Three Maine organizations are bringing a successful coding school to Maine in an effort to increase the public’s access to educational opportunities around software and web development, and to increase employers’ access to qualified developers.
Earlier this week, Venture Hall, Thomas College, and Project Login, announced that they had signed an agreement with Seattle-based Code Fellows to launch a pilot project in Maine to teach software development classes.
The pilot, which is set to launch this summer, will be used to determine a “product-market fit” with Maine and Maine employers looking to ramp up the coding abilities of their employees, according to Mike Sobol, CEO of Venture Hall.
“Fitting the demand of workers and the interests of employers together will make the launch of the full Code Fellows program to Maine successful and sustainable,” Sobol said.
The first two Code 101 classes will be held June 10 at Thomas College in Waterville and June 11 at Cloudport in Portland. The initial one-day course is $93.83 and people can register on the Venture Hall website.
The idea going forward is to work with employers and other institutions to bring these introductory coding classes—and introduce more in-depth courses—throughout the state. Eventually, assuming the pilot is a success, the project will seek state certification to become a for-profit educational organization so it can offer the full Code Fellows curriculum, including Code 201, 301, and 401 level courses in advanced software development.
“We believe in the power of a coding education and what it means for the future of Maine’s workforce and Maine’s innovation ecosystem,” said Laurie Lachance, president of Thomas College in Waterville. “This type of program, we believe, could be a critical tool for workers to develop new skills and for employers to offer employees new ways to get the training and skills they need to advance and be a part of their company’s success.”
Code Fellows was founded in Seattle in 2013 to tackle the same problem we have in Maine: Employers found it difficult to hire enough qualified developers. To date, 750 people have gone through the full Code Fellows curriculum. The organization reports that 80% of those graduates were hired “in-field” after an average job search of 11.5 weeks and average starting salary of more than $72,000. Graduates, of which a full 77 percent had no professional coding background when they began the program, have most frequently found jobs as software engineers, back-end developers, web producers, full-stack developers, and software development engineers, according to the organization.
“By offering industry-leading curriculum to create professional developers in a matter of months—not years—there’s an enormous opportunity to support the success of Maine employers and Maine workers for many years to come,” said Mitchell Robertson, VP of Code Fellows.