Connecticut’s Need for Software Developers

Recently, there’s been a lively conversation in our community about the importance of coding, with many people making a common point: Connecticut Needs More Software Developers.

For instance, last Thursday, at a press conference celebrating Track180, Mayor DeStefano hailed the company as a high-potential startup that chose to stay in Connecticut, but also used the occasion to stress the importance of building a community of coders.

“This is a really, really big deal,” he told the audience. “To create more economic opportunities, we must create a lively and robust community of people who are competent with these activities.”

The New Haven Independent focused on these comments in its article covering the event, “Code Red: New Haven Needs Coders,” highlighting the perceived lack of software development talent in New Haven. The article referred to companies such as Panorama that were born in Connecticut but chose to leave because of the developers and other resources that can be found in New York, Boston, and California.

Then, yesterday morning, NPR’s “Where We Live” – a show that previously featured Derek Koch, our Founder and CEO – focused on the theme of “Educating Coders in the State.”

Clearly, the members of our community see the problem and know what needs to be done.

But not everyone knows what’s already being done.

The Solution Is Here

At Independent Software, we agree that there is an urgent need to prepare our workforce for careers in software development. But we think it’s equally important for our community to know about existing, successful initiatives and how they as community members can get involved.

Last year, we launched the A100 Program, a talent accelerator that prepares students for careers in software development. A100 recruits young coders, trains them, and places them in jobs with local companies around Connecticut. In the first cohort, we matched thirteen students with jobs. One of them was Kyle Charron, who now has a full-time job as a Software Engineer at MediaCrossing, thanks to A100.

Our goal is to place 100 software developers in jobs each year.

In other words, A100 is addressing precisely the two issues raised at last week’s press conference: the lack of a programming workforce in Connecticut and the lack of effective coding education.

And we’re not alone. Up in Vernon, Mark Lassoff’s company, LearnToProgram, provides a series of online courses designed to teach programming.

Working Together

After the conference, Drue Hontz, the founder of Track180, told The Whiteboard that while the innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystems of New Haven and Connecticut still aren’t on the level of Boston or New York, we have the potential to build a world-class hub.

“The Grid and The Grove are the future of the solution,” he said. “And the more that businesses and community can support that solution, the better.”

So it is with coding. As our community continues to solve this pressing problem, we hope it will rally around programs like A100 that have already taken huge strides.

Help Build A100 – and Connecticut

If you know talented young developers looking to improve their skills and jump-start their careers, tell them to apply for the 2013-2014 cohort – applications are now open.

And if your company is looking for software development talent – apply to be an A100 Partner Company today.

 

About Krishna Sampath

Krishna Sampath works at Independent Software as the Program Director for A100, which provides aspiring software developers with technical training and jobs at Connecticut-based companies. Krishna has also worked as a teacher, a lawyer, and a barista. He has sung for the Icelandic President and currently performs with the Yale Citations.

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