Host Jeremy C. Park talks with John Wark, Founder and CEO of Nashville Software School, which was started in 2012 as the nation’s first nonprofit software bootcamp and has grown to provide full-time and part-time online training programs in web development, software engineering, data analytics and data science. The organization’s mission is to open doors to adults with motivation and aptitude for careers in tech. The nonprofit is committed to creating opportunities to access high-paying tech careers for individuals who are financially disadvantaged or are from groups underrepresented in tech careers. During the interview, John talks about their various programs and growth over the last decade, opportunities for enrollment, how they partner with companies and other community organizations, ways to support scholarships and serve as mentors and much more.
- What is Nashville Software School?
Nashville Software School (NSS) was started in 2012 as the nation’s first non-profit software bootcamp. We began as a way to develop a pipeline of local tech talent to meet the needs of area employers. We provide full-time and part-time online training programs in web development, software engineering, data analytics and data science. We are ideally suited for adult students who do not have a background in tech but have the appropriate interest and aptitude.
With the addition of nearly 12,000 local tech jobs in the near future with Oracle, Amazon, NTT Data and many others investing heavily in Nashville, it’s an ideal time to pursue a tech career. These are well-paying jobs and many of these employers are looking to hire diverse talent in Tennessee.
- What is the mission of Nashville Software School?
Our mission is to open doors to adults with motivation and aptitude for careers in tech. We’re committed to creating opportunities to access high-paying tech careers for individuals who are financially disadvantaged or are from groups underrepresented in tech careers. In fact, 58% of our graduates in 2021 are members of underrepresented groups including women, people of color and veterans. This year, we celebrate our 10th anniversary and will graduate our 2000th graduate in the summer.
- How do you work with employers to find tech talent?
The curriculum in our programs is always influenced by our engagement with local employers and their tech talent needs. Our team actively works to engage employers with our students prior to graduation and shares job postings with graduates. Our success is not measured solely based on graduation rate, but on graduates securing a job in tech
Our graduates have been hired by top employers including HCA, Ingram, Built Technologies, AllianceBernstein and Amazon–the list goes on. They are looking for junior tech talent who are job ready with the relevant skills and experience on a team. That’s what they get when they hire an NSS grad.
We also partner with employers and community organizations to support programs such as the Nashville Technology Council’s apprentice program where students receive free tuition through the GoTech partnership funded by the State of Tennessee.
Recently, we launched a software engineering program with Java/AWS specialization in collaboration with Amazon. This program is based on a proven curriculum developed by Amazon Technical Academy and is another pathway for local residents and those outside our region to acquire the skills required to launch a career in software development.
- How can people support Nashville Software School?
We invite employers to reach out to us with their tech talent needs and see how we can partner with them. As a non-profit organization, we invite individuals and corporations to support NSS through donations to help fund Opportunity Tuition and scholarships for students who are financially fragile. Currently, about 50% of our students receive opportunity through NSS-funded options.
- How can people find out more about Nashville Software School?
If you’re interested in pursuing a tech career, visit our website to sign up for our blog, register for information sessions and apply for programs at https://nashvillesoftwareschool.com/.
Recent Media Coverage:
- Nashville Post: Nashville Software School boosts local tech workforce
- Nashville Business Journal: com Inc. creates new software engineering program with Nashville Software School
- The Tennessean: How Nashville can meet the demands for more talent in the tech industry