When most people think of the biggest tech hubs in the country, certain cities like San Francisco, New York and Boston come to mind. These are traditionally thought of as being the centers of technological innovation in the United States, and, as a result, that's where many computer science graduates flock after they finish college.
That doesn't mean that you need to be located in the Bay Area or the Northeast in order to have a long, fruitful and fun career as a professional coder. Right here in North Carolina, there are thousands of companies that are looking for information technology professionals who know how to write programs in C# and other languages so that they can create new, innovative products. One of our goals at The Coder Foundry is to foster the tech community here in North Carolina and turn this state into a tech hub that rivals the industries in San Francisco and the East Coast. We want to give residents of this region the tools they need to develop useful software and bring economic growth to the area.
To get an idea of what we mean by this, consider a program that was recently introduced in Queens, New York. Access Code, which was founded by activist group Coalition for Queens, aims to provide programming training to residents who are typically underserved by conventional educational institutions. Many of the students enrolled in Access Code have attended college in the area, but felt that their schools left them with few connections to the industry, so there was little possibility of landing a high-paying job once they graduated.
"We saw lots of people in the City University of New York system who graduated as computer science majors but weren't going into the tech industry," Jukay Hsu, founder of Coalition for Queens, told Vox.com. "Why was that not happening? It was a lot of access and network problems, and a lack of technical training."
Access Code brought together 21 students and taught them how to write their own iPhone apps. Their first projects were fairly standard apps — to-do lists, calendars, alarm clocks — but the skills they learned allowed most of these individuals to obtain jobs with salaries significantly higher than what they had been earning prior to their enrollment.
The program also helped lay the foundation for a tech community to grow in Queens, which is typically seen as the less economically developed borough in New York when compared with Manhattan and Brooklyn. By offering coding classes for both novice and advanced programmers here in the Winston-Salem region of North Carolina, we at The Coder Foundry are hoping to create a similar community that will eventually grow into one of the most productive and innovative areas in the country.