Mississippi Coding Academies training up programmers and software developers in the Golden Triangle

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – Friday, the Mississippi Coding Academies Golden Triangle campus celebrated the graduation of their 2021-2022 class of coders.

The 11-month tuition-free program teaches students the programming skills to create a website, app or even a video game from scratch.

“There are always going to be positions opening up for coders, programmers, developers,” says coding instructor Jessika Hayes.

This graduating class is the first for Hayes as the instructor for the Golden Triangle campus at East Mississippi Community College.

“This area is in need of more technically-inclined people,” she says. “Teaching them programming gives folks a tangible skill set that they can not only apply for a couple of months or years, but decades.”

According to code.org, the average salary for coders in Mississippi is $72,039. Hayes, a graduate of the program herself, says the rigorous course starts with the basics and by the end, students will be exposed to all the different programming languages like JavaScript, HTML, CSS and so many more.

“You’ll be able to understand how and why a website or application looks a certain way and functions a certain way,” she says.

Students will be exposed to both frontend and backend programming.

“The frontend is what you see, how it looks, the buttons, your menu bars, photos, text boxes, things like that,” Hayes says. “The backend is what’s happening behind the scenes. What happens when you click that button? What happens to your username when you enter it into a text box?”

Hayes learned under Andrew Stamps, now the director of the coding academy campus in Biloxi.

“We’ve transformed lives that hopefully can maybe change some of the views of this region of our country,” Stamps says. “You know, ‘Hey, this is a place where I never thought I could find this kind of talent.'”

The Mississippi Coding Academies program is designed to be an easily accessible and non-traditional path to becoming a software professional, especially for those from disadvantaged or underserved communities.

A path with the potential to not only transform their careers but all of Mississippi.

“The vision was to have this type of training for this area, this type of education opportunity for citizens,” says EMCC President Dr. Scott Alsobrooks. “(To prepare for) the next generation of jobs in Mississippi.”

Mississippi Coding Academies is currently accepting applications for its next session.

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