C Spire Hosts Statewide Coding Events for Software Development Pathway Students

C Spire Hosts Statewide Coding Events for Software Development Pathway Students

December 13, 2019
Release courtesy of C Spire

RIDGELAND, Mississippi — More than 60 students from seven high schools across Mississippi led Hour of CodeTM events at C Spire retail stores and the Brandon High School library last week as part of a comprehensive program to encourage young people to pursue academic and professional careers in the information technology and computer science fields.

The students are participating in C Spire’s new Software Development Pathway (SDP) and used the program to showcase their academic progress and recent course work in web and app development and to lead fellow students and guests in fun coding activities at company retail stores and school libraries in Brandon, Gulfport, Laurel, Meridian, Oxford and Starkville.

Public high schools participating in the pilot program and the Dec. 3 Hour of CodeTM activity included Brandon High School, Gulfport High School, Lafayette High School, Laurel High School, Meridian High School, Oxford High School and Starkville High School. Students from each school shared what they have learned since joining the pathway’s inaugural class in August.

“These students have a tremendous amount of energy and enthusiasm and that was on full display at these coding events,” said C Spire CTO Carla Lewis. “We’re excited to see how they incorporate the benefits of critical thinking, problem-solving and computational skills as they continue their academic and professional careers.”

Lewis said the C Spire Software Development Pathway prepares students with quality education and training in a relatively short time-frame – two years of high school and one year of community college – so they can pursue an exciting career in an area of high demand, significant salary and unlimited entrepreneurial opportunities.

Workers with coding skills and computer science experience are in high demand and short supply. Mississippi employers currently have 1,089 unfilled job openings due to the serious shortage of trained IT workers. The average salary for qualified IT workers is over $72,000 a year, almost double the statewide average. Nationwide, the shortage is expected to reach 1.5 million by 2020.

The C Spire Software Development Pathway, in partnership with the Mississippi State University Research and Curriculum Unit’s Center for Cyber Education, brings together high schools and community colleges to teach students skills in coding, project management, collaboration and web design.

Equipping young people with computer science skills is a key part of the broader C Spire Tech Movement, launched in 2017 and designed to move communities forward through technology with a focus on broadband access, workforce development and technology innovation.

In addition to SDP, C Spire has conducted statewide coding challenges involving dozens of high schools and elementary schools representing over 600 students. In a testament to their popularity and the growing awareness of the importance of coding, registration is already closed for a daylong high school coding challenge involving 50 schools and 200 students March 26,2020.

Curriculum for SDP was derived from Base Camp Coding Academy, a highly successful, nonprofit entity that started an intense, fast-paced, 12-month specialized computer coding training regimen for select high school students in 2016. Every graduate of the program, now in its fourth year, has received job offers from multiple employers.

The Hour of CodeTM is held in conjunction with Computer Science Education Month. Every year, the program introduces millions of students to one hour of computer science and computer programming. To learn more about SDP, visit www.cspire.com/sdp. For more information about the C Spire Tech Movement, go to www.cspire.com/techmvmt.