John Wark

John started programming professionally at age 19. After a long and multifarious career in technology, he founded NSS in 2012. He believed that Nashville's technology talent shortage would never be solved by trying to import experienced developers from other cities or by waiting for colleges and universities to start graduating enough students and/or appropriately trained students. He also had faith that Nashville had an ample supply of motivated adults with latent aptitude who, if offered a chance, would eagerly pursue a career in technology.
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Recent Posts

Hardware requirements for Bootcamp at NSS
Sep 25, 2018
Students must provide their own laptops for classes at NSS. In light of the passage of time since our last review of hardware requirements, we have just updated our recommendations and guidelines for student hardware. Here are our recommendations for laptops to use during our full-time or part-time bootcamps. Read More

Topics: News

Seven Questions Junior Developers Should Ask in Any Interview
Feb 21, 2018
New junior developers are often a bit buffaloed by the interview process associated with hiring software developers. Things like whiteboard challenges and code tests are not the kinds of things most of our grads have ever seen before in whatever jobs they had prior to NSS. And, new grads can get so focused on their need to sell themselves that they forget that interviews are two-way conversations where both parties - employer and interviewee - are trying to decide if working together makes sense. Read More

Topics: Student Stories, Learning

Strong Software Developer Job Growth Continues
Nov 16, 2017
There was more good news recently regarding the prospects for continued growth in demand for software developers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released their updated national Employment Projections - 2016 to 2026 in late October. These employment growth projections are widely used to analyze job growth prospects and trends. The future growth of software developers remains strong. Read More

Topics: Student Stories, Hiring?, News

After 5 Years - What’s The Road Ahead? | 500 In 5
Nov 9, 2017
Five years of sustained success and 500+ graduates is wildly gratifying for all of us at NSS. We’ve talked in this series mostly about what has happened over the past five years and why we made some of the crucial decisions that contributed to where we are today. But the energy of our team is actually focused on the future, not the past. Read More

Topics: 500 In 5

Nashville Opportunity Tuition
Oct 12, 2017
We are rolling out a name change for what has been called the Nashville Tech Apprentice Tuition (or usually just “Apprentice Tuition”). This program has been an integral part of how we create opportunities to launch tech careers since our founding in 2012. The new name for the program is the Nashville Opportunity Tuition. It’s the same risk-sharing, joint investment plan; we just have a new name for the program as we prepare to move into 2018. Read More

Topics: News, Community

No Single Person Makes NSS Happen | 500 In 5
Oct 5, 2017
As we post this today, I am being honored by the Nashville Technology Council at their annual meeting and inducted into the NTC Hall of Fame. I’m very honored to be so recognized and even more proud to represent all of the NSS community in accepting this honor. I thank the NTC for honoring me and through me all of those that are part of the NSS story. No single individual makes something like NSS a success. And on this day when I and NSS are being recognized, I’d like to make sure a few people who were instrumental in supporting the launch of NSS are remembered and thanked for their help in getting NSS off the ground back in 2012. Read More

Topics: Community, 500 In 5

We Made It! 500th Graduate Milestone Passed With Cohort 19 | 500 In 5
Oct 4, 2017
When we started this series of posts celebrating and reflecting on our fifth anniversary I said that our goal was to graduate our 500th new junior developer during the six months of our anniversary period. And darned if we didn’t make it. This is a big milestone for us. In a job market the size of Nashville, 500 new junior developers makes a huge impact. Read More

Topics: News, 500 In 5

Evolving Demo Day | 500 In 5
Sep 21, 2017
Tomorrow is Demo Day for Cohort 19 at NSS. Demo Day is a big deal here - it marks the graduation of another cohort of students and it marks the formal kick-off of most grads’ job searches. It also gives us a chance to showcase to the community our newest grads, what they’ve learned, and what they can do with those skills. However, today’s Demo Day was not the way we originally released our grads into the wild. It’s something that evolved out of experience and trying other things. In that sense it’s like so much of what we do - it’s driven by experience, by feedback, and by trial and error. In other words, it’s driven by learning. Which seems somehow appropriate, right? Read More

Topics: Hiring?, Community, 500 In 5

The Emerging Role Of The Front-End Designer/Developer
Sep 19, 2017
One well known practitioner that has been talking and writing about the emergence of a “hybrid” UI/UX designer/front-end developer for several years is Brad Frost. Frost uses the term “Frontend Design” to refer to these hybrids who both handle UI/UX design as well as implement the design in front-end code. In a recent blog post, Frost speaks to the trend and the reasons for the trend. Read More

Topics: Learning, News, UI/UX

What We Mean When We Say Community | 500 In 5
Sep 14, 2017
When NSS started back in 2012, I identified Community as one of our five core beliefs/values. Of those five beliefs, Community is the one where my understanding, appreciation, and belief have most evolved and deepened. Based on what I’ve experienced at NSS over the past five years, I now believe that my initial understanding of community was valid but incomplete and, to a degree, superficial. So what does Community mean? Read More

Topics: Community, 500 In 5

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