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Find me a coder who is not only intelligent but has empathy and integrity; Rod Drury’s little take on the new “best practice” for training

The idea involves getting interested parties in the IT industry to work collectively to create an academy that will produce industry ready staff.

The outcome is Dev Academy – a revolutionary school set up this year to help combat the New Zealand information technology shortage which has just placed 100% of its first graduates in IT jobs.

Dev Academy provides intensive IT programming. The course trains students to be web developers in just nine weeks, as opposed to traditional bachelors degrees that take about three years.

Xero CEO Rod Drury has responded to the news, calling the course “the new best practice” for training developers.

“We took two of Dev Academy’s first grads and it’s brilliant but unsurprising to hear all of them have been placed so fast.

“We’ve worked closely with the school from the get-go and think this new model of training, working closely with industry to respond to our needs and to the skills shortage, is the new best practice.”

Xero, NZX, Datacom, Powershop and PartsTrader are just some of the companies that have picked up graduates from Dev Academy.

Powershop development manager Andy Newport says the company was “stoked” to hear all of the graduates from Dev Academy’s first course had been snapped up.

“That said, after meeting them upon their graduation we’re not at all surprised. They’ve all worked incredibly hard on themselves both technically and personally,” he says.

Dev Academy graduate Nick Johnstone says his salary got a huge boost as a result of completing the course.

“I went from a salary of $43,500 before to $55,000 after graduating, which is more than the cost of tuition,” he says.

The average starting salary for Dev Academy’s fresh graduates is more than $53,000, with one earning more than $60,000 starting out.

This is compared to MBIE’s Occupational Outlook which predicts a Computer Science graduate will be earning $41,200 one year after completing their studies.

Graduate Andrew Montague quit his job as an insurance salesman to do the course, and had three job offers in his first week of looking.

He has been working as a junior developer at NZX for the last month. 

“It’s really corny but I love doing it, and it’s a job of the future,” he says.

“To be honest some of the stuff we learnt is unbelievably underrated. At the Academy they teach you a lot of good habits in coding that a lot of other people haven’t been able to learn,” he adds.

Dev Academy has a focus on ‘soft skills’ like teamwork and communication, as well as time management.

This has been noticed by the industry, with Powershop’s Andy Newport saying recruiting in IT is “as tough as it’s ever been”.

“The best tech shops all seem to be looking for similar things and it’s not a specific skill set but intelligence, empathy and integrity…Without the soft skills and character to help you excel in a team environment it is increasingly hard to land the best roles,” he says

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