How to hire great programmers

Hiring great programmers is no easy task. Rob Whelan knows exactly how hard it can be. As the VP of Technology for Rhinogram, a healthcare communication solution based in Charleston, South Carolina, he’s done his fair share of hiring and managing programmers.

We wanted to know the truth – how can employers get better at hiring the right programmers for their companies and projects? In the last two years, Rob has hired seven Iron Yard grads. So we went to him for advice. Read More

Friday Q&A: What is a typical day like at The Iron Yard?

In today’s edition of Friday Q&A, we take a look at a day in the life of an Iron Yard student.

“One question we frequently get from prospective students is ‘what will my day look like as an Iron Yard student?'” our student success lead, Watson Mulkey says. “This is an incredibly important question – and one we love to answer – because it helps set expectations for the course. Knowing what your daily schedule will look like and how much time you’ll be committing to learning to code each day is the first step in preparing yourself for an immersive course.”

So what is the typical experience for students at The Iron Yard? Read More

Course Report’s take: Why they love the #YesWeCode Fund

It’s been a couple of weeks since we helped launch the #YesWeCode Fund, but excitement about the Fund (and the opportunity to expose even more people to the power of learning to code) hasn’t slowed one bit. Course Report was kind enough to feature the Fund last week as part of their “Scholarships We Love” series. We could have talked for hours about why initiatives like this are so important and why collaboration is key when it comes to making real change in the industry. 

Here’s how Course Report explained the awesomeness of the Fund:  Read More

Prioritizing inclusivity in 2017

Diversity is one of the most important issues facing the tech industry today. In order to make lasting change and foster an inclusive tech sector, it’s imperative that all stakeholders – from educators and employers to government and civic organizations – are accountable for the role they play in shaping the makeup of the workforce.

The role of code schools

For many, code schools are the entry point to the tech ecosystem and where students go to get the training they need to secure their first job as a developer. As such, code schools have a responsibility to help grow diversity in the tech industry and the unique opportunity to make an impact on workforce demographics. 

First, code schools have the ability to impact change quickly. The majority of our students at The Iron Yard are career changers, meaning we’re training people within the existing workforce to take on new roles in tech. This allows us, and programs like ours, to help generate more diverse talent pools within the tech industry more quickly than any other point of entry (e.g. k-12 programs, four-year degrees, etc).

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Seeing the world through the lens of possibility

Below is the latest post from our executive director of the code school Jessica Mitsch’s blog, Trained for the Future on InfoWorld.com: 

I’m an avid listener of podcasts, and one of my favorite is “How I Built This” on NPR. On the show, entrepreneurs are interviewed about the ideas and creations they’ve brought to life. Several entrepreneurs in the tech space have been interviewed, including the people behind Warby Parker and Airbnb, as well as Angie’s List and Instagram.

I’ve had the great privilege to work among and spend time with a great many entrepreneurs in my role at The Iron Yard. Just last week, I had a conversation with a coworker about what makes an entrepreneur great, and ultimately, it led me to reexamine how we define who is an entrepreneur.

The way I see it, the textbook definition of entrepreneur — “one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise” — is far too narrow. I prefer to broaden the definition of entrepreneur to “a person who sees the world through the lens of what’s possible.”

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A new kind of tech education program: corporate training

This week, the Wall Street Journal published an article, “A New Kind of Jobs Program for Middle America,” discussing how code schools are quickly teaching the software development skills employers across the U.S. desperately need.  

The article suggests that change is “coming for the ecosystem of employers, educational institutions and job-seekers who confront the increasingly software-driven nature of work,” and that “for code schools to have a meaningful impact on the overall labor market, they will have to continue their rapid pace of expansion.” While change is certainly coming for the American workforce – and indeed may already be here – it’s not just the number of code schools that will need to expand to make an impact on the market.

In most cases, in-person code boot camps immerse individual students who have little to no background in computer science in the programming language of their choice. The goal of these in-person immersive courses, like those offered at The Iron Yard, is to prepare graduates to join a company in entry-level software development positions. And that is a worthy goal; there is absolutely a need to provide training to individuals who want to change careers and join the booming tech industry.

But in order to equip enough people with coding skills to meet employer demand, individuals pursuing their own coding education are only half of the equation. For code schools to have the meaningful labor market impact the Wall Street Journal article describes, they also need to take training programs directly to employers and their current employees. Through a holistic approach that includes onboarding new developers, reskilling current employees to become developers and upskilling valuable senior-level talent with new technologies, companies across the U.S. have the opportunity to solve their own talent needs.   

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The value of soft skills in a high-tech world

When you think of code school, most likely, the first thing that comes to mind is learning technical coding skills. While technical skills are hugely important and the reason why students seek out our program, we also place a high value on soft skills – the intangible qualities that make good programmers great. Throughout our courses we proactively give students feedback on their interactions and contributions in group projects, their communication skills, and the strengths and weaknesses they’ll carry into their professional work.

Our executive director of the code school, Jessica Mitsch, recently expanded on this topic in her InfoWorld column, Trained for the Future, and shared insights she has gained on the importance of soft skills from working with hiring managers across the country.

Read an excerpt of Jessica’s InfoWorld article, “The value of soft skills in a high-tech world,” below:

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There’s never been a better time to start a programming career

We’ve all seen headlines in the news that claim “tech is a hot field.” In fact, we’ve published articles with similar titles on this blog. But is it true? Is right now a great time to start a programming career?

Based on our first-hand experience over the last several years, we can say with confidence that there is overwhelming demand from employers and that thousands of our graduates have landed great jobs in technology—so yes, it’s a great time to start a programming career.

A recent report from Glassdoor confirms that our experience is part of a nation-wide trend.

Glassdoor is a site that “holds a growing database of millions of company reviews, CEO approval ratings, salary reports, interview reviews and questions, benefits reviews, office photos and more.” But get this—they employ real economists who study their own data and data from public sources so they can identify major trends happening in the job market.

Their chief economist, Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, released a report called Looking Ahead: 5 Jobs Trends to Watch in 2017, and it had several pieces of valuable information for people who want to start a programming career.

Let’s take a look at what Dr. Chamberlain discovered. Read More

Part-time courses at The Iron Yard

Last fall, we announced two new part-time programming course options: Foundations courses and Sprint courses. A quick reminder:

  • Our Foundations courses are for coding beginners who want to go beyond online tutorials. These classes will take place in the evenings over a two-week period, and will teach people how to build an interactive website from scratch. Students will gain a functional, foundational understanding of how the web works from a professional, in-person instructor.
  • Sprint Courses are for people with a bit of coding experience who want to level up by going beyond HTML and CSS and learning how to build basic front-end web apps using JavaScript. The course will consist of 16 evening classes over the course of four weeks.

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