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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Friday Q&A: What companies does The Iron Yard work with?

In this week’s installment of Friday Q&A, we’ll answer a question we get on all of our campuses – what companies do you work with?

The short answer to that question is that we work with dozens of companies around the country through our Corporate Training programs, as part of our local Advisory Boards and as hiring partners. Some of the companies we’ve worked with include IBM Design, Microsoft, GitHub, Amazon and AT&T, just to name a few.

But taking a step back, it’s important to look beyond who we work with, to the why and how we work with different companies.

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Iron Journeys: Meet Jennifer Meier, Front-End Engineering in Austin

This week in our Iron Journeys video series, we meet Jennifer Meier, a Front-End Engineering student in Austin. Before starting her course at The Iron Yard, Jennifer was a court reporter. After a recommendation from a friend who took a course at The Iron Yard in Greenville and putting a lot of thought into what she wanted out of a career, Jennifer took the plunge and enrolled in the immersive Front-End Engineering course.

Check out our conversation with Jennifer below to see what it’s really like to be a student at The Iron Yard:

(full transcript below video)

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From solopreneur to developer: Francois’ story

Francois Carstens started his career in graphic design as a freelancer but ultimately found he wanted to be able to both build and design his ideas. After graduating from the Front-End Engineering course at The Iron Yard in Houston at the end of last year, he started a job as developer and never looked back.

Below is more of Francois’ story and you can follow along with his career and insights about working as as developer on his blog, I Learn Code.

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Week in News

In case you missed it, below are this week’s top headlines from The Iron Yard:

Programmed for Success: Top four elements of a successful Corporate Training program

From the beginning, our focus has been on helping people begin new careers and helping companies address the tech skills gap – two goals that go hand in hand. To date, more than 700 employers have hired graduates from our immersive programs. As we continue to work with these companies and develop relationships with their hiring managers, we’ve heard more and more about how difficult it is for them to train their current employees to keep up with changing business and tech needs.

We realized that our immersive model could help, so we’ve created specialized training programs to help companies remain competitive without having to spend tons of money, create an internal training department or hire multiple new employees. In short, by bringing us in as a training partner, employers can leverage our expertise as needed without soaking up a lot of internal resources. All training programs are custom-built and can include recruiting, onboarding, reskilling and upskilling.

Over the past year, we’ve worked with numerous organizations including Liberty Mutual, Capital One and Blackbaud to create training programs for the company’s current employees. Along the way, we’ve learned a lot about what employers are looking for in terms of tech training, and put together a list of the top four elements of an impactful corporate training program:

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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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Jess Can Code: Employed!

Last Wednesday we celebrated International Women’s Day and the many social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. We also celebrated the future of women in tech as one of our recent DC grads, Jess Dembe, signed an offer for her first job as a developer with Blackstone Technology Group! Jess shared her story on her blog, Jess Can Code. Read her post below: 

First and foremost, Happy International Women’s Day! This year, I celebrated by signing an offer sheet for my very first tech job!

This is in stark contrast International Women’s Day 2016 when I learned that I didn’t get into graduate school. Funny how life works, right?

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#YesWeCode Fund: Scholarship application now open

This weekend at SXSW, we had the honor of sitting alongside leaders from DreamCorps, #YesWeCode, TechHire and TechSquare Labs to announce that applications for the newly renamed #YesWeCode Fund are now live.

The #YesWeCode Fund was initially launched as the Tech Opportunity Fund in September 2016 and is a collaboration between The Iron Yard, Code Fellows, Operation HOPE, Opportunity Ecosystem, Climb Credit, TechSquare Labs, We Can Code IT and #YesWeCode. By unifying the efforts of code schools, government, civic organizations and employers, the goal of the Fund is to increase diversity in the tech industry by removing financial barriers and increasing access to tech education. 

This is a huge goal and we are proud to be a part of the solution. Our CEO, Peter Barth said it best: “Creating an inclusive tech workforce can only be achieved if all stakeholders in the tech sector are represented in the solution. By uniting the efforts of employers, educators, government and civic organizations in the Fund, we can both inspire people who are currently underrepresented in the industry to choose tech as a career and empower them to pursue that goal through a full-tuition scholarship to attend a code school.”

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