April 28, 2019

‘Zero to programmer’: SC Coding Schools Try To Fill Critical Holes In Tech Workforce

Mary Katherine Wildeman  /  Post and Courier
CodeCamp CS Upstart weeklong campCodeCamp CS Upstart weeklong camp

Acknowledging South Carolina schools aren't producing technology talent quickly enough, industry leaders are searching for the right solution to prepare workers for an increasingly tech-centric future.

Coding schools offer a way of cracking into the industry without a four-year degree in computer science. They vary from self-guided online courses to in-person classes that cost thousands and last months. Regardless of the type, the schools produce eye-catching results.

The Charleston Digital Corridor, a local tech-focused economic development group, decided to cancel its coding classes for adults when a survey showed businesses didn't need entry-level programmers, said Ernest Andrade, executive director. About 1,250 people completed the program over six years.A survey done last year by Course Report found 79 percent of graduates from these kinds of programs had landed a job in the tech field. The median salary increase for the graduates surveyed was $21,000.

The Digital Corridor is keeping its CODEcamp Kids program even as its halts classes for adults. The program is designed for youths from 11 to 16 years old.

While South Carolina has shown it can attract tech companies, some of the best jobs are going to professionals who move from out-of-state, Andrade said.

"Our challenge is growing talent within the state and spreading the economic benefits to South Carolinians," he said. Read more: