Company focuses on training to help Indy tech boom
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The technology industry in Indianapolis is booming.
In the past year, many companies have moved or grown in Indianapolis. But some people now worry the Indianapolis tech sector has grown so quickly, there aren’t enough qualified workers to fill the jobs and sustain that growth.
This summer, another tech company is expanding to Indianapolis, with the goal of making money by solving that problem. The Iron Yard plans to open in the Artistry Building on Market Street in June.
Brendan Quinn graduated from The Iron Yard in Charleston, South Carolina. The former seventh grade math teacher is now a digital marketing developer at One Click Ventures in Greenwood. Just a few months ago, he didn’t have the skills for the job.
The Iron Yard is a 12-week computer coding course that costs $12,000.
“It really is an intense course because the program is really focused on creating quality developers,” said Quinn.
The program prides itself on producing job-ready developers, after three months of 60-hour work weeks.
“It’s very labor intensive, it’s very similar to what they can expect when they’re in the real world,” said Chris Hutchinson, with The Iron Yard.
The coding and developing skills that Quinn learned brought the Butler graduate back to Central Indiana. Now, the Iron Yard is following. The South Carolina-based company specifically picked Indianapolis to be its 14th market.
Kristian Andersen, an Angel investor and founder of several startups, like Tinderbox, worked to get the academy in Indianapolis.
“As Indianapolis’ startup ecosystem continued to grow at a really rapid clip. It became really painfully apparent that we needed a lot more help in terms of raising up the next generation of technologists and developers,” said Andersen.
He’s now serving on its advisory board, a group of local tech leaders that helps develop the curriculum, connect with students and potentially hire them when they graduate.
“We can not only have the labor force to sustain the open positions but also do a better job of attracting even more tech companies to the area,” said Hutchinson.
“What they’re doing is they’re building a two-sided market and then creating supply and demand on both sides. In addition to just creating curriculum and running folks through this program and creating this next generation of developer, they’re spending a lot of time cultivating the demand side of the equation as well. By brokering relationships with area companies and business leaders and making sure that there’s not just ready supply of developer talent, but making sure there’s a ready supply of businesses to employ that talent,” said Anderson.
The program also teaches students to be flexible – something both students and employers recognize as a valuable skill.
“The skills that I really focused on in the program are primarily HTML, CSS and Java script. While those are key in everything that I’m doing … I think what is most valuable is the skill of being able to pick something up quickly and a language up quickly and to work quickly and be flexible,” said Quinn. “I think that really is the most valuable asset that employers see. Graduating from the Iron Yard is a three month program, they come out as really strong developers … If I can pick that up in three months they see ‘well if we need him to be flexible in the future, or take on additional roles in the future,’ they feel confident I’ll be able to do that.”
The advisory board plays a key role in making sure students are learning to be flexible, and learning the most up-to-date information.
“For a school like the Iron Yard to produce the most quality candidates they really have to keep their ear to the ground in terms of what employers are looking for and I think the advisory network really helps the Iron Yard make sure that their product is uniquely tuned to the specific needs of geography,” Andersen said.
The Iron Yard says its not getting any tax benefits or incentives from the city. The company hopes to hire some Indianapolis instructors for the classes that will start in June. The Iron Yard is accepting applications for students now. For more information click here. 24-Hour News 8 spoke more to Andersen about Indy’s growing technology sector. See what else he has to say in this video: