I look forward to these chats with students more than almost any part of my job. Recently, I sat down with several alumni in Houston to eat pizza and hear their stories. Below I’ve compiled some of the highlights from our discussion.

Interested in hearing more? Let us know in the comments and we’ll be happy to connect you with a graduate.

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Making education work in Atlanta

Our CMO, Eric Dodds, recently wrote a beautiful op-ed piece for Hypepotamus about the TechHire initiative in Atlanta as a fresh approach to education and workforce development. Read on and let us know – how do you think we can work together to provide better access to education as a whole?

Just the other day, I met with an organization that gives a few hundred dollars each year out of their already-strapped budget to buy art supplies for local elementary school students. Seeing student artwork and hearing about the gratitude of under-resourced teachers was heartwarming, but understanding that hundreds of other teachers in the district have no supplies was equally as heartbreaking.

It’s no secret that education in our country faces significant challenges—problems that extend from pre-K to higher education. We’ve all seen headlines about the rising cost of college and huge amounts of debt that many graduates carry with them into the marketplace. In fact, there’s a good chance that you’re among the 1.5 million Georgians with student loan debt. Read More

Thoughts on education: content isn’t enough

Some time ago, I ran across a conversation in a forum started by someone trying to teach themselves to code online. Here’s what they had to say:

I have been trying for months to learn code…Python, but just cannot seem to grasp it. I think it is an issue of not understanding when to put something in quotation marks or in parenthesis. Whatever it is, I just can’t figure it out. It’s making me feel like I have the IQ of a street lamp, but seriously, it can’t be THAT hard. What am I doing wrong? Anyone can help me understand this better?

The responses and suggestions were interesting— they range from suggesting other online code tutorials to YouTube videos and even a recommendation to choosing another language. One in particular stuck out to me:

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