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When was the last time you thought about your potential? It seems like after kindergarten graduation, school and life stopped asking what you wanted to be and instead started telling you what to do.
If you’re like most millennials, you probably aren’t happy with your current job and don’t see much potential for upward mobility or meaningful contribution… you are not alone. Millennials feel stuck - longing to create and contribute in meaningful ways but lacking the technical skills and experience to land high-paying, in-demand jobs. The disparity is even greater in non-urban areas like Lubbock, where education funding and offerings tend to lag behind larger cities.
Consequences of lower quality education lead to less developed workforce skillsets and force local employers to recruit “out of town” talent to fill the higher-paying, more skilled technology jobs.
These developer roles offer compensation, lifestyle and meaningful contribution opportunities that are often ideal for millennials and contain the ingredients for long, happy and fulfilling careers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median salary for web developers was $110,000 (May 2018) and the employment of software developers is projected to grow 24% between 2016 - 2026. Attuned to employer demand, the rise of coding academies has begun to bridge the ‘skills gap’ in preparing people for careers in tech. However, these coding schools have been exclusive to densely populated metroplexes allotting little regard for equally talented, less industrious areas that have served as the backbone of America’s economy.
The lack of innovative education opportunities and computer programming skill sets continue to place rural workers and employers in a bind. Workers are willing to learn new skills to qualify for jobs in technology, but local employers can’t front the cost of building and teaching a curriculum that delivers the necessary skills for success in these roles.
Sensing rising frustrations and witnessing a constant “Brain Drain” of local Lubbock talent to urban cities, Texas Tech commissioned Austin Coding Academy to equip Lubbock area workers with the coding skills to win rewarding careers in technology here at home.
Lubbock Coding Academy (now a partner with the Lubbock Economic Development Association (LEDA), South Plains College and Texas Tech University) provides ‘full-stack’ coding education and skill development through part-time, in-person classes allowing students to keep their day jobs while gaining the skills to upgrade careers.
The 32-week program meets twice a week in the evenings and consists of four 8 week classes taught by full-time developers who know exactly what it takes to succeed in a career in tech. Students have access to unlimited one-on-one tutoring sessions, Saturday study groups and initiate countless meetups at local libraries and coffee shops to understand the nuances of their new highly valuable skill.
Lubbock Coding Academy’s coding curriculum is completely customized to the request of 12 of Lubbock County’s largest employers (including Tyler Technologies, SitePro, Texas Tech & many others) who as a group have stated they plan to hire 50 - 100 developers in each of the next five years.
Lubbock Coding Academy (LCA) graduates are finding themselves in the perfect position to secure these careers thanks to their ‘full-stack’ education and access to LCA’s Job Placement Program. In addition to the 32-week curriculum, LCA offers students a free four-week job placement course where they work on best practices for resume building, participate in mock interviews and whiteboarding sessions, and attend networking events with local employers and LCA partners. Additionally, LCA’s placement and partnerships department takes initiative to connect recent graduates with jobs in technology and boasts a 91% placement rating graduating alumni to tech giants like Facebook, Amazon, and IBM.
In February of 2019, the first group of 20 Lubbock County residents began their journey to a better life. After completing all four instructional modules and the Job Placement module at the Texas Tech Innovation Hub, every Lubbock Coding Academy program graduate has been successfully placed in a new career in technology. Since the first cohort launch in February 2019, four more cohorts have launched in Lubbock’s Full Stack Web Development Program and are on their way to new careers in technology.
LCA has seemed to strike a chord in Lubbock County. People of all types are excited about becoming students again and improving their skills and career possibilities. Local officials and employers are also backing the LCA partnership as a means to enhance a workforce that has previously been underestimated by outside investors. In time, Lubbock may prove to be fertile ground for new business and start-up investment, and now with a growing population of software developers and computer programmers, they won’t have to go far to find good help.
If you are a Lubbock County resident who is looking to break away from the pack and chart your own path, you may be a good candidate for a career in technology through Lubbock Coding Academy.