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John Reagan Moore at Hack_App Interviews Coder Foundry Co-Founder Lawrence Reaves

John Reagan Moore at hack_app recently sat down with Coder Foundry's co-founder and CEO, Lawrence to discuss Coder Foundry. Below are some of the questions asked and Lawrence's responses.

JRM: What is the story behind the founding of your code school? How did you guys get started and what has the journey been like so far?
LR: I have been personally involved in growing a software company to a national level over the last ten years and have personally experienced the widening gap in demand for software programmers and the available pool of candidates.

From my perspective there are a couple of major forces at play. The traditional university education option that manufactures graduates in computer science cannot keep up with the changes in technology or demand in the market. The reason is that the required accreditation process dictates the curriculum. The accreditation standards cannot keep up with changes in technology. Therefore students are graduating with degrees that are accredited but with coding skills that are not relevant in the market.

In addition, the changing technology also leaves industry veterans with a skill set that needs to be regularly refreshed and re-launched. The result is a shortage of coding talent at a local and regional level.

I consistently hear from other IT executives about the same talent shortage problem across the software industry and that the demand for developers is also growing double digits annually.

JRM: What differentiates your school from other similar code schools?
LR: We have a college-level professor leading our instruction. He is a Ph.D. candidate that knows how to code, but more importantly knows how to teach and has a passion for it. We have professional coders that are mentoring and instructing our students as well. Also, we have a dedicated job recruiter on staff who finds the jobs and lines up the interviews for our graduates to ensure we realize the students' career goals. They start working together on day one. Our job recruiter acts as the student's agent from the get-go.

JRM: What type of students do you accept? What qualities do you look for in potential students and how do you make those judgments?
LR: We have two programs that run at the same time. One is for beginners that have not coded before and have no background. The other is for experienced coders - those individuals that have coded on an amateur or professional basis. Our instructors and staff talk with the prospective student upfront to understand the best fit based on their experience.

JRM: Why did you choose to teach the specific technologies that your school focuses on?
LR: Our goal is to place all of our students in jobs with organizations that will provide salary, benefits, etc. That is the reason we chose a Microsoft-centric curriculum. The .Net platform is one a majority of organizations have adopted because it offers a secure, stable, scalable solution for small, medium and large enterprises. There is a strong demand for this skill set at a national level right now, and a shortage of available coders to fill these jobs.

JRM: What are your student:teacher ratio and your teaching style like? How do these affect your students learning?
LR: We have small classes lead by our teacher and then professional coders that work with the students through the tough parts. Our approach provides a very individualized environment.

JRM: How do you select and train your instructors?
LR: We look for professional educators those with a background teaching at the college level. They not only know how to code but more importantly know how to teach and have a passion for both.

JRM: What is your school's relationship like with the local developer community and how are they involved in your school?
LR: We are a part of the local, regional and national landscape. We owned in part by a local and regional company called Core Techs. Core Techs is a Microsoft Gold Partner that does custom technology development. They design, build, deploy and support technology for companies in the Southeast for the past 10 years. We are also co-owned by the software company, Advanced Fraud Solutions. An software company that is ranked a national level for the financial services industry.  Both of these organizations rely on software developers to drive their respective businesses. We all share the same work space and both companies are involved in Coder Foundry.

JRM: What is your dream for students who attend your code school?
LR: One of the first questions we ask our prospective students is what their dream is and what is it that they want to accomplish at Coder Foundry? Then we work over the next 12 weeks to realize that dream together. In general, that dream is a great job with great pay in a dynamic industry. We have a dedicated team that works to deliver that with the student.

JRM: Do you help students find a job after the program?  What is that process like?
LR: Absolutely, that is the point and mission of Coder Foundry. We have a full-time, dedicated IT recruiter that starts working with our students from day one to understand the best fit, locate the job, set up the interview and secure the job.