Software is Eating the World

You’re reading this post from a device: perhaps it’s a smartphone, maybe it’s a laptop or an iPad. And when you leave that device or put it in your pocket, this post will be waiting for you, until you decide to use any number of other devices to pick up where you left off. The world is now powered by the cloud, and on-demand access to people, documents, and media isn’t just a perk any more, it’s practically a necessity. Why?

Because software is eating the world.

It’s hard to think of a major industry that doesn’t rely on software: banks, retail stores, manufacturers, schools, shipping companies, and on and on. The New York Stock Exchange, the center of the world economy, recently came to a complete stop for 4 hours because of “a technical issue”.

For some, this revolution in how the world works is frightening. Those who are uneducated about technology and unaware of how software works might feel helpless to control even their own devices. Entrepreneurs and businesspeople with dreams to change the world may find themselves unequipped in this new software-centric world.

We at Sharptop Company are proud to be a part of the positive change that software can create in our communities. Our founders have been deep in the world of software for over 15 years, and part of our mission is to help others learn about this world and enter it for themselves.

A huge step for us in this effort has been our involvement with TechHire, a White House initiative that seeks to empower local communities to fill technology jobs in their region. We recently became the only site in Virginia (and in the coastal Southeast) to be an approved TechHire training facility.

If you’re looking to become a developer, or perhaps you want to expand your skill set in your current role, we invite you to give our programs a look. Our coding bootcamp will train you about the basics of web development, and our mentorship program will immerse you in the world of software development. Our mission is to educate you and help you achieve your technology goals.

Interested in learning more? Schedule a meeting with us today.

Entrepreneur of the Year

Last night, I received the honor of being named Entrepreneur of the Year by Virginia's Region 2000 Technology Council.  It is a great honor, and I credit the Sharptop Company team and their tireless efforts to bring top quality software development to Central Virginia.  

Of course, none of this would be possible without my beautiful wife, Laura, who supports my demanding schedule while heroically managing our household of six biological, adopted, and foster children.  If anyone deserves an award, it’s her.

A large part of the reason we received this award is due to our participation in Lynchburg’s designation as a White House TechHire community.  Our team has been doing amazing work to support this initiative, but the Lynchburg EDA is really the organization that made TechHire possible.  It was last year’s Entrepreneur of the Year, Dustin Slightham, who recognized the congruence of our abilities and the EDA’s mission and connected our organizations.  I’ll always be thankful for his friendship and the connections he’s made for us.

I’m actually very surprised at the award.  The other finalist, Stefanie Prokity of Successful Innovations, is doing amazing work to increase family engagement in education that deserves to be commended.

I’m really excited about the future of Lynchburg and Sharptop.  The White House predicts that America will have a deficit of 1 million software jobs by 2020, and traditional four year institutions simply cannot keep up with the demand.  Lynchburg is a city with a blue collar ethos, which will be an amazing asset as a new class of blue collar technologists rises up to meet this national challenge.  Lynchburg’s work ethic combined with innovative education methods and fearless leadership truly makes Lynchburg the City of Opportunity.


3 Reasons Coding Bootcamps and Nanodegrees Matter


Coding bootcamps and nanodegrees have forever altered the employer/jobseeker relationship.  You may have noticed the nationwide trend of upstart educational organizations offering these programs. So why do nanodegrees and coding bootcamps matter?

1. The Job Market Says So.

The White House TechHire Initiative reveals that of the current 5 million vacant US jobs, the tech sector is the “largest occupational category for open jobs right now.”  However, many companies cannot identify prospects with enough combined practical experience and educational competency.

The nanodegree/ coding bootcamp model shrinks the gap between the employer and job candidate, offering practical experience to learners in an accelerated format. As opposed to the traditional educational model, bootcamps and nanodegrees offer training that is immediately useful in real-world employment environments.

2. They Prepare Employees Quickly.

These programs simplify the hiring process while also expanding students’ portfolios and technical skills. Nanodegrees provide a ready workforce to companies in search of talent. These field-tested, immediately beneficial employees are incredibly valuable in an industry where recruitment fees run from $20K-$30K and training time averages 6-12 months.’s coding bootcamps deliver the necessary instruction to prepare participants for a career change while also enhancing current their skill sets.  

3. They Strengthen Companies.

Businesses regularly encourage employees to complete continuing education classes and developmental training in order to increase competency and versatility within the workplace.  Bootcamps and nanodegrees offer accessible, accelerated training for these employees.

Companies also benefit from hiring candidates who are thoroughly trained on real-world projects. realizes this and offers an incredible value to companies who utilize our apprentice-training program. We customize learning tracks specifically for businesses, ensuring that no one's time is wasted. 

Where Can I Get Involved?

Looking to take advantage of these new educational tools? Sponsor the training of an current employee, or utilize our program to hire a new one.

Coding bootcamps and nanodegrees are the future of education, and the future is here. We at Sharptop Company are prepared to train the most job-ready tech employees in the region. Visit our site for more information. Launches 4-week Web Fundamentals Bootcamp

Interested in learning how to code?  Sign up for the Web Fundamentals Bootcamp at the only White House TechHire-backed institution in the Southeast:

Our 4-week course will utilize curriculum developed by a top coding school in San Francisco to introduce learners to the basics of web development.  By the end of the program, participants will be able to build basic websites and web applications.

Want to learn more?  Check out the Bootcamp page, view our info sheet, or sign up for our free email course on how to become a software developer.

Coding Bootcamp Starts This Fall

We’re really excited to begin working with the Lynchburg EDA on TechHire, a new White House initiative. This new program aims to increase the speed and agility with which America trains new software developers.

This fall, we will begin offering a coding nanodegree program called SharpTop.IO.  The curriculum and schedule is yet to be finalized, but a variety of class times including nights and weekends will be offered.  We will be focusing on full-stack development with JavaScript, Angular, Groovy, Grails, HTML, CSS, SQL, and a host of other supporting technologies.

Students will gain practical experience in this hands-on class.  After completing an introductory course in the basics of computer programming, they will learn by building production-quality software.  Top students will have the opportunity to work with SharpTop's clients and get paid while they learn.

Contact us today if you're interested in pursuing a nanodegree at SharpTop.

We know you must have a lot of unanswered questions.  Please leave a comment below with your questions or thoughts, and we'll answer back right away.


3 Traits That Indicate You Should Try Coding

When I meet someone new, they usually ask me what I do for a living. Their reaction when they hear that I'm a software engineer is almost always the same: "I wish I were that smart."  Not only is this generalization false, I think it also discourages many people from what might be a tremendously rewarding career.  As much as I love people to think I’m smart, you do not need to be a genius to program computers.

1. Passion

Bar none, passion for programming is the single greatest determinant of success for coders. I’ve been hiring and training software developers for more than a decade, and rarely does the smartest person in a group turn out to be the best programmer.  In every case, the young man or woman who had the most passion for programming - regardless of intelligence or talent - outpaced the rest.

The reason for this is simple: coding is a difficult and often frustrating endeavor.  Sure, talent and prior experience make a big impact here; but regardless of your level of talent, you’ll eventually end up against a problem bigger than your abilities.  Passion for coding and learning is what helps us solve the hardest problems.

2. Hunger to Learn

Technology moves fast.  Not even the best of us can hope to keep up with the pace of all there is to learn.  As an aspiring software engineer, you must accept the fact that a big part of your career will be learning.  And the more you know, the more there is to learn.  The old idea of spending four years in school learning everything you need to know is outdated.  Good software developers thrive on learning new things.

3. The “Woot!” of Seeing it Work

As we mentioned earlier, if you’re doing good work and stretching yourself as a programmer, you will frequently come up against problems that are difficult and frustrating.  All professions can be challenging, but in software, you could work on a problem for hours (or even days) with little visible progress.  When your code finally works there are two general responses: “Whew!” and “Woot!”

  1. “Whew! Thank God it works, I hope I never have to do that again.”

  2. “Woot! It works! I can’t wait to do that again.”

If you’re a “wooter” then coding is for you.

What do you think? Use the comment box below to tell us about one of your “Woot!” moments and to share your thoughts on what makes a great programmer.


Welcome to the new SharpTop Company

After a busy few weeks, we are happy to announce the launch of the new SharpTop Company!

Some great things have been happening here recently, which we would love to share.

Moved to a new office


We have moved into a new office at Riverviews Artspace, on Jefferson St., in downtown Lynchburg. We enjoyed our time at the old office space on Commerce St., but it was time for a change of scenery.

At the new office, we are surrounded by artists in a creative atmosphere that makes us excited for the opportunities to come. We love the open office layout and the new space has allowed us to embrace it fully while still giving our employees plenty of personal space.

Launched a new website


We have just launched our new website, with a fresh look and a focus on our passions for software development and teaching.

Our blog will be updated frequently with development tips, project updates, and apprentice adventures. As we work on new projects, we will be adding them to the website for you to view.

Ramping up our training opportunities


We are excited to have several apprentices on board and to continue down the path of training upcoming and recent graduates for their future careers.

There are a couple of upcoming opportunities for us to delve even further into our teaching efforts. Stay tuned for updates!