Teaching at The Iron Yard
It’s hard to belive, but I’ve been teaching for The Iron Yard for more than six months now. I’m nearing the end of my second cohort of students learning how to program and how to build web apps and APIs with Ruby on Rails.
This is (by far) the most rewarding, challenging and awesome job I’ve ever had, and I couldn’t be happier with the job itself or the company I’m working for.
Seeing my students change their lives in a way where I feel almost incidental to the process is right up there with the most awesome feelings in my life. Seeing a pizza place manager and former engineering project manager go on to make a fully native iOS app (in Swift!) and then land jobs with Indianapolis-based consultancies that are perfect for them is beyond gratifying.
From my first cohort, I also had a call center employee and an out of work student fresh off a Masters in history land jobs at one of the biggest Ruby shops in the state, a former marketing manager end up at a stealth-mode startup and a former Marine snag a senior developer position at one of Indy’s best enterprise consultancies.
I tell my students fairly frequently that what I’m actually teaching is how to think and I’m teaching Ruby (and Rails) incidentally to that goal.
And my first cohort proved me right. Six of eight graduates landed jobs within a month of the cohort ending (and the two others are still looking [and awesome] - if you have an opening, get in touch) and of those four have jobs outside of Ruby or Rails.
It’s really not hyperbole to say that this job allows me to change peoples’ lives. I’ve seen it happen. I’ve seen the struggles, the long nights, the epiphanies and the straight up hard work it takes to get there. At the end of the day (or cohort), I’m really a sherpa for my students. I do what I can to lead them to those epihanies and guide them into the world of a working developer.
But they do the work. i get to watch all of that and then see them grow before my eyes into a different way of thinking and completely different life tragectory.
Alongside changing individual’s lives, the other major aspect to my job satisfaction is that I’m also helping to change the Indianapolis tech community. Three times a year, I’m graduating some of the best junior developers anybody can find in this city and helping to fill the pipeline of tech talent as more and more companies grow in Centeal Indiana.
Even more: we’re opening the access to the development community to entirely new walks of life. My current cohort for instance, has five women as students. In my years in the Indianapolis development community, I think I worked with a handful of women - all awesome, by the way - and being a part of the changing that male-dominated culture is also immensely gratifying.
I’m not going to lie and say this job is easy. I leave work every day exhausted and spent. But, it’s the happy exhausted - the exhausted that comes from knowing you did good work and helped people.
I’m also especially excited to see our Indianapolis campus grow. For two cohorts so far, I’ve been leading the only class - Ruby on Rails. Our next batch of students arrives in mid-February and we’re hoping to have our other two classrooms filled by then - one with a Front End Engineering class and one with either a .net or Java/JVM language course.
I already know what the energy in our space feels like with a single cohort, and can’t wait to see the place come alive when we have all three classrooms filled with classes and students.
If any of the above sounds like your cup of tea and you’d also like to be part of this - whether student or instructor, drop me a line and I can answer any additional questions you have and get the ball rolling.
And if you hire developers, come to our Demo Day on January 14, 2016 to meet the next batch of Indianapolis’ junior developer talent.