Early on for TechMill, we were focused on connecting startups and entrepreneurs with mentors and access to resources, all while running a coworking space downtown. As we’ve evolved over the years, the needs of the community have shifted more towards a demand to increase technical resources. This wasn’t just startups, but local businesses, universities, and agencies needing technically talented individuals who are also looking to expand their professional skill set.
The fact is, we have thousands of students who love making this city their home year after year, but when no opportunities are available in town, the only choice they have is to leave and find work elsewhere. Before we can attempt to tackle this issue, we need to define a few areas that can use improvement:
- Encouraging growth and personal development for all tech creatives.
- Retaining current talented students graduating from local universities.
- Providing transition support for academic-minded students through real-world application development and current development practices and workflows.
In 2015, TechMill organized a series educational workshops under the Bootstrap Denton brand. Over that span, we covered various topics over sales & contracts, web development, design, social media, etc. In 2017, we started the TechMill Workshop Series as a way to start our own community-led series of tech classes across a bigger variety of topics. Our biggest goal is to reduce the barrier of entry by ensuring course material is based on open source software and publicly available information. Some workshop topics included:
- iOS / Android
- Web Essentials
- WordPress / Drupal
- UX / UI
- Technology in Business (legal, marketing, sales, etc)
- Open Data / Data Science
The series is open to anyone wanting and willing to learn new technologies or improve their own professional skill set. The mentors are volunteering their time on a weekly/monthly basis, so this needs to be a community buy-in that recognizes this initiative as a benefit to the growth of the community and local companies, and as a byproduct, new economic development.
By adding categories to classes, we can group workshops into tracks based on interest: front-end development, back-end development, big data, etc - similar to courses you would see being taught at code camps such as The Iron Yard or DevMountain. This is a new initiative for 2017, and we hope you’ll join us in leveling yourself up and growing the pool of local tech talent here in Denton!