Coder Foundry positioned to fill gaps in tech education

by Myja Gary

“Software is changing our entire world, not just technical companies,” said Lawrence Reaves, co-founder and president of Coder Foundry. “Software is changing the medical, manufacturing, retail and marketing industries.”

Founded in 2014 by business owners, Lawrence Reaves and Bobby Davis, Coder Foundry is a master computer programming class designed to teach modern web development to new and experienced programmers and to prepare them for the professional programming and software industry. Its mission is to train students to make an impact at a new job, starting from the beginning.

Bobby Davis and Lawrence Reaves created Coder Foundry in 2014.

“Historically companies outsource programming work to consultants or overseas firm, but smart companies are building in-house development teams because software is becoming such a core asset in their business,” Reaves said.

In his final State of the Union, President Obama said that helping students learn to write computer code is one of his goals for 2016. He charged students to gain the opportunity for the hands-on computer science and math classes that make them job-ready on day one.

“Learning the basics about coding is important, but it is a passion for programming that creates the successful tech start-ups and/or corporate or academic career path,” President Obama mentioned in his address.

Reaves and Davis wanted to bridge the educational gap that results in a lack of experienced programmers ready to fill a high volume of computer science jobs. Like many other business owners, Reaves and Davis struggled to find qualified job candidates. Coder Foundry prepares its students for the professional programming industry as it is one of the fastest growing occupations in today’s job markets. Coder Foundry trains its students based on an apprenticeship model that emphasizes a hands-on approach working with code and building usable applications rather than lecture and memorizing theory methods.

“Instead of a traditional classroom, we use a workplace simulation to train our students,” Reaves said. “Our apprenticeship model teaches not just a programming language, but also the workflow of a professional developer and other skills to ensure students are ready to hit the ground running in their first job after graduation.”

Coder Foundry’s curriculum is designed based on feedback from its employer network and as a result, Coder Foundry has a direct relationship with its hiring companies. Coder Foundry is able to equip its students with the necessary knowledge and skill to prepare them for immediate job placement.

“Our Director of Education, Andrew Jensen, has a background as a university professor at UNC Charlotte, and built our curriculum based on solid education science to ensure our students learn these skills rapidly,” Reaves added.

Coder Foundry attracts aspiring programmers who desire to break into the software engineering industry and learn how to build web applications and those who are experienced web developers looking to gain further experience and refine their skills. The diverse pool of Coder Foundry graduates come from many different academic and professional backgrounds such as accounting, massage therapy, IT, financial services, and even fast food. Through an intense three month training, Coder Foundry teaches its students how to code and become professional web programmers and assists with immediate job placement with average starting salaries of $60,000 to $90,000.

Coder Foundry places emphasis on immediate job placement following graduation and often times faces major challenges in explaining the importance of web programming and software experience to general employers.

“Our major challenge is helping employers outside of the tech industry understand how to evaluate and hire programmers,” Reaves explained. “Non-technical employers can have an outdated view about hiring developers, as they aren’t as accustomed to hiring capable people without a four-year degree in their field.”

Nonetheless, students who complete the Coder Foundry program graduate with three to five projects in their professional portfolio, whereas most college graduates are typically not required to have a portfolio. Coder Foundry graduates compete with college graduates in that they are able to show actual programs and code that they have written and demonstrates their technical ability and web programming experience.

“Technical employers are excited about hiring Coder Foundry’s graduates as they understand how to judge a developer by coding experience, which is a key aspect of what we provide and not solely academic background,” Reaves said.

Coder Foundry launched its first site in Kernersville and recently opened a second campus in Charlotte. This year, Coder Foundry is expanding its class offerings with an 18-week Full Stack Immersive Programming Course and a 12-week Accelerated Full-Stack Immersive Programming Course, which is for students with professional programming experience. The Full Stack Immersive Programming Course teaches students high demand technologies to launch a career in web development. !