As published in Omaha World Herald.
As one of the many students who have gone through Midland University’s Code Academy, Connor Kennedy has altered the course of his career by learning to code.
Kennedy studied political science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and went to work as a database manager, where he developed an interest in coding. After doing some research, Kennedy saw an ad for Code Academy and decided it seemed like a good mix between cost and time instead of going to a traditional four-year college.
Kennedy enrolled in Midland’s Code Academy during the COVID-19 pandemic. After graduation, he applied for more than 20 jobs and had five virtual interviews with various companies.
“It was definitely a little strange, interviews weren’t in-person, and there were fewer openings. Basically, everything was done over the phone and email,” Kennedy said. “All of the jobs I ended up interviewing for went really well. One offered me the job, and I took it immediately.”
One month after graduating the program, Kennedy accepted a job offer as a software developer at Orion Advisors Solutions.
“I think that Code Academy provided me with all the basic skills I needed to feel comfortable applying for jobs,” said Kennedy. “The interview prep and LinkedIn setup helped me look good to potential recruiters.”
Mike Truax, director and instructor for Midland’s Code Academy, says it doesn’t matter if you have an extensive coding background or no experience at all. The Code Academy provides students of all ages, talents and experience with skills Omaha employers want.
“When a company is looking for a junior developer, they’re looking for people who know two things — how to do the job and why they’re doing the job,” Truax said. “A recurring theme across our graduates is that, more often than not, they gain employment by being able to talk through problems in an interview. While they might not end up at the right answer, showing that they can think logically and approach problems in a way that shows a fundamental understanding of programming is huge.”
Truax says the real reward in teaching comes after graduation when his students find fulfillment in a career field they might never have envisioned. Teaching the technical aspects of code is critical, but teaching them to be productive employees is of equal importance. “We don’t just teach them code; we prepare them to compete for jobs in their field,” he said.
By the end of the 12-week program, students have gone through several weeks of preparation for their job search. Midland University provides students with mock interviews, resume training, and helps students build their LinkedIn profiles.
“If you’re looking to change careers, or if you’re looking to do something more rewarding, try Code Academy,” Truax said. “Code Academy will give you the ability to do something new and do something that isn’t going to go away for a very long time.”