Visit a class at Ironhack Miami and you’ll notice there’s no drill instructor screaming at students. No one is demanding that pushups be done, no one is standing at attention, but this is definitely boot camp. It’s computer programming boot camp, designed for career changers.
“Software development really appeals to people, the tech industry is really booming and so that really appeals to a lot of people so how can they get into that? One was is web development and UXTY design,” said Nizar Khalife, an instructor of web development at Ironhack.
Ironhack Miami is one of several companies in South Florida riding the tech industry wave, training people for jobs as web designers or web builders. The private school charges $10,000 for an intensive 10-week course, which includes job placement services. Sounds expensive, but Uber can help get you there in more ways than one. Customers and drivers of the ride-sharing company can apply for an Uber scholarship.
“South Florida is really a growing tech ecosystem and there’s a lot of interest from folks that are in other careers now looking to grow their tech skills,” said Rachel Johnson of Uber. “There are some really amazing success stories from last year.”
One of those success stories is Oleh Kolinko, an immigrant from Ukraine. He won an Uber scholarship and used it to redirect his career at Ironhack.
“So right now I’m working as a web application developer-slash-software engineer at the company Jetsmarter,” Kolinko said. “I think it’s a totally life-changing experience.”
Last year, Uber awarded $100,000 in scholarships to Ironhack Miami, and the response was so overwhelming, the company doubled it to $200,000 this year. Uber says it’s a way to give back to the community and to honor its own tech startup heritage.
“We hope that through this opportunity drivers and riders will have the chance for professional development and really to change their careers to do work they really love,” Johnson said.
Kolinko went from stringing lines for the cable company to writing code for a promising startup, and he has advice for anyone on the fence about daring to change careers.
“I would tell ‘em just do it, just try it, be bold, that’s what it takes, if you don’t take a risk, you don’t drink champagne!” Kolinko said. “I think any human being can learn any skill, you just have to dedicate yourself."