As the new campus director at DigitalCrafts, Natalie Elmquist has the right skills in her toolbelt to bolster the next set of rising tech “builders.” As a five-star biz, DigitalCrafts is worthy of all the buzz of a rising web development bootcamp in Atlanta. Elmquist is the perfect fit to equip tech hopefuls with top-notch learning. Hypepotamus recently caught up with the campus cultivator to hammer out the details on how she nailed down the job and what she’s hoping to build at DigitalCrafts next.
Please describe your current role.
I am the Campus Director at DigitalCrafts’ Atlanta location, which means my primary focus is to create a fun, engaging and professional learning environment for our students as they pursue their passion to become the best software developer or engineer imaginable. I’m also leading our marketing and PR efforts as the team continues to focus on expansion and organizational growth. I guess it’s safe to say my role is one that wears many hats!
Why are you excited to join DigitalCrafts?
Every day is different, which is by far the most exciting part of my job. One day may involve giving prospective students campus tours and another will consist of organizing our monthly DigitalDrafts happy hour or planning a graduation party. Also, having the opportunity to assist our students as they prepare for graduation and helping them to better understand their career goals is extremely rewarding.
When Jake, Max and I first met to discuss the Campus Director role, I remember leaving the Atlanta Tech Village with a strong sense of excitement and belonging. One reason could be due to the fact that I’ve known these guys since college and have been fortunate enough to build a friendship with them outside of the office over the past few years. I was given a unique opportunity to witness the initial passion and drive behind the heart of DigitalCrafts. In just over a year, they have instilled a strong sense of community among fellow #builders, while bolstering core values of honesty, student outcomes and teamwork. I knew very quickly that it was a community I wanted to be a part of.
What’s your history with technology or education?
I graduated from the University of Georgia in 2009, which was a tough time for us millennials when it came time to enter the real world. Rather than going the unpaid advertising internship route, I opted for an IT recruiting position that would ultimately help pay the bills so I wouldn’t have to live in my parents’ basement. With a degree in Advertising, IT lingo was definitely a foreign language. Although it wasn’t my first career choice, looking back I now realize it was the job that piqued my curiosity in the world of technology as it pertained to the workforce. Prior to joining DigitalCrafts, I was Product Marketing Manager at a local programmatic ad tech startup. I worked closely with the UX/UI development team and quickly developed a fondness for emerging technology trends. Fun Fact: I also created my own web page at age 13 via expage.com. It was called “Nat’s World,” and I’m pretty sure it no longer exists (thankfully).
DigitalCrafts is taking off as a coding bootcamp in Atlanta, how do you hope to help it grow?
I have to give a big kudos to the team here at DigitalCrafts. They’ve built a solid foundation by ensuring our students are the top priority and our curriculum remains competitive with the demands of the industry. So far, this has been reflected in our reviews, and right now we have the best rating of any bootcamp in the state. All 5-stars! As Campus Director, my goal is to ensure each student is equipped with the proper skills and tools needed to achieve their career goals. My ultimate goal is for DigitalCrafts to consistently produce top-notch entrepreneurs, web developers, software engineers (or what we like to call #BuildersOfThings).
What is your advice to those on the fence of jumping into a coding program?
Investing in one’s future is not a decision that should be taken lightly. We live in an age where education options are virtually at our fingertips. I recently read an article that predicted an 18% growth in software engineering jobs over the next seven years. There is no doubt industry demand is there and will likely continue to grow exponentially. Now it’s up to the growing number of coding schools to uphold their end of the bargain. The key is to do your research and know your options.
How does Atlanta weave into life both at DigitalCrafts and your personal story?
I’ve had the privilege of calling Atlanta home for the past 6 years. I truly love this city for so many reasons, minus traffic which goes without saying. It’s been pretty incredible to witness the changes and growth surrounding each little neighborhood that makes up our city. Atlanta is becoming more widely known for its growth in tech jobs. I remember reading about the Atlanta Tech Village when its doors first opened. I would actually pass it every day on my way home from my previous job and think to myself, “I bet it would be pretty cool to work in there.” I can now confirm it’s super cool, and I couldn’t feel more welcomed by both the ATV Community and the team at DigitalCrafts.
What’s on deck for DigitalCrafts over the next year?
I’ve joined the DigitalCrafts team at an exciting time! We are expanding our campus in Atlanta to offer more classes, and we’re considering a satellite campus that would be more accessible to our students in the suburbs. We’re also excited to be launching our second campus in a few short months! We’ll be setting up shop in Houston, TX, with classes scheduled to start towards the end of the year.