It’s incredible to me that we just graduated our 1000th graduate from Nashville Software School. We graduated number 1000, and a whole bunch more, last Friday, February 14 (yes, that’s right, Valentine’s Day!). We started Valentine’s Day with 995 graduates, by 1 pm we were up to 1036 graduates. Two cohorts graduated on that day - full-time Web Development Cohort 35 and part-time Web Development Cohort E9. (Pictured: Bob Baxter of E9, our 1000th graduate, Adam Wieckert, evening instructor, and John Wark)
Less than 2 ½ years ago, on September 22, 2017 to be exact, we celebrated the graduation of our 500th graduate. It took us five full years from our launch in mid-2012 to reach that milestone. In half that time we have more than doubled the total. Our first 500 graduates were all from our full-time and part-time web development bootcamps. The second 500 also includes data science (2 cohorts) and data analytics (our first cohort) graduates.
Back in 2012, I would never have believed that we could graduate this many students into the Nashville tech economy. The Nashville of 2012 simply did not have that many tech job opportunities. Given our focus on training local people for local jobs, and our commitment to train students only if we anticipate there will be sufficient jobs for them when they graduate, the fact that we were able to expand the number of classes, and add new programs, to reach 1000 graduates in 7 ½ years is a real testament to the flat out incredible growth of the Nashville tech economy.
The ability to sustain NSS’s growth and service to the Nashville community is also a real tribute to the hard work - and the quality of the work - by our graduates once they leave NSS. Each year’s graduates stand on the shoulders of the graduates from prior years. They would not find as many open career doors without the success of our earlier graduates. The increased growth rate over the last 2+ years was accomplished while still sustaining our track record of placing 90%+ of our grads into tech jobs in less than 180 days after graduation. This only happens if employers find that our graduates have solid foundations and are ready and eager to continue learning and growing into their new careers.
Obviously the placement success of NSS graduates also has to do with the hard work and dedicated efforts by the instructors and staff that have supported our students’ learning journeys over the years. Our NSS team has continued to grow over the past 2 ½ years - both our full-time staff as well as the part-time instructors that keep our evening programs growing. It’s personally humbling that so many smart, talented people have chosen to help make NSS work for our students. The growth is also a tribute to all of our friends in the local grassroots tech community and over 300 local employers that have hired from NSS. Our students benefit in so many ways from Nashville’s incredibly open and collaborative tech creative community.
Finally, our growth could not have happened without the continued willingness of prospective students to grant us the chance to support their learning journey as they seek to change careers or find careers in tech. We are always very aware of the trust that people place in us when they give us six to twelve months of their life and commit a significant amount of money for their training. We take the responsibility to deliver on that trust and investment very seriously. We thank our 1000+ students and graduates for trusting us and look forward to the chance to continue to serve our future students and the broader community. Onward to 2000!