Student Post from Daniel Donaldson: “Week 1”


This is a post from our Greenville JavaScript student Daniel Donaldson. He came all of the way from Texas to be a part of our program, which is both humbling and incredibly exciting for us. Daniel’s story is incredible, and you can read more about it on his blog (check out Part 1 and Part 2 how he ended up at The Iron Yard). 

Also, if you’re interested, read this post and then check out our Front End Engineering class page—when we say we emphasize learning how to learn, we mean it. It’s amazing to watch students learn how to learn and realize they are developing rock-solid mental skills that will serve them the rest of their lives.


Welp, my first week at The Iron Yard has come to a close and I have survived. So far I’ve listened to 4 lectures, created 2 websites (semi-functional), coded 20+ hours outside of class time and had too many cups of coffee to keep track. Our professor believes in the sink or swim method of teaching which completely frightens me. However, after a week of doing it I can honestly see why.

Someone asked me the other day, ‘Do you like the program?’ My answer is a resounding yes. I made a very deliberate decision when choosing to come here. I traveled a thousand miles from home, away from my family, in a place I’m completely unfamiliar with to learn difficult material I’ve never done before for a very specific reason: I believe this is going to change my life (and that of my family’s) for the better. On the meandering road trip to Greenville I felt like I was on the cusp of a grand adventure, like Frodo or maybe a Hardy Boy. Completing this program is about more than just getting a job for me. I want to make the world a better place (cheesy, yes, but there it is) and I’m certain this is the beginning of that path.

After week one, here’s a few specific things I’m getting/learning which I’m really pumped about (although my capacity for enthusiasm is only slightly curbed by lack of sleep):

Getting It Done

Essentially, we are being taught to work despite our fear of the failing miserably, introductory level of skill, and mental exhaustion. We are getting used to searching for the solution despite a hundred failed attempts. In a word, we are learning to be overcomers. Truly, I’ve learned more in the past week trying to meet these deadlines than I have for the past year of learning on my own and that’s a good feeling.

Sage Advice

They don’t just give you the answer, but they try to push us in the right directions and tell us which dark alleys on the internet to avoid. The advice of seasoned programmers is pure gold and can’t be understated.

Thinking Like A Programer / Problem Solver

Learning to program isn’t just about learning a new language (though you are). It’s also about learning to think through a problem thoroughly and well. I’m only just beginning to see the ways my own problem solving ability needs to be adjusted, but it’s an exciting self discovery.

Those are the highlights from the first week. So far we’ve only focused on HTML & CSS but more languages are just around the corner (as are many more late nights & cups of coffee, I’m sure).

On a personal note, I’ve been missing my family a lot this week. I can’t even believe it’s been only a few days… it feels like it’s been weeks already. I took a walk today for a break from my computer and it was such a beautiful day outside. I found myself being really overwhelmed by God’s goodness, which for some reason made me think about how much I miss the voices of my wife and kids. I love listening to the things they say, both the profound and the ridiculous. Lord knows I’m so grateful to have a wife who is making as much of a sacrifice (if not more) as I am. She’s a keeper.

My peeps. Took this picture the day before I left. They are all totally & adorably crazy.

Can’t wait to show you guys some stuff I’ve built. Stay tuned.

(This article was re-posted from Daniel Donaldson’s personal blog.)

2 Reasons Why We Create Incredible Experiences at the Academy


It’s been a whirlwind of activity here in Greenville as we are embarking on our very first class (of any type) for the 2014 year!

Our first class is our Front End Engineering course taught by our unforgettable Partner and instructor, Mason Stewart!

We’ve got a full-class of students who are about to embark on what we believe will be one of the best experiences of their very lives.

We’re that confident because of two things, namely:


1. Our Students

We go through a rigorous process of understanding our students through interviews and assessments – it is our unique responsibility to know if our students will be able to not only learn and retain the knowledge that we’re providing for them but have the capacity and wisdom to execute and grow into a true engineering world as our world changes too fast for anyone to be “locked in” to one type of technology.

Consequently, we teach them to think for themselves and explore and engage with the engineering in a holistic and practical manner.


But perhaps most importantly is our existing track record of successful graduates.

We couldn’t be more proud of how far many of them have come and the roles and responsibilities that many of them now have with incredible roles in great companies (a few have even started their own!).

If you haven’t seen this video yet then please make sure you do://

The Iron Yard Academy – Become a Professional Programmer and Get an Awesome Job from TheIronYard on Vimeo.

2. Our Instructors

Secondly, we have incredible instructors (we’re still hiring a few!) that have signed on to invest their incredible experiences, insights, and expertise to our students. Without them we couldn’t possibly do what we are (and have) done with our program.

I’ve had the pleasure to get to know every instructor that comes through our doors and the quality and professionalism is really top shelf. But perhaps more than that is the fact that they all have a deep desire to invest in others and the future success of others. That’s hard to come by and it’s often difficult to hire for but when it’s there it’s hard to ignore!

We spent yesterday and today setting up the class and writing a few words of wisdom and encouragement on the walls of our academy – we can’t wait for them to show up and kick some serious tail!



This is going to be a pretty incredible year!