3 things I learned at Innovate Birmingham’s Demo Day 2019

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First up are a few ThinkData Analytics candidates presenting their data on workers’ commutes in and out of Birmingham. Photo submitted

I’ve known about Innovate Birmingham for a few months, and have been so impressed with the work they’re doing to educate and establish IT talent in the Birmingham community. I’ve met some of the crew, toured their office at Innovation Depot, and also written about them a few times. But until attending Demo Day last week, I don’t think I truly understood the impact they are making every single day in the lives of not only their candidates but also the Birmingham tech scene as a whole.

Here are 3 things I learned at Innovate Birmingham’s Demo Day plus how you can get involved:

Candidates, friends and family mingled before the event at Workplay! Photo submitted

What is Demo Day?

Innovate Birmingham is a workforce development program that offers courses free of charge in software development and data analytics to young adults in an effort to bridge the gap between tech talent and employers in Birmingham. Their programs last 12-14 weeks, and the final step in that process is Demo Day.

In their presentations, candidates showed all the graphs, charts and research they’d done to prepare for their projects. Photo submitted

Demo Day is simply the time for candidates to showcase their projects to friends, family and future employers. After weeks of hard work, Demo Day allows them to demonstrate the products they’ve built as well as data they’ve collected and analyzed. At the most recent Demo Day, Innovate Birmingham’s 7th Cohort—consisting of  24 candidates—received certifications in software development and data analytics.

What I Learned 💡

Innovate Birmingham Graduates are Sought After in the Community 👩‍💻 👨‍💻

Seeing candidates employed before receiving their certificates at Demo Day was awesome. Innovate Birmingham aims to create a pipeline of talent ready to work immediately after, and sometimes before, completing the program.

One local employer, Altec, presenting an Innovate Bham candidate with some new job swag! Photo submitted

From Cohort 7, eight candidates accepted jobs before Demo Day. Two candidates who were offered jobs prior to Demo Day, accepted after graduation. Some employers include:

  • BBVA Compass
  • Everis
  • Techsystems
  • Keysys
  • Martin Advertising
  • Altec
  • Protective Life
  • Steris
  • And so many more

They Left With Some Super Cool Projects Under Their Belts 📱

Robin Hunt, ThinkData Analytics Instructor, is the Co-founder and CEO of ThinkData Solutions, a Birmingham based tech company that provides solutions to data & technology related challenges. Photo submitted

I was blown away by the graduates’ presentations. Candidates from the ThinkData Solutions Bootcamp—instructed by Robin Hunt, Co-founder and CEO of ThinkData Solutions—presented data ranging from the commuting experience in Birmingham to sobriety.

“Innovate Birmingham has been a crucial aspect in my professional growth. Specifically, the ThinkData Analytics Course has provided me the skills and confidence to improve myself and my community workforce economy”

Seth Mikell, ThinkData Analytics Graduate
Candidates from the IamBham Software Development cohort presenting their app, Niimo. Their slogan was “Never Stop Searching”… Sound familiar? 🐠 Photo submitted

Candidates from the IamBham Software Development Bootcamp showcased apps they created. They included an app to help keep communities litter-free, and an app called Niimo for developers prospecting vacant buildings around town. Pretty cool stuff happening over here.

Their Team Bond is Strong 🤝

Innovate Bham candiates are gaining much more than the tech skills needed to enter the workforce. They are gaining invaluable interpersonal relationship skills like teamwork, leadership and flexibility—not to mention connections and friendships that last far beyond graduation. It was amazing to see them present their ideas and support each other from the crowd and on stage.

Claps and cheers came from candidates in the crowd in support of their peers who were presenting. Photo submitted

“I really enjoyed coming in every day and learning something new. A big part of it was working in groups and on teams, so I had a lot of experience finding my spot in a team environment.”

Michael Banks, Employed at 2B solutions, mobile software developer
Pictures or it didn’t happen? Nope, they are officially certified in data analytics and software development! Photo submitted

How to Get Involved 👇

It’s FREE! Check out their website to learn more about eligibility and scholarship opportunities. You can apply for their Fall 2019 courses here.

Have you heard of Innovate Birmingham? Let us know what you think about their impact in Birmingham on social @BhamNow!

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