“You are the company you keep.”

It’s a common theme around these parts that being part of a cohort at The Iron Yard is like being part of a family. Student after student expresses the notion that there were hurdles they could not have gotten over without the support of their fellow classmates. The in-person experience is part of what makes The Iron Yard graduates so successful.

Greenville front end student Whitney offers her advice for future Iron Yard-ers:

Stop being comfortable. When it comes to learning new skills, adapting to new places, or building relationships, pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is a good thing. It gives you a chance to ask questions, and to evaluate and examine what’s working and what isn’t.

Take a step back to ask whether or not you’re being challenged; when things get stale, it’s easy to be complacent. If you’re not investing in your work and relationships, you’re probably not going to get much out. (To that end, the people and culture you surround yourself with will either push you forward or hold you back. Remember that you are the company you keep.)

“These bruises are a sign of taking risks…”

All of our cohorts are on slightly different schedules this year. While Charleston and Atlanta just graduated this past Friday, front end classes are still going strong in Greenville. Lance Putnam reflects on where he’s been since college and where he’ll go next after The Iron Yard.

With each of these journeys I have had successes and failures and come away from each one slightly bruised. To me though, these bruises are a sign of taking risks and getting my hands dirty with what I have been dealt and what I have dealt to myself. These bruises are my battlefield scars to show what I have been through and the chances I have taken to grow myself and better my professional career. 

At this point, I can say with a great certainty that I have never felt more comfortable about where my professional life will lead me because of my new experience in front-end development. There is still so much left to learn, and this will be a field where there is always something new to be taught, but I am confident as to how I will one day be able to be a creator and developer for startups and companies, and one day, my own business.


Congratulations to recent Greenville front end graduate Daniel on getting his first developer job! This is a milestone moment for all of our students, one that marks the capstone of their 12 weeks of hard work. But Daniel realizes that the journey doesn’t end here.

The road ahead is still going to be crazy hard. I have only scratched the surface on the technology of this industry and I have a lot of late nights ahead, but I’m looking forward to growing. I’ld be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. My resolve is going to be tested and tried, and I think I would be foolish not to recognize it as the difficult challenge it’s going to be. That said, I know what it’s like to get on the other side of tempestuous trials – to make it to the top of mountains I never thought I could climb, and every time the view has been killer.

Our goal is to teach students a new way of learning to set them on the path of being lifelong learners, and Daniel is on his way!

“One Thing at a Time”

The cohorts in Atlanta and Charleston are wrapping up this week. The students are knee-deep in their final projects, the biggest app they’ve likely built to-date. Ruby on Rails student Eldon Yoder has a great summary of some things he’s learned throughout his 12 weeks here.

His advice?

Freak out in moderation: I’m a bit of a procrastinator. You know that guy who did his homework on the way to school… I finished mine about ten minutes before the bus ride. Knowing that I have two weeks to build this app is great because I definitely have time to do some really cool things. However I’ve got to keep on pace if I’m going to get cool things built. That means freaking out from time to time and setting small deadlines for myself.

And his reward for hitting those deadlines? Catching up on sleep!

Meet The Iron Yard

Atlanta Ruby on Rails student Nate Winn relocated from California to spend an intense three months learning to program. During his decision-making process, he wished there were a repository of info about the different types of people who chose to invest in their futures by taking a class with us. So, as his cohort is winding down, he’s taking the time to interview his fellow classmates! You can follow along with the series on his blog.

Here’s what Nate wondered:

  • What were you up to before coming to The Iron Yard?
  • Why did you choose The Iron Yard?
  • Why Ruby on Rails?
  • Expectations vs. actual experience?
  • Best advice for those considering a coding bootcamp?
  • Where do you see yourself going from here?

This is a great resource if you are considering coming to The Iron Yard. You’re always welcome to reach out to our Campus Directors and Instructors to get their perspective as well! And graduates, we would love to hear from you. What are you up to now that you’ve completed your course at The Iron Yard?

“Everyday my mind is blown.”

Every student who comes through The Iron Yard Academy brings with them a unique set of previous experiences and a unique perspective. It’s amazing to see everyone’s personalities shine as they approach problems and come up with creative ideas for the apps they build!

Kevin, a Ruby on Rails student in Charleston, loves rock climbing, and he’s finding that programming has a lot more in common with his hobby than you might think.

Everyday my mind is blown. I realize I can do something I never thought I would be able to do. Whether it is in my life as a programmer or in some other aspect of my life, like rock climbing. Rock climbing and programming are very similar. They both involve extreme dedication and hard work. They require a unique passion and love. They require being calculated and focused. They require tons of planning and methodically thought out decisions. They are both about solving problems. About viewing something massive and breaking it down and tackling it in small chunks. Tackling what I never thought I could.

Read more from Kevin on his personal blog!

“I had to just suck it up […] and be a computer engineer.”

What’s it really like being a student at The Iron Yard? Amber’s taking the front end class in Charleston, and last week she felt like she was at Hogwarts!

This week truly made me feel like I was a witch in a world full of Muggles, and perhaps Hogwarts just misplaced my letter all these years. To say this week was busy/crazy would be an extreme understatement. Before writing this blog post, I had to go back over my notes from the previous week just to digest that I really just did all of that. Honestly though after reliving this past week it was an amazing ride that I can’t wait to have more in the future. Monday was a “magical” moment as we presented our app as a team in front of Calvin and the rest of the students. It was so crazy to see the app “come to life” and to go through the code behind it, revealing the magic. I was so impressed with the other team’s apps as well, it was empowering to see how far we all have come. I would love to see some of the apps actually be released and be downloadable as usable apps. Dumbledore and I are so proud of  you guys!

Read more about Amber’s code reviews, app presentations, startup site visits, and Women Who Code Hack Night!

Are you the best?

To claim you’re the best is a straight out lie 99% of the time. The development world is so immense, and there’s so much to be consumed, that no one singular person can hope to be the best at everything, or perhaps even one particular thing. Hubris is essential as you market yourself. Be open about your short-comings, the gaps in your knowledge, but then also inform potential clients how your mindset allows you to fill those gaps quickly to meet the needs of their project.

So it sounds cheesy, but just be your darn self. Skip the BS and get to what people will actually believe, and even more importantly, what is true.

Charleston front end student Devon Hicks is learning more than just how to code!

“Coding is like surfing.”

When I first tried surfing I spent the whole time paddling and missing waves. I did not actually stand up, I just kept struggling. That is how I feel when I start learning a new language, a whole lot of struggling with verily little results. There  have been days when I have paddled out into waves far to large for my ability. I have also had projects that have been to complex for my ability as a programmer. When this happens as a programmer it is as frustrating as when I can’t get outside the breaking waves.

Read more from Charleston Ruby on Rails student Rich Salvucci.

We’re All In This Together

We refer to each of our classes as a cohort. Atlanta Ruby on Rails student Nate Winn has some excellent thoughts on what that word means.

“cohort” is the only fitting term for my fellow coders at The Iron Yard. Over the past 8 weeks, we have done far more than sit in the same classroom. We have become family pressing toward a common goal, striving to reach an elusive prize—not individually racing to be the first to cross the finish line, but rather choosing to endure the marathon together. The Iron Yard is by far the most emotionally draining challenge of my life. Finishing would not be possible without having fellow comrades facing the same battle.