Ultimate Medical Academy joins Tampa Bay Advisory Board

Ultimate Medical Academy has joined the Advisory Board for The Iron Yard Tampa Bay campus. Headquartered in Tampa, Florida, the nonprofit educational institution has more than 40,000 alumni and offers interactive online courses to almost 14,000 students as well as hands-on training to hundreds of students.

At each Iron Yard campus, Advisory Board members provide guidance as to the tech opportunities in their city and help shape the curriculum to reflect the needs of companies hiring junior developers. With a focus on both technology and education, UMA is a natural fit for the Tampa Bay campus.

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Animator, toddler mom, finds good fit in coding

Jasmine’s plate is full but she would not have it any other way.

She is married, mom of two, working from home.

Then to add a little more to her life, Jasmine decided to learn to code.

Jasmine trained as a graphic designer and 3D animator working mostly with architects and contractors animating homes and buildings. She eventually joined a firm that specialized in golf course animations and was able to work from home. But after being in the industry for a while, Jasmine wanted to challenge herself.

“I needed some different outlet where I could be creative, but then also I wanted work where I could stay home,” she said.

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The Iron Yard experience: Insight from current students

On any given day at any given time, you’ll find students on our campuses who are at varying stops along the journey to becoming programmers. Today, we wanted to give you a glimpse into the minds of some of our students at The Iron Yard Tampa Bay – St. Petersburg. These students have finished up four weeks of their cohort, and several of them have started blogging and sharing their reflections on the experience so far.

Below, meet a few of our students and hear more about what it’s really like to be a student at The Iron Yard.  Read More

The creativity of coding: Christa’s story

Before coming to The Iron Yard, Christa attended the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg and earned a degree in political science. From there, she joined the college management training program at Wawa, working in retail management for the next year.

“I always wanted to be in tech, but I didn’t want to do it as a salesperson,” Christa explained. “I wanted to build a technical skill set.”

“One thing I love about tech is the creativity,” Christa said. “I had all of these visions in my head, but don’t have the hands for drawing or painting. Learning to code, I could design and build anything I could think of.”

After hearing about the fantastic experience one of her friends had with code school, Christa decided to look into it for herself. She did research on schools in the Bay area and New York, but ultimately decided that staying in Tampa/St. Petersburg was the best decision because she already had a strong network and connections in the area.

After visiting The Iron Yard and meeting with Toni (the campus director) and Jason (the Front-End instructor), she knew it was the perfect fit for her.

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What I have learned since graduating from The Iron Yard: Katherine’s story

Katherine Trammell graduated from The Iron Yard’s Front-End Engineering course in Tampa Bay in 2015. Previously working as a project coordinator/ executive assistant, attending The Iron Yard’s immersive course was her first step into a completely new professional world and, in her words, was “definitely outside my comfort zone.”

Now, more than a year since her journey in tech began, Katherine took a look back at everything she has learned about the world of coding and what she learned about herself along the way:

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A chat with code school Advisory Board member Jesse Curry

Jesse Curry is the Director of Development for Haneke Design in Tampa Bay, FL. He’s also one of our most engaged code school Advisory Board members and hiring partners. Four of our alumni are currently employed with Haneke Design, which is a small, privately-owned shop that focuses on mobile and web app design and development.

We recently touched base with Jesse to learn more about his story and why he hires Iron Yard grads.  Read More

The pain of learning and the euphoria of understanding

One of our Tampa Bay students, Mark, is currently a few weeks into our Back-End Engineering course with Ruby on Rails. He recently reflected on his experience learning Ruby, and his journey from being in tears to actually understanding and even enjoying the language. His blog post, “The Treasure Chest Awaits,” argues that programming is a bit like a treasure chest full of gems. With a bit of coding humor, Mark says, “ActiveRecord feels like opening the treasure chest and finally striking gold.” 

Click here to read Mark’s original post. His explanation of the learning process struck a chord – we hear every day from students and grads who feel exactly the same way. So, Mark graciously agreed to let us re-post his story here. Enjoy!  Read More

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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Focus and determination: Tony’s journey from the military to software development

Tony Gaeta was born and raised in St. Petersburg, FL. After graduating with a degree in criminology from the University of Tampa, he served as as a military intelligence officer in both Iraq and Afghanistan before returning home and working as an intelligence analyst in the Tampa Bay area.

A few years into his career, he decided he wanted a completely new challenge. “It [intelligence work] was interesting, but not nearly as exciting as you might think,” he said. “I had always had a knack with computers and scripting, and I heard that The Iron Yard was opening a campus in St. Pete, so I decided to visit.” Read More

Three reasons why learning Ruby on Rails can help you pursue a tech career in Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay is a beautiful place to prepare for a tech career. With an average winter temperature of 70 degrees and a median home price of just $163,000, it’s easy to see why companies like Publix, Jabil and TechData have made the Tampa area home for their headquarters and why one in every 94 U.S. tech workers lives in Tampa Bay. Add to that a new, direct connecting flight to San Francisco and Silicon Valley, and Tampa Bay may just be the next big player in the rapidly growing tech scene. Read More