Nestled in the heart of downtown Bozeman is Big Sky CoWork, a coworking space offering an alternative home to tech workers and the part-time Montana Code School cohort.
During the day, Big Sky CoWork hosts remote workers with companies like Zinovo, Twitter and Google, growing startups such as MyVyllage, and larger companies with satellite teams.
During the evenings, the part-time Montana Code School cohort meets at Big Sky CoWork. Instructor Georgie Kirschner said the nontraditional setup of the class space is appealing to students who haven’t been in a classroom atmosphere for a while.
“It really feels like a space where people come in and do their work, or even an open space office like a software engineering company,” Georgie said. “It’s going to be closer to where they’re going to end up working than a traditional classroom setting.”
He added that the space has been conducive to the Code School’s team-focused approach to projects.
“We’re big on something called ‘mob programming,’ or pair programming,” Georgie said. “So you’re not having everyone individually get on their computers and program. We always pair at least two people up.”
The teammates rotate between brainstorming and writing the code on shared screens in the open workspace. If a pair wants solid focus time away from the group, they can use one of the small meeting rooms nearby.
Not only is the physical space itself welcoming to the Code School, but Georgie said the management has been very accommodating. Not only do the founders give the Code School a discounted rate, but CoWork co-founders Jonathan Distad and Peg Rifleman invite the students to Salesforce meetups to network with tech leaders and workers, and learn about one way they might apply their new tech-savvy skills.
“That was a great experience where students can get exposed to Salesforce, and if that could be a potential career path for them,” Georgie said.
Georgie added that the central downtown location is convenient for commuting students.
Big Sky CoWork has room for about 40 coworkers, and features new furniture, reliable gig-speed WiFi, conference rooms, and collaborative work spaces for coworkers to teleconference or work on video and graphics projects. With the downtown location also comes easy access to parking and downtown restaurants.
CoWork co-founder Jonathan Distad said working with the Code School and its director, Paul Gladen, makes a lot of sense for a space like Big Sky CoWork.
“I think the combination of the collaborative work environment of coworking spaces along with code schools, like what Montana Code School are doing are really a great way to kind of bring the entrepreneurial culture plus the opportunities for these people, either retooling or learning a really desired skill set together in a great space,” Distad said.
Distad added that he’s looking for interest in coworking spaces in other Montana cities and rural areas. For more information on Big Sky CoWork, visit their website.
Montana Code School is proud to offer classes across multiple locations, including Missoula, Bozeman, and a new facility in Billings starting June 2019. If you’re interested in the Code School’s part-time or full-time cohort, visit our courses page to learn more.