Written by Manny Perez on December 15, 2017
Over the last five years in the DC startup scene, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some great teams that build great products, and for that – I am very grateful. Diving headfirst into DC tech has been impactful and humbling, and I credit that experience with helping to grow my passion of helping people leverage tech to address important questions. Working with the NYCDA team has allowed me to breathe this passion into my work, and I wake up excited every morning because of it.
But how does NYCDA actually achieve its goal of helping individuals build their careers through tech training? Beyond the obvious reason (learning a skill that is massively in-demand), NYCDA falls squarely into a category of organizations that I love most: those that actively connect with people to make them a better version of themselves. A team that targets specific demographics to help them be better in some capacity, is my kind of team. Does NYCDA single-handedly remedy the increasing demand for web developers? Not necessarily (the implications of NYCDA’s solution, however, are pretty darn amazing). But we do provide students with the ability to equip themselves with skills that allow them to literally change their lives. This is where my personal passion comes into play. This is why I love working with this team every single day.
About once a month, I reread a piece by Beth Cooper in which she analyzes how the first iPod was marketed: "1,000 Songs In Your Pocket." While today, 1,000 songs is a joke, it broke some serious tech barriers in 2001. With this pitch, Apple was telling the world that it wasn’t selling an MP3 player - it was selling a human who had 1,000 songs with them at all times. Effectively illustrating: 1,000 songs human > normal human.
In her writing, Ms. Cooper also references an awesome little infographic from the folks at User Onboarding that really drives this concept home:
Perfectly illustrated by Mario’s iconic Fire Flower, the concept of what the NYCDA curriculums provide really makes sense. Mario doesn’t want the Fire Flower because he likes flowers. He wants them because he can throw fireballs while he has it. Similarly, we don’t teach students to code because they want to sit in classrooms for three months - we teach students how to code because they can build an amazing career with what they learned. At its core, NYCDA doesn’t build curriculum that teaches web development. It builds individuals that can create opportunities for themselves. I’ve seen these results firsthand here in Washington DC, and I know through building our community, we’ll only get better at producing them.
We will undoubtedly hit a few walls and face a handful of obstacles – but our dedication to the service of students is clear. Put simply, we’re dedicated to helping you find your fire flower.
A Boston native, Manny moved to DC in 2013 with the hope of building a career in politics. After realizing it wasn't as glamorous as House of Cards tells us it is, he jumped into the world of tech--working in business development, marketing, and regional operations with several small and mid-sized companies in DC's vibrant startup scene. Raised by a family of educators and public administrators, Manny has a fervent passion for "building great products with great teams that solve great problems". When he isn't enhancing the NYCDA experience in the DC area, Manny can be found watching highlight videos of the FC Barcelona match that he just finished watching.