Over the last 4 years, the Iron Yard has led the code school industry in preparing students for careers as software developers. The industry as a whole is still young and its leaders face the challenge of a nascent market, as well as the demands facing all institutions in the higher education marketplace.
In considering the current environment, the board of The Iron Yard has made the difficult decision to cease operations at all campuses after teaching out remaining summer cohorts. We will finish out summer classes completely, including career support.
While our journey is coming to an end, we will always take pride in the thousands of people our staff helped to launch new careers.
On a summer evening in June 2014 in Omaha, Nebraska, two friends met for dinner after a long day of baseball watching at the College World Series. They had traveled from Atlanta, where both served in demanding jobs at management consulting firms. During the meal, the discussion turned (as it often did) to sports, and how talking sports often proved helpful when connecting with clients and colleagues at work.
As the friends discussed how tough it was to stay on top of the latest sports news due to their taxing schedules, they realized they had stumbled upon a common problem. They wondered: How do you sift through the noise to access the sports information that would be most valuable? Could we find a way to solve that problem? Could we build a product people love?
Just over a year later, those friends – Andrew and Brent – left their full-time jobs and officially became co-founders of Primer Sports. At its core, Primer Sports is an email newsletter that provides tailored sports content to readers who want a quick way to be prepared to talk sports.
In the beginning, Andrew and Brent made it a point to constantly ask for feedback from readers about how to improve the product. They worked with a freelance developer frequently, and soon the small tweaks and changes piled up. After a few months, something clicked for Andrew. “I just hit my head against that wall enough times that I realized I need to do this myself,” he said.
Together, Andrew and Brent decided the best path forward was for Andrew to join The Iron Yard’s immersive 12-week code school. “We have some product ideas that we don’t want to have to go to outsiders for help on,” he said. “I want to be quicker. I want to get feedback from the users of our product, and then put it into action without as many obstacles.”
Just one week before the fall cohort began for The Iron Yard’s Front-End Engineering course in Atlanta, Andrew submitted his application, interviewed, paid his deposit and started class. During the next few weeks, he continued to balance regular meetings with Brent with keeping up with the demands of school. “I wanted to make sure I learned everything here and was a contributing member of this campus but also a great co-founder,” he said. “It took a lot of sacrifice, not only from me, but from people in my life. Brent, and my wife Sara were incredibly supportive throughout the process.”
"I also learned that I had to be 100 percent engaged, because you just can’t simulate this environment. That’s why you pay, and you come here and you meet these people, because this is special and you can’t learn this online. You can’t hear how someone solved the problem and talk to them about it and learn from them the same way online."
On Demo Day, Andrew and his team showed off a shiny new business-to-business app that Primer Sports will use to customize email content. “I think it’s going to make our company a lot better and I think this tool is really valuable for small businesses that want to send email content,” Andrew explained. “My list of what to do next is pretty long. Which is a good sign, I think. I feel like I have a different toolkit to solve problems now. The way I think about the potential of an idea or a product – my entire mindset is different. I couldn’t be more happy that I came. I love this place. It’s special.”
Andrew followed the footsteps of hundreds and hundreds of students who have forged their own path by attending The Iron Yard. The graduates below have their own unique stories to tell as well. Whether you're looking to find a more fulfilling career or fulfill your love of technology, there are alumni who have walked your path.