Off the Cuff with devCodeCamp’s Paul Jirovetz
Startup trains students for a career in web and software development
devCodeCamp equips students with the skills and connections to begin new careers in web and software development. A recently opened tech startup located in downtown Milwaukee, devCodeCamp offers students the opportunity to become masters at software development and coding through an immersive and challenging course. Upon graduation, the company has set up a pipeline with leading Milwaukee tech businesses to ensure that students find jobs. We had the pleasure of chatting with devCodeCamp Head of Program Operations Paul Jirovetz about how his business is filling a need in the Milwaukee market.
Tell us a bit about your background.
My background is in nontraditional education. At devCodeCamp, our focus is skill over school. It’s about having a focused piece of training and getting someone out in the workforce.
When did your business open?
We had our first group of students this April and I just got word today that one of the students from our first class accepted an offer at Zywave as a quality engineer. He spent 12 weeks with us, 50-60 hours a week, and we’ve added this particular student to our roster of successful career changers.
How many students do you have per class?
This next class that we have is going to have between 15-20.
Have you seen the class size increase over time?
Absolutely. Every time we have a class, every time we have a placement, every time we have another hiring partner, the class size grows. People realize that there’s opportunity in becoming a software engineer, software developer, web developer. We help them become those things and they can make good money doing it very quickly.
Do your students usually have a background in web design?
No, they come from all backgrounds. Of our recent placements, one was a commercial airline pilot, one was a drywall hauler, one was working at Target and one was in sales and marketing.
Is learning web development akin to learning a language? If you immerse yourself you come out fluent?
It is. That’s all we do from day one. We ease you into it with some fundamentals and then the heavy lifting starts. We have two programs. One is a software development program and one is a web development program. We teach them how to solve problems—it’s not about a particular coding language. We want them to be able to continue to advance their career without having to come back and take additional classes. We equip them to have the skills to continue learning on their own.
When students finish the program, are they able to find work quickly?
The easiest part of this process is getting students an offer. So far we have partnered with Trisept Solutions, Lockbridge, Zywave, GMR Marketing and we look to continue to grow the list from there. If someone wants to hire a developer or if someone wants to be a developer, this is the place to come. Companies throughout Southeast Wisconsin have a huge need for engineers and developers, and we couldn’t be happier with how well it’s going so far.
Do you have any notable success stories?
Today we heard that a recent graduate, Eric Richter, had just accepted a job at Zywave. He was an airline pilot. He’d never touched a piece of code in his life, but he wanted to learn.
When he started he had his initial struggles, but then the lightbulb went off and we couldn’t get him away from the computer. Now we’re looking to help more people to do the same thing.
To learn more about devCodeCamp, call 262-901-1406 or visit devcodecamp.com.