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New York Code + Design Academy in Austin: Not just for millennial dudes

(AUSTIN TECH) More coding programs are popping up in Austin, the newest is New York Code + Design Academy. What makes them different?

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Coding programs in Austin

We’ve long discussed the advantages and disadvantages of higher education for technologists in an era where the tech world is offering unique educational opportunities through different coding programs that churn out high quality talent in a fraction of the time (at a fraction of the cost).

Austin (where we are headquartered) is home to a burgeoning coding program scene, from Galvanize to courses at The Coding Bootcamp at UT, Iron Yard, MakerSquare, Austin Coding Academy, Dev Bootcamp, General Assembly, and now New York Code + Design Academy (NYCDA).

We chatted with NYCDA’s Austin lead, Kevin Newsum about the goings on, what makes them different, who typically enrolls, and why they’re up north.

You just had an open house, how’d that go?

We were amped to host a terrific crowd at our recent open house: they sat in on a workshop canvassing ‘The Building Blocks of the Web’ where we learned about how different programming languages and techniques help make the web happen. We also learned that Ryan Lochte has entirely too many Twitter followers (what’s that about?), and shared our philosophy about teaching people how to code and design.

There’s another open house soon, right?

There is, actually. Our next Open House is scheduled for Tuesday October 4th, and features a new workshop on getting to know Javascript. There will be pizza, libations, we may give away a robot, and shenanigans. Perhaps ballyhoo.

When do courses start? Can you talk about costs?

The Web Development Intensive (WDI) course launches October 17th… this is our Full Stack, Junior Developer level track. It’s immersive and designed to teach students real skills they can immediately begin to apply in a junior level developer position. We’ve also seen lots of interest in our WD100 offering (which begins October 24th), both from students with no coding experience who want to get a handle on web fundamentals, and also from professionals who work with developers who want to be able to communicate more effectively in their day gig.

The WDI course runs an even $10k, and the WD100 course is $3850. We also do something that I think is pretty neat: if someone takes the WD100 class and is interested in moving forward into the WDI class afterward, we’ll apply the cost of WD100 toward their WDI tuition, meaning that they can take the immersive class for just over six grand (a significant discount).

How is NYCDA different? How will this program differentiate itself in Austin?

The community aspect of what we do is super important to us: we believe that learning code or design is not only personally empowering, but also can be a force for positive change in the lives of our students in Austin. We encourage students to tap into what’s important to them and their communities to encourage positive impact.

Occasionally these are reflected in the projects we see come out of cohorts: one student had an aunt who was studying for her US naturalization exam, and stressing out about all she had to learn. So he created an app that would text her questions she needed to learn a couple of times a day, so she could absorb the material passively. Not only did that help his aunt become an American citizen, but it’s also something that can continue to help others in a similar situation. Good vibes.

Why is the campus up north instead of downtown?

While I’d admit the appeal of perpetual circling and squinting at parking meters sounds delightful, we had campus space available in north central Austin, which has been appealing to some who’d just as soon skip the downtown bustle.

Who typically takes courses at NYCDA?

All sorts of people, actually: many who enroll already have traditional degrees and are looking for opportunities to augment their skillset and grow into high demand careers. Others are shifting focus in their career, starting new life chapters.

While many are in their twenties and thirties, it’s not unusual at all to see students of all ages take a course. And we’ve designed custom courses for companies too (like the one we’re currently working on with Disney) that happen off-campus at their location.

What attracted NYCDA to Austin?

Obviously Austin’s vibrant tech sector (and the metro’s expansion in general) has been well documented. This city continues see explosive growth, and the tech industry in particular remains a focus.

There was also an interesting tech study commissioned by the Austin Tech Council last year that suggested a range of 2,500-3,500 tech sector job openings annually over the next ten years. Even when conversations about tech’s role in Austin get vigorous (as they occasionally do), the industry here casts a sizable shadow.

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Business News

Keep your company’s operations lean by following these proven strategies

(BUSINESS) Keeping your operations lean means more than saving money, it means accomplishing more in less time.

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keeping operations lean

The past two years have been challenging, not just economically, but also politically and socially as well. While it would be nice to think that things are looking up, in reality, the problems never end. Taking a minimalist approach to your business, AKA keeping it lean, can help you weather the future to be more successful.

Here are some tips to help you trim the fat without putting profits above people.

Automate processes

Artificial intelligence frees up human resources. AI can manage many routine elements of your business, giving your team time to focus on important tasks that can’t be delegated to machines. This challenges your top performers to function at higher levels, which can only benefit your business.

Consider remote working

Whether you rent or own your property, it’s expensive to keep an office open. As we learned in the pandemic, many jobs can be done just as effectively from home as the workplace. Going remote can save you money, even if you help your team outfit their home office for safety and efficiency.

In today’s world, many are opting to completely shutter office doors, but you may be able to save money by using less space or renting out some of your office space.

Review your systems to find the fat

As your business grows (or downsizes), your systems need to change to fit how you work. Are there places where you can save money? If you’re ordering more, you may be able to ask vendors for discounts. Look for ways to bring down costs.

Talk to your team about where their workflow suffers and find solutions. An annual review through your budget with an eye on saving money can help you find those wasted dollars.

Find the balance

Operating lean doesn’t mean just saving money. It can also mean that you look at your time when deciding to pay for services. The point is to be as efficient as possible with your resources and systems, while maintaining customer service and safety. When you operate in a lean way, it sets your business up for success.

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Business News

How to apply to be on a Board of Directors

(BUSINESS) What do you need to think about and explore if you want to apply for a Board of Directors? Here’s a quick rundown of what, why, and when.

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board of directors

What?
What does a Board of Directors do? Investopedia explains “A board of directors (B of D) is an elected group of individuals that represent shareholders. The board is a governing body that typically meets at regular intervals to set policies for corporate management and oversight. Every public company must have a board of directors. Some private and nonprofit organizations also have a board of directors.”

Why?
It is time to have a diverse representation of thoughts, values and insights from intelligently minded people that can give you the intel you need to move forward – as they don’t have quite the same vested interests as you.

We have become the nation that works like a machine. Day in and day out we are consumed by our work (and have easy access to it with our smartphones). We do volunteer and participate in extra-curricular activities, but it’s possible that many of us have never understood or considered joining a Board of Directors. There’s a new wave of Gen Xers and Millennials that have plenty of years of life and work experience + insights that this might be the time to resurrect (or invigorate) interest.

Harvard Business Review shared a great article about identifying the FIVE key areas you would want to consider growing your knowledge if you want to join a board:

1. Financial – You need to be able to speak in numbers.
2. Strategic – You want to be able to speak to how to be strategic even if you know the numbers.
3. Relational – This is where communication is key – understanding what you want to share with others and what they are sharing with you. This is very different than being on the Operational side of things.
4. Role – You must be able to be clear and add value in your time allotted – and know where you especially add value from your skills, experiences and strengths.
5. Cultural – You must contribute the feeling that Executives can come forward to seek advice even if things aren’t going well and create that culture of collaboration.

As Charlotte Valeur, a Danish-born former investment banker who has chaired three international companies and now leads the UK’s Institute of Directors, says, “We need to help new participants from under-represented groups to develop the confidence of working on boards and to come to know that” – while boardroom capital does take effort to build – “this is not rocket science.

When?
NOW! The time is now for all of us to get involved in helping to create a brighter future for organizations and businesses that we care about (including if they are our own business – you may want to create a Board of Directors).

The Harvard Business Review gave great explanations of the need to diversify those that have been on the Boards to continue to strive to better represent our population as a whole. Are you ready to take on this challenge? We need you.

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Business News

Average age of successful startup founders is 45, but stop stereotyping

(BUSINESS) Our culture glorifies (yet condemns?) startup founders as rich 20-somethings in hoodies, but some are a totally different type.

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startup founders average age is 45

There’s a common misconception that startups are riddled with semi-nerdy, 20-something white dudes who do nothing but sip Nitro Brews and walk around the open office showing off the hoodie they wore yesterday. It turns out that it’s extremely rare that startup offices resemble The Social Network.

However, the academic backdrop for the real social network story (AKA Harvard), produced statistics that will serve to put the aforementioned misconception to rest. According to the Harvard Business Review, the average age of people who founded the highest-growth startups is 45. Say what?! A full-fledged adult?!

In fact, aside from the age category of 60 and over, ages 29 and younger were the smallest group of founders that are responsible for heading the highest-growth startups. I guess you can accomplish a lot when you’re not riding around the office on a scooter all day.

The study also found that older entrepreneurs are more likely to succeed. The probability of extreme startup success rises with age, at least until the late 50s. It was found that work experience plays an important role.

Many will argue, “Well, what about someone like Steve Jobs?” You could easily argue right back that it took Jobs until the age of 52 to create Apple’s most profitable product – the iPhone.

The study continues to answer questions like, why do Venture Capitalist investors bet on young founders? This goes back to the misconception at the start, and there’s a notion that youth is the key for successful entrepreneurship. Wrong.

There is also the idea that younger entrepreneurs are likely working with less financial options, so it may be common for them to take something from a VC at a lower price. As a result, they could be viewed as more of a bargain than older founders.

“The next step for researchers is to explore what exactly explains the advantage of middle-aged founders,” writes Pierre Azoulay, et al. “For example, is it due to greater access to financial resources, deeper social networks, or certain forms of experience? In the meantime, it appears that advancing age is a powerful feature, not a bug, for starting the most successful firms.”

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