The Austin Chronicle

Two Tech Schools Open Shop

By Waylon Cunningham, January 6, 2015, 3:00pm, Picture in Picture

Having seen The Internship and Ashton Kutcher playing Apple's spiritual center in Jobs, it’s safe to say that a career in tech is not only edge-of-your-seat exciting, but also fun for the whole family. Lucky for you, two vocational schools for technology have recently set up camp in Austin.

The Iron Yard might sound like a Stalinist gulag, but it’s far from it. This company helps burgeoning tech startups get their ideas off the ground – startups that need programmers. Hence the Iron Yard Academy, which promises to not only hammer you into an entry-level coder, but also hook graduates up with one of their partnered startups or other companies in the area. Everything is taken care of for you (hmm ... like communism.) They offer intensive three-month programs in practical tech fields like iOS app development, server-side programming, and Web design. “Don’t know any code?” the website asks, “Don’t worry. Our proven teachers and curriculum will take you from zero to hero.” Cliches aside, the academy also claims to go beyond mere syntax, and teach you how to “think like a software engineer.” It'll cost $12,000 (scholarships and payment plans are available), but you'll be prepared for interview tasks like the infamous FizzBuzz challenge.

General Assembly promises its student the opportunity to learn about career-oriented fields like “web development, user experience design, product management, digital marketing, data science, and more.” Hopefully at least one of those is akin to surfing through a virtual tunnel of green zeroes and ones like in the movies. Unlike the Iron Yard Academy, General Assembly doesn’t require you to take burn-and-learn “5-Year Plan”-esque immersion programs (though they are offered as well). They also teach part-time courses, and one-time classes and workshops. Informal, one-off classes range in price from free to a few hundred dollars with the full-time courses costing up to $11,500. GA’s Downtown campus will be the school’s 13th location, joining cities like San Francisco and Hong Kong. “As a rapidly growing city with a burgeoning job market, world-renowned tech companies, and homegrown startups, Austin is a natural fit for our expanding portfolio of U.S. locations,” said General Manager Anna Lindow in a press release.

And she’s right. Austin’s been called the Silicon Hills by tech-types for a reason. In 2012 alone, local software and semiconductor firms garnered about $267 million. Get educated and hack your way into some of that cash.

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