When Sarah Paczosa was laid off from a printing company after 17 years, she needed a change. The industry wasn’t as promising as it used to be. So she enrolled in the 10-week Foundations of Web Development course at the AIM Interface Web School.

“I came in not knowing anything,” Paczosa said. Now she is fluent in HTML, CSS, Javascript, WordPress—everything she needs to know to build an elegant and functional contemporary website. Soon she will add Java to her list of skills, as she enters Interface’s 14-week Java specialization course to become a versatile, full-stack developer.

Paczosa is one of 14 Interface students to graduate last Thursday in a ceremony held on the historic Trading Floor of the AIM Exchange Building. Representatives from OpsCompass, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska, Flywheel, Mutual of Omaha, Bellevue University, and Gallup attended the event to network with the graduates.

Mutual of Omaha Senior HR Specialist Dean Frazee said he was excited to meet the students and to scout new talent. He expressed his support for the code school model.

“To me, it’s wonderful that you can bypass the traditional route and get to the things that you’re really gonna use in the environment that you really want to work in,” Frazee said. “That’s a huge advantage. I wish more people did it.”

Interface is the only nonprofit, accredited code school in the Omaha area. It has an 80 percent job placement rate thanks to the ongoing efforts of AIM staff, who keep in close contact with companies looking to fill crucial IT positions.

“You have a whole team of people trying to find you a job,” Paczosa said. “The people that work at AIM are really great.”

(At Interface, each student is assigned a personalized tech concierge to connect them to job openings and search for new opportunities on their behalflike an academic advisor that follows them after graduation).

Laying the Foundation for Success

Interface not only helps students builds the skills necessary to obtain a more rewarding job right away, it also positions them to pursue a more extensive formalized course of study in computer science, if they want to go that route.

“At Bellevue University, we recognize the high quality of this program, so students can actually transfer into Bellevue and attain college credit for the work they’ve done at Interface,” said Mary Dobransky, Dean of the College of IT at Bellevue University. Dobransky sits on the AIM Board of Directors and has been a longtime fan of the work AIM does to build the local tech talent community.

One of the most important aspects of Interface, perhaps, is the camaraderie built between students and teachers. Multiple graduates mentioned their gratitude for their instructor, Kent Smotherman.

“Kent was great: super helpful, positive, generous with his time during and after class,” Paczosa said.

“The experience was so good, I’m doing it again,” said Kent Seevers, graduate of the Foundations of Web Development course. This time around, Seevers will be taking the .NET class, on his way to becoming a full-stack developer.

If you are interested in hearing more about Interface, please attend a free info session to see how you can upgrade your life in two nights a week while keeping your dayjob.