Creating IT Futures sponsors coding career opportunities in Minneapolis

Inspiring Success - A blog from Creating IT Futures

Creating IT Futures sponsors coding career opportunities in Minneapolis

Dec 15, 2014
Prime Digital Academy, recently established by software development juggernaut The Nerdery, will offer $100,000 in foundation-funded scholarships to individuals who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford the academy’s $12,500 tuition. The scholarships will be awarded to individuals who are unemployed or under-employed, or who are under-represented in the technology field, such as women, African-Americans and Hispanics.

“Our foundation is proud to help people in need of opportunity to enter the world of software development, which offers high earning potential but also presents a high barrier to entry,” said Charles Eaton, CEO of Creating IT Futures.

The project is the first to come out of the foundation’s new research and development arm, IT Futures Labs.

“By partnering with Prime in this way, IT Futures Labs hopes to increase knowledge in what it takes a person to go from zero to 60 in software development, so we can promote best practices nationwide and impact hundreds of people who desperately need an upwardly mobile career,” said Eaton.

Other funding and knowledge partners include the City of Minneapolis Employment Training, the Minnesota High Tech Association and the Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Minneapolis. The partnership was developed in conjunction with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to foster development of the accelerated-learning model in communities nationwide.

Prime will feature an intense and immersive accelerated learning program dedicated to helping smart, driven learners prepare for entry-level jobs in software engineering. The academy focuses on industry-led experiential learning and apprenticeships with some of the metro’s leading IT employers.

Local companies onboard with Prime include: 3M; Ackmann & Dickenson; AIC; AVL Growth Partners; BIR Networks; BustOut Solutions; Carlson School Center for Entrepreneurship; Digital People; Genesis 10; GovDelivery; ICS Consulting; Livefront; MN Cup; MN.IT; Modern Climate; Morsekode; Myriad Mobile; Olson; Periscope; PH Digital Labs; Robert Half Technology; Smart Factory; Software For Good; Sport NGIN; Thomson Reuters; and When I Work.

Minnesota businesses already feel the competition for too few talented, job-ready software developers, as reflected by 65 percent of IT leaders saying the tech talent gap is negatively affecting their business. Industry analysts see jobs in application development increasing by 28 percent through 2020. Prime’s 18-week program – with an optional 12-week or more apprenticeship – equips graduates with three key takeaways:
  • Entry-level technical skills relevant for the current job market,
  • Learned behavioral skills that help participants successfully collaborate as part of a software development team, and
  • A mindset of continuous learning and a toolbox of techniques to support a long and successful career.
Prime’s President Mark Hurlburt sums up the training this way: “Prime is about changing our students lives for the better while at the same time serving the tech community in Minnesota.”

Prime’s staffing model reflects a commitment to community partnership. Students are grouped into cohorts of 18 to 20 individuals, with each cohort staffed by a team of one instructor (a full-time employee of the school) and one full-time mentor (a working software developer on a sabbatical from a local company, their salary covered by Prime during their stay).

“It’s unconventional, but we see it as a win for everyone,” said Hurlburt. “The students get up-to-the-minute current context from working professionals, the mentors get to build their coaching and leadership skills, and mentors’ employers get professional development for their employee and an inside track on two cohorts of entry-level candidates that will have learned to think a lot like one of their star performers.”

After its first cohort this spring, Prime will start admitting regular monthly cohorts in July of 2015. Applications for the first cohort will close on January 22. To encourage more women to pursue tech careers, The Nerdery will grant an additional $500 scholarship to each female applicant accepted into the program.


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Creating IT Futures

A 501(c)(3) charity was established in 1998 by CompTIA, the Information Technology Industry Trade Association, as a way to help people improve their lives through IT careers.


We help populations that are under-represented in IT and individuals who are lacking in opportunity to prepare for, secure and be successful in IT careers.


Creating IT Futures
c/o CompTIA
3500 Lacey Road, Suite 100
Downers Grove, IL 60515

Phone: (630) 678-8300