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Meet Max McChesney of DigitalCrafts in Buckhead

Today we’d like to introduce you to Max McChesney.

Max, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
DigitalCrafts is a 21st century take on education; “Accelerated Learning Programs” that train students in software development as quickly and efficiently as possible. Whereas most colleges’ goal is to produce a well-rounded generalist, ours is to graduate ready-to-contribute professionals skilled in the technologies and techniques actually sought after in the job market today.

Before starting DigitalCrafts with my good friend and co-founder, Jake Hadden, I was a prospective student. I studied Finance at UGA, and several years into my career spent most of my day in Microsoft Excel daydreaming about all the careers I could have pursued. I bought the books to start preparing for the GRE/GMAT, and was thinking “I guess there’s grad school?” Then I heard about “coding bootcamps,” and started seriously considering how I might pivot my career towards technology. There must be something that clicks in your late 20s / early 30s, because we hear the beginning of my story time and again interviewing prospective students.

Bootcamps seemed like a promising new avenue, but after completing the admissions process at several programs, I didn’t feel like the options available really resonated with my expectations. The movement continued to pick up steam nationally though, and that’s when I started thinking more as a competitor than a student.

Now, it’s been about 2 years, and we’ve enrolled over 140 students across two campuses (Atlanta and Houston). We just launched a new part-time version of our Immersive class that is more flexible for working professionals, and a remote/online offering is on the way. Most importantly, our fantastic alumni have grown into this tight-knit community of “builders,” who celebrate each other’s successes on the job market and stay in touch well after graduation. The community we’ve been lucky enough to foster has really been a pleasant surprise that has made this an incredibly fulfilling venture.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
All in all, I’d say our first couple of years have been as smooth as I could have hoped for them to be. Our team has worked really hard, but we’re not killing ourselves 90+ hours / week like you read about in some companies’ stories. That said, my general stress levels have definitely increased since we started. Most of our students quit their jobs and place their faith in us to help them launch completely new careers in complex fields. We don’t take that responsibility lightly.

There’s also the general uncertainty that all startups inherit, the unfamiliar responsibility of employees depending on you, and the inevitable fires that have to be put out from time to time. I’ve had a bad case of stress-induced TMJ (lockjaw) since we opened, but it’s been worth it.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about DigitalCrafts – what should we know?
DigitalCrafts offers accelerated learning programs in software development. We are the top-rated “coding bootcamp” in Atlanta and Houston, and amongst the best reviewed in the country on Course Report and SwitchUp. Our full- and part-time programs are intensive classroom experiences, transforming beginners into full stack software engineers with cutting edge skill sets, project portfolios, interview training, and career support. In addition, we work with companies to develop and deliver custom training modules to re-skill or re-sharpen their existing team members.

We’re most proud of our alumni, their achievements, and our team members who pour incredible effort into helping them reach those goals. We celebrate every time someone lands a job, or nails an interview, and that’s definitely been the most fulfilling aspect of what we do. One of my favorite stories is of a student who moved to Japan for 14 years, the latter half of which he spent farming rice on a small island near the coast. He applied to our Immersive Program from Japan, moved to Atlanta for class, and got a great job offer 10 or 11 days after graduating as a software developer. He worked his tail off to get it done, and it was awesome to see the end result.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Everyone on our team deserves crazy credit. They all work tirelessly throughout every cohort, and are consistently mentioned in our reviews by name. In addition, Jake and I had never managed anyone before DigitalCrafts, and effective leadership / management is a serious challenge that does not come naturally (at least to me). Their patience and continued feedback as we learn and grow as people and as a business is sincerely appreciated. Thanks Rob, Toby, Natalie, Jason, Paul, Katy, Damian, Sarah, Tamby, and all our Developer-in-Residences!

Pricing:

  • Full Stack Immersive Program (Full-time): $12,950 Tuition
  • Full Stack Flex Program (Part-time): $9,500 Tuition
  • Rotating Elective Programs: $1,000 Tuition

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