What The SA Tech Job Fair Says About San Antonio

What The SA Tech Job Fair Says About San Antonio

 

Last night, Codeup co-hosted the first San Antonio Tech Job Fair at the Geekdom Event Centre. By the numbers, it was a great success:

  • 500 RSVPs for job seekers.
  • Biggest event ever at the Geekdom Event Centre.
  • Dozens of employers recruiting. Names like Accenture, Codeup, Def-Logix, H-E-B, Labatt Food Service, Rackspace, USAA, and WP Engine.

The great news for San Antonio is that young people are indeed looking to tech careers as a path to build a rewarding future. At the same time, it’s clear that we need to do more to get those young people ready to succeed in the tech workforce.

I personally spoke to over a hundred job seekers, and my booth-mate Dylan did, too.

We talked with dozens of recent computer science grads of local colleges and universities. They wanted entry-level jobs, but when I asked, “What have you built that is real?”, they pointed to toy applications and homework assignments. The students succeeded in their coursework – the curriculum simply didn’t arm them with applied, job-ready skills.

We also spoke to employers and saw which jobs the employers were looking to fill. All of the recruiters were targeting senior and mid-level technical positions. The big company employers were searching for the same.

It’s clear that San Antonio is getting good at producing entry-level talent, but we still have a huge gap in technical ability. The main takeaway after talking to both job seekers and job givers is that the San Antonio workforce isn’t where tech employers want it to be. It’s the responsibility of both the educators and the employers to become much more involved in solving that problem.

Moving forward, there are two challenges for us as a community. First, educational programs (including Codeup) need to continue to evolve and guide talent beyond entry-level skills. Second, companies need to take talent development seriously to grow more senior talent out of these young people.

We’re working on the problem. It’s time other parts of the community stepped up as well.

Why Choose Codeup?

Why Choose Codeup?

Prospective students sometimes ask about how we compare to other coding education models. We think choosing Codeup should be a no-brainer.

Here’s why we’re widely considered one of the top coding bootcamps in the world:

Our Students: We put our student’s success first (and our student testimonials reflect this!) From study hall hours to professional development workshops, we ensure our students are ready for hire as an entry-level developer or data scientist as soon as they graduate.

Business Partnerships: We are proud to work with over 100 employer partners. We make sure to continue our conversations with our employer partners to see what their hiring needs are. Our curriculum is based off of what the current hiring needs are in the tech industry.

Tuition Refund Guarantee: Codeup is the only coding bootcamp that returns your tuition if you don’t find work within 6 months.

Our Craftsmanship: You’ll see the owners of our company regularly, making certain that what we do is top-tier. We’re not the nationwide remote office of a large corporation.

Heart of Downtown: Codeup loves being located in the heart of downtown San Antonio, Dallas, and Houston, where the tight-knit tech communities are. You’ll know what we mean when you join us.

If you’re interested in learning more about Codeup, we’d love for you to visit our campus in downtown San Antonio or Dallas. If you’re from out of town, no problem. Codeup is available remotely to students all across Texas! We’re more than happy to answer your questions over the phone at (210) 802-7289 or contact us here!

Use Your Texas Unemployment Benefits at Codeup

Use Your Texas Unemployment Benefits at Codeup

Eligible applicants can now use Texas Workforce Development funds to help pay for a bootcamp to become a professional software developer. Codeup is the first coding bootcamp in Texas to accept Workforce Improvement Act (WIA) benefits which are dedicated to helping adult and dislocated workers prepare for meaningful careers in a variety of targeted occupations. Software and web developers rank near the top of this list, in regards to average hourly wage.

The first step is to find out if you’re eligible for funding by contacting our local workforce board, Workforce Solutions Alamo. Transitioning Servicemembers may qualify for funding as “dislocated workers.”

With any questions, drop us a line at info@codeup.com or (210) 802-7289.

Q&A with Luis Martinez, Director of Entrepreneurship at Trinity University

Q&A with Luis Martinez, Director of Entrepreneurship at Trinity University

Dr. Luis Martinez, Director of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Trinity University, visited the Codeup classroom to talk to our students about entrepreneurship. Below is a Q&A from the end of his presentation.

How do you differentiate between proof of concept, prototype, minimum viable product, and customer validation when coaching students?

The first thing to ask is, “what’s the true value proposition?”. So, “what’s the ‘it’ that’s really going to be valuable?”. The second questions is, “who is the customer?”. You really need to understand your customer better than they understand him or herself. That means talking to customers, that means working with customers, that means actually going to people and saying, “look I have this idea what do you think?”. So define the true value proposition you’re trying to provide, and then match that with real customers and real customer needs.

Then the second step, once you make that connection and validate that value proposition with a customer match, is actually getting the “it” in front of somebody, or a version of the “it” in front of somebody to be able to sense whether or not it’s really going to be viable.

Investors love you, but they love paying customers best. So between you and the investor, there’s the prototype, there’s the app that helps convince them there really is a path forward and not just some guys who’s nice to talk to but has nothing to offer.

Have you begun to see more entrepreneurial models and educational approaches in high schools or middle schools across the United States?

There’s a lot of stuff going on right now in high schools and middle schools, who are just beginning [entrepreneurship].  Venture Labs, which is just down the street [from Codeup], is doing some really great work in trying to put that into the curriculum. I don’t know if it’s a fad or if it will be here permanently, but we are seeing a lot more of it. We’re also seeing a lot more young college students getting involved in entrepreneurship.

What do you think about crowdsourcing platforms as a means of defining value proposition and finding customers and funding?

I love crowdsourcing and crowdfunding, I think it’s a great way of determining whether your thing is the upcoming thing that people wanna buy. The problem with crowdsourcing is that there’s just a lot of crap out there and there’s a lot of people who are not only selling you something, but a whole bunch of stuff that you’re not gonna get. So it’s great if you’re doing it for real and using it for the right reasons.

From the inventor/startup side, it’s a phenomenal way of being able to say, “we have 5,000 people who want to buy our special sauce and so now we’ve taken that money we’re gonna go bottle that sauce.” But I urge you all to think about what the next thing is going to be. What’s after crowdsourcing? We’re already seeing a variety of that with equity crowdfunding, but is there something else that can be the next thing? When we think about the principles of crowdfunding, is there an opportunity to leapfrog and go just above that curve of innovation to be the first entrant, or occupy that first niche that does something differently?

If your startup idea is an adaptation or modernization (a faster wheel, so to speak) of an earlier product, does the process of developing that idea change?

It’s still the same, but it makes selling it easier. It’s like, “Facebook for cats,” like, “Sea World without large mammals,” like, “Uber, but for boats.” It’s easier to sell; there’s a higher likelihood that you know who your customer are, because there are people using it already.

The challenge is that some of the big companies are already thinking about those things and they have chosen not to pursue them for various reasons. The good news for startups is that maybe the reasons corporate companies chose not to pursue are the exact reasons why you should choose to pursue them as a startup: because they’re too big, too bureaucratic to understand the real opportunity, or they chose to pass on it.

Be careful with an idea that’s similar to what other people are doing. Do your due diligence. Sometimes the patent literature is in the library and you can thumb through and see there was this old company that had that same idea 20 years ago, who then got bought out, and got bought, and got bought out, and no one ever did anything with it. Now if you just tweak that idea–by taking what they did and marrying it with the cloud, marrying it with crowdsourcing, marrying it with an app platform, social media–you will then be able to see the right opportunity. If those guys are still around, it might be worth finding them and asking, “whatever happened to that?”.

Elevator pitch versus Ted Talk?

You will need different pitches for different audiences at different times, so have them all ready. You should have your 10 second elevator pitch, your 2 sentence explanation of what you do, your 3 minute pitch, your Ted Talk; you should have a deck for an investors with appendices, a deck for sales to sell your thing. There are different kinds of ways of presenting for different kinds of audiences; have all of those presentations relatively polished so when that opportunity presents itself, you can pitch it right then. Be ready.

Start with outlining the technically detailed way to say what you’re trying to say to other engineers, computer scientists, people who are in the field who do and see the need and will be able to make the thing that  you need to make. Then, think of the 35,000-foot big-picture version of what you’re trying to say, and sort of in between those is the rest of the world.

Exploring New Domains: ICANN’s gTLD Program

Exploring New Domains: ICANN’s gTLD Program

 

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit organization responsible for maintaining the global Domain Name System (DNS), is in the middle of rolling out its new gTLD program, which has the potential to reshape how users find information on the internet and how organizations build their identities online.

Kevin Kopas, Channel Manager for Radix Registry, stopped by the Codeup classroom to help students better understand the gTLD program and how it may transform the domain industry over the next few years.

What is a domain, anyway?

Domains are identifiers that create spaces of authority within the internet. A domain reflects an Internet Protocol address (IP address), which links to the server where a website is hosted.  Domains are organized according to a hierarchical model consisting of top-level, second-level, and lower-level domains.

Top-level domains (TLDs) constitute the highest level of domains in the DNS. There are many types of TLDs–including country codes like .us, .uk, and .jp–and Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs), such as .com, .info, .edu, and .org. gTLDs are operated and managed by registries, like Radix.

Second and lower-level domains directly follow TLDs and are located to the left of the “.” in a domain. For a visual, in the domain “codeup20.wpengine.com,”  “.com”  is the gTLD and “codeup” is the second-level domain. Typically, registries delegate the responsibility of allotting domain names to registrars, such as GoDaddy.

How is the domain industry changing?

Until recently, the list of gTLDs was limited to traditional strings, like the previously-mentioned .com and .net, as well as .gov, .mil, .org. and .edu. Over the years, the number of desirable and available second and third-level domains associated with these gTLDs has become increasingly scarce.

To diversify the pool of available domains, ICANN is in the process of introducing 1300+ new gTLDs. These include everything from .baby, .mls, .dot,  and .realty, to .sucks, and .buy. Radix has acquired eight new gTLDs, including .space, and .website, and will soon be offering .tech.

Registries can apply for a new gTLD through ICANN. In the case that multiple registries apply for the same gTLD, those companies partake in an auction to determine the winner. ICANN runs its own auction to solve these contention sets; however, companies have found ways to resolve these disputes before reaching ICANN through private auctions like Applicant Auction, which have their own rules and regulations. Sometimes companies even negotiate deals on their own instead of conducting a private auction.

The winning price for each gTLD varies. Registries often play a high-stakes guessing game where big prices have the potential for big returns. For example, on the low end of the March 2015 ICANN auction  , .srl was purchased for $400,000; on the high end, Google purchased .app for $25 million.

What does this mean for the web?

In Kopas’ opinion, slowly but surely, the .coms and .nets of the world will become overpowered by more specific gTLDs. While the impending end of the .com era may be sad for some, this shift also opens up new opportunity for creativity and specificity in a company’s branding and marketing.

With a more diverse list of available gTLDS, companies can better align their web presences with their products or services: a beauty salon could use .salon or an independent realtor could use .realtor. On the flip side, users will be able to tailor their searches based on a company’s gTLD. This change also has the potential to offer credibility to businesses in certain industries. For example, in order to obtain a .law domain, the applicant must be a licensed practitioner.

But will these new gTLDs ever really become the norm? Will Google’s $25 million investment in .app produce a sizable ROI? Only time will tell. In order for this shift to happen, consumers must understand the industry and recognize the new variety of available gTLDs. Thanks to Kopas, Codeup students are now “in the know” about the changing domain of domains!

For more info on the upcoming gTLD changes, check out ICANN’s FAQ page.

To hear about how applicants plan to use the new gTLDs, watch ICANN’s video series.

Using Git as a Communication Tool

Using Git as a Communication Tool

As Josh Freeman of Grok Interactive shared with our students during a lunchtime talk, it’s extremely important to maintain quality communication when working on a project.

Git, while primarily a tool for version control, can be used to facilitate this kind of interaction. Freeman recommends two simple steps to maximize communication in Git.

1. Use the Git commit as an opportunity to increase communication by explaining the changes you make to your code, as opposed to explaining it in a comment.

Set up a Git commit template, or a standardized layout for commit messages. Freeman’s template is listed below. Don’t forget, your commit message summary must be 50 characters or less; all other lines should be under 72 characters.

(Configuring your Git commit template)

Example Git Commit Template:

2. Organize your commits logically.

Sections of code that don’t relate to each other shouldn’t be committed together. Instead, break your code into logical sections and commit each section separately.

You can accomplish this by adding to the index in patches, which allows you to stage parts of files and provides finer control over what you commit. Maintaining an organization to your commits will make it much easier to communicate via the commit template.

(Adding to the index in patches)

Following these two simple Git guidelines can prevent frustration that arises when deciphering code. Communication is key not only for your current team members, but also for your future self or future developers who may inherit your code sometime down the line.

The Delorean Gets a Ride

The Delorean Gets a Ride

Our beloved Delorean took a ride in the tow truck today. Once it’s back from the shop, life will be complete again. Cross your fingers!

 

 

6 SEO Tips From SEO Guru, Matt Egan

6 SEO Tips From SEO Guru, Matt Egan

Last Thursday, Matt Egan, founder of San Antonio-based Search Engine Optimization agency, Image Freedom, spoke to our Full-Stack Bootcamp students during our weekly lunchtime talk series. Read on for six SEO takeaways from his presentation.

1. Make your title tag effective.

The title tag, or the text written on the tab of your website, is a huge factor in your SEO ranking and should be as simple and straightforward as possible. The title tag is not the place for creative metaphors or puns: if your website is about finding cheap flights, the word “cheap flights” should most definitely be in your title tag.

2. Keep your key words simple and specific.

Likewise, the keywords you choose to emphasize on your website–especially the keywords within the first block of content on the homepage–should convey your purpose as concisely and simply as possible.

3. “Don’t half-ass two things, whole-ass one thing.

Borrowing from the wisdom of Parks and Rec’s Ron Swanson, this quote means you should avoid spreading the same keywords across multiple pages on your site. Decide early on which keywords you want on each page and stick to it. If you need to reuse a keyword on a separate page, you can always put it in an image (which Google can’t read) or link it back to the original page where the keyword is emphasized.

4. Don’t use “click here” on your website.

Never use the words, “click here” on your website to direct users to links or documents. “Click here” has been used so frequently to link to Adobe PDFs that, when you Google it, Adobe Reader is the first or second item listed. Using “click here” can actually hurt your SEO. Instead, use a link title that describes the content to which it’s linking.

Example:
“For more information about Codeup’s Teen SummerCamp, click here.” = WRONG!
“Learn more about Codeup’s Teen SummerCamp.” = RIGHT!

5. Make shareable content.

Shareable content, like a free brochure or infographic, can increase the amount of people linking to your site. When it comes to SEO, quality links are golden. You want as many quality links as you can get!

6. Ensure your site is mobile-friendly.

Google is changing their algorithm (again) to factor in a site’s mobile-friendliness. This change is set to be released during the week of April 21st, 2015. If you want to maximize your SEO (and minimize mobile users’ frustration when browsing your site), you must ensure that your website uses responsive design. Not sure if your site is responsive? Use Google’s free mobile friendliness test to find out.

Programming “Like a Girl”

Programming “Like a Girl”:

Women Who Changed Computer Programming History

March is Women’s History Month. In honor of tech-y women near and far, present and past, we’re commemorating a few of the most influential women in computer programming history; women who prove that programming “like a girl” is a compliment of the highest regard.

The Six Female ENIAC Programmers
Between 1943 and 1945, six women programmed the ENIAC–one of the earliest electronic general-purpose computers in the world–as part of a U.S. Army project. Without the luxury of programming textbooks or tools, Kathleen McNulty, Betty Snyder Holberton, Marlyn Wescoff Meltzer, Jean Jennings Bartik, Ruth Lichterman, and Frances Bila Spence programmed an 80 foot-long by 8 foot-tall machine with over 3,000 switches to run a ballistics trajectory in just seconds. Although these women receive credit for this feat nowadays, their names weren’t even mentioned when the machine was revealed in 1946.

Grace Murray Hopper
Ever wonder where the term “debugging” comes from? Rumor has it this colloquialism traces back to Hopper, who literally had to extract a moth from inside a computer while troubleshooting. Dubbed “The Queen of Software,” Hopper graduated from Vassar College in 1928 with a B.A. in mathematics and physics and later joined the Navy Reserve during the war. She was the first woman to obtain a PhD in Mathematics from Yale and the first female to reach admiral rank in the Navy, where she worked on the first programmable computer in the U.S., the Mark I. Hopper also developed COBOL (common business-oriented language), one of the first modern programming languages. That’s a lot of firsts!

Ada Lovelace
The daughter of famed poet Lord Byron, Lovelace’s mother steered her away from her father’s literary tendencies and toward mathematics. Lovelace met English mathematician and engineer, Charles Babbage, at a party in 1833, where he told her about early plans for his Babbage Engine. Later on in 1843, Lovelace translated an article on the engine into French, adding her own notes about using a series of operations with the computer to solve a mathematical problem. Although the engine was never successfully built, Lovelace’s writing is considered the first published description of such a process; because of this, she is sometimes called the “first programmer.”

Radia Perlman
The world knows Perlman as “The Mother of the Internet,” but she resents the title, arguing that no single person can be responsible for this impressive accomplishment. Perlman developed the Spanning Tree Protocol, which allows loop-free topology for bridged Ethernet areas. Perlman has a B.S. and M.S. in mathematics and a PhD in Computer Science, all from MIT. She holds over 100 patents and has won multiple awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from Usenix.

Karen Spärck Jones
Jones, a British computer scientist, is credited with inventing IDF in 1972. IDF, or “inverse document frequency,” is the statistical method behind weighting terms in search engines, which helps rank their importance when a user enters a query. Variations of IDF are used in modern search engines to rank a web page’s relevance to a user’s search. Without Jones’ contribution, navigating the internet would be pretty chaotic.

Codeup’s Female Grads
Finally, this blog post wouldn’t be complete without the mention of Codeup’s female graduates. We’d like to collectively commend the 28 female students who have completed or are currently completing our bootcamp. Although we’d love to list them all, we’ve limited it to a few shoutouts for sake of space:

Codeup is passionate about narrowing the gender gap in programming. Learn more about our women’s scholarship program.

 

What is the Value of a Codeup Education?

What is the Value of a Codeup Education?

This is a guest article by Michael Taylor, originally posted at The Rivard Report and Bankers Anonymous.

 

Like many, I see education from a combination of angles. Unquestionably, education makes us broader thinkers and more sparkling conversationalists. Education makes us more actualized humans.

But as a finance guy, a small evil part of me always applies the $64,000 Wall Street question to every activity – from brushing my teeth to tossing a ball with a (in my case, non-existent) dog. [1] It’s the bottom-line question: “How is this making me money, like, right now?” [2]

One of the problems of education, generally, is that we have a hard time proving or quantifying its value. What is the value of holding your shoulders back and head high when you walk into a job interview, knowing you’re the best they’re going to interview that week? Or the value of the feeling, when given a work assignment, of “Boom! I got this!”

Philosophically, how can you put a value on just knowing more stuff?

CODEUP

The weird thing about my friend Michael Girdley – who started the computer coding school Codeup – is that he’s ambitious enough to say that the education community tradition of waving a hand at hard-to-measure fuzzy feelings is not good enough. Just because the education community finds it difficult to measure value doesn’t mean that business people shouldn’t try.

In less than two years he’s established a pattern of tracking data on the most important finance question of education. By that, I mean the bottom-line question: How is this making me money, like, right now? Girdley shared with me the pre-Codeup and post-Codeup earnings of his students, along with some useful stats on entry-level and mid-career web developer salaries.

Using a couple of his statistics, I want to take a stab at figuring out the total value, right now, of a student’s investment in Codeup.

STATISTIC #1:

“The average Codeup graduate saw her annual salary jump $13,035 in the year after graduation from the program.”

What does that really mean? What can you do with that number if you plan, say, 30 working years at this higher salary?

It would be great to say that a Codeup education is worth 30 times $13,035, or $391,050. However, money in the future is not as valuable to me as money today, so that calculation is not quite accurate. I mean, you could figure it, but finance guys will give you the time value of money speech that you don’t want to hear again.

With a salary increase of just $13,035, we can calculate what that amount is worth today by using a discounted cashflow formula. So let’s be sophisticated and apply our discounted cashflow formula to 30 years of earnings, elevated by $13,035.

I have to assume a “discount rate,” which is some combination of taking into account inflation and future investment risks. I’m going to assume a 5% discount rate. [3] Using my 5% discount rate, I estimate the value today of my elevated salary to be $200,379.90. That’s the sum of 30 years’ worth of $13,035, but “discounted,” or translated back, into today’s dollars.

That discounting allows us to more accurately compare the $16,000 tuition for Codeup with the total financial value, today, of that education. By that measure, you pay Codeup $16K today for something worth on average, $200K, today. [4] Another way of putting it is that you are buying something today worth 12.5 times that amount. With these numbers, Codeup sounds like pretty good deal. 

STATISTIC #2:

“The average web developer, nationally, earns $91,750. That’s $61,525 more than the average pre-Codeup salary of surveyed Codeup students.”

So that’s interesting.

We can imagine a number of reasons for this difference which don’t have to do with the value of Codeup. Maybe the average web developer is older and more experienced on the job than the average pre-Codeup student. Maybe national salaries are higher than San Antonio salaries, on average.

I mean, I’m sure they are.

But still. If one of your goals is to swim in a higher-paid talent pool, it might pay to learn the butterfly stroke.

How much would 15 peak years of earning $61,525 more than you earn now be worth, like, right now? Again, I don’t think it’s as high as 15 times $61,525, or $922,875, because of the whole discounted cashflow of money in the future not being worth as much money today. Also, to be fair, you probably won’t earn the average national salary until you had a few years to ramp up your career.

But what about discounting 15 years of an additional $61,525 per year, at a 5% rate, starting 5 years from now, using the exact same formula that we used before? [5] Discounting those 15 years of earning the average industry salary gives me a value, today, of $500,366.44. Which, to state the obvious, is 31X the price of tuition.

With those kinds of numbers I start to feel like that sales guy from Entourage: “What if I was to tell you that you’d pay $16,000 tuition to Codeup for something worth $500K today? Is that something you might be interested in?”

Look, seriously, there are a lot of assumptions embedded in my statement that “you could pay $16K in tuition today for future salary jumps worth $500K, today.”

Most important of these is the assumption that, by training as a programmer, you can earn the national average salary for programming jobs. And we all know there’s no guarantee that happens.

But – and this is a big but [6] – it’s not a crazy assumption. Because, really, it’s an assumption that the average happens.

It’s an assumption that you could be paid what other people in your industry are generally paid. It’s an assumption that markets are somewhat efficient.  It’s an assumption that, if you have valuable skills, you can find employers and work situations just like other people.

All of which makes me pretty confident that the financial return on a skills upgrade like Codeup can be somewhere between 12 and 31 times the upfront tuition cost.

BACK TO THE VALUE OF AN EDUCATION

As I said before, education leads to more sparkling conversations as well as to a more fully actualized life. Of that, I have no doubt.

But I appreciate my friend Girdley’s business-like approach to showing that the value of his program can be somewhere between a 12 and 31 times multiple of your investment. Just thinking like a finance guy, is that something you might be interested in?

——–
[1] Notice I haven’t gotten a dog because – I ask you – where’s the profit in that?
[2] I’m still working on monetizing my teeth-brushing.
[3] How did I come up with 5%? Sorta kinda I used art in addition to science. You could call inflation 2%, so that’s a baseline for discounting the value of money in the future. Then there’s the future risk of actually earning the elevated salary, which after all is a big assumption, and also an average, and as we always say in finance ‘results may vary, past performance is no predictor of future results, etc,’ so there’s a few % points added to the inflation rate to account for that kind of risk. If you don’t like my 5% assumption, make your own, I can’t promise you I’m “right” about a 5% discount rate. You might be just as right with a different assumption. Also, remember the faux philosopher and native San Antonian Jack Handey is a good guide to these disagreements: “Instead of having ‘answers’ on a math test, they should just call them ‘impressions,’ and if you got a different ‘impression,’ so what, can’t we all be brothers?”
[4] In addition to the $16K tuition of course you have to do a lot of work to not only learn to code, but also, you know, earn a salary in the future. So there’s still that whole ‘work’ problem. But if you have to work, it’s nice for the finance part to at least make sense, no?
[5] Why did I choose 15 years and not 30 this time? Mostly because I don’t think it’s fair to assume a Codeup graduate’s salary jumps immediately to the average national salary. You work up to that. For that same reason, I calculated the value with a 5 year delay, to account for a slow ramp-up. Again, Jack Handey comes to mind: “If you ever teach a yodeling class, probably the hardest thing is to keep the students from just trying to yodel right off. You see, we build to that.”
[6] Hhhnn-huh. Heh. (Shut up, Beevis.)