Job Seekers Find Work After Completing Coding Boot Camp

By Lisa Brown
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) “Launchcode,” a nonprofit, helps to train computer programmers as a steppingstone to employment. So far, the results at the St. Louis bootcamp are pretty solid. A little more than a year after the first ReBootU course wrapped up, 16 of the 20 graduates have found work in information technology.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

As a former field archaeologist and financial counselor, Toshia Verheggen didn’t have any experience in computer programming when she took her first coding class in early 2015.

Verheggen, 37, of Holly Hills, stopped working full time after her son was born in 2010. She held a few part-time jobs in the years that followed. When she considered switching careers and entering the workforce full time, a friend suggested her problem-solving skills could fit well with software development.

While attending CoderGirl, an all-women’s coding meet-up in St. Louis that’s part of LaunchCode, Verheggen learned about a new 20-week coding boot camp, ReBootU, that was free for unemployed people. She applied and was among 20 students who completed the five-month introduction to computer science and programming.

After finishing the non-credit course, Verheggen was hired initially as an apprentice at Ekon Benefits, a retirement plan administration and consulting firm in the Central West End, then was promoted to full-time status as a software engineer apprentice in January.

“I love to learn and was looking for a profession where I’d always be innovating; that’s what’s interesting to me,” Verheggen said. The LaunchCode course not only taught her programming fundamentals, she said, it also introduced her to the language used in the industry.

A little more than a year after the first ReBootU course wrapped up, 16 of the 20 graduates found work in information technology. One was James Kane, 30, of University City, who received his undergraduate degree in 2010 in media communications and journalism but struggled to find long-term work. After taking the ReBootU coding boot camp last year, he landed a full-time job in January as a web developer at CPG, an event production agency downtown.

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