Another post in our 5th anniversary series of posts - looking back, taking stock, looking forward. Check out our other posts in this series.
When we started this series of posts celebrating and reflecting on our fifth anniversary I said that our goal was to graduate our 500th new junior developer during the six months of our anniversary period. And darned if we didn’t make it.
On Friday, 22 September we celebrated Demo Day for Cohort 19. We graduated 27 students in Cohort 19 - 25 demoed at Demo Day and 2 already had secured jobs. Those 27, when added to the 475 already graduated, get us to 502 total grads. And before we pass the end of our fifth anniversary at the end of November we will graduate Cohort 20, putting us well into the 520s.
This is a big milestone for us. In a job market the size of Nashville, 500 new junior developers makes a huge impact. And no, they didn’t all go to work as developers, but the vast majority have, or are searching for, developer jobs. And no, they all didn’t stay in Nashville, but the vast majority did. That is a lot of devs. You can see the impact of those 500 grads when you go to almost any tech user group meeting or technology event in Nashville - you’ll meet a lot of NSS grads. It’s very exciting to see the impact our grads are having as they gain experience, get more visible in the community, and otherwise evolve and grow their careers.
It’s even more impactful for us when we stop and realize that approximately half of our grads came through NSS on our Apprentice Tuition plan where we share the risk with our students of their training and career transition. Without going into the details, the Apprentice Tuition plan (or Nashville Opportunity Tuition as we’ll be renaming it in the near future) provides a partial scholarship and a way to defer most of the remaining tuition cost until after the grad has secured a job as a developer. For many of our apprentice tuition grads, they could have never secured the financial assets to change careers without our help. Or, they would have had to delay their training and career change for months, if not years.
While 500 graduates is a celebratory number, each and every grad between 1 and 500, well 502, has their own story to tell. It’s never been about us; it’s always been about the graduates. Back in 2015, we started to capture their student journeys in a podcast they record on Demo Day. Take some time and listen to a few of them on your commute tomorrow. We’re also highlighting our alumni and what they’ve accomplished since NSS on our blog.
So now what? We’ve hit two major milestones this year: our fifth year of successfully opening doors to tech careers and 500 graduates. We’ve already announced new initiatives - our Data Science program and our combined designer/developer bootcamp - that will start graduating new types of trained talent in 2018. And I’m sure some of the other new initiatives that we’re researching and planning will provide yet more ways for motivated individuals to change and grow their careers in Nashville. Through all our growth, we remain committed to focus on the needs of the Nashville tech community and support our students and alumni.
How we got to 500 graduates…
|1 Cohort at a time||5 Cohorts at a time (3 full-time | 2 part-time)|
|1 Part-time Lead Instructor, 2 Part-time Teaching Assistants||5 Full-time Lead Instructors, 2 Part-time Lead Instructors, 3 Full-time Junior Instructors, 3 Full-time teaching assistants, 4 Part-time Junior Instructors|
|Chalkboards on the wall (truly old school), metal tables, back-breaker stackable chairs, and a few dozen extension cords and power strips running from 4 wall outlets||Collaborative, flexible workspaces with whiteboards, desks, ergonomic chairs on wheels and power in the floor|
|No windows||Windows - and balconies!!|
|Curriculum: Stay 1 week ahead of the class||Curriculum: Well documented, refined and open-source|
|Free coffee - K-cups||Free coffee - Bunn machine (is this progress?)|
|Hoping to place grads at employers||200+ employers have hired NSS grads|