Pilot course offers opportunity to jump start a new tech career

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - A grant from the Delta Regional Authority to is helping to increase adult computer programming training throughout the Delta.

Chris Carnell, co-founder of Codefi, is now putting that money to work with a course program that teaches adults how to become computer programmers.

Instructor Alan Long is leading the 20-week course.

"We take you from no programming language experience at all to being able to walk into a junior developer role at a company," Long said. "The demand for programmers is crazy. In this area, we have to pull people from St. Louis and Memphis because the people here generally don't have the skills. There's very few programmers in this area. So if we can increase that number, we keep those jobs local."

The hope is to provide people in rural communities the chance to transition into high-wage, computer programming jobs and an opportunity to reinvent themselves.

If the thought of coding sounds intimidating, this course is open to people of any level.

A wide variety of students are currently enrolled, but nearly 40-percent have had 0-5 hours of programming experience before the class.

Computer coding is a new skill Matti Jo Wilhite wants to add to her resume.

"Almost anything you do, the programming can add to it," Wilhite said. "You're the one that knows what your field needs in terms of apps and development. So why not become the developer."

There are more than 50 people currently taking the course, but only around 20-percent are women.

Wilhite hopes that can change down the line.

"I definitely think it's something women should try," Wilhite said. "My advice is to get out there, do it."

The course is available to people within a 60-mile radius of Cape Girardeau.

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