Well, it’s official! NSS graduated our 2,000th student last month with the August graduation of Full-time Data Analytics Cohort 7. It took seven and a half years to reach our 1000th graduate and only another two and a half years to reach our 2000th. I’ll let those numbers sink in for a moment…
If you’d have told me back in 2012 that we would have 2,000 graduates from this little bootstrapped non-profit, I would have wanted some of what you were drinking. As the nation’s first non-profit bootcamp, we were lucky enough to get started - and establish a bit of a track record - before the start of the truly explosive growth of tech jobs in Nashville. Since our focus has been on training local people for local jobs, and we have committed to training students only if we believe there will be sufficient jobs for them when they graduate, the fact that we have been able to expand the number of classes and add new programs to reach 2,000 graduates in 10 years starts with the flat out incredible growth of the Nashville tech economy.
It’s also a testament to the hard work - and the quality of the work - by our graduates once they leave NSS. Each cohort of graduates stands on the shoulder of the graduates before them. They would not find as many open career doors without the success of our earlier graduates. NSS’s significant growth over the last 2+ years was accomplished despite COVID while still maintaining our track record of placing around 90% of our grads into tech jobs in less than 180 days after graduation. This only happens if employers believe that our graduates have solid foundations and are ready and eager to continue learning and growing into their new careers.
Over 600 employers (more than 400 in Middle Tennessee alone) have demonstrated that belief in our graduates by hiring them for their first tech job. But it’s not just hiring our graduates. It’s managers, developers, and recruiters participating in mock interviews and demo day, employees speaking to classes, or organizations partnering with NSS to come up with creative ways to provide more opportunities to a career in tech.
Of course, it takes a team to prepare our graduates for that first job in tech and the job search. Our instructors and staff, both our full-time staff as well as the part-time instructors that keep our evening programs growing, are dedicated to NSS’s mission and supporting our students along their journey to a tech career. The purpose-driven essence of our non-profit mission is one of the less obvious advantages we have compared to for profit bootcamps. Our instructors and staff are attracted to NSS, at least in part, because of that mission and the ability to give back to our community and to our students. I take inspiration from our team every day and am grateful for the involvement and commitment of so many people on our team over the past 10 years.
Nashville’s grassroots tech community has also played a role in our graduates’ success. While the grassroots community has been a bit quieter the last two years, the community has been very supportive of our students and graduates over the years - offering them opportunities to network, present, and lead. It’s exciting to see meetups and conferences begin to re-emerge as COVID fears recede.
Finally, this milestone could not have happened without the continued willingness of our students to give us the opportunity to support their learning journey. We are always very aware of the trust that people place in us and we take the responsibility to deliver on that trust and their investment of time and money very seriously. Thank you to our 2,000+ students and graduates for trusting us. We look forward to the opportunity to continue to serve our future students and the broader community.
So cheers to our 2,000+ graduates - now onward and upward to 3,000!