The Cleveland-based training company Tech Elevator is coming to Pittsburgh to help train and mentor our next generation of tech employees.

Their first 14-week “bootcamp,” beginning in May, will train up to 18 students in Java, including basic programming skills and various technologies that are together considered part of the programmer’s “Java stack.” 

Future bootcamp cohorts will have their choice between learning Java skills or .Net (c#) skills. These two types of programming, which run the bulk of the Internet and modern server farms, are the most widely needed by employers.

The tuition cost is significant: $14,000 for the 14 weeks of training. But Tech Elevator’s website describes the investment as “one with a high return.”

To enter the Pittsburgh market, the company has hired Justin Driscoll, a 12-year veteran of The Pittsburgh Technology Council, to serve as Pittsburgh Campus Director.

Students at a Tech Elevator C-Bus class. Photo courtesy of Tech Elevator.

The match between Driscoll and Tech Elevator started when the company joined the Council to better understand and reach the local market. Driscoll was so impressed by the people and the plan, he says, that he submitted his resume.

Driscoll hopes the first cohort will include between 14 and 16 students, serviced by an initial four or five local employees. He expects that his team will grow to include eight employees here.

In addition to the full-time bootcamp program, Tech Elevator will offer career coaching and aims to assist the students with job placement.

Filling the skills gap

Caroline Barni, Tech Elevator’s chief marketing officer, believes Pittsburgh is a perfect place for the company to expand, alongside their operations in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati. 

“In 2017, employers posted 6,500 programming jobs for the Greater Pittsburgh area,” Barni says. “Between the two largest area providers of new programmers, Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh, they only graduate 400 annually. So there’s a huge unmet need.”

The company has not yet inked its contract for space in Pittsburgh, but expects it to be located in the North Shore area. In the meantime, they will use Alloy 26 as their local office and will conduct the May bootcamp at CoLab18, both located in Nova Place.

Tech Elevator was founded in 2015 by Anthony Hughes, a Cleveland native who, while working at JumpStart, saw the need to train young adults. He subsequently joined a bootcamp company that later decided to morph its business model into web training. 

Hughes saw that the need for in-person training for programmers was too great to ignore, and decided to found Tech Elevator. When it reaches full operations in Pittsburgh, the company will train about 100 people each year, similar to their volume in its other cities.

According to Barni, 98% of their students are likely to stay in the local market to work. Since most of these people will be new to the job marketplace, Barni expects them to be hired into junior programming positions to start their careers. Tech Elevator will guide many of them to seek employment where they can work side-by-side with senior programmers who can help them enhance their skills.