Over the last few months, each Iron Yard campus held a movie screening for CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap for our students and communities. Released in 2016 with critical acclaim, the movie talks about three huge gaps in the tech industry—a gender gap, a race gap, and a pay gap—what causes them, and how to start working through them. Read More
Diversity is one of the most important issues facing the tech industry today. In order to make lasting change and foster an inclusive tech sector, it’s imperative that all stakeholders – from educators and employers to government and civic organizations – are accountable for the role they play in shaping the makeup of the workforce.
The role of code schools
For many, code schools are the entry point to the tech ecosystem and where students go to get the training they need to secure their first job as a developer. As such, code schools have a responsibility to help grow diversity in the tech industry and the unique opportunity to make an impact on workforce demographics.
First, code schools have the ability to impact change quickly. The majority of our students at The Iron Yard are career changers, meaning we’re training people within the existing workforce to take on new roles in tech. This allows us, and programs like ours, to help generate more diverse talent pools within the tech industry more quickly than any other point of entry (e.g. k-12 programs, four-year degrees, etc).
In this week’s installment of Friday Q&A, we’ll answer a question we get on all of our campuses – what companies do you work with?
The short answer to that question is that we work with dozens of companies around the country through our Corporate Training programs, as part of our local Advisory Boards and as hiring partners. Some of the companies we’ve worked with include IBM Design, Microsoft, GitHub, Amazon and AT&T, just to name a few.
But taking a step back, it’s important to look beyond who we work with, to the why and how we work with different companies.
This week SwitchUp sat down with our own Sam Kapila, Director of Instruction, to talk more about the #YesWeCode Fund and The Iron Yard’s diversity initiatives. Sam was a participant in the panel at SXSW where the Fund was launched, and leads our internal diversity council. See an excerpt from her interview below:
This weekend at SXSW, we had the honor of sitting alongside leaders from DreamCorps, #YesWeCode, TechHire and TechSquare Labs to announce that applications for the newly renamed #YesWeCode Fund are now live.
The #YesWeCode Fund was initially launched as the Tech Opportunity Fund in September 2016 and is a collaboration between The Iron Yard, Code Fellows, Operation HOPE, Opportunity Ecosystem, Climb Credit, TechSquare Labs, We Can Code IT and #YesWeCode. By unifying the efforts of code schools, government, civic organizations and employers, the goal of the Fund is to increase diversity in the tech industry by removing financial barriers and increasing access to tech education.
This is a huge goal and we are proud to be a part of the solution. Our CEO, Peter Barth said it best: “Creating an inclusive tech workforce can only be achieved if all stakeholders in the tech sector are represented in the solution. By uniting the efforts of employers, educators, government and civic organizations in the Fund, we can both inspire people who are currently underrepresented in the industry to choose tech as a career and empower them to pursue that goal through a full-tuition scholarship to attend a code school.”
Today’s Friday Q&A question is one we hear regularly from prospective students: who will be teaching my course?
Instructors are one of the most important ingredients in a code school student’s success and “who will I be learning from” is probably one of the best questions prospective students can ask. At The Iron Yard, we often describe our instructors as “part mentor, part development expert and part passionate educator.” This combination that is a tall but worthy order for students who have put everything on the line to pursue a career in tech.
So let’s break those characteristics down a bit further:
Raleigh is a major center for high-tech and biotech research, and was named the number one “fastest growing city for technology jobs” in 2012. To prepare the next generation of developers for opportunities in the Research Triangle area, we have campus locations in both Durham and Raleigh.
Today, we’d like you to meet our outstanding team in Raleigh – Stacey Vernon, Campus Director; Kaitlin Saunders, Operations Assistant; Doug Hughes, Java Instructor; Lexi Namer, UI Design Instructor; and Heather Robbins, Student Enrollment Representative. Below we talk about their backgrounds and what led them to The Iron Yard, what they love about Raleigh and advice they have for people who are interested in code school:
This article was written by Adam Jahr, our campus operations manager in Orlando.
Working for The Iron Yard since early 2015, I’ve witnessed students’ brains change, minds unlock, and futures open up. The level of motivation, focus, and discipline required to transform oneself into a junior-level developer in just 3 months’ time is monumental.
I have never taken my job lightly. I am responsible for ensuring our campus is admitting students we believe can succeed through our model of education, and I support them every step of the way during the program and beyond. We’re literally changing lives, and I am honored to be supporting these inspiring souls.
And, as I’ve found, inspiration tends to rub off on you. That’s why last November I took a leap of faith in myself and became an Iron Yard student.
So… how was it?
In a word: incredible.
In this week’s installment of Friday Q&A, we’ll address a recent question from Quora, “Is starting to learn to code at age 21 too late to enter the corporate world?”
This is a great question and the answer is simple: Absolutely not. It is never too late to start learning to code.
At The Iron Yard, we have had students ranging from 18 years old to over 65. Many are “career changers,” who are looking to learn to code so that they can begin rewarding careers in tech with huge opportunity for growth. The beauty of the code school model is that it allows students to learn the technical skills they need to be hired as junior level developers in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the cost of a traditional university. And the model works (check out our post from last week about how immersive code schools help prepare students to start their career as a developer, including thoughts from employers who have hired bootcamp graduates.)
But bootcamp graduates – and particularly those who are career changers or learned to code later in life – have a lot more than just technical skills to bring to employers. Our Indianapolis campus director, Emily Trimble, said it best:
In case you missed it, below are this week’s top headlines from The Iron Yard:
- News & Observer – Jessica Mitsch is on the front lines of a national effort to get more women into tech careers: Profile on our Executive Director of the Code School, Jessica Mitsch, for the “Tar Heel of the Week” feature.
- CMS Wire – How to Keep Your Skills Sharp and Your Career Vibrant: Independent organizations and companies have made it easier to access learning resources, removing barriers such as expensive tuition, remote locations and rigid schedules for those seeking to gain new skills. These efforts help people, regardless of academic background, socioeconomic status or geographic location, reach the next step in their technology careers.
- DCinno – Voices of D.C. Coding Schools: What Students Say They Actually Get From the Programs: In D.C., meetups are filled with people who opted to go to General Assembly or The Iron Yard’s courses to learn their coding skills. But what is it truly like to be in coding school? To look for a new job after leaving a bootcamp? To attend part-time? DC Inno asked a group of D.C. area coding school grads.