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.
Josh Daniels became a student at The Iron Yard in the midst of several significant life changes. In early 2014, he was newly married with a young son and was working on a startup company. He had heard about The Iron Yard’s startup accelerator program, did a little research, and realized that taking programming classes might be the perfect next step for his career. Here's Josh's story:
“Programming, for me, has always been like the elephant in the room,” he said. “As a designer and sometimes project manager, I often had to rely on other people for programming work.”
When Josh heard The Iron Yard was launching an Atlanta campus, he decided he had no excuse and signed up for a class in Front End engineering. “I was very committed from the beginning, so I knew that I was going to challenge myself. I was just ready for that,” he said.
Though the 12-week immersive course was a completely new and difficult path, Josh faced the challenge head-on. “We were all in it together,” he said of his cohort. “I never felt that I was alone, or that I was drowning, or anything like that. I took a strategy of staying ahead from the beginning because I just know myself and if I got behind, then I would be in trouble.”
Looking back, one of the skills Josh values learning most is problem-solving. “Whether it’s web design, project management, programming, front end, or IT, or even sales, all this stuff is solving problems,” he said. “That’s one thing The Iron Yard did really well. You have to know what to ask before you start asking.”
Josh recalls a particularly frustrating problem he came up against one day when he was working on a Backbone.js application and couldn’t figure out why a certain part of it wasn’t working. Instead of simply pointing out the problem, his instructor Tim helped Josh go through a series of questions to uncover the issue. Three hours later, Josh realized what was causing the problem. “That lesson stuck with me,” he said.
In the months following his time in class, Josh was hired by two companies to do front-end development. In both positions, Josh continued learning and honing his skill set. Today, Josh serves as a front end developer and account executive for a web development company in Athens, GA. His role includes front end development, PHP development, WordPress development, web design, project management and sales. Though his responsibilities cover much more than programming, Josh is prepared to tackle anything because of his success with The Iron Yard. “Before The Iron Yard, those things were unsure to me,” he said. “I would have never been to the other side of the learning curve. But after The Iron Yard, I know that I’m going to get there. I just have to put in the effort.”
Josh credits The Iron Yard for helping him learn how to think critically, how to inspire best practices, how to be more efficient and how to think about user experience. Though his path hasn’t been without obstacles since finishing his time with The Iron Yard, Josh credits the experience for helping him move forward.
“It was probably the coolest thing I’ve ever done. And I’ve hopped trains all over the country, and jumped out of planes, and all kinds of stuff. I’ve done a lot of cool stuff, but as far as being meaningful? It’s hard to find an experience that’s that meaningful.”
Josh 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.