KU Coding Boot Camp Graduates First Cohort

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December 21, 2017
Kansas City professionals learn in-demand web development and coding skills in 24 weeks.

OVERLAND PARK (Dec. 21, 2017) – The KU Edwards Campus celebrated its first cohort of graduates from the KU Coding Boot Camp, an education partnership between the Edwards Campus and Trilogy Education Services, on Dec. 9. The Coding Boot Camp teaches students sought-after web development and coding skills on a variety of platforms, including JavaScript, Bootstrap and HTML5. Over a 24-week period, students gain practical knowledge that they can apply directly to new or current careers. The program offers a wide range of career services, including portfolio and resume reviews, one-on-one career coaching, access to a network of Coding Boot Camp hiring partners and internship opportunities.

At the graduation event, students presented their final projects — a full-stack website or application incorporating responsive design — to their instructors, classmates and potential employers, including representatives from Sprint, DataSource, LaborChart and GreenFoot Technologies. Projects ranged from local nonprofit resources and innovative solutions for real-world problems to online games and recreational applications.

Boot Camp graduate John McGrew was part of a team that created a food-and-wine-pairing app, which the group is preparing to pitch to local restaurants. Coming in with only a little coding experience, McGrew said he has diversified and strengthened his technical abilities. “I didn’t know any JavaScript or any React or any databases, and I feel confident in my JavaScript abilities now, which is something to be said for six months,” he said. “It was a lot of work, but I feel really good coming out of it.”
McGrew’s teammate, Ben Sojka, came to the Boot Camp after leaving law school to explore his passion for coding. “I needed to pursue it because that’s what’s going to sustain me long term, doing something I’m passionate about,” Sojka said. “KU was the (program) locally that I felt was going to prepare me for a job as quickly as possible, which was a big draw.”

In the last month of his experience, Sojka moved to Austin, Texas, and continued to work on the project with his team remotely, which he says has given him valuable professional experience.

“It was interesting working as a remote developer, because there are a lot of jobs that function that way,” Sojka said. “It was unique that I got to finish remotely. KU accommodated me, so that was awesome.”

Members of the KU Coding Boot Camp’s graduating class reflected a range of skill levels, experience and age groups. One student, Charles Simpson, originally graduated from Pittsburg State University in 1989. After a career working in programming and technical support, he says he returned to update his skills. “The world’s different. When I was a programmer, we didn't have Windows … the stuff I did back then is different than it is today,” Simpson said. “This has really changed my skill level and brought me back in to the 21st Century.”

David Cook, Ph.D., KU Edwards Campus vice chancellor, said the KU Coding Boot Camp program fits with the campus mission to meet the needs of Kansas City’s business community and students looking to take the next step in their professional journey. “This program provides yet another avenue for individuals wanting to change their lives in some important way, whether that’s a career change, advancing in their current career or just learning more about a particular skill set,” Cook said. “The curriculum not only covers in-demand skills, it also provides career-planning assistance to help match graduates with job opportunities. We want to support students in achieving the highest outcomes. That’s what this whole campus is about.”

The second KU Coding Boot Camp cohort is well underway, and the next begins January 9. KU Edwards Campus and Trilogy also offer a Data Analytics Boot Camp. For more information about both boot camps or to apply, visit bootcamp.ku.edu or call 913-439-1919.

About The University of Kansas Edwards Campus
The KU Edwards Campus at 127th Street and Quivira Road in Overland Park brings the high-quality academic, professional and continuing education programs as well as research and public-service benefits of KU to the Greater Kansas City community in order to serve the workforce, economic and community development needs of the region.

About Trilogy Education Services
Trilogy Education Services is the Continuing Education Program Manager (CEPM) that creates and manages skills-based training programs for more than 20 of the world’s leading universities. Universities leverage Trilogy’s platform, services and national community of instructors and employers to prepare learners for careers in the digital economy. Learn more at www.trilogyed.com.
Hannah Lemon