Friday Q&A: Is starting to learn to code at age 21 too late to enter the corporate world?

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:

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The week in news – March 3

In case you missed it, below are this week’s top headlines from The Iron Yard:

A new kind of tech education program: corporate training

This week, the Wall Street Journal published an article, “A New Kind of Jobs Program for Middle America,” discussing how code schools are quickly teaching the software development skills employers across the U.S. desperately need.  

The article suggests that change is “coming for the ecosystem of employers, educational institutions and job-seekers who confront the increasingly software-driven nature of work,” and that “for code schools to have a meaningful impact on the overall labor market, they will have to continue their rapid pace of expansion.” While change is certainly coming for the American workforce – and indeed may already be here – it’s not just the number of code schools that will need to expand to make an impact on the market.

In most cases, in-person code boot camps immerse individual students who have little to no background in computer science in the programming language of their choice. The goal of these in-person immersive courses, like those offered at The Iron Yard, is to prepare graduates to join a company in entry-level software development positions. And that is a worthy goal; there is absolutely a need to provide training to individuals who want to change careers and join the booming tech industry.

But in order to equip enough people with coding skills to meet employer demand, individuals pursuing their own coding education are only half of the equation. For code schools to have the meaningful labor market impact the Wall Street Journal article describes, they also need to take training programs directly to employers and their current employees. Through a holistic approach that includes onboarding new developers, reskilling current employees to become developers and upskilling valuable senior-level talent with new technologies, companies across the U.S. have the opportunity to solve their own talent needs.   

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Jessica Mitsch is on the front lines of a national effort to get more women into tech careers

This week our executive director of the code school, Jessica Mitsch, was chosen to be the News & Observer’s “Tar Heel of the Week.” In an interview, Jessica discussed her role leading national partnerships for The Iron Yard, supporting the school’s alumni and how she is helping foster diversity in the tech industry.

Read an excerpt of Jessica’s interview below:

Jessica Mitsch recently quit using the term “guys.”

The Raleigh native and executive with The Iron Yard, a training school for software developers, adopted the term so that she could quit using “y’all” when addressing groups outside the South.

But she felt the sting it can carry in a field dominated by men when a young entrepreneur described to her what kind of “guys” he hoped to hire.

“He wasn’t using the word “guys” as a colloquial phrase for people,” she says in a post on the InfoWorld blog. “When he sat down to envision who he was going to hire, he thought ‘guys’ – that is, young adult men.”

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Friday Q&A: Is attending an online bootcamp sufficient for getting a job?

Asking tons questions is the most important thing you can do when deciding if code school is right for you. It’s a big decision – and one that requires a significant investment of time, energy and money – so we want to ensure that all of our students are comfortable, have the right expectations and are prepared to hit the ground running on day one of their course.

Starting this week, every Friday we’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions we get from people who want to learn to code and start working in the tech industry. Have a question you want answered? Leave us a note in the comments section!

Today, we’ll answer a question someone recently posted on SwitchUp (a code school review website): Is attending an online bootcamp sufficient for getting a job? Or is an in-person course more likely to guarantee a job after completion? What kind of certificate can I expect to get from a school like Thinkful, and will employers recognize it?”

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Meet the team: Spotlight on Austin

Not just the capital city of Texas, Austin earned the nickname “Silicon Hills” for the huge number of tech companies that have taken up residence in the metro area.

Today, we caught up with two of our amazing team members in Austin – Karly Borden, Campus Director, and Quincy Daniels, Campus Operations Manager. Below we talk about their backgrounds and what led them to The Iron Yard, what they love about the Austin tech community and their goals for The Iron Yard in Austin in 2017:

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Team member spotlight: Meet Devin, DC Urban Alliance intern

This month in Washington, DC, we welcomed a new intern from the Urban Alliance organization to our campus. Devin Mozee is a senior at McKinley Technology High School, a tech enthusiast and a huge asset to our team. The Urban Alliance program helps train the tech talent of the future by providing high school seniors with an intensive year-long experience featuring professional development training, paid internships and one-on-one support.

We sat down with Devin to learn more about how he found the Urban Alliance program, why he loves tech and what his goals are for the future:

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Prioritizing diversity and inclusion in Indianapolis’ tech industry

Like we wrote about earlier this week, supporting diversity in the tech industry is a top priority for The Iron Yard. This month, we celebrated an exciting milestone on our Indianapolis campus: Not only did we welcome the largest class we’ve ever had, it was also one of the most diverse. This cohort in Indianapolis has a 50/50 split of men and women.

Our Indianapolis campus director, Emily Trimble, recently contributed an article to TechPoint.org talking about the hard work she and her team have done over the past couple of years to ensure the Indianapolis campus is a safe, comfortable learning environment for all.

Below is an excerpt of Emily’s article, “Prioritizing diversity and inclusion in Indianapolis’ tech industry,” that talks about what led to increased enrollment of female students:

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The Iron Yard is one of SwitchUp’s best reviewed bootcamps

The following is a guest post from SwitchUp.org, an online platform that helps students find a technology or coding bootcamp for their transition into a technology career. 

Today, we’re thrilled to announce that The Iron Yard is a top-rated coding school on SwitchUp! We recently released our year-end ‘Best Coding Bootcamps’ list, and The Iron Yard currently boasts 64 alumni reviews at 4.2 stars.

The Iron Yard takes student feedback seriously, and it was exciting to see that reviewers were especially impressed by The Iron Yard’s teaching methods, hands-on curriculum and campus environment. Here’s the breakdown of what students have to say:

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CODE Debugging the Gender Gap: Screenings coming to a campus near you

Supporting diversity in the tech industry is something we’re incredibly passionate about at The Iron Yard, and something we’re actively working to impact. We hope to inspire communities to have open and honest conversations about the issue of diversity in tech, and create an inclusive, safe environment for tech education.

To that end, we are working with local partners to offer screenings of the documentary CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap. Our goal is to bring together our students, staff and members of the local tech community to talk about how we can increase gender diversity in the field.

The CODE documentary exposes the dearth of American female and minority software engineers and explores the reasons for this gender gap.  The film raises the question: what would society gain from having more women and minorities code?

Below is a list of upcoming screenings on our campuses. Want to learn more about CODE? Check out the trailer here.

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