Didn’t see what you were looking for? Send us an email and we’d be happy to answer your question.
Great question. The answer depends on which school you compare us to, so we’ll talk through the most common options people ask about. If you want, give us a call (855-399-2275) or send us an email. We love talking about code schools and want to help you make the right choice (even if that means it’s not our school).
Let’s tackle what makes us unique by category.
Online resources and information
We love telling people that you can find almost all of the raw information in our curriculum online, for free. It’s no secret: “Google University” has produced many a fine programmer. In almost every case, though, their skill was forged over years of experience, trial and error, and learning the hard way just how much horrible information and advice there is on the Internet. With the ever-increasing technological advances in the world of programming, it’s becoming even harder to sort the good from the bad and keep up with what new tools you should learn. Our courses are designed to trim the fat you find online, compress learning time by showing you the right tools and resources to focus on, dive far deeper than most Internet tutorials take you, and, most importantly, teach you the intangible elements of being a great programmer (collaborative coding, architecture, work flows, good communication, etc.).
Online code education programs
We’re huge fans of online education. In fact, we encourage all of our students to try online courses so they can expand their knowledge, learn new languages, and continue practicing the art of code. What’s more, most students who come to us have spent time tackling some sort of online code tutorial. Almost all of them have realized that becoming a professional developer in the near future is going to take more than a few hours of tutorials on nights and weekends. What many don’t realize is that most online schools fail to plumb the depths needed in order to be a top-notch developer in a short amount of time. Instead of scripted, step-by-step assignments, our exercises focus first on problem solving, meaning students complete the same assignment in a variety of ways. This teaches them the real-world complexity of programming and gives our instructors live examples to teach from—the closest analogue you will get to solving real engineering problems in the real world.
Offline code schools
There are offline code schools popping up all around the world and their quality varies widely. After talking with students and instructors from other schools, here are a few things that we know set our program apart:
You can read about tuition, financing and scholarships on our Tuition Page.
When you are accepted to The Iron Yard, you join a family that extends far beyond your individual class or campus. Our graduates comprise a international network of tech professionals, giving you access to people and companies in almost every sphere of the industry.
If you choose to enroll in the career support program, we’re committed to helping you get where you want to go. Here are the details:
We go above and beyond just your first job offer. We are currently building out ongoing education materials on advanced topics so that as you progress in your career you can have continued access to proven resources from The Iron Yard. We're also laying the groundwork for an alumni mentorship network, ongoing access to our staff, alumni events and more. Your first gig is just the first step — we want your relationship with The Iron Yard to provide ongoing value as you progress in your career.
We believe in what we do and our program is extremely selective, so if we can’t produce the right result, someone’s doing something wrong.
Give us a call (855-399-2275) or send us an email for more details.
At The Iron Yard, we understand that outcomes are important to both prospective and current students. We are taking the utmost care in determining how to best calculate and present the most objective, reliable outcomes data. We do not publish data at this time because there are no comprehensive standards for calculating outcomes for code schools or the code school industry.
Without standards, the numbers reported by different schools may vary significantly due to different methodologies used to calculate graduation and job placement rates. In many cases, the methodologies themselves aren’t disclosed and may be of questionable reliability, creating an environment where success can be subjective and comparing outcomes from different schools like comparing apples and oranges.
At The Iron Yard, we are proud of our success and have begun conversations with other national code schools to develop objective standards, ensuring that outcomes data is obtained and verified (not simply audited) by reliable, independent third parties and will publish the confirmed results.
Our students pursue all types of programming careers when they leave The Iron Yard, from small web shops, venture-funded startups and agencies to established enterprise companies and international firms. Many of our students also choose to pursue freelance or contract work for the flexibility they provide.
Here are just a few of our hiring partners to give you an idea of the breadth of companies our graduates work for:
Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But it’s true: we teach people who don’t have any prior coding skill. We do require people to dip their toe in the water by going through some basic online tutorials during the interview process, but we don't require an entrance exam as part of our application process. We want you to have a chance to write some code and be certain you want to dive into three heavy duty months of it. We also require some pre-work that helps ensure that each student begins class with a bit of experience and understanding (which you can read more about below). Don’t get us wrong—you won’t be a CTO when you get done with the program, but you will be one of the top junior-level programmers available for hire and have the foundation upon which to pursue a career in technology.
We will start our answer to this question by making an important distinction: information isn’t the same as knowledge, and from our experience with work that students do ahead of time, information (and pre-work) only goes so far in helping you do well in our classes.
The primary reason is that in most situations, scripted assignments and even understanding the vernacular of a language doesn’t teach you how to think about the subject on a deep level. Let’s take learning a foreign language as an example. If you wanted to learn Mandarin, you could buy books on the language and listen to Rosetta Stone. You’d gather a lot of information about the language—sentence structure, vocabulary and more. As many people have found out, though, even if you’ve done well with those tools, it’s a different game when you get to the country and hear natives speak. It can even be hard to understand because they are speaking so quickly and with ‘imperfect’ pronunciations related to their region, etc. That’s why people say, “if you really want to learn Mandarin, go live in China.” Knowing sentence structure and vocabulary help, but only so much. And in fact, if you dive into the deep end first (by moving to China, for example), you find that those things come naturally because you’re learning the foundations of the language—its history, culture, mechanics and slang. Having context and foundation for details mean they fit easily into place as you grow in your knowledge of a subject.
Some schools use a huge amount of pre work as a substitute for intensity or instruction during the actual class. (Some only offer 20 minute lectures!) From our experience, that really does a disservice to students—complex subject matter like Rails warrant far more time in the classroom.
At The Iron Yard, we assign introductory pre-work designed for people with little to no coding experience. There are a few exercises and some reading, but the goal is mainly to familiarize you with some terms and basic concepts.
Why? Our classes are so intensive that even if people do a huge amount of pre-work, the entire class is generally on a level playing field by the second week. In fact, most students have said that going through The Iron Yard is one of the hardest things they’ve ever done. Part of the reason for that is we don’t give scripted assignments or follow-along-step-by-step projects. Everything is very open ended so that our instructors can help you develop the mental muscle required to think through the foundations of building an application, from architecture to user experience to security to design.
From our experience, hours and hours spent reading or doing assignments ahead of time might make the first few weeks of class easier, but it doesn’t actually make you any better of a programmer than people who didn’t do that same prework.
Black magic. (Just kidding.)
First and foremost, we accomplish this through hiring the most talented people out there. Our instructors and team members are some of the most highly-paid people in their industry because they’re worth it.
Second, we all love what we do. The people we hire are passionate about changing people’s lives through code education, and they invest their heart and soul into making that happen. (Several have left huge companies and startups to join our team because they believe in our mission).
We are very clear with our students about how difficult this program is. We train professional programmers, not casual enthusiasts. Our average student puts in 60 hours per week, and many invest more than that.
What makes it so demanding? You learn a new subject almost every day and have homework associated with that topic due the next day (or Monday if it’s a weekend). The assignments are cumulative, so you incorporate things you’ve already learned into new ones so that by the end you have muscle memory across the spectrum of the subjects you’re studying.
Don’t get us wrong—we’re not workaholics and we don’t want you to be either, but building the foundation for a great, balanced career is no easy task. Our policy is “work hard during class so you don’t have to afterwards.”
When people ask us about part-time courses, we believe it’s really important to step back and talk about goals. There are many possible formats for learning to code, from free online courses to four-year college degrees (and everything in between). None of those formats are the “best way to learn to code”—it all depends on what your goals are. Like dieting or exercise, different programs are better suited to produce certain outcomes. In the context of learning to code in a full-time or part-time format, it’s important to understand that they are very different experiences and because of that they won’t produce the same outcome.
Since the beginning of The Iron Yard, the common thread among our students has been a goal to make a change in their career. To that end, we’ve focused our efforts on building the best possible program to help people take their first big step into a job in software development. Our research and experience has shown that for people learning the fundamentals of programming with the goal of becoming job-ready, an intense, full-time educational experience is the best way to build a foundation for a successful career. We help people build that foundation at every one of our campuses through our immersive 12-week courses. Graduates of those courses have gone to work for hundreds and hundreds of companies around the U.S. and UK.
There are many people, though, who don’t have the specific goal of launching a career. Some people want to learn a new skill, update their understanding of cutting-edge tools and technologies, get a start on learning a new language or become more equipped to work in software (or with software developers). Our goal has always been helping students reach their goals, so we’ve begun to offer some subjects in a part-time format in a handful of cities. Those courses are offered in a collaborative classroom setting, providing a great way to learn programming fundamentals and train with some of the best developers in the industry.
Here are quotes from people who have hired our students:
“Not only have we hired graduates of The Iron Yard's programs in Durham, we've also been able to interact with students inside the classroom and in the community. The involvement with The Iron Yard's Advisory Board has helped us get the resources we need to train future talent that fit our unique needs in the technology industry.”
—Adam LaVoy, Global Talent Acquisition, Red Hat Products and Technologies
“I'm absolutely thrilled that IBM’s pairing up with The Iron Yard—we’re always on the hunt for candidates with both design and dev skills, and The Iron Yard will bring us a fresh new crop of talent!”
—Katie Parsons, Front-End Developer, IBM Design
“A wise teacher once spoke, 'the student is not above the teacher.' With technology changing every day, how does a teacher of technology stay on top of an ever-evolving field? One of these answers is an employee advisory board. Over my tenure as member of The Iron Yard advisory board, I have recognized the need to produce high-quality candidates that are fulfilling local business needs; producing technical relative students. As a member, we see first hand the material being taught along with the results and talent of the students and I know that our community, businesses, and students are equipped for what awaits them ahead.”
—James Schimmoeller, Director of Application Development, Star2Star
Want to talk about adding our grads to your team? Give us a shout.
We're so glad you asked. We'll let them tell you themselves.
“Learning to code was the best decision I have ever made. I didn’t know I could enjoy anything so much or that I would enjoy the incredible amount of time that I’ve put into it.”
—Andrew Pierce, Class of November 2015
“I must say The Iron Yard excels at providing supportive resources during the program, which is helpful, because coding bootcamp affects how you feel and think.”
—Jef Blocker, Class of December 2015
“Fast forward a couple years and an MBA later: I’m now pursuing what I’ve always loved: a career in programming. It hasn’t been easy, I’ll tell you that. When they tell you they provide 3 months of intense learning , it’s not a joke!”
—Amanda Porto, Class of November 2015
For our 12-week, immersive courses, we require all students to use a Mac laptop (with the exception of our Back-End Engineering with C# and .NET course). Mac specs are below.
Why, you might ask? There are a few reasons:
Here are the minimum specifications required:
El Capitan is a free upgrade from Apple, so even if your operating system is older you can upgrade to El Capitan without having to spend any money. Not sure if your machine is compatible? Below is a list of Mac laptops that can run El Capitan. You can also read all of the details about El Capitan compatibility on Apple's website.
C# and .NET students
PC minimum specifications:
UI Design Students
To ensure Design Students are prepared for the web design industry, we highly recommend that you sign up for an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, which includes every Adobe application, including Photoshop, Illustrator, and Typekit (which we will use the most). These are industry standard applications. Depending on which subscription model you choose, the price can vary from $80 a month to $600 a year, and we recommend taking advantage of the 30-day free trial, like we did! There are discounts for recent college grads and upgrades. If you have earlier versions of these programs, that's okay with us, too, as long as they are CS4 or newer.
We do offer housing in a couple of our locations, and we also help students locate potential short-term lodging for the duration of the course. Visit our locations page and reach out our local staff for more information.