The Daily Northwestern

School of Professional Studies launches coding boot camp

Daria Lenderman, Reporter

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Northwestern’s School of Professional Studies began a coding certificate program this fall to teach current members of the workforce new technology skills.

The program’s faculty instructors are working members in the technology industry and have “significant experience in the field of coding,” said Erica Bova, the assistant dean of international and professional education programs at SPS.

“Computer coding is a skill that is now required in almost every professional field,” Bova said. “The School of Professional Studies really wanted to meet this need and help people succeed in the new digital economy.”

The program lasts 24 weeks — from September until April — and meets on two weeknights in addition to Saturdays. The content includes exposure to different computer programs related to web development, including HTML5, CSS3 and Javascript. Students will also spend 10 to 15 hours each week on web development projects outside the classroom.

Bova and Mary Morley Cohen, associate dean of academic programs at SPS, saw a demand for employees with coding experience, and created the coding bootcamp to fulfill that need, Cohen said.

After gaining approval for the program, the pair worked with experts in the computer science field to develop their curriculum, Bova said.

“Most other programs that are out there are stand-alone programs and are full-time, immersive programs, so it doesn’t really address the need for working adults to participate,” Bova said.

The boot camp offers participants the opportunity to connect with employers in the field of web development, in the hopes of eventually leading to jobs for students, Cohen said. The boot camp considers employers’ input when developing the camp’s curriculum, Bova said.

“I think what is unique about the program is that we have a dedicated career director that is working with industry contacts in the Chicago area,” Cohen said. “If students would like to break into this career, this program can help do that.”

Matthew Tutak, a full-time project analyst at Health Care Service Corporation and part-time employee of Emergent Activewear Inc., said he decided to enroll in the boot camp after realizing the important role of technology in business today. The skills taught in the class are valuable assets in the workplace, Tutak said.

“Even in these first few classes I’m seeing so many opportunities, both on a personal and entrepreneurial level,” he said.

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