Corporate Training helps Charleston company move to automation

The company name lives up to the incredibly hot industry.

BoomTown, an online real estate marketing platform, is a tool agents use to manage leads and marketing for buying and selling homes. BoomTown started as a small start-up but has grown to around 250 employees. Business is, excuse the pun, booming.

Brian Baumgartner leads the quality assurance team at BoomTown. The team is responsible for testing all new features in the BoomTown platform, guaranteeing the product is the best it can be before going into market. In the early days of being a nimble start-up, all quality testing was manual with the QA team scrambling to get the products in market quickly. The company grew from the scrappiness of start-up culture to a more mature company and began to look at ways to streamline their processes.

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Healthcare to software: Jennifer’s story

Last summer, Jennifer told us how she came to The Iron Yard and what it is like to make a career transition. We followed up with Jennifer to get a bit more of her story and to see what life has been like after graduation.

Jennifer Graves started down a traditional, four-year college degree route but soon life took her in a different direction.

“I started working and ended up liking the jobs that I was doing for the most part, and decided to just hold back on college for a little while and focus on the career that I was building at that time,” she said.

Jennifer worked as an administrative assistant at a doctor’s office and later moved into customer service with a national healthcare company. She was soon promoted to a management position, but that transition made her consider what she really wanted to do. Read More

Five reasons to learn to code during summer break

College summer semesters have been synonymous with make-up classes or squeezing in that course too difficult to tackle during the spring or fall.

Let’s flip the script a bit.

Summer can be about maximizing the weeks in between semesters. It can be about learning a new set of skills that will make students as prepared – even more prepared – for the future.

No matter the major, learning to code is a great option for college students on summer break.

Five reasons learning to code this summer is a smart idea:

Coding is the new literacy
Much in the same way as being fluent in another language is beneficial, so is learning the language of code. People all over the world use technology. The “language” of technology equips us with the ability to communicate across cultures and gives a global angle to our work.

Beef up your resume
Regardless of college major or work experience, the ability to code is attractive to employers in any field. Every line of work has an online presence. Having the ability further that presence is an attractive asset to future employers.

Coding requires new ways of thinking
Problem solving is at the heart of coding. Building a web project from scratch or learning to identify and fix problems requires creativity and loads of critical thinking – both great muscles to exercise heading into the next semester.

You will be more self-sufficient…
Ownership of the online previously lived solely in the hands of IT professionals. Coding know-how provides a new freedom to build and troubleshoot websites without calling in favors. Programming skills can also open up opportunities for freelance work, which may be beneficial in the murky world of post-graduation plans.

…And more collaborative
Projects in all disciplines are rarely created and executed in a vacuum. Learning to give and receive feedback are valuable skills in the marketplace. Coding classes are highly collaborative with participants sharing knowledge, reviewing work and offering advice.

The very nature of college is to prepare for the future. Many industries currently rely on online systems to operate and many more will in the coming years. As more systems become automated, knowing code is valuable in ensuring companies run as smoothly as possible, regardless of the field.

Let us help you make the most of your summer. Take a look at our courses or find a campus location near you.

Corporate Training spotlight: Instructor Curtis Schlak

Recently we brought you the story of how we are helping business like Blackbaud and Spoonflower teach their employees coding skills needed in the workplace through our Corporate Training program.

Technology advancements are providing solutions for companies of all sizes. Employers want to be sure their current workforce is trained to leverage these tools to grow their business.

Today we talk with one of our Corporate Training instructors, Curtis Schlak, about his experience working with companies, the benefit of equipping employees and retro games of tic-tac-toe.

Tell us about your professional background.

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Life before coding: 11 unexpected careers that led to code school

There are several common misconceptions about the type of people who are a good fit for code school. We’ve heard it all. Don’t you have to be good at math? What if I’m not a big gamer? Aren’t all programmers really into science and technology?

The truth is, you don’t have to have a background in math or science to become a great programmer. At The Iron Yard, we’ve had students from a huge range of career backgrounds succeed in going from complete beginner to junior developer through our courses. Our Indianapolis Campus Director Emily Trimble put it this way:

Honestly, the type of background or experience you bring to the table isn’t all that relevant. Sure, someone who has been doing coding tutorials at home may have a leg up during the first week, but overall, it’s about problem-solving. I tell people that it’s more about being able to look at a problem and break it down into pieces – which is a skill you have probably used in thousands of scenarios.”

Watson Mulkey talks to potential students every day as our Student Success Lead. He has followed along with hundreds of our students as they’ve gone from zero to career-ready developers, and he knows what it takes. “Perhaps most importantly, we’ve found that interest is far more important that aptitude,” he said. “If you’re motivated by the prospect of changing careers, and invested in learning a new skill – The Iron Yard is for you.”

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9 reasons to learn to code in 2017

The new year is a chance to start fresh, tackle new goals and take steps toward self improvement. And with reports showing that 14 of the top 50 jobs in the U.S. are in tech, this year, why not add learning to code to your list of New Year’s goals?

Everyday we have the opportunity to talk to people who are looking to make a positive change in their life and take their first steps toward a rewarding career in tech. While people may have different reasons for pursuing the tech field – maybe they’re looking for a job with tons of upward mobility and earning potential, or maybe they’re just naturally creative problem solvers and drawn to all things tech – one theme remains constant: tech is the land of opportunity, no matter your career goal.

If you still need more inspiration, we talked to our instructors, all of whom are industry veterans, to learn what drew them to the tech field and what keeps them coming back for more.

Below are 9 reasons why you should learn to code in 2017:

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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!

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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.

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Learning code and harnessing confidence: Gabriel’s Story

People have many different life experiences that prepare them for the intense educational journey of The Iron Yard, but Gabriel Zarate had some preparation that was far different than most of our other students––on a salmon fishing boat in Alaska. “I needed to make some money before my wedding,” he said. So he went to Alaska and started working for a commercial salmon-fishing company.

While salmon fishing and computer programming might not seem relatable, Gabriel says that both of them require a tremendous work ethic. “It was the experience of a lifetime, but it was also grueling work that really prepared me for life during the course.”

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Announcing the Tech Opportunity Fund

Today, we are excited to announce the launch of the Tech Opportunity Fund, a partnership of organizations committed to providing $100 million in diversity scholarships to deserving students who want to enter the tech industry. We’ve joined with Code Fellows and OperationHOPE to lead this effort, and this morning, Vice President Joe Biden included the Fund in a speech he gave in St. Louis!

At The Iron Yard, we’ve committed to $40 million in full-tuition scholarships over the next five years. Code Fellows has committed to $5 million in scholarships and Operation HOPE will serve as the Fund’s financial literacy and entrepreneur training partner. To reach our goal of $100 million in scholarships, we’ll need even more employers, code schools and civic organizations to join us.

Click here for the full press release.

Click here to read the White House blog post including the Tech Opportunity Fund.

Want to join us? Visit http://www.techopportunityfund.org/.