How to Compliment an Austinite

How The Iron Yard fits in with all the code schools in Austin

The Iron Yard has historically been in places that are not known as tech hubs. It was founded in Greenville, South Carolina and its early expansion was in North and South Carolina and Georgia – not areas known for as bustling technology sectors.

Austin is different than most of the other communities that The Iron Yard is a part of: it’s a tech hub with everything from startups to Visa, Oracle, and Dell and everything in between. Because of the vibrancy of the community there are a lot of code schools in the area – from the NYC-based General Assembly to Austin’s homegrown, part-time coding school, Austin Coding Academy.

This past week I was on a call talking about The Iron Yard and its place in the Austin tech community. The topic of other code schools came up, specifically how Austin is different in the family of The Iron Yard campuses since students have a lot of choices in Austin that they might not have in other markets that we’re in.

I think it’s a great thing that folks looking to ramp up their coding skills have a lot of options available to them here in Austin. The programs we offer at The Iron Yard are great, but we also don’t cover every conceivable option. Our structure is great and though I’m a bit biased and think it’s the best, I’m not arrogant enough to think that it’s the best for everybody.

For example, here in Austin we’re one of two The Iron Yard campuses that offer a UI Design course. It is a course that presents design principles and our graduates come out knowing HTML, CSS, and a bit of JavaScript. We touch on things like UX, but it’s not a primary focus. General Assembly, however, offers a UX-focused course. We’ve had students that apply at both schools to try to determine which route is best for them. Students who are more interested in user research and workflows have a great option in GA, those interested in building those interfaces have a great option here at The Iron Yard.

We’ve also had students get in touch about a part-time course. We currently don’t offer any part-time classes in Austin, but our friends over at Austin Coding Academy do. Just last week I sent an applicant to them so she can get what she’s looking for. This cohort, I have a student that ACA sent our direction after he finished the part-time program and wanted to do a full-time, immersive program.

This type of collaboration is a key to Austin’s success. We’re not a place that hordes information, be that knowledge or contacts. We’re all about the rising tide that floats all boats.

I’m not the first person to say this. Joshua Baer, mentioned this phenomenon back in 2012 when Dave Rupert and I interviewed him for the ATX Web Show. From Joshua’s perspective, one of Austin’s secrets is its collaborative nature. Instead of “oh, you shouldn’t do X because Joe Smith is already doing it” the conversation is “oh, Jane Smith is working on X too, y’all should talk – let me introduce you two!”

That mentality has stuck with me and is integral to how I try to interact with the world.

So what does all of this have to do with compliments and such from the title? On that phone call I mentioned earlier, I explained what I thought of all of the coding schools we have here through the lense I just described. Their response: “Wow, that’s great. That’s a very Austin way of looking at it.”

Want to make an Austinite’s day? Tell them their approach to the world feels like an Austin-way of doing things!

Comments