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How Austin startups have hacked their growth with content (yes, content)

(Business Marketing) Several Austin startups have taken an alternative route when it comes to growth, and their success can be duplicated in other markets and industries, even yours.



austin startups

Jump starting a startup

When Jason Cohen, founder of Austin startup WPEngine recruited early key hire Aaron Brazell, author of WordPress Bible, he attributed this major coup to the reputation he gained from his blog A Smart Bear.

Cohen said: “Well, we got Aaron, and it’s because of this blog.”

Further, Austin startup SpareFoot, an online resource that helps people find and book self-storage units, has been able to get on the radar screen of Wall Street analysts because of their “unprecedented coverage of the self-storage industry” in their SpareFoot Storage Beat blog, Editor in Chief John Egan told me recently.

These examples are just the tip of the iceberg about the power of content marketing and blogging for many of Austin’s startups, which also include successes like OneSpot, who made it on the list of the top 50 content marketing brands, alongside AppSumo and Spredfast.

But blogging and content marketing could help Austin’s startups do more than build a stellar team or reach the next level of growth – it could actually help them to jump start the whole process from the very beginning.

The Traditional Startup Route

The startup process has been shrouded by a romantic myth for years. The image is of the brilliant young founder who launches a startup after a lightbulb moment in the shower, writes a business plan on the back of a napkin, raises millions in a seed round, experiences a hockey-stick growth spurt then has a head-spinning exit.

That typical startup image is just that – an image, not based on reality. And the rare startup that follows that pattern are the (very) rare exceptions to the rule.

The more typical scenario is the methodical search for product/market fit, and several pivots before the founders get the initial product right.

WPEngine’s Cohen describes the journey as relentlessly finding enough people who not only believe the combination of feature/functions and target price point is a great idea, but who would absolutely pay the price he was asking for.

Only then did he go about building his initial service offering.

But the initial product/market fit process, the customer development process, is a tough process. It involves lots of lunch meetings, coffees, phone calls, networking, cold calls.

Is there a better way?

Joe Pulizzi at the Content Marketing Institute thinks so.

Content Marketing as Customer Development Tool

In his podcast Content, Inc., which he will soon turn into a book of the same name, Pulizzi asks in the appropriately named post How Entrepreneurs Can Conquer Goliath whether “…startups can or should focus first on content (and related audience research and development) and second on developing non-content offerings.”

He cites the example of Brian Clark, founder and CEO of Copyblogger Media. You may have heard of Copyblogger Media: they spawned such companies as StudioPress, Synthesis Web Hosting, and the Rainmaker Platform.

So what does Clark say about the startup process?

“We started first by building an audience,,,serving that audience with valuable free content revealed loads of useful insight into the problems and desires not currently met in the broader market.”

In other words, before even building a minimum viable product, Clark built a minimum viable audience. For 14 months he published tons of valuable, free content before even offering a single product for sale.

How Startups Can Use Content to Start and Grow

NextView Ventures from Boston has developed a growth guide for startups to help them use content to grow.

Called Content Marketing for Startups, the guide lays out a simple step-by-step process you can use to establish a content marketing practice for your startup.

  1. Develop your “minimum viable persona” and interview loyal customers, beta users or target customers to get an idea of who you’re writing for, their biggest challenges, what are they looking to achieve, and how they discover information.
  2. Determine your story. What is your customers’ status quo? What’s the drama surrounding their problem? And what’s the resolution?
  3. Set up your blog as your content hub, and make sure you: use simple, clear language, make it easy for them to subscribe, place your critical calls-to-action adjacent to each post, and link to info about your product.
  4. Pick your topic of focus. Get as niche-y as possible. If your niche is too big, narrow down even more. Your goal is to own a niche.
  5. Use an idea pipeline to record ideas whenever they strike, because it’s really hard to think of fresh ideas everyday.
  6. Open an editorial calendar using Google Calendar to make sure your team contributes content on a consistent basis.
  7. Create an outreach list of influencers who can help spread the word on your content.

These steps comprise just the first stage of the content-as-growth-hacking process laid out by the NextView guide.

The following section provides a practical playbook for executing on your content strategy.

Could We See More Austin Startups Starting With a Blog?

I like this definition of content marketing from the NextView blog: “Content marketing is just solving the same problems that your product solves through media you create and promote.”

The startup process followed by Cohen and dozens of other startup founders using Eric Ries’ lean startup approach seems to have become firmly established as the proven, methodical startup process for Austin’s tech community.

But for those founders who are more inclined to write, or are short of time, or who are just fascinated with the idea of launching a startup with a blog, beginning a new venture with a blog and a minimum viable audience could be the perfect approach.

Will we see more Austin startups using this approach?


Fernando Labastida has been writing content in both Spanish and English for the last seven years, starting with his first Spanish-language effort, He is the founder and CEO of Content Propulsion, a content marketing agency whose mission is to help Latin American companies enter the U.S. market, U.S. companies enter the Latin American market, and Austin companies conquer the world, with a content marketing approach.


What it’s like to go to an Austin Digital Jobs Recruiting Mixer

(BUSINESS) It can be intimidating to go to an Austin Digital Jobs recruiting mixer due to the size, but listen, everyone’s slightly nervous – here’s what it’s like to actually go to one.



networking event introverted

Getting to know the ADJ Mixer

The following letter is written for those of you who have never been to an Austin Digital Jobs Recruiting Mixer…


You’ll first notice when you arrive that there’s lot parking, but there’s also CONVENIENT parking garage, you don’t have to stress over hunting and pecking for pricey parking downtown. And traffic was easy because it’s a Wednesday. Your heart is beating slightly, because new places are scary, no matter how confident you are.

You see the building up ahead. You see an unassuming line of people at the door, and there are potted plants at the front table. That’s nice. A volunteer checks your ID (and you’re secretly flattered, but act slightly annoyed)..

Then you get signed in

There are seven people in line ahead of you, so you look around and well, you don’t know a single person (but you don’t realize that most other people don’t know anyone either). You hold your folder filled with resumes to your chest and wait your turn. You try to peek into the venue to see which employers are there, just waiting to meet you.

At the registration table, you’re greeted by a friendly face, and asked whether you’re job hunting or looking for talent, and given the appropriate badge. Your handwriting sucks, but you write in big bold letters what you’re looking for, and you notice that employers’ stickers are vertical and job hunters’ stickers are horizontal. You’re told the neon name tags are worn by partners who are most eager to hire. Bingo!

You make a mental note so your eyeballs focus only on the vertical or neon stickers in the crowd, spelling out in equally bad handwriting what they are looking for.

You’re handed a list of which types of jobs each employer is looking to fill, you circle the ones you want to visit (make a plan – trust us on this one).

You stop by the “Pep Talk” booth right outside the ballroom doors to get a quick high five, or some affirmation that will really help (even those of us putting on the event stop by)!

You are excited to job hunt after you grab a free drink, probably a beer** (so you can stay focused!) – that feels pretty Austin-y. And look, recruiters are sippin’ too, that’s cool.

You start moving about the cabin

You start making the rounds, and the first hand you shake is a smiling recruiter who is looking for someone like you, only he says they need a specific skill and you don’t quite have it, so you hand him your resume, and you part ways politely.

You see a line of people, what are they? You ask someone what’s going on and they tell you it’s free career and resume coaching and you can have 15 minutes with an expert. Bingo! You wait a few minutes and a table opens up, you learn that your resume is outdated and ineffective and quickly walk away with some tips to improve that and affirmation that your career is moving in the right direction.

Time is of the essence because you only have two and a half hours, and you’re pressuring yourself to make the rounds, but you tell yourself to remain calm.

After two or three more handshakes, you make it over to three employer booths in a row, and you hit it off with two recruiters and line up two interviews for later in the week.

You go grab another drink to celebrate, you tip the bar staff, and meet a few more folks along the way. Before you know it, you’re out of printed resumes, have several phone interviews lined up, an in-person interview, and things are looking up.

You nailed it!

It’s almost over, so you start heading out and you thank the registration table (always be networking), and head out to your car.

You start ‘er up, and drive home with some pep in your step because YOU, my friend, have just made it a successful first ADJ Recruiting Mixer.

You tell everyone on Facebook about it when you get home, you nail the job interview, you become the Prince of Zamunda*, you get the job, and you tell everyone how awesome ADJ is, because BOOM, it worked.

*Obtaining the Prince of Zamunda title not guaranteed. For everyone.
**Drink responsibly, friends.


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The most comprehensive guide to Austin coding programs and schools ever crafted

(AUSTIN BUSINESS NEWS) We’ve done the research for you! Find out what each coding program offers and if it’s the Goldilocks school for you. Then go take a nap. You’re welcome.



austin coding programs

We’ve done the digging

The Austin tech scene is a thriving and lush landscape of edutech, biotech, tech-tech, breakfast tacos, South By, and professionals from all walks of life that are ready to enter the scene and lend their ideas and skills to the vastly growing hub.

With so many schools that offer coding, design, and data science programs, it is difficult to find out which options are the best for you (and your wallet, and your family, and your cat that needs pets at precisely 10:15 pm every night).


So we’ve done the research for you! Wow, that was so nice of us. We like you too. Let’s dig in!

galvanize austin


In just 4 years, Galvanize has made quite a name for itself as a coding school and coworking space. With locations across the nation and a recent series B funding in 2016, they have made their mark in Austin coding and continue to expand.

What makes them different:
Says Instructor Cam Buckingham, “We boast one of the longest Web Development programs. We also do a Data Science program, which is outstanding. Our company also rents space to startups and brings together a community of hustlers and achievers. Our coding school staff works tirelessly to update our curriculum in order to teach the most updated technologies.”

What you’ll learn:
In the Web Dev program, main areas of focus are Full stack, Node.js & Angular. The Data Science track focuses on Python.

In addition to the career building services sprinkled into their curriculum, students can expect to walk away with 3-4 projects to highlight on GitHub and their own portfolio site.

Requirements and course details:
Requirements to be accepted into the program include prior js experience, a security deposit, an online application, and two technical interviews. The average class size is about 15-20 students.

Students in the Web Development program will come out after 6 months, Data Science in just 3.

Cost and financing options:
The overall cost hovers around $21K, though scholarships and hard costs vary. Find out more about their financing options and available scholarships.

How they’ll help you score a job:
Galvanize keeps on a salaried employee whose position is dedicated to helping students get jobs. Additionally, they offer help with resume building, social media advice, growth hacking courses, networking lectures, and a myriad of knowledge and connections open to students. They also have a website specifically for employers looking to hire, where they can go post job opportunities for students.

Cam adds, “I love my job, the Galvanize community, and the city of Austin. This is the best job for me. As an instructor, I feel completely committed to teach students the skills they can use at their new job starting on day one.”

Austin Coding Academy

Opening its doors in 2014 and now located in the The Capital Factory, Austin Coding Academy boasts a full and rounded education for a lot of value, plus it was founded right here in sunny ATX.

What makes them different:
Co-founder Luke Filipos puts it like this: “Every coding school teaches web development, and most of them teach a JavaScript stack. The difference between us and everyone else is value. Our tuition for a full stack education is among the lowest in town (if not the lowest) and our classes are taught in the evenings so you don’t have to quit your job.”

What you’ll learn:
Their focus is web development with a JavaScript Stack.

Intro teaches HTML, CSS, introductory web design, and website development. Intermediate covers vanilla JavaScript and intro to backend programming. Advanced covers full stack JavaScript and application development.

Requirements and course details:
The intro courses have no technical prerequisites. A phone interview is conducted to determine work ethic, mindset, and character.

The full stack program consists of 3 courses, each lasting 10 weeks. Class sizes average 15-20 students and meet twice a week in the evening for 2.5 hours. Students can expect 10-15 hours of homework and projects required outside of class.

Luke explains, “The ten week chunks give students adequate time to learn and absorb the new material, practice it on their own, screw it up, come back with questions, and ultimately grow into a more well-rounded developer, not just someone who has sprinted through an intensive program.”

Note: Students do have the opportunity to test out of the lower level courses should they meet the prerequisites.

Cost and financing options:
Overall cost comes out to just under $9K, with each 10 week course costing around $3K.

Though there are no internal financing options, many lenders have worked with ACA students in the past. Additionally, they have a diversity scholarship available in partnership with Capital Factory.

How they’ll help you score a job:
With a hardworking career services department, Austin Coding Academy boasts a robust hiring rate. They work with several companies as hiring partners that actively get in touch when looking to fill development positions.

Not only do they help students connect with those companies, they also offer a strong job readiness curriculum that includes resume workshops, portfolio workshops, networking events, and company field trips.

Luke adds, “We hire real working developers as instructors who have been put through our rigorous and unique teacher training program, so students get to learn from people currently in the field rather than full-time teachers or recently graduated boot camp students (like many other boot camps).”

southern careers institute fullstack program in austin

SCI-tech Academy

The newest kid on the block is also one of the oldest, as SCI has been in operation since 1960, now expanding their offering to the tech world to prepare the next generation of workers. They’re a standout for taking students’ wallets seriously, putting everyone through pre-testing prior to ever accepting money, juuust to make sure you’re actually interested (so you don’t find out to late that coding isn’t for you). That’s a thoughtful touch we enjoy about this in-person program that we believe is poised to yield serious results for employers. They also offer a Coder for Life program for all students which is a seriously beefy benefit. Read on…

What makes them different:
Alison Tugwell, Community Manager at Southern Careers Institute tells us, “SCI-tech Academy offers stackable skills badges you earn like Advanced JavaScript, Angular, and Node.Js, career services helping you prepare for technical interviews and the hiring processes, and in-person support on our Austin campus located off of W. Ben White Blvd. Plus, with us, you’re a Coder for Life: Your membership to access additional course curriculum for life. No experience required and we can get you started for free with our Coding From Scratch course.”

The average class size is between 5 and 15 students, another differentiator.

Tugwell adds, “We guarantee graduates lifetime access to courses, events, career services and online community for free–one of the only bootcamps to offer this. We also guarantee that our career services team will work with you to find opportunities that match your skill sets, and all SCI curriculum are reviewed bi-annually to ensure that we are teaching the skills that employers need now.”

What you’ll learn, how long it will take:
Full-Stack JavaScript Bootcamp:

  • Advanced JavaScript
  • Angular
  • Node.JS & Express
  • Git & Github
  • Mobile & Cloud Applications
  • Agile Software Development

Software Developer (launched in May) – .NET or JavaScript Pathways:

  • JavaScript Foundations OR C# Foundations
  • Database Foundations SQL and No SQL
  • Web Security
  • Node/Express OR ASP .NET Core
  • Angular
  • Mobile Web
  • Agile Project Management
  • Cloud Deployment

Full-Stack JavaScript is 18 weeks – 40-50 hours / week
Software Developer is 33 weeks – 20-30 hours / week

Cost and financing options:
Full-Stack JavaScript:
Coding from Scratch – our 90 day ramp up pre-course is free, the tuition for the 18-week bootcamp is $12K.

Software Developer:
Coding from Scratch is built into course curriculum – and tuition is $13,200.

“We raffle off scholarships from time to time at our events,” says Tugwell, “and financing can be applied for through our finance partner, CLIMB.”

Requirements and course details:
Full-Stack JavaScript: 90-day ramp up program, Coding From Scratch (free). No prior coding experience required.

Software Developer: No prior experience required.

How they’ll help you score a job:
Tugwell insists that SCI’s career services team is “unparalleled.”

How so? “We work with every student from admissions to pre-during, and post-graduation to understand where passion and skill sets coincide and to get them directly connected to the employers via our exclusive platform, SCI Connect,” says Tugwell. “It’s like LinkedInvite-Only for our employer partners.”

Final note
“What if you could steer your coding career as you learn, guided by experts along the way on a flexible schedule that works for you?” Tugwell asks. “That’s where SCI-tech Academy Software Developer program comes in—a 33-week part-time program built to onboard future technologists and give you the fundamentals needed to learn JavaScript or .NET.”

Data Science Dojo

Operating since 2014, Data Science Dojo is a bootcamp intensive that can claim over 2,300 attendees from 300 companies who have traveled across 16 countries to attend their Data Science Bootcamp.

What makes them different:
Blair Heckel, Marketing Manager explains, “Our program is catered to working professionals in that we offer a 5-day, 10 hours a day, intensive bootcamp. We get you started with hands-on data science in the shortest amount of time possible while teaching you the fundamentals of data science and give you enough to learn on the job.”

“We guarantee that after you complete the bootcamp you will be able to solve actual, real-world problems. Some of our attendees even start building their own predictive models during the bootcamp.”

What you’ll learn:
Data science, obviously. Beyond fundamentals, they also offer the right balance of theory and hands-on labs. Their goal is to get people productive and learn with real-world data.

Requirements and course details:
For acceptance into the program, students are required to know at least one programming or scripting language.

The classes average 20-25 people, and students can expect an intense five days (in person), with 10 hours of online pre-work and 20 hours of online post-work. Corporate training sessions can be customized to fit the need of the team (including coming to your office).

Cost and financing options:
The bootcamp costs $3K, which includes tuition, textbooks, the Data Science Dojo handbook, access to a large network of alumni, and software.

Data Science Dojo gives you the option to pay via a no-interest flexible payment plan and offers early bird discounts at select locations for up to 20% off, plus a highly competitive fellowship for outstanding nonprofit candidates.

How they’ll help you score a job:
While they don’t specifically offer job placement or guarantee, attendees do have access to job postings from companies they’ve trained in addition to alumni. Attendees will also have access to their alumni-only LinkedIn group and global network.

Blair adds, “Above all else, we want you to succeed. Instructors are available before, during, and after the bootcamp to provide help as needed. We encourage students to engage in our online forums or email instructors.”

Web Fellowship

Since its inception in 2014, Web Fellowship has been the Austin-based community answer to cheap (read: free) coding education.

What makes them different:
Taylor Christensen, Director of Web Fellowship says, “We take immersive learning to the next level with a free, part-time learning program designed to equip college students with the essentials of web app development. Our community-run summer program includes hands-on training, one-on-one mentoring, agency field trips, and real-world projects benefiting nonprofits in the Austin area.”

What you’ll learn:
Project-based Javascript for full-scale web apps. Taylors explains, “From communication and interpersonal skills, to debugging code and version control, we introduce the concepts and skills we wish we knew when starting out.”

Requirements and course details:
This absolutely free course requires a basic level of understanding and experience with Javascript, though mastery of a particular language is not required. Class size averages 8-12 students
who meet in-person 3 full days a week for hands-on workshops in the mornings followed by class co-working in the afternoons.

Official dates are announced through email newsletter and social media channels.

Cost and financing options:
Free. They believe that pursuing a career in tech shouldn’t be based on what’s in your wallet, so they rely on volunteers and partners to support the program.

How they’ll help you score a job:
Whether it’s sharing paid internship opportunities or available freelance gigs, Web Fellowship will work with all graduates to ensure they’re continuing to develop their skill sets through real-world experience.

Taylor adds, “Starting a career in web development is an exciting yet daunting task if you’re not familiar with everything it entails. We guarantee that after completing Web Fellowship, you’ll walk away with new skills, new connections, new friends, and an in-depth understanding of the various roles and skill sets required to succeed.”

woman typing writing windows

Southern Careers Institute

One of the newer coding school options, Southern Careers Institute opened its doors in 2016 and boasts award-winning curriculum and a lot of perks to boot.

What makes them different:
Says Community Manager Alison Tugwell, “Our curriculum is employer-tailored and reviewed constantly to ensure that we are teaching the right skills and proficiencies for the changing job market.

We guarantee graduates lifetime access to courses, events, career services and online community for free–one of the only bootcamps to offer this. We also guarantee that our career services team will work with you to find opportunities that match your skillsets, and all SCI curriculum are reviewed bi-annually to ensure that we are teaching the skills that employers need now.”

What you’ll learn:
Advanced JavaScript, Angular, Node.js & Express, Git & Github, Mobile & Cloud Applications, Agile Software Development

Requirements and course details:
The program lasts 9 weeks, with 40-60 hours of class time per week. The average class size ranges from 7-15 students. Their 90-day ramp up program Coding From Scratch is totally free. No prior experience is necessary for admission.

Cost and financing options
The 12-18 week full time bootcamp costs around $12K, with a free 90 day ramp-up course called Coding from Scratch.

Scholarships are available through the occasional raffle at their Austin and San Antonio events. Financing can be applied for through their finance partner CLIMB.

How they’ll help you score a job:
From Alison: “Our career services team is unparalleled. We work with every student from admissions to post-graduation to understand where passion and skill sets coincide. With our sister company, Coder Camps, we have extended reach and success in placing graduates into roles within software development and product management.

She adds, “No one knows how Texas works better than us. We launched our program in conjunction with our sister company, Coder Camps last year. With their award-winning curriculum and our SCI Edge methodology–stackable certifications, career services, and in-person support, at each of our 7 campuses, success is inevitable.”


The New York Code + Design Academy has been operating since 2012 in locations across the nation, including D.C., Salt Lake City, NYC, and even a campus in Amsterdam.

What makes them different:
Kevin Newsum, Campus Director and Community Manager, explains that “Community is more than an old sitcom: it’s a word we really believe in. Developing a new skill set by learning to code is a bold choice, and a chance to radically redefine your view of the world (and your contribution to it). We encourage students to solve problems that impact not only their own lives, but the lives of those they care about in their community.”

What you’ll learn:
Junior-level full stack developing, along with building a foundation of skills to prepare graduates to contribute as developers right away, and to encourage a lifetime of professional achievement.

They’re firm believers that anyone who wants to find a job should find one, and the program doesn’t end just because you graduate. NYCDA’s Outcomes department works in lockstep with you throughout and beyond your cohort to help you find work.

Requirements and course details:
WDI students are encouraged to complete an assigned pre-work package to prepare for the beginning of the course to help their team hone in on areas of strength or challenging topics. Classes are boutique, intended for increased personal attention.

The full time Web Development Intensive (WDI) runs for twelve weeks at forty hours per week.
They also offer a part time Web Development Intensive (PT WDI) course that meets three times a week for 24 weeks.

Cost and financing options:
Full time WDI: $10K
Part time WDI: $7.5K

NYCDA works with a variety of financing partners, each with several custom financing options tailored to students. Kevin adds, “Anyone interested in learning more about financing should route us a note, we’re happy to help you sort out a sensible solution.”

How they’ll help you score a job:
Outcomes are the bread and butter of their bootcamp. NYCDA individually facilitates one-on-ones with all students throughout their journey, and helps them before and after they graduate. Their Outcomes team is especially committed to helping students fine-tune where their passion lies in tech, and helps them navigate down their own personalized path.

Kevin adds, “This is an amazing time to be a developer in Austin: from the expanding startup scene to robust enterprise operations to established creative industries, our city is ever-evolving. NYCDA is amped to help students find something in themselves to foster real change. And to build lasting relationships while we’re at it.”

The Iron Yard

UPDATE: As of July 2017, The Iron Yard has ceased national operations.

Operating since 2013, The Iron Yard is one of the most recognized brands of coding schools in the U.S. The Iron Yard has over 20 campuses spanning across both coasts, and an immense and deep network of students and professionals who, in their words, are working towards real, lasting change through technology education.

What makes them different:
Karly Borden, Campus Director, says, “The Iron Yard has been teaching people to code since 2013. It’s one of the most established and trusted code schools in Austin and focuses on helping graduates launch new careers in software development. More than 100 students have graduated from The Iron Yard in Austin.”

What you’ll learn:
Front-End Engineering with JavaScript and MVC Frameworks (PT or FT)
Back-End Engineering with Java

Requirements and course details:
No prior coding experience is required. However, as a fully licensed post-secondary education institution in Texas, a high school diploma or GED equivalency is required to enroll in full-time courses.

Full-time courses run for 12 weeks. There is also an available part-time 24 week front-end course.

Cost and financing options:
The Iron Yard’s immersive courses cost $13,900.

The Iron Yard offers several scholarships. Financing and cost-of-living loans for courses are also available.

How they’ll help you score a job:
Karly explains, “The Iron Yard offers a custom career support program for graduates who choose to participate. The program includes career support lectures, mock interviews, site visits, alumni huddles, one-on-one coaching, portfolio and resume support, and recommendations. ”

General Assembly

Opened in 2011 and a pioneer in the bootcamp coding space, General Assembly is now a global education company focusing on the most relevant and in-demand skills across data, design, business, and technology. Their global community extends beyond the 20 physical locations, and is comprised of over 35,000 part and full-time alumni, hundreds of thousands of learners, 4,000 hiring partners, and 250+ expert instructors.

What makes them different:
Regional Director Danielle Barnes explains that, “General Assembly is empowering a global community to pursue work they love through best-in-class instruction and access to opportunities. GA works with students online and in person across more than 20 campuses around the world and thousands of companies as partners in course development and graduate placement as well as through GA’s corporate training and development business. Additionally, GA’s focus on affordable and accessible education combined with our education-to-employment approach is helping to create a diverse talent pipeline.

What you’ll learn:
Data Science, Web Development, UX Design, Digital Marketing, Data Analytics, Product Management, and Front-End Web Development.

Course requirements and details:
Part-time front-end web development is open to beginners, but students are expected to complete 20 hours of pre-work in addition to a phone interview with an admissions advisor. Full-time students are expected to have a basic understanding of web development. Students will have two interviews, one phone screen and one in-person with an advisor and instructor, and must complete 50 hours of pre-work.

Full-time UX Design runs for 10 weeks, 9-5, M-F.
Full-time Data Science and Web Development run for 12 weeks, 9-5, M-F.
Part-time programs run for 10 weeks, 2 days/week.
One-off classes, workshops, and free community events are also available.

Cost and financing options:
Full-time programs cost between $13.5K – $14.5K
Part-time programs cost $3,950.
One-off classes and workshops range from $35 – $250.

GA works with several lenders and also offers a scholarship program called the Opportunity Fund which facilitate a more diverse community of skilled creators in the tech industry.

Additionally, they see that 50% of our PT students’ tuition is paid for by their employer.

How they’ll help you score a job:
Students in full-time programs work with a dedicated career coach that meets with them weekly as they transition into the next phase of their professional lives. The weekly in-class programming is focused on topics such as: resume and cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, building a strong professional network, application strategy, and interview technique and practice.

GA also partners with local companies to expose their students to industry experts through mock interviews, guest lectures, panels, project presentations, and studio tours. The career program does include job placement. 99% of GA’s full-time graduates who participated in the career services program got a job in their field of study within 180 days of graduation.

Danielle adds, “GA is invested in the larger Austin community, hosting free events in partnership with groups like SXSW (free workshop programming), The Austin Chronicle (Made in Austin) and Austin Design Week. GA’s alumni meetup group – Aluminati – brings together alumni from across programs for social events, flash talks and continued study and education opportunities. We have some great blog posts from our students that give insight into student life. Check out one here by recent grad Bryony McLaughlin. Austin’s own Mike Dang, one of our veteran WDI instructors, was recently featured in GA’s global blog.

Dev Bootcamp

UPDATE: Dev Bootcamp has announced the closure of the program.

The model that pioneered an industry, Dev Bootcamp now includes 91 full-time bootcamps (many started by graduates) in 69 US cities with nearly 18,000 graduates estimated in 2016.

Since 2012, they’ve helped more than 2,800 students develop meaningful careers in technology or tech-related fields. Some of the companies that have hired Dev Bootcamp graduates include: Apple, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Umbel, Microsoft, Box, Airbnb, Uber, Under Armour, Salesforce, JP Morgan Chase, Hyatt, PayPal, Buzzfeed, Columbia University and Deloitte.

What makes them different:
Says Chris Nishimura, Sr. PR Manager, “There are five main things that distinguish Dev Bootcamp from other bootcamps:

First is the way we engage students in collaborative learning – through pair programming, team projects, a simulated agile workspace, and a SCRUM environment. The second is the way we teach our students how to optimize their learning; they apply those techniques to quickly pick up new skills or languages required in-field. Third is the way we create greater access for a wider community of learners through our partnerships with community groups like #YesWeCode and Lesbians Who Tech. Fourth, because we integrate soft skills training into our program and have made Engineering Empathy – our culture is one that encourages honest and kind feedback, open communication and self-awareness. Fifth and finally, we provide the support of a strong community both on and off-campus.”

What you’ll learn:
By the end of the program, graduates are agile in: Ruby, Rails, JavaScript, HTML, CSS, and database systems such as SQL and PostgreSQL. Students are coached on how to approach challenges like developers – thinking through a project and iterating on feedback to arrive at the most elegant solution.

The details:
Students are not required to have prior coding experience. Chris explains that, “Dev Bootcamp is designed to be accessible to students with a broad range of learning styles, personalities, educational experience, and backgrounds who have the motivation to learn to code and the desire to be part of the tech economy.”

The average class size is 10 students with 2 instructors, plus the support of alumni mentors.

Dev Bootcamp runs for 18 weeks, with 9 weeks as part-time online prep (with about 20 hours of course work per week) and 9 weeks as an on-campus immersive (40-60 hours per week).

Cost and financing options:
The full 18-week program costs $12,700. If you must withdraw from the program for any reason, your tuition will be refunded at a prorated rate.

Dev Bootcamp sometimes offers special, partial or full-tuition scholarships through partnerships with third-party organizations. They have also created a number of diversity and inclusion initiatives including: a partnership with Lesbians Who Tech to provide partial-tuition scholarships to 40 LGBTQ women and our F8 full-tuition scholarship provided to 20 people from underrepresented communities in coordination with Facebook.

Additionally, veterans, anyone who identifies as a woman or is a part of the diverse gender community (trans*, gender-queer, gender non-conforming, etc.), and anyone who identifies as an ethnic or racial minority group underrepresented in tech (Black, African American, Chicano/Latino, Native American, Pacific Islander).

Their partnership with the Skills Fund allows them to offer low-interest loans for qualified Dev Bootcamp applicants.

How they’ll help you score a job:
The Dev Bootcamp program includes integrated career development training throughout the 18 weeks along with customized graduate support after the program. Graduate support includes: one-on-one coaching time with a dedicated career developer, job searching strategies, technical interview training and practice, access to our proprietary platform where grads can connect directly with hiring managers and work space on our campus to focus on their job search and preparation.

Chris adds, “Dev Bootcamp’s mission is to transform lives by teaching people of all backgrounds the technical, cognitive and interpersonal skills used in software development so they can thrive in the tech economy.”


Lumenbrite is an Adobe-authorized training school, operating since 2013.

What makes them different:
Says Roman Villarreal, President, “Lumenbrite specializes in fast-tracked, digital media and marketing classes geared toward freelancers, government, commercial and academic organizations.

What you’ll learn:
Lumenbrite is an Adobe Authorized Training Center that focuses on training software programs for digital marketing and advertising. Some of our classes include formal training in print media, video production, and web design and development (including coding).

Course requirements and details:
All that is required of students for the Lumenbrite courses are basic computer skills. Most training courses last between 2-5 days with 6 students per class.

They also offer a retake policy for all courses.

Cost and financing options:
Most 2-5 day courses range from $895 to $1995 per person.

No financing options are available.

How they’ll help you score a job:
Though there is no career services program or department, instructors are seasoned professionals that bring real-world value into the classroom. The classes are crafted to bring immediate results in a very short period of time.

Hack Reactor

Since starting in 2012, Hack Reactor’s program has been carefully honed over the years to provide an optimal education in computer science. They work with you from the moment you enroll through the job search to help you upgrade your career.

Ankit Patel, Managing Director, says, “We have the best student outcomes in the coding bootcamp industry. Our students experience a radical change in their career trajectory, and we have the third-party verified statistics to prove it. While most programs aim to have their graduates prepared for junior roles, our graduates typically take mid or even senior-level software engineering positions.

What you’ll learn:
Software engineering, fullstack JavaScript, computer science, engineering soft skills.

Requirements and course details:
The admissions process requires a coding challenge (get excited, nerds), followed by a technical interview. To pass, students need to be adept problem solvers and have a command of JavaScript fundamentals. For this, Hack Reactor offers a free study tool, named Hack Reactor Prep , to help applicants feel confident during their application process.

An average class in Austin has about 25 students and runs for 12 weeks, Monday to Saturday from 9am to 8pm (close to 70 hours a week). Many students choose to stay later (sometimes as late as 12am) to work with classmates and refine what they learned during the day.

Cost and financing options:
Tuition is $17,780.

As part of their mission to increase access to tech jobs for individuals of all professional backgorunds and experience levels, Hack Reactor proudly announces the $1.3M Scholarship Fund for individuals who are passionate about coding. Learn more and apply for the scholarship.

Hack Reactor also works with lending companies such as Pave and Skillsfund.

How they’ll help you score a job:
Hack Reactor has a dedicated outcomes team that provides career coaching from before the end of the program through the job search process. This includes resume prep, interview practice and even assistance with salary negotiations. We also actively solicit partnerships with employers so that we can provide as many warm introductions as possible.

Hack Reactor grads have been hired at Google, Nasa, Uber,, Apple, Adobe, Amazon, and many other amazing companies!

Stephanie adds, “Amidst the rigor of our program, it’s easy to miss that so much of what we focus on are soft skills: communication, working as a team and learning how to learn. Our graduates don’t just know how to code, they are ready to contribute as valuable team members. Also, an experience as intense as the Hack Reactor program fosters strong friendships between classmates, and this in turn leads to a strong alumni network of people who stay connected to Hack Reactor and each other.

To learn more about student experience, check out Hack Reactor reviews on Course Report.”

Go forth and prosper

There is one more program in Austin to check out, and that’s Thoughtbot’s, a pretty unique take on coding education. The team did not respond to our requests for comment, so they’re not featured in the roundup above (and we heard a rumor the program may end in Austin), but make sure to check them out regardless.

Hope that helped. Now, go forth and be a genius!


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Amazon opens new game engine in Austin #COOL

(BUSINESS NEWS) Amazon is calling it one of the “long standing centers of gravity for great game development talent and innovation in community based games.”



amazon lumberyard


Amazon announced they are opening a Lumberyard office in Austin, calling it one of the “long standing centers of gravity for great game development talent and innovation in community based games.”

Lumberyard is a game engine based on Crytek’s CryEngine. It uses epic computing power and cloud-based storage to create cutting-edge player experiences. Lumberyard is both a cross-platform engine and a completely free platform for game developers.


About Lumberyard

Not only is it free, it also offers full source code for maximum customizability on your projects and all future projects.

It works seamlessly with the live-streaming platform Twitch, which Amazon purchased a couple years ago. Although it has competition from other engines like Unity and the Unreal engine from Epic Games, Amazon has the resources and online clout to make this open-source engine a real game changer. See what I did there?

The full integration with Twitch allows developers to immediately test their creation to an available and eager 100 million+ gamers.


The Austin addition was announced not too long after MaxPlay, a competitor to Lumberyard, suffered through extensive layoffs of most San Francisco and ATX staff.

Though Austin is already home to a new Twitch team, Retro Studios, Rooster Teeth, and several other other game development companies, this large addition makes Austin a game development hub and adds a whole new level (get it?) to the #WhyAustin conversation. The average developer on the newest Lumberyard team has over 10 years of experience, which isn’t surprising in the heavy pool of talent in the up-and-coming tech mecca.

Amazon had glowing things to say about the urban center in their announcement: “We believe Austin is a perfect location for us to continue our quest to help game developers build the community-driven games that push both engine and cloud technology. From the early days of Ultima Online to some of today’s most beloved MMOs, Austin game teams have helped lead the industry in large-scale, multiplayer experiences.”


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