Trying to keep pace with the exponential growth of the tech industry, The Tech Academy has ambitious plans for expansion this coming year. The Portland-headquartered coding bootcamp is on track to open three new campuses by February 2019. In this Q&A with Jack Stanley and Brett Caudle of The Tech Academy, we learn about the bootcamp’s plans for expansion, what the process of opening new campuses entails, and what students can expect from the new locations!
In 2018 The Tech Academy opened remote campuses in Seattle and Denver and announced plans for Austin and Phoenix. What other cities are you planning on opening campuses in?
By the end of 2019, there will be campuses in the following cities:
We are enrolling students for all of these campuses now. Students who start now can begin studying for their bootcamps online and then have full access to their campuses when they open!
What inspired such an ambitious growth plan?
We’ve noticed that about half of all students prefer an in-person training experience (as opposed to fully online study). In the interest of increasing our reach as a school, we are opening campuses across the United States.
What factors did you consider when choosing cities for new campuses?
We are looking for cities that aren’t already saturated with coding bootcamps. We believe that everyone should be able to attend a code school, and so we are placing them in a wide array of cities that have strong demand for tech workers.
Tell us a little bit about the process of opening a new campus.
A lot goes into the process. In no particular order, here are some of the steps:
1. Filing all needed legal documents, submitting a school license application, etc.
2. Finding the perfect campus. We look for office space that is large enough to comfortably fit students, and as the saying goes: location, location, location. We tend to stay out of downtown to ensure students have a quiet study environment and (even better) free parking.
3. Hiring and training all needed employees. We have training content for every position. Our instructors are graduates of our bootcamps who have completed about 4 weeks of intensive training. This includes studying and practicing how to assist students and running an internship (we call it a Live Project).
4. We renovate each campus prior to opening and furnish it with brand-new furniture and supplies. We don’t reuse anything from previous tenants because we want to ensure our students have the exact furnishings they need.
5. Each campus has its own marketing campaign to inform students of the arrival of the next Tech Academy.
This is a very high-level overview but we have about ten employees assisting with the process of opening new schools. Brett and I get to find the new campuses, which is a lot of fun!
How do the campuses differ from your Portland campus? How are they similar?
Portland houses all of our administration and support staff (executives, marketing, registration, accounting, etc.). These employees are able to handle functions for every campus from our headquarters.
But the classrooms and our Live Project are the same at all campuses. No matter which campus you study at, you will do the same programs as every other student.
What are some struggles you face when opening new campuses?
It can be difficult finding the exact right campus. There’s been times where we had to look at dozens of properties. We also interview several people before deciding on the right staff. So, the process of finding the right people and the right space can be difficult.
How connected are each of the campuses to the Portland headquarters? Do they receive a lot of support from the Portland campus and staff?
Each “external campus” (school besides Portland) sends in a Daily Report to our Portland executives – including myself. This report provides a snapshot of what was accomplished that day and covers any issues they’re having, help they need, etc. We ensure rapid handling of all situations that arise.
Additionally, one of our administrators visits and inspects each campus at least once a month. During their visits, they interview staff, inspect the premises, and ensure the campus is operating at or above Portland standards.
What benefits do students receive attending classes in-person at one of the new campuses vs. attending the bootcamp online?
We attempt to provide online students with the same quality of service as in-person students. That said, there are many benefits to studying at one of our campuses. They’re purpose-built for the student experience to include everything students will need.
They also have instructors right in front of them to assist, and there are fewer distractions. As far as online programs go, ours was included on multiple “Best Online Coding Bootcamps” lists, but if you have a choice, choose to study at one of our schools.
What is the most exciting part about each new campus?
The fact that each one has its own personality. This is a combination of the city it’s in, the employees that run it, and the student body. America is such a diverse country, and every new location has exciting new characteristics and its own “flavor.”
We are just so grateful to have such awesome employees and students. We wouldn’t be where we are today without them.
If you’re interested in learning more about The Tech Academy and any of their new campuses, visit learncodinganywhere.com or email them anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org!
This post was sponsored by The Tech Academy.