Education

Code to Success

Free Coding Course for Teens

Tim Brown | Photos courtesy of Code to Success Jan 9, 2019

Utah teens each spent 144 hours across nine weeks last summer in classes designed to set them up for lucrative careers in computer programming.

The Code to Success program was inspired three years ago by Rick Folkerson, president of the Success in Education Foundation. It offers high schoolers and recently graduated seniors summer coding boot camps absolutely free. Students gain new skills, collaborate with like-minded peers and make connections in higher education and the tech industry. The 2018 self-guided curriculum, designed by Bottega, a for-profit coding boot camp in Lehi, gave hands-on training with HTML, CSS, JavaScript and REACT.

In 2018, with a record 930 openings, the Code to Success program received 1,200 applicants from Utah high school students throughout 14 school districts, with classes at 27 high school campuses.

Empowering Teens

“We created Code to Success programs to empower students with literacy, motivate them to achieve their academic goals, and equip them with the skills to succeed in a digital world,” Folkerson says. “These students are remarkable because they see an opportunity to lift themselves into a better paying situation in the future by learning to code. And they are excelling in ways we had only dreamed of.”

Rob Brough, executive vice president and director of marketing and communications at Zions Bank, the title sponsor of Code to Success, says, “This is the finest program of its kind we’ve seen. To train young people at this level in the tech industry benefits far more than just the student. We wholeheartedly support such an incredible program.”

“Thanks to corporate sponsors, such as Zions Bank and Bottega, we’ve provided actionable skills that lead to high-paying employment,” Folkerson says.

Positive Response from Students

Student response has been very positive. “I’ve always wanted to be a computer engineer,” says Itzel Alamilla, a 17-year-old senior at Taylorsville High School. “I started helping adults with computer problems when I was 9. Code to Success lets you learn at your own pace and have teacher-mentors who let you try things out.”

Providence Hall senior Tiffany Chan says she knows coding skills will greatly benefit her in college with her major in either law or computer science. “I’m an artistic person and like to build websites,” Chan says. “This program has taught me skills to fulfill my artistic ambition. Learning HTML, CSS, Ruby on Rails, JavaScript and REACT has made me a lot more confident in myself.”

Speaking to graduates of the program, Gov. Gary Herbert said, “Our Utah population is very computer-literate with the highest percentage of computer usage of any place in America. IT is growing exponentially in the country. The demands of these jobs are high. This is an area where if you gain the skill set, you’re going to have a high-paying, lucrative job with a great upside throughout your life. It’s a great career opportunity.”

To learn more, visit the Code to Success page at http://sieutah.org/ or call 801-257-3482.

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