More stories from Alexandra
CEDAR RAPIDS — In a blue and white room wedged into the corner of the first floor of the NewBoCo building on 12th Avenue SE in Cedar Rapids, Jess Bertling and Keith Dahlby are conducting rigorous training sessions in the name of filling a need in the technology and software development sector in Eastern Iowa.
The duo’s DeltaV Code School was launched in December, said Bertling, with an initial 12-hour boot camp-style software development course targeted for beginners.
Since that time, class participants have been working their way through other, higher-level courses. An intense four-week Code 201 class recently wrapped up and the more difficult Code 301 class started earlier this month. A 10-week Code 402 class starts in August and ends in October.
By the end of it all, students will be able to apply computer science fundamentals in decision-making, create an online brand and understand professional software development techniques and practices, among other things.
And most of these students, Dahlby said, had no previous experience in coding.
“Genuinely, half the class … (had never written code) or only had three days’ worth of exposure to this stuff,” Dahlby said of the Code 201 class, adding each day participants walked away with a new technique.
“It’s definitely a roller coaster,” Bertling added. “It’s such a rapid fire of assignments and the intricacy and the detail picks up every single assignment, every day.”
The curriculum for DeltaV is powered by Code Fellows, a professional software development training program based in Seattle.
Eventually, as DeltaV expands across Iowa through new locations, Dahlby would like to look into shaping the curriculum to better fit the state by asking, “How do we adapt this (course) to Iowans?”
Bertling and Dahlby, both formerly of J P Cycles, are hoping that DeltaV eventually has locations in other parts of the state, like Des Moines or Cedar Falls. The duo is looking to hire a teaching assistant to help keep up with demand.
“We’re the ones that are getting it off the ground,” Bertling said. “We may expand at some point but for now it’s just the two of us.”
Jason Logan, 31, of Cedar Rapids, enrolled in the program after learning about the school through his wife’s mentor Stacy Van Gorp, a NewBoCo board member.
After 10 years of service with the National Guard, Logan said he wanted to pursue his interest with tech but was bored with the more traditional two- and four-year higher education route.
DeltaV, he said, is a near perfect fit.
“I enjoy this (boot camp) style a lot,” Logan said. “I haven’t been challenged this much in a very long time and that’s a good thing for me.”
Logan said he also likes the teamwork aspect of the course.
“It reinforces the fact that development is not an individual job anymore like you see in media,” he said. “It’s not someone hunched over a keyboard environment. You’re in a team-based environment so you need to know how to do that and work well with others.”
But even working in a collaborative environment, the individual work level still is fast paced.
“It is rough. It’s 12-hour days, basically. You come here, you work, you go home and you work some more. It’s very condensed,” Logan said.
Bertling and Dahlby said they are excited for their current students to graduate but hoping future classes are more diverse.
“We’d love to have people from underrepresented groups in the classes,” Dahlby said. “Our biggest failure here is that we have a class of all young white dudes. That’s the last thing programming needs.
“Not that we don’t want capable young white dudes, we just want that class to not only be (made up of them).”
Bertling and Dahlby said they are hoping that DeltaV will eventually be able to offer scholarships and other opportunities to recruit a more diverse class.
What it all comes down to, Bertling said, is the need for development talent in the area.
“There is definitely a need to get people in the workforce,” Bertling said.
Here is a look at upcoming DeltaV courses and prices for each course. Note, the courses build off each other, so one would have to enroll and pass Code 101 before applying for Code 201, for example. To apply, go to deltavcodeschool.com.
Code 101 — Next class: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday. Tuition: $99.
Code 102 — Next class: Not yet determined. Tuition: $299 for two-day class.
Code 201 — Next class: Not yet determined. Tuition: $3,500 for four weeks.
Code 301 — Next class: Class is in session and runs through Aug. 4. Next class is not yet determined. Tuition: $4,500 for four weeks.
Code 401 — Next class: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays from Aug. 14 to Oct. 20. Tuition: $12,000 for 10 weeks.
l Comments: (319) 368-8531; email@example.com