Anyone who spends time mingling with the Downtown Las Vegas tech scene hears many of the same things about it. The community is very welcoming. People are always looking to help out other companies. But here’s another common refrain: There’s not enough talent.
“We wanted to create a pipeline of talent to keep companies from moving away.”
The perceived talent gap here is due to many factors: education, lower tech salaries than other cities, and so on. No matter your opinion on the size of the Las Vegas talent pool, one thing is certain: When you can’t find enough talent, whether it’s engineers, programmers or robotics specialists, it’s hard to stay in town if you’re going to grow your startup.
Hopefully, that problem will diminish with the help of the Iron Yard, a coding school that is expanding to Las Vegas.
“We wanted to create a pipeline of talent to keep companies [from moving away],” Chief Marketing Officer Eric Dodds says.
What began as a software accelerator in South Carolina now has classrooms in 14 cities, mostly clustered in the southeastern United States. Downtown is their first stop out west. Zappos contacted the team last year, and after four visits to the area, they knew this would be a good place to set up shop.
The first classes will begin in May, and will include instruction in Python, Ruby and front-end engineering as well as Android, according to Dodds. The 12-week programs are immersive and require no previous experience, but they will be intense. Students are expected to spend 60 to 80 hours a week on lectures and homework. With a class size of 15, mentoring will also be a big part of the program.
Enrolling will cost $12,000, but Dodds says that several scholarships will be available, including some through the Vegas Tech Fund.
The Iron Yard is currently setting up shop in Work in Progress while they look for long-term real estate for when they open more classes.
They are also looking for teachers. Find out more by visiting their website.
#VegasTech Wants a Makeover
If you have some design skills, then listen up! The Vegas Tech community wants to revamp their logo in preparation for launching a merchandise shop on their site. Submissions will be accepted through 5 p.m. on March 29 and then a poll created by local startup Wedgies will allow the community to vote on the finalists.
Prizes include a one-month free pass to co-working spaces Work in Progress, the Innevation Center and Stitch Factory as well as free SEO consultation and many gift certificates to Downtown restaurants. See the full list of prizes on their website. Submissions can be emailed to Jacqueline Jensen.