New Web Developers Debut at Codeup’s Demo Day

By LAURA LOREK
Reporter with Silicon Hills News

Liz Cole, John Staudt and Jason Birdwell, graduates of Codeup.

Liz Cole, John Staudt and Jason Birdwell, graduates of Codeup.

For three months Josee Farmer drove daily from North Austin to San Antonio to learn how to become a web developer at Codeup.

“It was totally worth it,” Farmer said.

She recently relocated from North Carolina to Texas and she wanted to get into the technology industry. But she didn’t have a technical background. She previously worked in the healthcare industry. When she got accepted to attend Codeup, a 12 week bootcamp that turns non-coders into proficient coders, she was thrilled.

“I would not have been able to do this on my own without Codeup,” Farmer said. “It was totally worth it.”

Josee Farmer, a recent graduate of Codeup

Josee Farmer, a recent graduate of Codeup

Last Wednesday, Farmer was one of a group of students who graduated from the latest class of Codeup. She participated in the Codeup Demo Day and showed off work she and her teammates did on a project called Filmseedr, which lets filmmakers crowdfund money for projects.

They presented their projects during a demonstration and reception at Peer 1 at the Pearl.

Since Codeup launched in 2013, 72 students have learned how to become web developers. Codeup has held four Demo Days. And most of the graduates have found jobs locally, Girdley said. He founded Codeup with Jason Straughan and Chris Turner.

Michael Girdley, co-founder of Codeup

Michael Girdley, co-founder of Codeup

“About 85 percent of the people are staying locally,” he said. “People have also gone to Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth and San Jose for jobs.”

Codeup also runs a program for veterans. It recently launched Codeyear, a gap year program, aimed at high school graduates. They spend six months to a year at Codeup learning technical skills and the program gets them an internship with a tech startup, Girdley said.

Students are coming from all over the state and country to attend Codeup, Girdley said.

Paul Kuzma, a recent graduate of Codeup

Paul Kuzma, a recent graduate of Codeup

Paul Kuzma relocated from Indianapolis, Indiana to attend the bootcamp. He was trying to teach himself web development but it wasn’t going very well and he wanted to complete the program by the time his daughter was born.

Kuzma, who previously worked as an elementary and junior high school teacher, said coding bootcamps don’t really exist in the Midwest except for one program in Chicago that was out of his price range.

Kuzma stayed with a friend in San Antonio while participating in the Codeup bootcamp. His wife gave birth to their daughter on New Year’s Day. Kuzma had completed the program. He flew back last week to participate in the Demo Day. His team created WorldMentr.org, a matchmaking service aimed at connecting college students with mentors in their chosen profession.

Kuzma said the program gave him the skills he needs to land a job as a front end and back end web developer. He now knows PHP, MySQL, HTML5 and CSS3, JavaScript and Laravel.

John Staudt, a former high school AP English teacher, needed a change and got into coding gradually over the years. He planned to teach himself to become a developer, but then he found out about Codeup and he joined the program.

He eventually wants to launch his own company. His team built MyLocal.Beer as their project, a Web app that helps people find local beers.

Liz Cole, who previously worked as a personal assistant, also worked on the MyLocal.Beer site. She did the front-end development.

“Before Codeup, I had no coding experience,” Cole said. “I had an art degree. I was kind of floundering trying to figure out what I was going to do.”

Codeup taught her the skills to become a web developer.

“I love the design aspect of it and being able to mix logic with design,” Cole said.

The next Codeup class in web development and software engineering kicks off Feb. 3rd, Girdley said. The class is already two-thirds full, he said. Demand continues to grow for the bootcamps, he said.

“We’ll probably be oversubscribed,” he said.

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