Seek and you will find

What makes you different from other code schools?

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:

  • Our goal is for you to learn how to learn. Yes, we want to get you a great job offer, but honestly, that is the easy part of what we do. Our ultimate goal is for you to be able to teach yourself so that you can continue growing and learning yourself throughout the rest of your career. Technology changes quickly, so simply learning the syntax of one language isn’t going to cut it. You need to be able to jump into other areas of tech and learn them, and that’s exactly what we show you how to do. Many of our students are hired to work within a language other than the one they studied during their time at The Iron Yard. For example, one of our proudest moments was when one of our Front-End Engineering students went from writing JavaScript to teaching himself Objective-C (and building an app for the startup who hired him) shortly after class. That kind of transferrable skill set means that you have the ability to remain highly valuable for the rest of your career.
  • We have chosen to make an uncompromising commitment to quality and nothing else. From our instructors to our curriculum, we’ve made our number one priority quality. Sound like a party line? Here’s what it looks like for us practically:
    • We hire the best instructors in the industry, require that they have teaching/mentorship experience, pay them what they’d be worth at a really good programming job at an awesome company, and give them a month off paid to explore the world of development and bring that knowledge back into The Iron Yard and our curriculum.
    • Our class size is small. When you do the math for almost any code school, you realize that adding more than 15-20 students per class gets very lucrative, very quickly. We started our first class with seven students and grew it to a number that ensured that each and every person who comes through our program gets as much one-on-one mentorship time with the instructor as they need. In fact, that’s what our lab time is all about—not dozens and dozens of students trying to hack it out on their own with little or no access to the actual professor.
    • We don’t take placement fees from our hiring partners. This is a big one. Many code schools have business models that run on kickback from placing students in jobs, whether that’s tuition reimbursement or the fee a recruitment firm would get in the same situation. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but we decided that if we really were 100% committed to our students that it wouldn’t be healthy to have an economic interest in where they go to work.
  • We work closely with Advisory Board members in every market. Working with Advisory Board members representing a wide variety of companies who hire tech talent or are part of the local tech ecosystem within each local market is one of the first and most important things we do when we do when we launch a campus. Our Advisory Board members help us ensure our graduates’ skills are as relevant as possible when they graduate. We make it a priority to continually gather feedback from them, make adjustments, and understand market needs and new technologies; combining all of those components to strengthen our curricula and course offerings.
  • Dollar for dollar, we provide a significant value for the investment you make. Best-in-class instruction and true career support are hard to find. You get both at The Iron Yard. Also, the cost of living in our cities is generally far less than places like New York and San Francisco, making the life transition much more feasible for people in all walks of life.
  • We teach far more than code, bringing in guest lecturers who reveal what the skills you're learning look like in the real world. From various development workflows to the details of different deployment processes, we provide our students with the widest possible gamut of exposure so that they have a well-rounded view of the industry when they graduate.
  • We place a high value on soft skills, focusing on the qualitative aspects of being a successful programmer, whether that’s in a freelance career or at an established company. We give students feedback on their interaction and contribution in group projects, their communication with us during the program and the strengths and weaknesses they’ll carry into their work. On top of this individualized attention, our team lectures throughout the semester on communication skills, freelance contracts, team dynamics and provides contract templates and proposals they’ll need when they graduate.
  • Our career support is personalized. Our team works incredibly hard to get students where they want to be, whether that’s a startup or a large corporation. We have contacts all around the world and after graduation we meet weekly and communicate as often as needed with each student to execute a job-searching strategy. We also perform mock interviews so that there aren’t any surprises when you meet with potential employers.
  • You get access to the entire Iron Yard family. We have a deep, international network of hiring partners, Advisory Board members, partner companies, graduates, instructors and friends. Once you become part of The Iron Yard, you become part of that ever-growing network of thousands.

How much does it cost?

You can read about tuition, financing and scholarships on our Tuition Page.

What’s the deal with your Career Support program?

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:

  • Our career support program requires active participation from both our students and our staff. As we said above, our support is individualized and focused and we require the same of our graduates.
  • Throughout the semester our staff walks students through a curriculum that lays the foundations of understanding job postings, interviews and hiring processes in the tech industry. We cover what goes into great portfolios, cover letters, communication and project management. Through all of those components we focus on empathy as it applies to all parts of a job in programming.
  • In each city where we have a campus (across the U.S. and internationally), we involve companies and their key staff (many from our Advisory Boards) who guest lecture, conduct mock interviews, facilitate hackathons, advise on final projects and join us at an Iron Pints throughout the program. This allows both our students and employers to get to know each other before the program is even over.
  • Upon graduation, our students have built an impressive body of work as proof of their skill and have developed the skills needed to search for and interview for jobs.
  • After the program ends, the work of finding work begins. This is a collaborative effort between our staff and each graduate. We help our grads build out a job application toolkit that they can adapt to fit various opportunities. This allows them to rapidly create high-quality cover letters, portfolios and answers to questions, meaning they can pursue a large number of opportunities in a short amount of time.
  • We have relationships with employers—national and international—who are interested in hiring our students and provide job opportunities, apprenticeships and internships for them. At the same time, we require students to (and support them in) quickly build out a top-notch portfolio and identify job opportunities that interest them. Wherever needed, our staff provides personalized guidance and recommendations.
  • For students who choose to freelance, we provide project guidance and introductions to opportunities for work when available.

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.

What is the success rate of your Career Support program?

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.

What kinds of companies do your graduates go to work for?

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:

I don’t need to know how to code? Are you serious?

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.

Do you require students to do pre-work?

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.

What kind of sorcery do you use to make all of this happen?

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).

More practically, our program works really well because of our approach to education. We are committed to developing the highest-quality programmers in the world, both in skill and in character. That means training students to think like engineers and solve problems—not just how to type the syntax of a language. Knowing syntax and punctuation doesn’t make you a great writer; in the same way simply knowing how to write some JavaScript doesn’t make you a great programmer—that’s the easy part. Because of the thinking foundation we build, our graduates have an amazing level of aptitude after only 12 weeks with us.

How much time and commitment will it really take?

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.”

Do you offer part-time courses?

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.

What do employers say about students they’ve hired?

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.

What do students say about your classes?

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

Do you have requirements for the computers students use in class?

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:

  • First, having all students on the same platform enables our classes to move much more quickly. Our instructors only have to explain certain things (like setting up new tools) once because workflows apply to everyone. If we allowed students to use different computers with different operating systems, classes simply wouldn't cover as much ground.
  • Second, for almost all developers using open-sourced technology, Macs are the tool of choice. Working in a UNIX environment is a huge asset. The open source and web development communities are invested in tools and libraries that work with Apple's OS X. In short, using a Mac best prepares our students to work in the development industry.

Here are the minimum specifications required:

  • Manufacturer: Apple
  • Type: Laptop
  • Operating system: At least OS X El Capitan
  • RAM: At least 4 GB
  • Processor: At least 1.4 Ghz
  • HD space: At least 128 GB

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.

  • MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum; Early 2009 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2009 or newer; 15-inch, Mid/Late 2007 or newer; 17-inch, Late 2007 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)

C# and .NET students

PC minimum specifications:

  • Windows 7 minimum, but ideally Windows 10
  • 4GB of RAM, ideally 8GB

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.

Do you offer housing?

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.