Why Does The Iron Yard Have Single-Topic Classes?

By Matt Keas, Houston Front End Engineering Instructor.

Some prospective students will ask our teams why we have single-focus classes, while other code schools teach full-stack.

Here is one particular question we received recently:

I’ve been researching various coding bootcamps, and have noticed that the majority of them offer a full-stack curriculum. Nonetheless, their programs tend to be of the same length as those at The Iron Yard. Could you (or, perhaps, your JavaScript instructor) share some insight about why the Academy at The Iron Yard offers the separated tracks of front- and back-end?

There is a really good Bruce Lee quote to start this off:

I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.

A large part of learning to code has to deal with:

  1. The deconstruction of a platform (i.e. JavaScript)
  2. The selection of the most useful or common parts and patterns
  3. The ordering of the content (fluidity, constant churn, repetition)

Focusing on one topic, deeply, allows the students to focus on the real, business-facing problems. All of our graduated students can now see how both Rails and JavaScript approach the same problem from different angles. The catch is that it took 12 long and arduous weeks to truly understand and experience this.

Focusing on one-topic (vs. spreading yourself too thin when starting) unlocks your creative potential to make informed analogies about other programming languages.

As an example, a number of my former JavaScript students were scared to try and learn the server-side language PHP, but they wanted to understand WordPress (the blogging platform built on PHP). Once they started an online course, they learned PHP in a week. But this was not because of the course, instead they were empowered because they understood all of the underlying concepts, and just needed to change “syntax”.

I hope that this serves to answer on a more theoretical, pseudo-philosophical, and pedagogical scale why we teach in this manner. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

About theironyard

The Iron Yard exists to create exceptional growth and mentorship for people, their companies and their ideas through code education and startup accelerators.