AIM Code School Coming to Lincoln this February

Posted on - AIM Newsroom, Press Releases, Tech Education

AIM Code School is expanding our web development training to Lincoln next month. Starting Feb. 25, we’re offering our Foundations of Web Development class at Turbine Flats, a mixed-use co-working space featuring a coffee shop, startup incubator, lending library, and a variety of formal and informal networking opportunities.

The class runs twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30 to 9:30 pm for ten weeks (Feb. 25 to April 30). When students graduate, they will have everything they need to know to land a position as a junior developer. Along the way, AIM Code School tech navigators will work with partnering organizations to find students meaningful employment in technology.

Located in a beautifully repurposed manufacturing building built in 1907 at 2124 Y St, Turbine Flats has become a cornerstone of the Lincoln startup and tech communities. We are grateful to join this thriving ecosystem and offer tech education to those who want to pursue a rewarding career in programming.

“Expanding to Lincoln gives us the opportunity to train more members of the tech workforce and fill the IT talent gap facing the Midwest,” said Nate Decker, Student and Employer Engagement Coordinator for AIM Code School.

The expansion is great news for aspiring coders who live in the Lincoln metro and for whom Omaha is too lengthy a commute.

“We want to remove as many obstacles as we can for people considering a career in tech. Whether those barriers are financial or geographical, we are committed to helping anyone who wants to find a better job develop the tools to do so,” Decker added.

Grant funding and scholarships are available. For questions or additional info, contact Nate Decker at 402-345-5025 x 447 or ndecker@nullaiminstitute.org. You may also email hello@nullaimcodeschool.org or visit aimcodeschool.org.

Leadership Development for Smarties: from Source Code to the Boardroom

Posted on - AIM Newsroom, Community, Tech Education

A first-rate developer is easy to spot. You can quantify how many languages a person knows, how effectively they work, how much value they offer. Evidence of their talent is tangible, well-documented, and often literally glowing.

Good managerial candidates are less noticeable. Someone might be a persuasive presenter of innovative ideas, but lack follow-through. Another might boost the morale of everyone around them, but have a hard time delivering bad news. One might seem like the greatest UX designer in the world, but is actually just three children in a trenchcoat.

Fortunately, companies can reliably transform tech talent into great leaders through specialized IT leadership development training, like the AIM Institute’s IT Emerging Leaders Program.

Designed for the unique challenges of the tech industry, the IT Emerging Leaders Program helps tech professionals develop leadership skills and transition from a tech path to a managerial track.

Attendees learn about personal growth, relationship building, effective communication skills, resource optimization and intelligent career development strategies. They enjoy access to presentations by high-performing IT managers, peer-to-peer discussion and problem-solving workshops that help them troubleshoot real-world scenarios technology leaders face every day.

“I Knew I Could Do Great Things”

Ryan Markus and Brian Cary of TEAM Software both attended the eight-week course at crucial junctures in their lives.

“We were both kind of at the same spot in our careers: the go-to guys,” said Markus, now a Senior Software Engineer at TEAM Software.

While neither he nor Cary carried any formal authority at the time, coworkers still tended to go to them for help, regardless of job titles.

TEAM Software took notice. With a culture that prizes investment in its employees’ growth, the company paid for Markus and Cary to enroll in the IT Emerging Leaders Program.

“I knew I could do great things, but I wasn’t sure how to get there,” Markus said.

Testing the Leadership Waters

The Emerging Leaders Program is especially suited toward tech professionals who wonder whether a move to management would suit them. Perhaps they’re curious about what it takes to lead, but aren’t sure they’d be good at it. The Emerging Leaders Program not only helps IT professionals develop leadership skills, it also gives them a low-risk chance to determine whether they even want to manage.

Ultimately, the Emerging Leaders Program whetted Markus’s appetite for more intensive leadership training. He enrolled in the nine-month AIM IT Leadership Academy, an in-depth leadership development course for current and upcoming IT managers.

Cary, on the other hand, had already minored in business leadership at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln during his undergraduate years. But he’d been working as a software developer for five years and wanted a refresher on the formal leadership training he’d already undergone before entering the workforce.

“A lot of the emerging leaders was, for me, more about the connections and the anecdotes that we heard from industry professionals that came in,” Cary said. “That was really good for me because I was able to ask a lot of questions about people who made the transition between technology and leadership.”

People like the Chief Technology Officer of Farm Credit Services, who started as a software developer and transitioned into the CTO role, deeply impressed Cary. “Those types of things were what I really wanted to hear about from people in the industry,” he said.

Like Markus, Cary enrolled in the more intensive AIM IT Leadership Academy as soon as he graduated from the Emerging Leaders Program.

Investing in Employee Growth Pays Off

Shortly after graduating from the Leadership Academy, Cary landed a major promotion. He now works as Software Development Manager for TEAM Software, and is the direct report for eight software & data engineers working across multiple Agile engineering teams.

Markus said the Emerging Leaders Program quickly instilled in him the confidence and skills to start exercising leadership more naturally—skills like relationship-building.

“Dealing with people is pretty challenging sometimes,” Markus said. “Sometimes, it makes software look easy.”

If you or someone in your company is wondering whether to transition from tech to management, direct them to the AIM IT Emerging Leaders Program. Classes start April 23 and are held every other Thursday from 1 to 5 p.m. at various locations around Omaha. Early-bird registration is available until March 1.

This post originally published by Silicon Prairie News.

Putting the Work In: Jordi Becerril Is a Rising Star in Tech

Posted on - AIM Newsroom, Community, Tech Education

Jordi Becerril didn’t see a lot of Latinx people working in technology when he was growing up. An avid gamer, the South Omaha native enjoyed taking apart XBoxes and Playstations to study how they worked⁠—and to see if he could put them back together again. 

But, because he never noticed any programmers he could really identify with, he assumed that an IT career path was simply off-limits.

It wasn’t until a representative from AIM Code School visited his class at Omaha South High School that a revelation hit him.

“It doesn’t matter where you come from,” he said. “Just put the work in. That’s one of the things that propels you forward.” 

He’s right. The 22-year-old now works as a technical specialist for Mutual of Omaha, providing production support on application development. He also does freelance front-end projects, such as this website he made for his former soccer team.

Becerril embarked on his tech journey during his senior year of high school. He took an introductory workshop at AIM Code School to learn the fundamentals of coding. After graduating high school, he enrolled in a ten-week AIM Code School Foundations of Web Development class and became well-versed in HTML, CSS, and Javascript. Although a natural autodidact, Becerril thought the structure and networking opportunities of a code school would accelerate his maturation.

“I knew I had the drive, but sometimes it’s good to ask for help,” he said.

The move paid off. Becerril used his newfound skills to teach computer programming classes for low-income high school kids in the summer of 2017. Then, in July, he landed a sweet gig as a front-end developer with Appsky, a local creative agency specializing in software, design, and consulting. He flexed his skills on e-commerce websites and mobile apps.

He loved the job. Unfortunately, agency life is famously topsy turvy. A year-and-a-half into the job he loved, Becerril had to leave Appsky last February. 

So he found himself back at AIM Code School, taking a Java course. He wanted to become a full-stack developer—someone professionally skilled in both front-end and back-end development. After finishing the 14-week class, he applied for a technical specialist job at Mutual of Omaha and got it.

Now, not only is he putting his full stack abilities to work, he enjoys support from experienced mentors, as well as great career resources and advancement opportunities.

“This is a huge deal for Jordi,” said AIM Code School Student and Employer Engagement Coordinator Nate Decker. “We’re all very proud of him.”

“I used to wash dishes for a living,” Becerril said. “And now I code.”

While he’s not knocking dishwashers—he respects anyone working the position—he knows that programming is a better fit for him. And, as a first generation American of Mexican descent, he wants underrepresented youth to know that programming might be a good fit for them, too, even if they’ve never imagined themselves building technology before.

“You don’t always get the same opportunities as other people. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try,” Becerrill said. “My parents both came here with nothing.” 

Aside from work, Becerril enjoys spending time with his girlfriend and continually learning and improving his development skills. His main goals are to become the best programmer he can possibly be, and to find a way to give back, preferably as a teacher educating the next generation of coders. He wants to help build a community that propels youth to achieve their dreams, no matter what situation they come from.

Check out Jordi Becerril’s portfolio here.