Arizona Technology and Innovation: Galvanize Coding School

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Galvanize is a Denver-based computer coding school that specializes in six-month programs that it says leaves graduates with skills businesses actually need. Galvanize is opening a campus in downtown Phoenix in the warehouse district. Jim Deters, the company’s CEO, will tell us more about Galvanize.

Ted Simons: Tonight's edition of Arizona technology and innovation looks at Galvanize, a Denver-based computer coding school that plans to open in the Downtown Phoenix warehouse district this year. Jim Deters is the CEO of Galvanize, and joins us now. What is Galvanize Coding School?

Jim Deters: Galvanize is a 21st century school for anyone with ambition and aptitude to get the skills they flied to be an entrepreneur, software engineer or data scientist.

Ted Simons: When we talk software, engineer and data scientist, what does that mean?

Jim Deters: People like write code. In the 21st century the most important jobs, the most upwardly mobile, we like to say you either tell the computer what to do or computers are going to be telling you what to do. These are the folks that are building these amazing applications on mobile apps or beautiful websites. As we like to say today, every industry now is a tech industry.

Ted Simons: As far as the education is concerned, you describe it as an immersive education. What does that mean?

Jim Deters: Correct. One of the challenges about traditional education is our mind society is we separated academia from industry. Our version of education we believe that the environment should look the same. Working and learning should be combined. Industry should be part of the learning process. They are the stakeholder for ultimately the human capital to be deployed. We build these beautiful campuses where you have hundreds of entrepreneurs, you have big companies like IMB, other companies like All State, all learning and working in one beautiful melting pot.

Ted Simons: Is it a classroom environment? Labs?

Jim Deters: There's a little of everything. The old way again was much more passive style of learning where a professor or expert would lecture in a classroom and you would absorb and learn. There are of course lectures where you teach theory but most of the time you're in a lab working in a paired programming methodology. Program today is not what we used to think it is. Programming is a creative resourceful process now where the engineers that can bring business insight to life must be as close to the business ideas as possible. So we do have these paired programming labs set up and working inside of a space where IMB will have a blue mix garage, cloud computing platform next door.

Ted Simons: How many students do you plan on having?

Jim Deters: In Phoenix we'll be announcing classes coming up soon. As we ramp up fully we should be teaching probably anywhere from about 100 to 300 students per year out of this campus. When we announced it, All State committed to be a sponsoring 100 to 150 of the students in the first three years.

Ted Simons: When you say sponsoring what does that mean?

Jim Deters: They will be committing to employing 100 to 150 of these software developers that come out of the program.

Ted Simons: Six-month program for students?

Jim Deters: What we call the full stack software immersive is six months. Data programming is 12 weeks.

Ted Simons: Graduate, what kind of graduation rates?

Jim Deters: That program has a 97% placement rate. So that is actual job placement within three months of graduation and the starting salary is $77,000.

Ted Simons: That's not bad.

Jim Deters: Not bad. It's even better in data science. That's $114,000.

Ted Simons: The campus is going to be in the Phoenix warehouse district south of the ballpark and the arena. Why there?

Jim Deters: 550 East Grant. We believe that the creative generation, this new generation, is an urban phenomenon. That's why you see ASU and others coming downtown. We believe the creative class wants to be in the urban centers including in Denver and south of market San Francisco and Downtown Phoenix.

Ted Simons: We just saw renderings. Is this a new building or old warehouse restored?

Jim Deters: This is an old warehouse that will be restored.

Ted Simons: Sounds as though there's going to be a co-working space going on here. Is that something you referred to earlier?

Jim Deters: Correct. That's the immersive part. That's the aligning industry and education, learning same context. Think of it like a health club for in other words and entrepreneurs. Like a membership. Instead of working out your muscles you pay a membership fee where you get a la carte access on demand to build a company and skill sets. Our theory is if you want to be an entrepreneur you should build a company. The best way is to learn from peers and other mentors and have the a la carte on demand access to the competency you need. How to raise money, how to do product management. So think about it as a membership learning club. A retail model of education.

Ted Simons: I notice there's a web-based physical therapy firm across the street. How does that work?

Jim Deters: Well, we do like to be deeply ingrained in the people that have come before that are great leaders have built grade companies, part of their mentors. Heidi and Brad Jannenga are two great entrepreneurs that created web PT, that will be our sister companion in this warehouse.

Ted Simons: Last question before you go, what's the age range? Do you take junior high school, high school, college, older dudes?

Jim Deters: We have taken everyone from folks right out of high school at 17 to women who want to enter the work force in their late 50s.

Ted Simons: Not necessarily age specific. If you're interested --

Jim Deters: Age specific, gender specific. We don't care of your background. We have had ex poker players, ex cello players. We believe there's a craft way to deliver skills.

Ted Simons: Welcome to Phoenix, Jim Deters. Thanks for joining us. Wednesday we'll talk about the wisdom of disparaging California's economy when compared to Arizona and have our weekly legislative update with the Arizona Capital Times. 5:30 and 10:00 on the next "Arizona Horizon." That is it for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thank you so much for joining us. You have a great evening.

Video: "Arizona Horizon" is made possible by contributions from the friends of Arizona PBS. Members of your PBS station. Thank you.

Jim Deters: Galvanize CEo

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