Why The Iron Yard Code Academy is Worth Every Penny


Yesterday, I had lunch with Rene, a student from The Iron Yard’s iOS class. I’m in the Rails class, so we pass each other in the hall, but this was the first chance we got to really talk.

Something Rene said really struck a chord with me:

“I have been teaching myself to code for a year, and I learned more in my first week at The Iron Yard than I learned in that entire year.”

Well said, Rene!

I also have a year of self-teaching under my belt, and the first week of class was equivalent to at least 6 months of that time.

Why? Here are a few of the reasons:

  • My teacher (James Dabbs) is awesome. He knows what he’s talking about, and knows how to teach. Most internet resources are written by people who have (at most) one of those 2 skills.
  • The class pushes you past what you THINK your limits are. Several times a week I get an assignment and think “There’s no way I’m going to be able to do this,” and then I DO IT.
  • You don’t waste time fighting stupid issues. Without guidance, you can lose five hours fighting a stray comma. Here I have 12 other students who can look at my code and, because they haven’t written it and haven’t been staring at it for hours, can immediately see the problem.
  • You are surrounded by smart, successful people every day, and if you have any sense you will realize that this is the best networking opportunity you will ever have in your life.

When I was trying to decide whether to go back and get a second Bachelors degree or attend a coding bootcamp, I wished I could find a real student’s opinion.

So here it is: I can’t speak for the other coding bootcamps, but if you’re looking at The Iron Yard:

Yes, absolutely, YES go to The Iron Yard.

Just make sure you’re prepared before you do. (But that is an entirely different blog post).


4 thoughts on “Why The Iron Yard Code Academy is Worth Every Penny

  1. Hello! Just stopped by this evening after a long google-research session on The Iron Yard and after several days of wondering if this is something I could do… and if it’s something I want to do. Just wanted to say “thank-you” for sharing all of your experiences through your coding bootcamp. As a female looking to totally change career paths and dive into something thoroughly exciting and yet unknown, your words have been a true comfort. It makes me feel that I’m not alone in my own thoughts and fears about diving into the process. Several of your posts are uplifting and light-hearted, but many of them gave me some valuable knowledge and insight too. I have been struggling with which course to even consider taking, let alone throwing down the gauntlet and risking it all on this crazy masochistic opportunity. Thanks for giving a little more of your time to write and share the journey. It’s made a difference to me! Keep coding and geeking out and loving life!


    • Glad my blog has been helpful. I should mention that a few changes have altered my opinion a bit:
      1) The Iron Yard’s tuition has gone through the roof
      2) Their Women in Tech scholarship has decreased simultaneously
      3) As a result of gaining accreditation, they are no longer able to offer a job guarantee, which means there is no safety net–you have to simply trust that they will still be dedicated to finding jobs for 100% of their students. I’m not saying they’re not committed to that goal, but the financial incentive to find jobs for their students was critical in my decision to attend The Iron Yard.

      As a result, I have to revise my recommendation:

      I still recommend attending The Iron Yard, but only after leveraging many of the free and almost-free resources on the web and then attempting to get a job through networking at meet-ups. If you are interested in front end development, I definitely recommend you go through FreeCodeCamp (http://www.freecodecamp.com/) first. If you are leaning toward Ruby on Rails, there is not yet an equivalent course, but if you read my post “How to Prepare for Ruby on Rails Bootcamp” (https://railsmama.wordpress.com/2014/09/10/how-to-prepare-for-ruby-on-rails-coding-bootcamp/) it will give you an idea of where to start.

      Either way, I highly recommend investing the time to teach yourself before investing the money to attend a coding bootcamp.

      I will try to write a new post soon with specific recommendations, but please let me know if you have questions. I am more than happy to be a resource for you.


      • Hi Julie,

        I have a couple of questions about Iron Yard (and moving into software dev generally) — would you be able to email me? Or I can ask them here if you prefer.

        Many thanks in advance


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