In July 2018, we opened for business and what a whirlwind it's been ever since. SDG originated from the Tampa Bay location of the nation's largest code school. With its closing, reality sank in: there would be no immersive code school within the Tampa Bay area. This would result in a huge gap of companies' demand for talented developers and the actual number available in the workforce. The team stepped up and formed Suncoast Developers Guild.
It's important to stop and reflect on everything we've conquered not only as a business, but as an entire community. We would not be SDG without the constant support and feedback from the Tampa Bay area. Through the ups, downs, and everything in between, here's what we've learned in a single year. We look forward to what's to come in the next year.
1. Making Room for Growth
We have produced about 200 new developers into the local workforce and the median salary of our graduates is $55,000 right out of school. This unlocks the potential to move into senior dev positions and make $100,000 or more. It's safe to say as our graduates are growing, so are we. Between current students, alumni who are co-working, and all of the local Meetups hosted on campus, it was clear that we were outgrowing our current space. So... We expanded campus! We now have a downstairs event and co-working area.
We've also grown in the number of cohorts we've graduated. We have three cohorts who are completely finished and are now getting ready to graduate Cohort XIV on July 19th! With each cohort, we closely review student feedback and the feedback of local employers. We keep our curriculum updated and responsive to the needs of the students and the community in order to give companies talented developers who can get the job done while preparing our students with in-demand skills so that they can land a job once they graduate.
2. Developing Partnerships is Key
There's no way we could have done any of this alone. From having an entire cohort sponsored by Proforma to having KnowBe4 sponsor multiple Demo Days, the developed partnerships we have (and are yet to create) are everything to us. Our sponsors and donors help to make everything happen. They truly believe in our mission and are helping to grow our tech community. Through sponsors and scholarships, our hiring partners are even putting students through the bootcamp who otherwise may have not had the chance.
3. The Importance of Starting Simple
We started out only offering our full-time, code bootcamp. We wanted to do one thing, do it really well, and make it easily understood by the community. Our mission is all about being for the community and by the community, so in result, we rolled out our selection of part-time classes. These options were more flexible and allowed web development education to be more accessible. One of the part time classes even doubles as a "test trial" which could lead into the full-time bootcamp if the student decided to continue.
Whether you've been a part of the SDG community for one week or one year, we appreciate you. Thank you for helping us grow and build the Tampa Bay tech industry and workforce. We're so excited to see what we can conquer in year two collectively as a community!