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Another Non-Traditional Path?

An option for programmers.

October 27, 2013

LaunchCode, a new nonprofit, is betting it has a solution for the programmer shortage facing St. Louis. Jim McKelvey, the founder of the mobile payment company Square, is the man behind this idea. LaunchCode essentially pairs experienced coders residing in partner companies with people who have basic knowledge but need advanced programming skills to land a full-time position.

The inexperienced learners earn $15/hour and the chance to secure a full-time position, typically at the end of a three month engagement. The companies who provide the “experts” gain access to a pipeline of potential applicants.

As reported by the St. Louis Business Journal a few weeks ago, “In the 64 days since its conception, LaunchCode has received 534 applicants for jobs at 100 St. Louis-area companies — 130 companies have expressed interest. Nearly 50 coders have already been placed. The other half of coders are expected to be placed in the next few weeks.”

The list of companies participating is growing and includes companies like Mastercard, Enterprise, Monsanto and about 100 others.

As discussed in a recent StratEDgy post, LaunchCode is another addition to the growing list of non-traditional pathways to learning to code and/or getting a programming job.  While geographically-focused in St. Louis, this model could offer a slightly different approach to help future programmers and companies alike.

Founder McKelvey is optimistic, telling Marketplace, “I believe that we’ll actually create a talent surplus, then you’ll start to see companies moving to this region to take advantage of that surplus."


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