Coding academies working to fill vast openings in state’s tech industry

Updated: Apr. 30, 2021 at 8:29 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - As the tech industry grows, there is a high demand for coders. The Mississippi Coding Academies is trying to put the state on the map and provide workers with high paying careers.

Officials say the tech school has a 90 percent job placement rate. Their graduates are landing jobs from state government to major corporations.

“The 11 months that I spent at the coding academy changed the trajectory of my career,” said D’Ebonie Johnson. She graduated from the MS Coding Academies three years ago.

The 27-year-old is now creating programs for the Secretary of State’s office. We met the USM grad in 2018 while she was attending the coding academy.

“The coding academy came up and I decided to take that chance and learn something new while I was in search of a job and didn’t know I would end up being a programmer, but I love the job,” said Johnson.

The school is now expanding from 20 students to 80. It will also offer day and evening classes at DSC Training Academy.

“Tech work is very mobile,” said MS Coding Academies Co-Founder Richard Sun. “All the tech work that’s gone overseas that’s been outsourced; that could come to Mississippi if we have the coders. So our phrase is outsource to Mississippi.”

Bryce Mullican is lead instructor.

“The academy’s a great opportunity to change the face of technology,” said Mullican. “Making sure that the field is diverse, definitely bringing in more women into the industry as well as bring in individual of color.”

Aquita Bryant worked at a living facility for mentally ill adults before attending the academy. She returned and is now a junior instructor.

“I wanted to help those who helped me along my path to coding,” said Bryant. “Seeing someone progress from not believing in themselves into, ‘Oh, wow! I can do this.’”

There are about 1,100 openings in the state for tech workers. The Mississippi Coding Academy is a tuition free 11 month course that does not require prior experience.

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