The Iron Yard exists to create exceptional value for people and their ideas through code education, startup accelerators and co-working spaces. The team at The Iron Yard is working with Zappos and the Downtown Project to bring more options for tech education to the #VegasTech ecosystem.
Eric Dodds“We’re didn’t start a code school because it’s the business-du-jour,” said Eric Dodds, co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer. “Our path to launching these programs started with building other components of a tech economy in our own back yard. Our first step was creating an accelerator in Greenville, SC through our relationship with Tech Stars. After running several classes, graduating successful teams, and attracting capital, our companies began to grow. As they scaled, their number one need was to hire programmers—an acute need in every tech ecosystem. We started the code school to fill that gap, and now we’re in 14 cities across the country. We’re incredibly excited to bring the same pipeline of talent to Las Vegas.”
The team will offer three intensive academy courses in Las Vegas:

  • Front End Engineering: Students will learn Front End Engineering using HTML, CSS and JavaScript and basic server-side tech. At the end of the class, students will have the skills to create beautiful, fully functional websites and web applications.
  • Rails Engineering: Students will learn Ruby on Rails, one of the most popular server-side frameworks in the world. At the end of class, students will know how to build fast, production-quality full-stack apps.
  • Python Engineering: Students will learn to analyze and publish data using Python and machine learning. At the end of the class, students will make magic happen with real-world data sets and will now how to build web apps.

In addition, the team will be launching free code classes for kids in mid 2015. More information will be found at launch here.
“Downtown Las Vegas is on a mission: revitalize the entertainment hub with an intense focus on local businesses and high-tech entrepreneurs. Now in their third year of building the ecosystem, startups large and small have built successful companies and a tangible feeling of entrepreneurial energy,” explains Eric Dodds. “Las Vegas is an especially exciting expansion for The Iron Yard. In addition to offering publicly-available, 12-week intensive courses, we are partnering with Zappos to build custom courses that will add to the skill sets of the current Zappos tech team. The most exciting part about these partnerships is that everyone at the table benefits. Those seeking to launch a career in technology will have access to The Iron Yard’s proven, world-class programs, tech companies will have access to a talent pipeline in their own back yard (as opposed to fighting for talent in other markets), and the local economy will be catalyzed by the creation of high-paying jobs for residents.”
The Iron Yard programs are intensive, 12-week courses that mentor students into a professional junior-level programmer.
“Our classes go far beyond tactical skill and teach you to think like a software engineer,” Eric Dodds said. “Each course is subject specific, meaning you dive deep into a single discipline for the entire 12 weeks (Front End Engineering, Rails Engineering or Python Engineering). Our students attend lectures in the morning from ~9-noon and have lab time in the afternoon. For lectures, our lessons are fast-paced, interactive and fun. All of our instructors use a hands-on, live-coding lecture style so that students immediately start developing muscle memory for each new skill. We cover a new subject almost every day, building on previous material. The goal is for you to get your hands dirty absorbing a whole lot of information, then apply it on a real project during lab. For lab time, you’ll have homework every single day…and it ain’t easy. All assignments are cumulative and ultimately lead up to a final project (unique to each student) that is the crown of your portfolio. If that doesn’t keep you busy enough, we start sending you real, paid freelance work. You’ll have access to the space 24 hours a day, just in case you need to burn some midnight oil.”
Eric Dodds says program students come from all different backgrounds, from manufacturing to teaching and even those who already have computer science degrees.
“We don’t require a certain type of experience, just a passion for solving problems with technology and the drive necessary to make it through our rigorous course,” he said.
He named specific traits that Eric Dodds says the team looks for in students:

  • Hard worker – This won’t be a walk in the park. Prepare for a rigorous course.
  • Self motivated – If you need to be micro-managed, this isn’t the place for you.
  • Works well with others – You’ll be assigned to groups for projects, and each person’s role will be crucial.
  • Interested in learning – Even if you know basics (or more), you might have to unlearn some things. We’ll start from the ground up as a team, and there won’t be room for egos.
  • Graceful problem solver – We’ll work on some hard, frustrating stuff. Patience and endurance are necessities.
  • Ready to have fun – We work hard, play hard, and laugh every single day. We do the best work we possibly can, but we make sure not to take ourselves too seriously.

The cost of each of The Iron Yard courses is $12,000. View details on the team’s tuition page. The Iron Yard is offering readers the opportunity to apply for a $3,000 scholarship for their May 2015 courses. Details here.