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

At tech boot camp Iron Yard Academy Tampa Bay, students learn to crack the code →

Matt Schwartz recently graduated from the Iron Yard Academy-Tampa Bay, a relatively new code-writing school that is sending waves of local residents into a job market clamoring for programmers.

Iron Yard just graduated its seventh cohort from its intensive, three-month local course, and is garnering the attention of the area’s tech community.

Read the full Tampa Bay Times article here, including insights from Toni Warren, The Iron Yard’s Tampa Bay campus director, recent graduates and advisory board members.

From going by the book to the adventure of a lifetime: Nick’s story

Nick Pizzo followed the plan. He graduated from college with a degree in business and started his career in accounting doing financial statement audits and tax work.

“I had very much taken the ‘check the box’ route – go to this school, go to that college, get the job,” he said. “I was confident that with accounting, I would never be unemployed, but after a full 10 years, the monotony was setting in; I wasn’t being challenged intellectually.”

All of these factors began to add up for Nick, and he decided that it was time for him to change career paths. He always had an interest in tech, and is savvy with computers and all types of operating systems. As an added bonus, his group of friends from high school had all gone into the tech world, so choosing to explore a career in tech was a natural fit.

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Journey to new horizons: Jonathan’s blog

Jonathan Colegrove is a current student in our Ruby On Rails course on the Tampa Bay/St. Pete campus and has been documenting his experience learning how to code on his blog.

After trying to learn to code on his own, Jonathan decided that the only way he could break into the development world would be by immersing himself and attending The Iron Yard full-time.

Read Jonathan’s blog post about the first week of his cohort below:

Journey to New Horizons

I just started school at The Iron Yard in St. Petersburg, FL last week, & have to say I’m impressed.

After deciding to switch from teaching English in Taiwan to software engineering, I tried to learn it on my own for free through theOdinProject.com (a wordy, but good site). Most of the material linked to CodeCademy (very useful site), others to Ruby Monk (too annoying & harder to navigate). I found Derek Banas’ concise videos later (absolutely amazing) later.

t
Welcome to learning programming on your own

There were a lot of “bang my head against the wall” moments, only to discover super-simple solutions. I realized I could advance much faster through a bootcamp, but didn’t want to take out a loan. I felt I was getting somewhere with my current skill level though, & wondered the next step.

LaunchCode, I thought! What better option than a program that placed accepted applicants in “lower”-paying ($15/hr) jobs ($15/hr is more than all my previous jobs!) for 3 months, followed by $25/hr, with no risk?! Turns out there’s a lot of competition, & that meant “learn more.”

Next I applied at an internship, which had a coding challenge. Following that, they mentioned Test-Driven-Development. How did one make tests? After hours of trying to muddle-through, I realized it was time to take out a loan.

Long story short: I ended up in St. Petersburg, FL @The Iron Yard. It’s been a week so far, & while much is review, there has been some important new material (specifically flexbox in CSS) & a WHOLE LOT of practice! (PS: “a lot of review” = 85% of everything I’d previously learned in a couple months covered in a few days!)

The new material combined with practice doing their detail-intensive projects has been absolutely beneficial. It’s also been an educational experience because The Iron Yard requires you to use a Mac (I’d previously only used Windows). Working alongside others has helped productivity so when 1 gets stuck we can bounce ideas off each other. I’m excited to keep on learning & can only imagine the depth of knowledge + experience I’ll achieve if we keep at the same pace for another 11 weeks!

Follow along with Jonathan’s journey here.

Full Speed Ahead: Sarrah’s Story

For Sarrah Vesselov, life is all about being in motion. The former roller derby player worked in graphic and web design for nearly 10 years, most recently serving as the creative director for a national sign company. Sarrah also taught web design courses at the International Academy of Design and Technology focusing on HTML and CSS principles.

“After a while, I felt bored and stagnated in my career,” Sarrah said. “I knew that my skills were stagnating too. JavaScript had progressed and there was a lot that I didn’t know anymore. I knew I needed to change up what I was doing and try something else.”

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From the newsroom to the classroom: Sandra’s story

Sandra is a veteran journalist who spent years working for the Tampa Bay Times. She did everything from assignment editing to writing stories and serving as the senior web editor before taking a position as the executive director of the Edible Peace Patch Project, a nonprofit that creates sustainable food systems in St. Petersburg, FL.

After taking a few months off to take care of some family matters, Sandra saw an ad for The Iron Yard while she was in her hometown of Charleston, SC with her mother. She was reminded that there was also an Iron Yard campus in the Tampa Bay area, where she now lives, and she made a quick decision to join the Fall 2015 cohort.

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