Coding academy is great news for schools

Published 8:38 pm Tuesday, February 5, 2019

For those unfamiliar with coding — the computer language used to develop apps, websites and software — Monday’s announcement about a coding program coming to Brookhaven may not have been a big deal.

But for those who know the future of so many industries lies in coding, news that Brookhaven High and Co-Lin are part of a coding program is significant.

The schools are part of the C Spire Software Development Pathway, a public-private partnership between C Spire and the Mississippi State University Research and Curriculum Unit’s new Center for Cyber Education. Students in the program can earn an associates degree of applied science after two years of specialized course work in high school and just one additional year in community college.

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Statewide, there are almost 1,000 computer jobs open, but the major colleges here only produce about 155 computer science graduates each year. Nationwide, 40,000 computer science students per year are graduating to fill an estimated half-million computing jobs.

Obviously, there is plenty of demand for these skills. The supply side is lacking though. The program coming to Brookhaven and Co-Lin hopes to help solve that. It hopes to deliver 93 percent more Mississippi graduates qualified for entry-level software development jobs than current programs.

Getting Brookhaven on the list of pilot school districts was no easy task. The program selected just a handful of districts across the state. Local community leaders pushed to get the program here, and they deserve our thanks for making it happen.

Thanks to this effort, more local students will have the opportunity to pursue a career that may have otherwise been unreachable. The state will benefit from more potential employees in the workforce who have the skills needed to meet the growing demand.

“They can start college with a leg up and dive deeper into their career paths, or if a student doesn’t want to go to college, it will give them a shot at a great career,” C Spire public relations manager Scott Parenteau said. “We’ll definitely see economic growth and an expanding workforce.”