News & Observer stops by The Iron Yard, talks tech in the Research Triangle

The News & Observer stopped by our Raleigh campus to talk about how coding schools are providing a lane into the technology industry.

The article looks into the tech landscape in the Research Triangle and how coding schools are providing options for people who have an interest in learning web programming.

“The cost, flexibility and time frame of the boot camps are among the most appealing factors for people looking to get a piece of the tech pie. For those who have watched their friends struggle to find jobs after spending four years at a university, it’s a less risky investment.”

The Iron Yard campuses in both Raleigh and Durham have seen increased interest in coding education due to a growing tech industry in the area.

Read the full article here.

Meet the team: Spotlight on Raleigh

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:

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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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Hour of code: Inspiring the next generation of coders

At The Iron Yard, we believe that investing in the local tech economy for the long-run means impacting and inspiring the next generation of coders. Our instructors and alumni regularly volunteer their time to make sure kids in every community where we operate have a chance to be exposed to coding. Plus, our kids coding classes usually include fun topics like how to build games and feature popular characters from movies and TV shows.

Each year, Code.org organizes Hour of Code – a  global movement that introduces students around the globe to coding through a one-hour introduction to computer science and computer programming. Teaching kids is in The Iron Yard’s DNA and we are proud participants in the Hour of Code.

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From layoff to international iOS developer: Donny’s story

Donny’s first taste of computer programming came from a course at a local technical college in the year 2000. At that point, he’d tried a few college courses that didn’t interest him, but something about his programming courses (in RPG and Java) clicked. In 2002, he accepted his first programming job – before graduation. He never finished his last two college courses.

“I was 23, I had a programming job, and I thought I was cool and didn’t need to finish,” he said. “I had this footloose, carefree mentality because I was a developer.” Read More

Skills Without Frills: The Rise of Coding Academies →

The basement of a onceabandoned tobacco factory may seem to be an odd place to teach the most cutting edge computer technology, but that’s where The Iron Yard, a computer coding academy in Durham, North Carolina, makes its home. It holds classes in the basement of the American Tobacco Campus, a renovated multi-use industrial site where the American Tobacco Factory once manufactured famous cigarette brands like Lucky Strike and Liggett & Myers.

Yet, The Iron Yard’s location does have a certain sense of continuity or symmetry to it. The industrial chic décor, with cement walls and floors, pipes hanging from the ceiling, and glass walls for every room, immediately brings to mind the feeling that this is a place of work,befitting a for-profit school dedicated to providing students with no-frills, nose-to-the-grindstone training intended to lead to a highly skilled job in just a few short months.

Read the full Pope Center for Higher Education Policy article here.

Raleigh-Durham Demo Day Recap

For 12 weeks, our students put their heart and soul into learning how to code. At the end of each cohort, we celebrate the culmination of their immersive training and all they have accomplished at Demo Day. Demo Day gives each of our grads the opportunity to show off the applications they’ve built to prospective employers, community leaders and peers after weeks of hard work and preparation.

On July 13, our Raleigh and Durham campuses joined forces to host one of our largest Demo Day events to date. Not only did the event draw a full house of leaders and advisory board members from the Triangle area, it brought together more than 20 members of The Iron Yard team to support our students in-person. We consider it a privilege that our students choose us to be a part of their journey and watching them share their projects with the community is a powerful reminder of the why we love coming to work everyday.

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