The Iron Yard Demo Day shows promises of Charlotte’s next round of tech talent

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What do you call a couple of college dropouts, a fine artist, and a marketing manager getting together to build an app? The future of Charlotte’s growing tech scene, of course.

Last week, The Iron Yard presented its third cohort of early-professional frontend and backend developers.

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After three grueling months of hardcore coding, students took to the stage in four separate groups to present their very own apps in front of an audience of recruiters, HR leads, and IT managers.

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One team developed a prototype of a digital intake form that would allow patients to complete the time-consuming paperwork we all loathe via tablet while waiting in the doctor’s office for an appointment. The app allowed patients to provide necessary information securely and only accessible to the doctor once submitted.

Another team had an idea for an app that allows you to enjoy the ride to your destination by pinpointing points of leisure. Ideally, one would use the app to plan fun, refreshing activities for personal enjoyment or for a friend.

During the mingling period before demos commenced, the motley crew of eight students (a few weren’t able to attend) shared stories of ditching their careers to try their hand at a tech career. This decision ultimately led them to The Iron Yard.

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Lindsey Ringwald, co-developer of the patient intake app, spoke zealously about her journey. A marketer by training, Ringwald spent a few years self-learning Javascript in her spare time. A self-proclaimed numbers person, she new making the switch into tech was her best next step to grow her skills.

“When I started looking into bootcamps, I found the Iron Yard and made the jump into tech full-time. There isn’t a lot of growth opportunity in marketing and I wanted to take advantage of the growth opportunities in tech,” she explained.

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Aaron Moore served as Ringwald’s partner on the intake project and lived many lives as a visual artist, masseuse, and a television production graphic designer at Bank of America before enrolling at The Iron Yard. He added that he knew that in order to be competitive in the job market, he’d need to broaden his skill set.

“The graphic design space is pretty saturated and I knew that my skill set was narrow in the broadcast space. I wanted to get into the web aspect of the business and this was a great fit,” Moore said.

Throughout the afternoon affair students shared their hopeful ambitions of landing one of Charlotte’s coveted tech jobs, chatting up the recruits and potential new students.

Now that the last three months of cramming complex code into their brains came to an end, many students pointed to the alumni benefits they’d receive. The Iron Yard would aid them in their efforts to find work and continue practicing their skills. The Iron Yard provides plenty of assistance to help its students move forward, including resume assistance and free use of their space once they graduate from the program.

Where these students land remain to be seen, and will be a true testament to whether or not local employers are confident in the newly acquired skills by the new crop of talent churning out of local tech training programs.

Other notable discoveries during the demo day included a brief rundown of The Iron Yard’s corporate training program which is designed to help employers help transition employees into new roles when prior skills become outdated, or polish the skills of current employees.

According to The Iron Yard’s community relations manager, Oliver Short, The Iron Yard is presenting its new Community Forward scholarship to help those looking to attend their courses but could not otherwise afford to do so.

The Iron Yard is currently taking applications for their upcoming fall session which begins November 28. Students interested in the Community Forward scholarship can apply here.

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Sherrell Dorsey
| @Sherrell_Dorsey
Sherrell lives in NoDa with her impressive shoe collection. She is a social-impact storyteller who speaks and writes frequently on the intersections of sustainability, technology and digital inclusion.