DAI and Rockville, Maryland-based United Solutions recently launched a business called Code Partners to provide classroom instruction in software development. Code Partners will rely on the proven curriculum and teaching methods of Seattle-based Code Fellows, starting with beginner-level courses in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Code Fellows, which started eight years ago, has a fantastic track record: 95 percent of graduates from its programmer’s development course—including a high proportion of women—have been hired within three months, at excellent salaries. Demand in the D.C. area for entry-level programmers is strong. But DAI is an international development firm, I hear you ask: what’s your interest in a code academy?

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First and foremost, Code Partners aligns perfectly with our development mission and our expertise in inclusive economic development. As Code Fellows’ Vice President Mitch Robertson put it at our launch event last week, “Through the power of code education, we are able to offer the skills that give anyone the opportunity to find rewarding careers in technology regardless of race, gender, geography, or socioeconomic status, and Code Fellows is excited to be a part of this movement.”

Traditionally, we have pursued this mission in emerging and developing economies, and it’s quite possible we’ll be able to parlay the experience of Code Partners into overseas programming focused on workforce development, vocational education, our growing portfolio of work in innovation ecosystems, and so forth.

But initially, our focus is in Montgomery County. And we’re delighted to say that our partner and co-investor in this venture is David Nguyen, the founder and CEO of United Solutions, a two-time Small Business of the Year in Montgomery County. He is an IT exec and entrepreneur of prodigious energy. He holds an MBA from the Sloane School at MIT.

As the county’s only coding bootcamp, Code Partners will perform an important service to our community, working with local people and businesses to grow the number and enhance the skills of the region’s coders. This enriched workforce will in turn contribute significantly to the county’s innovation ecosystem. And I’m proud to say that we’ve been able to secure scholarships to boost enrollment from women and disadvantaged groups.

“Our goal is to change the face of coding by building a diversified group of programmers committed to innovation,” Nguyen said.

I can say from personal experience what a difference learning to code can make in your professional life. If you’ve ever been interested in coding, want to upgrade your resume, or set in motion a wholesale career change, consider signing up for the one-day intro workshop on February 24 or March 10.

mug.png Bobby Jefferson, a leader in the field of ICT4D, is working to expand DAI’s range of digital health services.