At the same time coding boot camps had recently come out, they were about a year old. So he decided to pay $12k to teach himself how to code and then he could build the MVP himself. It didn’t have to be a great MVP, it just had to be good so he joined a class. Everyone else in his class was there to change jobs or careers, he was the only one there to start a company.
Afterwards no one in his class could get a job and they were all pretty upset. As a naturally curious person he decided to go on a job interview. During the interview they asked him to take a code test, something he didn’t know was part of the process!
During the interview he also explained his biz dev experience and was talking to one of the investors. That person asked him what he was up to next and Jeff was telling him about how everyone in his coding class wasn’t able to get a job. The investor suggested he work on fixing that problem because it sounded like a problem Jeff was really upset about.
Initially Jeff was hesitant: schools are hard to scale. You have to get a building, train the proper teachers, etc. But after talking about it with the investor a bit more Jeff decided to do it. So Jeff came out to San Diego; there was no competition out here at the time so he went to a few co-working spaces to talk to people about whether there was a need for developers in San Diego.
James Martin from Co-Merge was someone he spoke with and James told Jeff there was a definite need for more developers in the area. After that Jeff negotiated for one classroom and took it from there. Three years later they are going strong and have helped over 105 people get jobs in San Diego.
The only students who haven’t gotten jobs are the ones who don’t return his calls and/or don’t show up for their meetings. Jeff fully supports all of his graduates during their job search process. His dedication and commitment are why at least 80% of his academy graduates are now employed as developers.
Which led me to ask if he’s found it’s more about soft skills today than coding curriculum? Jeff says that has always been the case, they are just more aware of it now.
He gives an example from the last 30 days: there’s an employer in Encinitas that just hired one of their students. Two weeks after hiring this student the employer was back to attend a job fair. Jeff asked how the student was doing and the employer said the student is the best because the student never bothers him!
All of his other employees will come to him with questions without exhausting all potential avenues, but when the student from Origin Code Academy comes to the employee with a question the employer knows the student has tried everything under the sun to solve the problem first.
That student has created a successful habit of looking for answers on his own, a habit he did not have before joining Jeff’s academy.
Also on this episode of CTO Studio, Jeff tells us the top objections he hears from CTOs about bringing in code school graduates, and why you as a CTO needs to have a talent pipeline for senior engineers.