Article by Jack Money for The Oklahoman
Oklahoma businesses can’t get enough coders. But a nationally recognized school that teaches that craft is opening a campus here in an attempt to address that need, it announced Wednesday.
Coding Dojo said its Tulsa campus will be at 36 Degrees North, a Tulsa entrepreneurship hub and co-working space at 36 E Cameron Street. The campus will be its seventh nationally, and the first it has opened in a mid-sized metro area where it believes an undiscovered technology community exists.
Michael Choi, Coding Dojo’s founder and CEO, said his firm became interested in the market after it was contacted by both Tulsa and state officials. Choi said Coding Dojo also worked with the George Kaiser Family Foundation as it evaluated both the Tulsa region’s population and researched its need for computer programming specialists.
What it found, he said, was that research by the University of Oklahoma’s Ronnie K. Irani Center for Creation of Economic Wealth showed that nearly 4,500 coding positions available in that part of Oklahoma go unfilled each year.
And having enough qualified computer programmers across Oklahoma is a need too, said Scott Meacham, president and CEO of i2E in Oklahoma City.
“This will provide talent that’s needed across the state of Oklahoma,” Meacham said. “Also, it will train and equip potential entrepreneurs that may want to develop their own products and commercialize those. I really see a lot of benefit from this. There is a wide and growing need for this type of skill.”
Eric Jenkins, ConsumerAffairs’ chief operating officer, also expressed excitement about the announcement.
“As our and other employers’ need for highly trained software engineers increases, this is a major step in creating that ecosystem,” Jenkins said.
Meanwhile, companies globally are actively recruiting coders, and Choi said traditional computer science programs aren’t producing enough graduates to meet the need.
“And I’m not just talking about tech companies,” Choi said, noting even traditional companies such as oil and gas and banking operations are looking for coders these days.
“It is a challenge for a lot of businesses to find enough people that know how to create things using code,” he said.
“We really want to attract people who want to do this for the right reasons and who have the right motivations and are willing to put in a lot of work.”