Starting The Tech Academy was pretty much a no-brainer for Erik Gross. For years the Navy Veteran noticed that the tech world wasn’t as flush with coding talent as it should be. To directly address and fill this void, Gross found himself training others to assist him in his software development efforts. He did this on the side and called it "Prosper IT Academy," putting his experience teaching classes in computer science, physics, electronics, digital circuits, advanced mathematics to excellent use.
A few years into “Prosper IT Academy,” Gross decided to reach out to his longtime friend Jack Stanley with a unique business proposal.
“I was running a different company; I already had a great job that I enjoyed and Erik approached me with a proposal,” Stanley said. “He told me what he envisioned doing with the school and I saw a lot of potential. Not just from a business perspective – I saw that we could really help change peoples’ lives for the better.”
Together the two rebranded the school and, in 2014, The Tech Academy emerged. The curriculum features 19 self-paced courses that train students in the basics of computer science, key programming concepts, web development and software development. By the end of the program, students learn nearly ten programming languages and complete a real-world live project.
The Tech Academy is all about a self-paced, flexible program, and on average the program takes between 10 and 20 weeks (depending on the student’s past experience and exposure to IT). The school also offers open enrollment, meaning students can join at any time, as well as flexible hours to attend Monday through Saturday that fit nearly every schedule.
“We decided to have a training model that is self-paced,” Gross said. “This allows students to move quickly through materials they understand well, but take their time on new or difficult concepts.”
In 2014, The Tech Academy enrolled more than 65 students, and this year they’re expecting three times that amount.
“At the end of the day, we are concerned with: employed graduates that exceed employer expectations. All of our graduates have gotten jobs and several employers have come back to us after hiring one of our grads and asked for more. We have even had unemployed college graduates take our program and then get hired,” Gross said.
Stanley is happy about the decision to start the school with Gross. “We decided to take this ‘side activity’ and create one of the best code schools on the planet,” he said.