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.   

Read More

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:

Read More

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.

Read More

The Iron Yard in 2017: Strong, ambitious and focused

With 2016 at a close, I’ve taken the time to reflect on The Iron Yard and the amazing journey we’ve been on with so many incredible students. It’s been a rewarding process and I want to share my thoughts with you as we dive into an exciting new year.

First, in 2017, the code school industry will turn 5 years old. In that time the market has grown from a handful of players to over 90 full-time schools and tens-of-thousands of graduates. At The Iron Yard, we will enter our fourth year of operating as one of the first national code schools. Our mission remains to create real lasting change for people, communities and companies through technology education, and we consider it a privilege to be a part of a growing movement that is changing so many people’s lives. Read More

What company leadership can learn from coders about communication

In her latest InfoWorld column, our executive director of the code school Jessica Mitsch, takes a look at the intersection between company culture and communication, and asserts that there is a lot the c-suite can learn from coders.

Developers, particularly those who contribute to open source projects, know that having a structure that enables others to easily understand the code and contribute to it is important. There is agreed-upon language and documentation with the goal of removing ambiguity to align all parties involved. This principle can — and should — be applied to all parts of a business to lower barriers and increase opportunities for collaboration.

Below is an excerpt from Jessica’s article. You can read the full post on InfoWorld.com.

Read More

The developer’s reading list

The holidays are a time for relaxation and for many, a chance to catch up on their reading list. For developers – both novice and expert alike – there are a plethora of books and websites designed to help you sharpen your skills and explore interesting industry topics.

This holiday season we polled our instructors and staff, and put together recommendations for a ‘Developer’s Reading List.’ And for those of you who prefer to listen, we’ve included a few podcasts too.

Have suggestions? Let us know in the comments!

Read More

Understanding how to build better projects: InVision in the Iron Yard classroom

One of the most common observations our alumni share with us is that the soft skills they gained during their time at The Iron Yard were just as important – if not more important – as the technical skills they learned. Ryder, one of our grads in Indianapolis who now works as a software engineer at Salesforce, put it this way:

I feel like the people who succeed have a whole lot of interpersonal skills and ability to put themselves in the shoes of the user. The ability to think empathically about the other members of their team requires some pretty hardcore interpersonal and EQ skills. That is both more important than the technical aptitude and also is a better predictor of success. As long as the basic technical aptitude is there, I think the most important things are persistence, tenacity, enjoying problem solving and having the soft skills.

So how do you teach those soft skills during such an accelerated, immersive learning experience? We give our students as much real-world exposure and experience as possible during our 12-week courses. They meet with Advisory Board members, tour local companies and go through mock interviews with hiring partners. They create projects with teams and present those projects in a public setting. Read More

Want a tech job in your city? Consider code school (but do your homework)

Last week I took time to read the Bloomberg article, “Want a Job in Silicon Valley? Keep Away From Coding Schools.” I couldn’t help but feel disappointed in the reckless way that it seems some schools have approached such a serious endeavor like education.

At the same time, I was struck by the broad brush the reporter used to paint the code school industry and the implications it could have on readers around the country—not just in Silicon Valley—who are considering or have already chosen a code school as their path to a new career in software development. I’ve personally been involved in helping literally thousands of people change their lives by launching new careers through learning to code, so I thought it would be helpful to take a look at these issues from another perspective.

Read More

How to land your first job in tech

Landing your first job can be tough. It takes hard work, persistence and patience. But rest assured, the time you spend perfecting your resume, talking to people at networking events and scouring the Internet for job postings, can – and will – pay off.

Last week, two of our amazing team members, Sam Kapila, Director of Instruction, and Emily Trimble, Campus Director in Indianapolis, shared their tips on how to land your first job in tech. Below are a few of their top pieces of advice: Read More