The community has rallied around the program.
An Employer Advisory Board meets regularly to advise The Iron Yard on the skill sets they need and the jobs they hope to fill. Members of that board are executives at companies like Cactus Consulting, Bronto, Red Hat and Smashing Boxes. It’s their need for Python developers that’s prompting the January class, Mitsch says.
Developers and executives at Fugitive Labs, Shoeboxed, School Dude, Validic and other Triangle companies have provided guest lectures. The students went on field trips to Bronto and Spoonflower, and the Ruby students attended the Ruby for Good conference in Washington D.C. last weekend.
Each session will be unique, Mitsch says. When new Ruby and front-end development classes kick off September 15, the format will be the same but the guest lecturers, field trips and projects will be different. They’ll be dependent on the schedules and involvement of the employers and the community. That will keep the program fresh and relevant, Mitsch says.
And in coming weeks, the graduating students will become part of that community. When the Iron Yard launches free kids coding classes in September, they’ll be asked to serve as instructors.
Mitsch expects most will be in their new jobs and eager to demonstrate their new skills to others.
“One girl does a dance very time she gets code right,” Mitsch says. “It could have been 15 or 20 years since they were in class so it’s cool to see them re-enter and have so much fun learning again.”