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San Antonio-Based Codeup Buys Rackspace Cloud Academy

File Photo | Ryan Loyd | TPR News
TPR News
Students learn coding at Codeup

Codeup, the San Antonio-based, boot-camp style technology training program, purchased the Rackspace Cloud Academy from Rackspace Technology Friday.

The purchase increases Codeup’s size in the city, the number of students it can graduate each year, and the variety of training programs and certifications the school can offer.

“I think that since the day we opened Codeup, we have looked at the Open Cloud Academy with a tremendous amount of respect,” said Jason Straughan, co-founder and CEO. “We’re happy that all of these years later we’re gonna be able to come under one roof.”

In recent years, Codeup expanded its in-person training to Dallas. It also has offices in Houston and Austin, offering online training programs in those cities. The Cloud Academy (now called the Codeup Cloud Academy) will expand the school into Rackspace’s windcrest headquarters. The deal comes with a lease of the Cloud Academy’s facility there.

Courtesy Rackspace

It will add 80 percent more classroom space for Codeup across the state and double it locally. Straughan said it might be the most exciting thing they’ve done since they were founded, and it should help achieve their main goal.

“We have a ten year goal to be the number one place in Texas to enter a career in technology,” he explained.

The current plan is to continue the cloud academy’s offerings unabated. The purchase marries the systems administration and the cyber security curriculum of the cloud academy with the web development and data science programs of Codeup. The two organizations in the past have shared that goal, to fill desperately needed technology roles across the state.

That’s how the two different programs were born within a year of each other. Codeup was founded in 2014 by Straughan, Michael Girdley, and Chris Turner — trying to fill open stack web developer positions their companies had. The Open Cloud Academy was founded the year before by Rackspace to fill the rapidly growing company’s positions.

"Codeup merging with Rackspace Cloud will make them even more compelling to San Antonians (who want) to enter tech careers," said Graham Weston in a text. Weston, the former CEO of Rackspace, said that the Cloud Academy has changed lives.

Like Codeup, the main selling point is an education that can net them a high(er) paying gig.

In the early days of the Cloud Academy, when they were still in the Weston Center downtown, then director Deborah Carter says they had ordered pizza for the classes. The pizza delivery guy inquired about the program and would join a later training course.

“Then many years later after he got a job, he sent me an email saying he had bought his first house,” she said.

Carter credits Weston for his vision.

“I am really excited that OCA (Open Cloud Academy) is going to continue to thrive with local leadership,” she said.

The future of the Cloud Academy has been anything but certain over the years. The school was first started as a way to fill the hyperspeed growth at Rackspace. But that growth fell off. Carter said they always anticipated having to pivot other employers, and successfully did so.

But in 2016 Rackspace sold to private equity giant Apollo Global Management.

In arrangements like that, it isn’t unreasonable to see non-core functions cut. But while the company saw lean times, cutting as much as six percent of its staff, the school continued largely unaffected in downtown. The question always present: Would the Cloud Academy be part of Rackspace long-term?

Rackspace has gone through a number of changes and pivots to everything from leadership to ownership — the company went public again last August. The Open Cloud Academy remained, and was even invested in.

Rackspace renamed it the Rackspace Cloud Academy last June, expanded its training, and gave it a new home in the Windcrest corporate headquarters.

Rackspace Technology was not immediately available for comment.

Now, the two companies and training programs are one. The acquisition pushes Codeup’s total graduate numbers up around 30% per year.

The jobs remain in demand with cyber security positions growing by 31%, according to the bureau of labor statistics. They are also high paying, something one of the poorest big cities in the country can’t get enough of.

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Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org