The Tech Academy has been changing the lives of its students for the last five years. Designed by co-founders Jack Stanley and Erik Gross, The Tech Academy teaches students the ins and outs of computer technology. With the tools they gain, students are able to enter into an exciting career in computer technology and build a long lasting income.
Stanley has watched his company grow leaps and bounds over the last half a decade. The Tech Academy’s schools started in Portland, Oregon and soon branched out to Denver, Colorado and Seattle, Washington. Thanks to the academy’s success and former students’ achievements, The Tech Academy continues to grow. It will open further locations in 2019 as the need for a workforce with strong computer skills grows.
The Tech Academy co-founder recently took time out of his busy schedule to explain the organization and its plans for the future.
Jack, you co-founded The Tech Academy in 2014. Can you tell us what exactly your school teaches and why students seek you out?
We cover computer programming and web development. Basically, we teach students how to create websites, software, apps, etc. Our main offering is coding boot camps: Intensive, self-paced programs that bring about well-rounded, entry-level software developers. We also provide customizable group training and staff augmentation.
The primary reasons students choose The Tech Academy are flexible scheduling options, no tech background or experience required, and our stellar online presence (4.8 average review star rating across top sites).
Your co-founder, Erik Gross, had worked with you for years prior to the launch of The Tech Academy. How strong was your relationship before founding the company and how has it changed since going into business together?
We had been friends for years when he asked me to join him in the creation of a code school. I assisted him in establishing and growing a previous company, and throughout the years, we successfully worked together on various projects.
Erik and I rarely disagree. It’s an aligned partnership with mutual respect. I’ve seen some business partners who can barely speak with each other or that argue. It’s the opposite for us. Our friendship is stronger than ever!
There are three Tech Academy locations in the western half of the United States. Why multiple campuses and can learners gain the same knowledge from all three?
Yes, our Portland, Seattle and Denver campuses are open. We are also opening campuses in Austin, Texas, Salt Lake City, Utah, Phoenix, Arizona, and more cities in the near future.
All Tech Academy campuses provide the full gamut of services. We strive to emulate the experience that graduates have at our Portland headquarters at all of our other campuses.
What led to you expanding to these three cities and why did the school choose Seattle, Portland, and Denver?
Portland, Oregon is our hometown and is where Erik and I live — so that was an obvious first choice.
We chose Seattle next because it’s a relatively close drive from Portland and in some ways, it’s Portland’s “big sister.” There’s a lot of similarities between the cities and it’s a strong tech market. We knew that with our success in Portland, we could duplicate that success in Seattle and we were right.
Denver was our next choice because of its tech demand, and again, its similarities to Portland. We look for cities with strong tech growth that aren’t already saturated with boot camps. Cost of living is also a factor – New York City and the Bay Area are examples of places we probably wouldn’t expand into.
Can you explain The Tech Academy’s curriculum and what is taught on the courses?
At the moment, we offer four coding boot camps:
- Software Developer Boot Camp,
- C# and .NET Framework Boot Camp,
- Python Boot Camp, and
- Web Developer Boot Camp
C# and Python are extremely popular programming languages used by major companies like Microsoft and Google. The .NET Framework is a set of tools from Microsoft that ease web and software development.
Each boot camp starts with computer and technology basics courses. We provide students with the required vocabulary and knowledge to succeed in the industry. It is on this foundation that we build coding skills. Some of our competitors throw students directly into coding but we prefer a “bottom-up” training approach.
At The Tech Academy, you don’t already have to know how to code to learn how to code. Additionally, we do offer customized classes. Say that a company wants to train its employees in skill “X”, we can develop a curriculum just for that company. Such training can be delivered at one of our campuses, at their offices or online.
In recent years, coding has become a trending term. Nowadays, there are some elementary schools that teach children how to write basic code. What is the future of coding and will it be something everyone needs to know in the near future?
The short answer is “yes” – I believe everyone should know how to code. The main reason is the benefit that comes with understanding how and why the myriad of machines we use on a day-to-day basis work. Knowledge is power. Having the ability to instruct computers and control them puts one more at “cause” over them, as opposed to “effect” of them.
As far as the future of coding, I assume that the process will eventually be heavily automated and simplified. It will evolve over time. Gadgets and machines operate on code entered into them and technology will only continue to pervade our lives more and more each day.
Since co-founding the school, how has your life changed as an entrepreneur?
My life is now a constant series of interruptions. I am busier now than I’ve ever been before. On the one hand, there is more stress. On the other hand, I am really living life. There are new adventures, problems, and wins and losses every day. Life is exciting. I prefer this than a more dull existence.
Jack, you have co-founded other businesses over the years. How do you keep track of everything and get the work-life balance right?
I try to make time for the other areas of my life. Each night, I spend at least an hour with my son. He’s 11 months old. I try to have regular “date nights” with my wife. A couple of times a month I have dinner with my sister, parents, nephew and niece. In all honesty, I am lacking in certain areas. For example, I don’t go to the gym enough.
I am a strong believer in work-life balance. The challenge is balancing your enthusiasm with reality. I have a tendency to spread myself too thin and take on a little too much. To succeed in business, you have to work hard but you should take the necessary time to enjoy your life as well.
What does The Tech Academy have in-store for the rest of 2019? Is further expansion on the way?
Yes, there is expansion on the way! Here are a few things in store for The Tech Academy in 2019:
- We are opening several more campuses across the United States,
- We have corporate training partnerships launching where we’ll be delivering advanced developer training to several prestigious institutions,
- We are launching additional boot camps, including ones covering Data Science and Cyber Security, and
- We will publish a book that covers Computer and Technology Basics for the average person.
Every year has been the highest ever in terms of production with 2018 being our most productive year to date. This year is shaping up to be the best year yet!
Jack, what is a day in your life like?
In a word: busy. With an infant son, I have sort of an odd schedule at the moment. On weekdays, I find myself rushing out the door to work in the morning. I work until the late afternoon, head home, eat dinner, work, spend some time with my family and then, at around 9:00 p.m. when my son is asleep, I knock out a few more hours of work. I’m a night owl, so it’s not uncommon for employees to get emails from me around midnight.
On the weekends, I fit in some more family time and (you guessed it) more work. I would estimate I work on Tech Academy related tasks 60 to 80 hours a week. I absolutely love it! It may sound crazy to some, but if you study successful businesspeople, you’ll find that hard work and long hours are common. Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, etc. These guys put in a lot of hours each week. I think it’s wise to emulate the actions of successful people.
It’s all about finding your motivation. For me, the help we provide our students motivates me. We are changing peoples’ futures by giving them a skill set that will serve them for the rest of their lives. We’ve had so many people have come through our doors who went on to double or triple their income. That made it possible for them to live better lives, and provide for their families to a higher extent. They’re also more competent and capable as a result of the training we provide.
My other point of motivation is my family. Especially, my son. Putting a stable future in place for them helps me go the extra mile.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
I am an artist. In school, I always preferred painting, drawing, writing and music classes over all else. I did well in math, spelling and other subjects but preferred the arts.
What makes you smile?
My friends and family. I love good humor and intellectual conversations.
What scares you?
Spiders and heights. Standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon with a tarantula on my head would be an absolute nightmare.
Do you have any hobbies?
I am a professional musician. I play the guitar, piano, drums, bass, trumpet and more. I also sing. I’ve had a few bands in the past. Sadly, I don’t have much time to be creative in these areas but I love playing music.
I’m also a little bit of a gamer — I’ll sometimes pull out my PS4 or Xbox One for a little fun.
Which historical figure do you most admire?
There’s so many. Martin Luther King Jr. for his insistence upon love, tolerance and communication as remedies. John Lennon for the beauty he added to this world. Steve Jobs for showing us the potential technology holds. Bach, Abraham Lincoln, Roald Dahl – too many to list.
“Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” – Edmund Burke
Can you share two of your favorite quotes with us?
“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” – Albert Einstein
“To love in spite of all is the secret of greatness. And may very well be the greatest secret in this universe.” – L. Ron Hubbard
If you had the power to change just one thing in the world what would it be?
Inhumanity. Stated another way: I would wish for a brotherhood across all mankind. There’s too much hate, intolerance, bigotry and a lack of application of basic human rights in various areas of the world. I attempt to assist in different social betterment activities to remedy this and I do feel education is a key component to resolve these things.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Thanks for taking the time to ask these questions. I’ve done a few interviews and these questions have been the most interesting to date.
For more information on Jack Stanley, The Tech Academy or to explore its courses, please visit https://www.learncodinganywhere.com/