With classes spread between Salt Lake City and Provo, the DevMountain team has decided to bring all its Utah operations under one roof in centrally-located Lehi. We sat down with DevMountain Executive Director Krissy Weekley to hear how Lehi has become the tech hub of Utah, which big tech companies are hiring coding bootcamp grads in Lehi, and how having the UX, iOS, Software QA, and Web Development students in one place will allow them to interact, collaborate and learn from each other.
Can you tell me about your background, and your role at DevMountain?
I'm an entrepreneur by trade. I love starting different businesses, and working on different ideas.
Back when coding bootcamps were brand new I wanted to learn how to code, so I attended DevMountain as part of their very first immersive cohort. At that time, DevMountain was small with only a few people running the show – the founders, an instructor, and an office manager. I have a business degree, and come from a business background, and I approached the founder to ask if I could help out. That’s how it all started. Now, I’m DevMountain’s Executive Director.
What’s your involvement in opening the new DevMountain Lehi campus?
I’m working on the operational side to get the new campus up and running. We originally had two campuses running different courses in Utah – in Provo we ran the web development course, and in Salt Lake City we had UX, IOS, and QA courses. Now we’re moving all of our courses and Utah operations to Lehi.
With all the courses together under one roof, we believe the organization can work better, as a whole, with cross-departmental communication, between both staff and students. We want our students to work in cross-functional teams so they’re better adapted to enter the workplace – in a real-world work scenario, designers, mobile and web developers, and QA all have to work together. This way, they understand the different approaches of designers and developers.
Under certain circumstances we can also allow our students to switch programs. Maybe they come to DevMountain thinking they want to do web development, but then realize the UX design class speaks more to them. We want to help our students succeed in the classes we offer. Devmountain is more like a new-age, fast paced, university experience. It’s a really fun environment to be part of.
Why did you choose Lehi, specifically, as the place to bring all of these disciplines together under one roof?
The tech scene is huge here. It's actually called the “Silicon Slopes” of Utah. There are some big billion dollar companies in this area. We have Qualtrics, Adobe, Domo, Vivint, and many other companies here. It's a tech hub, and we want to be in the heart of tech. Visibility is key. We want to be five minutes away from these companies, so employees or hiring managers can stop in on their lunch breaks, come to our campus, and see the high-quality work our students are doing. It’s also important for our students to know that they have the attention of the business community.
Geographically, Lehi is also in an ideal location. Salt Lake City is north, Provo is south, and Lehi is directly in the middle. That’s why Lehi’s become the heart of the tech scene in Utah. It’s a great place for companies, and for talent.
Compared to other coding bootcamps in the Silicon Slopes area, what stands out to you about DevMountain?
We work hard to make sure our students succeed, and I think they feel that. Our mentors are only required to work a certain number of hours a week, but they’ll often work much longer, because they love to help students. We’ve built a community here – it’s a caring culture. We tend to hire people based on whether they are passionate about their work. Those are the people we want on board, because DevMountain truly is a company that’s changing lives.
We also want students to get what they’ve paid for. We want them to leave feeling like they learned everything they wanted to learn. We’ve established our credibility. It’s clear that when you come to DevMountain, you’re going to know how to code, and be given opportunities to do so. Since DevMountain started five years ago, we have a huge network, with thousands of our graduates working in tech jobs.
The other unique thing I mentioned earlier is that if you come to DevMountain and decide development isn't for you, you can talk to your instructor and your student success coach and they will help you navigate what is best for you. If there is something else, like UX design or QA testing, we will do what it takes to help you be successful in one of our programs. I think a lot of people want to learn to code because they see the big salary figures. We want our students to gain a skill that they actually like, that’s going to help them find employment when they graduate. We want our students to make a good living while loving what they do.
How many students, instructors, and mentors will you have at the Lehi campus?
We can accommodate 200+ students at a time across our immersive courses. We'll have four web classes, with four instructors, plus two to three mentors per class depending on the size. We’ll also have two IOS classes, with two instructors, and up to two mentors for each class. Finally, there will be a UX class, and a QA class.
What is the Lehi campus like?
The campus has floor-to-ceiling windows on the outside. Everything in the building is brand new. Everything is fresh and clean, and all the amenities are so nice. It's very welcoming and open. It’s been well-received, for sure. Our staff and students keep saying, “I love it here! When can we come?”
We want our students to feel comfortable in their working spaces, and be free from distraction. There's a communal kitchen, we have eight to 10 breakout rooms, and a big lab area where students can collaborate with people from different programs. If you’re in the web development program and you want to ask a designer how to make something for your app, it’s now much easier to do that. We also have a recreation room, featuring a ping pong and foosball table. Soon, we’ll have an 80-inch screen for students to play Super Smash Brothers, if they want. We also have sodas and coffee for students throughout the day, and we provide Friday breakfast. We provide similar amenities at all of our campuses.
As for the area itself, we're located right off the freeway, next to Adobe and Entrata. Cabela’s is next door. We’re really in the heart of these tech companies.
How is the Lehi campus going so far?
We’re still in the transition process, but our first Lehi class started January 7. Our Provo campus is closing and moving operations to Lehi on January 26, and our Salt Lake City campus is moving on February 26. Both campuses will be folded into the Lehi campus by mid-March 2019. So far, Lehi has been amazing. It’s fun to see the staff and student responses.
What housing accommodations will be available for students in Lehi?
We provide housing at all of out campuses. At our Provo and Salt Lake City campuses, students shared a room with four or five people and had a bed to themselves. We’re going to offer the same amenities here. Or if you’re commuting, we’ll also have public transport passes at a discounted price so you can ride the train or take the bus to get to our campus.
Which local companies are hiring junior developers, UX designers, iOS developers and software QA developers in Lehi?
There are all types of companies: Overstock. Adobe, Vivint Solar, Entrada, Canopy, and many more. There are also a ton of start-ups in the area.
Do you think grads from the Lehi campus will get jobs in Salt Lake City, and Provo, as well?
Absolutely. We may be in Lehi, and there are a ton of companies here, but companies all over Utah are hiring, and they will continue to hire our students. Our students tend to focus on the best job opportunity, and not necessarily where, in the state, they’ll go. A lot of our students also come from out-of-state. So, they might go home and get jobs in California or Florida. Students who’ve opted to stay in Utah have had great success getting jobs in Salt Lake City, or Provo, or in other cities throughout the state. Since a lot of companies are located in Lehi, a lot of our students end up getting jobs here, as well.
For beginners seeking to get a better understanding of coding, are there any meetups in the area that you would recommend?
We’re starting a meetup at our new campus in April. It’ll be geared towards all of our programs, so we’ll switch around who runs it. Each month, the major topic – whether it’s web, IOS development or QA – will switch, but we’ll have lightning talks on the other topics. Community members, and those who want to learn how to code, are welcome to attend these meetups. They're also welcome to attend the project presentations we have every month, featuring things our students have built in class.
We welcome members of the community to come check us out! We’d love for them to tour our campus, and see our new space. It’s beautiful, and it's exciting, and it's definitely excited our students.