This week’s “Ask the Mompreneur” features an interview with Abby Miressi, Program Director of Tech Talent South. Skookum Digital Works is offering a full scholarship to their Fall Code Immersion Program for one female applicant, and the deadline to apply is this Sunday, October 19.
Ask the Mompreneur
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Tell me a little about Tech Talent South. What's the story behind the organization, the founders, and the mission? And when did it start in Charlotte?
Co-founders Betsy Idilbi and Richard Simms started Tech Talent South with a simple mission: learn to code and do something big!
Betsy was the former President of Little Idea, a physical product development company in Charlotte, and after she led them through a successful merger with industry giant Eventys, she had her eyes set on learning to program. Richard has an extensive background in high growth startups and saw the trend moving towards a more technical workforce. The two met at Starter League, one of the first code immersion programs in the country based in Chicago over a year ago.
After the first couple of weeks, Betsy and Richard found out they were the only two southerners of the group; Betsy is a Charlotte native, and Richard from Atlanta. They got to talking and both agreed that these programs were not only bringing professional talent to the next level, they were helping to expand and support the surrounding tech communities… there was only one problem, both had to travel far from home to attend! That is when they knew they had to take this home to the south.
Tech Talent South launched its first 8 week class in Atlanta last October of 2013. The response in Atlanta was overwhelming and Tech Talent South started to expand. Almost a year later, we have campuses in Asheville, Raleigh and Charlotte.
The Charlotte campus had a successful launch in April 2014 and have cycled through two sessions since.
Ask the Mompreneur
You're offering a full scholarship opportunity for one adult female applicant to the Code Immersion Program this fall, courtesy of Skookum Digital Works. What kind of qualities are you looking for in choosing the winner of this scholarship?
Getting more women involved in tech is a personal mission of the company and co-founders. Learning a code language takes passion, dedication and hard work: three things women have in spades! We are looking for similar qualities in the winner of the Skookum Scholarship.
The scholarship form asks how you would use your skills and what you would do to impact females in tech. These are questions we take seriously and are looking for genuine and actionable responses.
Diversity in tech is so important to the growth of the industry and we want women who feel the same and are motivated to make a difference. Learning to code is not easy, so in addition to being excited about enriching your own skills the community around you, the applicant must be willing to put in the work. Ideally, the applicant would be able to attend our extracurricular activities and be willing to get engaged in the community.
Ask the Mompreneur
What kind of women are you expecting to apply? Is it new graduates, people transitioning into entrepreneurship, or someone who wants to change careers?
We are expecting all kinds of women to apply! The beauty about learning to code is that you can apply it to whatever goal you have in mind. For new graduates, it is a fantastic way to continue your education at a fraction of the cost of a more traditional university program. We have had a lot of people who came to the program looking for a transition into the tech scene. It is true that there are more technical jobs to be filled then there is technical talent available and we do not see this changing any time soon.
On the creative side, there are a lot of designers in Charlotte that are realizing how much further technical skills can take them and look to us for the leg up. Moreover, Charlotte is an entrepreneur city so naturally we get a good amount of people who are starting businesses and want to be in control of their app. Another group we see often are people who work with technology in their current job and want to learn how to code to better communicate with developers on their team or gain the skill that can bring their career to the next level. No matter what the reason, if you have big ideas, we want you.
Ask the Mompreneur
What are the key dates for the Charlotte Fall Code Immersion Program? Any other info we should know?
Skookum Scholarship deadline: Sunday, October 19th, apply here
General application deadline: November 1st
Location: Packard Place (222 S. Church St, Charlotte NC 28202)
Start date: Monday November 3rd
End date: Tuesday December 30th (Holiday makeup days included)
Part time schedule: Monday through Thursday, 8 am -11 am lecture and 11 am -12:30 pm office hours with instructor
Full time schedule: Monday and Wednesday nights 6 pm – 9 pm. Office hours with instructor are before class at 5 pm
General financial information: Program cost - full time $6,250 & part time $4,250. All financing is done in-house and we have various payment plans to make it as doable as possible.
In addition to Skookum, we are still giving away partial female scholarships for the Fall. Every applicant that applies to the Skookum Scholarship will be entered in to be awarded our traditional female scholarship if they are not the winner.
We have a Recent Graduate scholarship for people who have just graduated (either undergrad or graduate) as well as a RockStar scholarship for those who have an awesome story to tell and would not normally be able to afford the program.
Jennie Wong, Ph.D. is the CEO and founder of www.ShoppingQuizzes.com , an ecommerce conversion tool that helps online retailers sell more, by helping shoppers find what they’re looking for with a quiz. Dr. Wong is also a certified executive coach and nationally syndicated columnist.