Vanderbilt’s tech boot camps surpass 1,000 graduates
Vanderbilt University’s tech boot camps have surpassed 1,000 graduates who are ready to compete for jobs in an information technology industry that is continuing to expand in Tennessee and nationwide.
In 2019, the Vanderbilt School of Engineering teamed with the Owen Graduate School of Management and with Trilogy Education Services to create boot camps in coding, data analytics, cybersecurity and digital marketing. Boot camp participants also have access to career-planning assistance like coaching, resume support and technical interview training.
Upskilling the workforce or addressing employees’ skill gaps on an accelerated timeline is the focus of Vanderbilt’s part-time, 24-week boot camps. Since they launched, 1,022 adult learners have graduated and earned certificates.
Philippe Fauchet, Bruce and Bridgitt Evans Dean of the School of Engineering, says Nashville, Tennessee, is continuing to transform itself into a 21st century high-tech center and will benefit from a local workforce that is ready to take jobs at all levels in areas such as information technology, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity.
“Every year, Vanderbilt graduates highly skilled students who have earned a bachelor’s, master’s, or Ph.D. in many fields related to computer science, a growing number of whom stay in Nashville,” says Fauchet. “But industry is demanding an even larger modern workforce. Through these boot camps, we help significantly increase Nashville’s homegrown population of skilled workers, who will sustain our economic development through higher quality and higher paying jobs.”
Adds Owen Dean M. Eric Johnson, “This is an exciting moment and shows the power of VU collaboration between engineering and business to develop work-ready tech talent for Nashville.”
According to a recent report by CompTIA, the nonprofit association for the IT industry and workforce, technology-related employment increased by approximately 80,000 workers in 2021. Nearly 8.7 million people work in core tech-related occupations across the country, with tens of millions more employed as digital knowledge workers. CompTIA estimates a 2 percent increase – nearly 178,000 new jobs – in 2022, with 48 states (including Tennessee) projected to add tech workers.
In Tennessee, net tech employment increased by 3,282 jobs between 2020 and 2021. Particularly, in middle Tennessee, tech jobs have increased by thousands as companies including Amazon, AllianceBernstein, Oracle and EY announced Nashville hubs in the last several years.
James Dittes is a recent boot camp graduate and now has a data analyst certification. Currently a teacher, Dittes is hoping to transition into the field of data analysis by working part-time on projects. He says he is glad he attended a boot camp and recommends them to others.
“I enjoyed the challenges,” says Dittes. “I wasn’t just learning new coding skills, I was creating meaningful projects week-in and week-out. I have a portfolio full of cool projects to show prospective employers.”
Margaret Barringer was in the inaugural boot camp class in 2019. She is now a data engineer for a health care company and credits the boot camp for helping her gain the independence she needed to succeed in the tech industry.
“I was installing software in labs across the country, but I was always going to a programmer for help,” recalls Barringer. “The boot camp gave me a boost. They taught me how to do it myself. Now I’m a programmer.”
Nickolas Strong had just lost his job as a truck driver when he decided to attend the cybersecurity boot camp in 2020. Not only does he now work in the field, but he also is a teaching assistant in the boot camp at Vanderbilt.
“It’s awesome,” says Strong. “I’m teaching the very same cohort. I think it gives me a unique perspective on what some students are going through.”
Contact: Lucas Johnson, 615-343-0137