From kinesiology to coding: Jenessa’s story

Jenessa White was first exposed to coding in high school through an intro to web development course. There, she learned the basics of HTML/CSS and built her first website which “was terrible but at least the font was awesome.” Jenessa loved the course and couldn’t wait to register for the next level, but soon found out that there was no next course.

A few years later, she found programming again mid-way through her junior year in college. “I thought to myself, ‘I should have been a computer science major,’ but at that point it was too late and what I really liked was actually building things more than I liked the theory,” Jenessa explained.

After graduating from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities with a degree in Kinesiology and Sport Science, Jenessa started work at SportsEngine, a local Minneapolis startup, as a registration consultant, a role that primarily focused on customer service. “They built software so I was still getting a little bit of exposure, but not a significant amount. Since it was an interest of mine, I paid attention and was always like ‘this is broken, this is broken, how can we fix it?’ I was always the really interested person.”

Next, Jenessa worked in customer service at DirecTV, before deciding she wanted to pursue new opportunities. As she was planning to leave her job, her best friend sat her down and said, “You don’t actually want to do customer service work, do you? You want to be a developer, so why don’t you do it?”

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Minnesota Morning | The Iron Yard, MyAlerts Funding And MN Tech Podcast →

A couple of days ago The Iron Yard had an event for students, alumni and the advisory board… we had a trivia contest. We had teams, 6 rounds of questions and some minor trash talk. My team was leading after 3 rounds but the 4th round we fell apart and finished 3rd overall. It was a good way to get to know everyone better. We then had some time to interact with the students with lots of conversations around code, the Minnesota tech scene and their upcoming job search.

Read the full article on Paul DeBettignies’ Minnesota Headhunter blog.

From writing science fiction to writing code: Joan’s Story

*story update: Joan has accepted a position as anApplication Development Associate with Accenture! Congrats Joan.

There are some people you come across who immediately inspire you with their diverse life experience and enthusiasm – and that’s exactly how we felt when we first met Joan Marie Verba. Joan was an associate instructor of astronomy for a year, and she’s an award-winning science fiction and fantasy author. In addition to writing young adult fiction and nonfiction (you can check out some of her work here!), she belongs to the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.

Joan has a bachelor’s degree in physics and also attended graduate school for astronomy. During those years, she took a few computer programming courses, although it wasn’t her primary academic focus.

“I’ve reviewed thousands of student applications in my time at The Iron Yard, and it was clear to me within minutes of speaking with Joan that not only was she a standout among other applicants, she was authentic in a way that was as inspiring as it was apparent,” said Watson Mulkey, student success lead at The Iron Yard.

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Learning to code from a musician’s point-of-view: Hunter’s story

Hunter grew up playing instruments in his family’s music store, so it was no surprise that he was drawn to music programs in school and eventually became a musician himself. He moved to Boston to attend Berkelee College of Music, where he majored in electronic production and design (the study of music technology). He studied everything from software to sound design, synthesis and programming. “I was always fascinated by what was possible,” he explained.

So, after college, he moved to New York and started a successful event promotion company where he did everything from designing flyers to DJing. “It was a dream come true, except I was always way too busy,” he said. Read More

The Iron Yard Offers Free Tuition For Women and Minorities In Minnesota →

The Iron Yard announced last week a partnership with Code Fellows and Operation HOPE to launch a $40m Tech Opportunity Fund for some free tuition in 2017 across their nationwide network of 21 coding schools. These ‘diversity scholarships’ are reserved exclusively for women and minorities, beginning in 2017.

Read the full article including how the scholarships will impact the Minneapolis community in TechdotMN.

Staff Spotlight: Kristina Schatz, Regional Director of Operations

As The Iron Yard has grown, we’ve worked hard to ensure that each of our campuses – new and established – maintain that special Iron Yard ‘feel.’ That means creating an awesome learning environment for our students and a positive, supportive environment for our staff.

One way we’ve done this is by hiring three Regional Directors of Operations. These RDOs assist with the overall health and well-being of the campuses; troubleshoot any problems and work with local campus teams to implement solutions; and coach and mentor their region to be the best they can be.

Today, we’d like to introduce you to Kristina Schatz. Based in Minneapolis, Kristina leads The Iron Yard’s region that includes our campuses in Minneapolis, Detroit, DC, Nashville, Indianapolis and Cincinnati. She served for 17 years at Target Corporation leading both creative and operations teams for “the Target Experience.” She also has impressive experience working in education. After adopting her daughter from China, she helped found and grow a Chinese language immersion school in Minneapolis.

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Minnesota Hires 5,500 Tech Workers In 2015, But Demand Outstrips Supply →

Despite considerable increases in the tech workforce, Minnesota businesses are finding that many positions remain open. Tech industry education establishments, such as The Iron Yard and Prime Digital Academy, have recently targeted the Twin Cities, calling it a “thriving tech hub” in need of a larger active workforce.

Read the full article in Twin Cities Business here.

Worker shortage lures tech training program to Minneapolis →

A growing crop of unfilled, high-paying tech jobs in Minneapolis lured another sector-specific training school to the market, potentially bolstering a citywide push to prepare more women and people of color to enter the field.

The Iron Yard’s CMO Eric Dodds spoke with Minnesota’s Finance & Commerce magazine about the opening of the new Minneapolis campus. Read the full article here.