Posted on December 29th, 2016 in Community Tags: , , , ,

By: John Qualls, President of Eleven Fifty Academy

A Year of Change

Socrates said, “the secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” For Eleven Fifty Academy, this year was all about change. One of the biggest changes was moving from Scott Jones’ mansion in Carmel to Launch Fishers, allowing us to expand our class sizes and provide our students for a more immersive experience right in the middle of an entrepreneur rich community.

We changed the lives of our students

We had 4 cohorts that learned Java, JavaScript, or .NET over the past year. We have had students living in the basement of their parents’ houses and students selling their Xbox to make a down payment for class go on and graduate and be hired at a starting salary greater than their parent’s combined annual income. To date, 79% of our Red Badge graduates were hired with an average starting salary nearly double their average pre-course wage. Our junior coders typically see a 28% increase in pay within the first 6 months of being hired.

Our graduates have been hired at companies such as Bitwise Solutions, Conperio, iLab, Angry Ape, Vectren, and more. We have changed the perception in the marketplace on where great talent comes from. These employers have said how great their new hires are at their talent skills, collaborating with a team, and their work ethic. These companies are seeing the Core Values of Eleven Fifty Academy, which are Quality, Learning, Ethics, Influence, Team, Diversity, and Fun that are graduates are exhibiting. Thank you, graduates, for bringing our Core Values into your new workspaces.


Our Outreach program touched the lives of 23,000 K-12 students this year. We trained teachers in 25 Indiana communities such as Vevay, Martinsville, South Bend, Columbus, and Lafayette. We changed teachers’, parents’, and students’ perceptions of themselves and we heard comments from teachers and parents that their kids were not smart enough to learn how to code. We changed their minds! Kids did learn to code during our time in their communities.

We heard from students say, “I’m not as dumb as my dad says I am” and “That could be me when I grow up” when a student looked at one of our instructors. We love knowing that coding is touching so many lives in the state of Indiana. We hope to encourage the belief that a person’s first, second, and last IT job will be in Indiana.

Beyond the State Lines

We branched out of the state of Indiana and participated in training teachers and students in a 16-week Accelerated Learning Program in Paintsville, Kentucky. This program helped teach coal miners to code. This cohort will be graduating in January! Learn more about our accomplishments with the TEKY project here.

Thank You

None of these changes would have been possible without staff, students, partners, hiring companies, and founders. I want to extend my profound thanks to all these people who believed in our vision that we could change the world. We embraced change this year and we took the first few steps to change the hearts, minds, and lives in Indiana. Next year, we aim to bring more change for our employees, our students, the employers that hire our students, and those that are impacted by our world.

Happy New Year!



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