Dec 20, 2021
Jessica Grande

Well, when this year started, we definitely didn’t anticipate that we'd still be operating online in December, yet here we are. Even so, NSS had a lot of major milestones happen throughout the year.  As the year draws close to an end, we’d like to take a moment to reflect and celebrate all that 2021 brought with it! 


In June 2021 we graduated our 1,500th student, Jordan Smith from our Part-time Web Development Evening Cohort 13, who now works as a Software Developer at HealthLock. This year alone we graduated 414 students – our biggest year ever – and we expect to reach 2000 graduates next summer! We’ve come a long way since our first 14 graduates in 2012.


This year we expanded our fundraising efforts to grow our scholarship fund. We participated in the Big Payback for the first time, an annual day of giving for Middle Tennessee nonprofits hosted by the Middle Tennessee Community Foundation. 

We also raised funds for cost-of-living support for 9 veterans, who were enrolled at NSS and ready to begin their journeys towards a career in tech when they abruptly lost their education entitlements. 

Finally, we kicked off our year-end giving campaign with GivingTuesday on November 30th. If you’re looking to give this holiday season, we invite you to make a donation to our scholarship fund.

Thanks to support from you and our local community, we were able to provide opportunities to even more folks with the motivation and aptitude to start their career in tech. 


Advanced SQL for Developers

2021 marked the start of Advanced SQL for Developers, our new professional development course! The 7-week, hands-on, synchronous online course allows developers a space to refresh their SQL basics and explore more advanced SQL techniques. Check out what Sorrel Brigman of ClarisHealth shared on a LinkedIn post after completing the course! : “It was amazing to see how regularly I was applying concepts learned in the course to my professional work (through AWS Athena, or even how I approach Mongo queries). I highly recommend 1) taking professional development courses. Not just to learn the topic at hand through the course, but to challenge ways you're currently approaching problems 2) checking out the advanced SQL course next time NSS offers it. The course goes from simple to complex queries to database troubleshooting and optimization.”

Software Engineering With Java/AWS Specialization

We also announced our newest program that was created in collaboration with Amazon, Software Engineering With Java/AWS Specialization. Founder and CEO John Wark shares that the new program will help open “yet another pathway for both local residents and those outside our region to acquire the skills required to launch a rewarding and lucrative career in software development.” Applications are open now for the new program. You can learn more and apply here


With so much growth in 2021, we welcomed several new teammates who have been great additions to NSS! 


Aimee Johnson joined our Student Services team as our Student Services/Admissions Representative, serving community members who are interested in learning more about NSS and our students! The Career Development team welcomed Haley Zapolski (Zap) as NSS’ Employer Engagement Manager, connecting local employers with all the great talent that comes out of NSS. Michael Frieh joined us in the 4th quarter as a Career Development Specialist to help support our data students in the search for their first job in tech!

Learning Team

We had four new full-time instructors join the team in 2021, including Christopher Wright for Data Analytics, NSS alumni Hannah Hall and Joshua Barton for Web Development, and Charlie Penner who will teach our new Software Engineering program. 

NSS also had a lot of new Junior Instructors join us this year, including Christina Ashworth, Tyler Hilliard, Monica Provence, and Scott Silver in Web Development and Joshua Rio-Ross in Data Analytics! Junior Instructors are such a vital part of cohort dynamics at NSS. They sit with students through the highs and lows of bootcamp all the way to Demo Day! 

Jeremy Baker joined the team this year as Director of Learning Programs, with Heather Dixon who came on as the Program Manager for Web Development. Additionally, a shift in our Program team led to Mahesh Rao transitioning into his new role Program Manager for Analytics + Data Science and Mary van Valkenburg beginning a new role in the operations team as the Director of Data Operations, and Michael Holloway took over as lead instructor for our Analytics + Data Science programs. 

In addition to our full-time staff, it takes a large team of teaching assistants, part-time instructors, and even some volunteers to help over 400 students gain the skills they need to launch a new career in tech. Thanks to all of our part-time and volunteer instructors and teaching assistants who helped us launch 414 graduates this year! 


Last month we shared our Community Impact Report for 2021. 

>>>“Ultimately the impact from NSS is all about the impact to the individual students in our programs. It’s about offering them the opportunity to learn tech skills and what that can mean when they seize the opportunity and launch a new career. It’s only with the impact we have with our students that larger degrees of impact can happen to our graduate’s family, to our employer partners, to the tech community, and all of the other communities our graduates contribute to.” -John Wark 

Here are some highlights:

  • NSS graduated 414 students in 2021
  • 58% of those students are from under-represented groups in tech
  • 68% received financial support from NSS or our partners
  • 84% of those students have tech jobs, with a median starting salary of $60k/year

You can read the full report and letter from Founder and CEO, John Wark, here


This year NSS saw a lot of buzz in local news coverage! Thanks to all the local news outlets that picked up or wrote stories about the impact NSS’s graduates are making on the tech community here in Nashville and beyond! 

You can check out some of our features and stories on our Press page


With so many exciting milestones in 2021, we’re looking forward to an exciting year to come in 2022 with the official start to our Software Engineering program and more! Check back next week for our full blog post as we look ahead and see what’s in store for NSS in 2022. 

Topics: Community