Recruitment Events? No Way!

 We’ll have some shortly…!

One of our jobs constantly is to network and resource our students and cohort with opportunity – in fact, it is one of our greatest responsibilities, all the time!

So we are networking machines, going to bat for our students and using any and all means to connect them with future employers. And we always choose relationship-based avenues first. In other words, we choose to network and connect our students to people that we know and trust.

LinkedIn helps a lot with that as you can see above – our staff has a huge network of qualified employers who are looking for our talented students and can’t wait for them to graduate and be available.

In fact, we make casual and light introductions all throughout the semester so that we never have to have one of those awkward “recruitment events” where we intentionally collide our students with employers.

We much rather have candid conversations with employers who know our culture and know the quality of our students and then have them interface with students throughout the coursework, taking them out to lunch, grabbing coffee, and building real relational equity.

In this way we provide even better hiring scenarios matching culture and personality with opportunity instead of just a blind technical skillset match. It’s a much more natural way of doing good work and making the way for long-term vocational excellence.

Atlanta #10 in Geek America for Tech Jobs!

It’s always neat to see our city in some positive light now and again, right?

Well this new study and statistic should help make your decision to come live, work, play and code all the more easier! It seems that Atlanta is one of the top places to get a technology job!

As they’ve shared:

Home of Southern hospitality and a thriving local music scene, Atlanta scored the number 10 spot with its 126,700 high-tech workers. Techies, on the whole, have higher salaries than non-techies—in Atlanta, that’s a 77 percent difference. Techies in the sprawling metropolis average $82,372, while their non-tech private sector counterparts average $46,481. Think of that difference as a basis for feeling superior, or as a cause for lament since your non-tech friends won’t be able to afford the restaurants your salary enables.

A nice a simple reminder why it pays (quite literally) to be here in Atlanta!

Atlanta Education Advisory Board

 Click for larger view!

Yesterday I spent some time with our Education Advisory Board for our students and curriculum here in Atlanta with some delicious grub from JCT Kitchen on the West Side.

The point of gathering these local experts is quite simple: We want to provide our students with the very best education possible and working with professionals and practitioners in the field who are passionate about the next generation keeps us abreast of all the fast-paced changes within our technological ecosystem.

In other words, these men and women are “boots on the ground” to provide us with feedback on our curriculum as well as open doors and opportunity for our students (we are student-centric in everything we do!).

I appreciate their time, passion, and energy and treating them to a killer meal is the very least that we can do! Here’s a list of our current board here in Atlanta:

  1. J. Cornelius – Atlanta Web Design Group
  2. Kurt Kron – ADG Ventures
  3. Jillann Hertel – Georgia Tech
  4. Benj Miller – eyespeak
  5. Scott Henderson – Cause Shift
  6. Pia Adolphsen – UGA, Agnes Scott
  7. Marco Suarez – Mailchimp
  8. Rick Hancock – The AJC
  9. Dawn Casey-Rowe – EdTech
  10. Sian Morson – Kollective South
  11. Erin Rosintoski – Atlanta Tech Village

Thanks again team! You guys rock!

A Quick (Pun Intended) Update About Our Atlanta Campus!

If you’re like me then you’re pretty much obsessed with  speed, especially when it comes to an internet connection.

In fact, if the speed isn’t fast than it’s one of the biggest reasons why I’ll leave an otherwise neat space and environment for bigger (pipeline) and better (throughput) grounds!

One of the major reasons that The Atlanta Tech Village makes a truckload of sense is the fact that it’s one of the fastest connections in the metro Atlanta area. I mean, with over 100+ on both up and down you’re looking at some serious bandwidth!

 Makes me feel like this.

It makes most other places blush, right?

So, if you come and join us then you’ll be hooked up, quite literally, with some of the best pipes around. I dig that hard!

Just another reason to be joining us here in Buckhead @ The Atlanta Tech Village!

Finally, here’s a quick video that I made this morning about our move-in efforts which are very much in the works. We’ve got a classroom on the very cool 3rd floor as well as a brand new room on the 1st next to the incoming coffee bar and hot desks.

I’ll get some video of the downstairs classroom and environment as we get closer to launch. Get excited, get pumped!

Oh, and we’ve still got a few slots open for our Atlanta iOS Course and Rails Course – let’s do this!

Venturing Into AFK Marketing


Read the article here.

I’m a digital guy through and through so it’s often times hard for me to understand the value and the return on investment in “physical” media. But we know that it works and we know that much of our audience is reading newspapers as well as being stuck on I-75, I-85, I-285, and 400.

Yuck! So we’ve got not only some print press but also a few billboards around Atlanta to help wet your appetite for what we’re doing here in Atlanta! Here are a few snap shots of the billboards that we’ve put up:

A few of these are also located in and around our new Charleston location as well!

It’s fun to see these physical models of advertising despite my focus on the digital side of things and we’ve already had some great responses from them.

And you know, it just makes sense when you think about it: We are a business that spends most of our time with students, in physical locations and creative classroom environments. Why not pitch out there IRL? Why not share what we’re doing “away from the keyboard”? Of course!

Great Wide Open: 10 Free Tickets!

I absolutely love software in all of it’s many different forms and have spent time building products for both large and very small organizations using proprietary and open source software. It’s all good from any way that you look at it!

The last big venture that I had was an open source-based company that had 4 partners and 7 staff – not bad for “free” software, right? So in many ways I’ve been incredibly blessed and thankful for open source and what it has provided me in terms of my career and for my family.

This is why I’m excited to share that we’ve partnered with Great Wide Open, a conference coming to Atlanta that will connect the best and the brightest open source-minded people!

You only have to look at the Speakers Page to get a real look at what you’re going to experience and oh, by the way, we’d love for you to be there!

So we’ve got 10 free tickets for you… and you should definitely do it!

How to Get a Free Ticket:

It’s quite simple:

  1. Post a comment below about what your favorite open source technology is! [1 entry]
  2. Post to Twitter with a link back to this blog post [1 entry]
  3. Post to Facebook with a link back to this blog post [1 entry]

You can get up to 3 entries a day! We’ll close the contest next week!

Rock it out!

AKQA: Cool Projects, Challenging and Rewarding Work

I had the pleasure of visiting the AKQA Atlanta offices over on 10 Tenth (right near Georgia Tech campus) yesterday and I had a blast meeting the Creative Director as well as some of the other HR staff.

Besides the very cool work that they’ve done globally they have some incredibly strong roots with Atlanta-based companies, like Delta (and the Delta mobile app is actually quite decent – I use it all the time for my travels!).

The point of meeting up with these very cool companies is to establish relationships that will matter for our students – in particular, opportunities for our students to interface, learn from, and be hired by these great companies.

We take this responsibility very seriously because we only align with companies that have the same ethos and approach to not only hiring but their work in general and the quality of engineering that they need.

The team over at AKQA is pretty legit – they’ve got a growing campus and a very family-like atmosphere with a small, agile, and impactful team that is getting some very neat stuff done. For our students interested in working in an exciting and project-based environment with new technical challenges consistently this might be the right spot to land post-graduation.

And I’ll be the first to make an introduction to them and their team. I can’t wait for many of you to meet them! We’ll plan on visiting their offices and perhaps even holding a class (or two?!) in their space so you get a feel for how they do their work, their culture, and environment.

Oh, and they are hiring iOS developers like crazy – why not get trained in Obj-C ASAP? We start classes soon!

Cool Artifacts for the Classroom?

 Why not…

One of the more fun elements of my job right now is making sure that the environment that we’re creating here in Atlanta is the most fun possible. In other words, doing a bit of interior design if you will.

The problem is that I’m terrible at it and I am really the last person you want to ask in regards to a classy, aesthetically-pleasing experience. If it were up to me then I’d plop down a few bean bags and that would be the end of it (I did this once in a previous venture… my partners did not love nor use them much).

Consequently, I’m trying to gather my thoughts around what the environment should attempt to be as well as do, functionally-speaking. Naturally our environment will have chairs and some desks for the students but the way we teach is pretty fluid so I’d imagine a variety of “workstations” if you will.

I’m not entirely sure what we can pull-off right now given the potential limitations at Atlanta Technology Village but I’d like it to be comfortable and welcoming. I have a few personal posters that I’d like to bring from home but that might be a stretch since I’m sure my tastes necessarily match most other people’s.

Got any ideas for us here in Atlanta? Should we provide each student with a NERF hand-gun to use when frustrated? It’s things like that that can give an environment some character, some flavor, some serendipitous excitement. This is part of what makes our culture unique.

We’re Headed to Atlanta Tech Village!

imageWe’ve been working hard in the last month to finalize a location for our Academy classes and we’ve been touring spaces all around Atlanta.

To be honest, it’s been one of the most frustrating series of experiences I’ve had in a while as things with real estate never quite work out exactly how you’d like them to work out (but that’s just the nature of the beast, as they say).

Regardless, I’m happy to report that we’ve landed in a location that makes a lot of sense for a whole bunch of reasons and we’re excited to publicly announce our partnership with Atlanta Tech Village! Here’s a few reasons why this is going to be an epic start to our Atlanta Campus:

  1. All About Engineering – The ATV doesn’t house “code monkeys” and we don’t train those types of students either. We’re all about creating professional-grade engineers who can tackle real-world problems day #1. It’s a culture and ecosystem that will be as natural as breathing.
  2. A Growing Ecosystem – The talent pool (and financial pool) @ ATV is large and growing and that’s good for our students and for future employers. Natural collision between our students and all the rest of the community will make for some great stories besides great career opportunities.
  3. Mission-Driven: We are a mission-driven company, through and through as we are on-mission to solve a growing crisis of a growing gap between available engineering talent and those that need that talent today. Job creation is at the heart of what we do and it’s also what drives ATV.
  4. All In The Family: We have worked out a great partnership with the folks at ATV to have our students be a literal part of the family taking advantage of all the natural resources and events that make the ATV special. Are you a family member of the Iron Yard? Great! You’re also a member of the ATV community at large. Wonderful!
  5. Flexible: I’ve been working with Erin Rosintoski (you ROCK!) for the past few months working out not just a strategic plan but also a tactical one that’ll get our classes up and running amidst a heck of a lot of construction and renovation. They are flexible and agile just as we are and that makes for a fun-time and a level-setting of expectations that make me smile.
  6. Startups & More: They are all about startups and so are we. I dig this, a lot!

Ahh… I can sit back for a bit and just finally relax that we’ve locked down a space for the time being that’ll get our students the education that they need for serious life-change.

Thanks again to Erin and the team @ ATV for helping us get settled; sure, we’ve got a lot of work still to do to prep the space but that’ll be the easy part as compared to the rest of the work that we’ve walked through together!

 Click for Map

Atlanta Technology Village
3423 Piedmont Road Northeast
Atlanta, GA 30305


Get Trained By Practitioners

One of the best things about the instructors that we have teaching the Academy Program here at The Iron Yard is the fact that every single one of them are very much practitioners in their skills and craft.

In other words, they maintain a high degree of fluency within their respective technical fields by continuing to experiment and build products and applications in their free time. For example, our iOS Instructor, Jo Albright, recently launched a nifty little app called Liltool:

A very powerful illustration tool, that has a simplistic user experience. You can easily save your designs through services like Dropbox for additional editing or to use on the web.

Here are a few screengrabs:

The point of this post is not only to celebrate Jo building a neat iOS application but also to challenge those that are looking to become engineers yourself this year: Are you being trained by those that are still “practicing” their software development skills in real life or by those that haven’t been “in the field” in a long time?

Even for myself I am actively building an iOS app (and an OS X app) that keeps me fresh and on the continual path of learning. So if you’re interested in mobile programming and interested in being a part of one of the fastest growing technological market segments, you should sign up for our upcoming iOS course.

Now’s the time!