The following post, authored by freelance writer and technology consultant David Strom, describes the opportunities offered by two coding academies located in the neighborhood.
From David: “We are fortunate to have not one but two world-class computer coding training facilities located in the CWE: Launchcode and Claim Academy. Both have been in operation for several years and have trained numerous programming professionals through some innovative instruction techniques, and by focusing on non-traditional sources for their students. By non-traditional, I mean classes designed for people who have little or no formal programming experience and who want to make a mid-course career correction.
Claim Academy occupies the building that formerly housed Nathalie’s (and Savor before that) restaurant at 4356 Lindell. Launchcode’s offices are at the corner of Delmar and Euclid, in a former state office building.
Certainly, there are plenty of opportunities, both here in St. Louis and across the world for programmers. There are hundreds of thousands of open positions in just about every kind of company. And it is great that if you live in St. Louis you can tap into this exciting market with these two local academies.
Launchcode began in St. Louis in 2013 and has branched out to offices in Kansas City and Philadelphia. It came about through the efforts of Jim McKelvey, who was one of the founders of Square (now called Block) and the Third Degree Glass Factory. He tried to build a computer development team here in St. Louis but wasn’t able to find sufficiently skilled programmers. Now Block has an office in downtown St. Louis with several hundred employees.
“Since the beginning of LaunchCode, we have educated more than 9,000 students across the country, with roughly 6,000 coming from the St. Louis region, said Bryar Keyes, their PR manager. “We have launched more than 3,000 careers, and of those, roughly 2,000 were St. Louis-based learners.”
Launchcode recently remodeled its facilities to increase its classroom capacity and provide for additional staff members, which now number more than 50. While all of their courses are virtual, some will be moving back to in-person instruction in January. All courses are free, but applicants need to pass a series of assessment challenges, which about a third of them do.
Launchcode offers three different courses.
- Their original introduction to computer science, based on the Harvard CS50 class taught by one of the best teachers David Malan. It covers web development and meets twice a week for 20 weeks. Students are taking the online version of the class, but meeting at the Launchcode offices.
- A class designed specifically for women, defined broadly to include trans and non-binary individuals. This class meets once a week for either 24 or 45 weeks and is taught across multiple tracks, including Java web development, data analysis and Salesforce.
- A coding camp, which meets for 14 weeks five days per week.
Both places have designed their coursework to prepare students for eventual internships and job placements. So there is a great deal of practical content, besides learning programming itself, such as how to interview for an opening, construct your best possible resume and tips on how to search for a job.
If you are interested in a programming career, you might want to first read a blog post that I wrote many years ago on how to pick the right online class for Computerworld. I cover things such as knowing what type of learner you are (visual, auditory, etc), figuring out if you have the necessary bandwidth to devote to the classes, thinking about what other support you will need besides the lectures, and understanding what learning programming skills really means.”
Thanks for sharing this excellent article David.
Further thoughts on Claim Academy’s location: Whenever I drive by 4356 Lindell I remember other businesses that were located there, all connected to CWEnder Nathalie Pettus. I reached out to Nathalie recently to learn more about her long connection to the property. She purchased a vacant property, the former site of a funeral home, in 2003 or early 2004 and renovated it. Then, she said, she leased it to two different restaurants, Savor and then Smoke, before opening a restaurant of her own in 2014 called Nathalie’s. After several years of operation, she eventually donated the building to Washington University, which later sold it to Claim Academy.