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Wall Street Journal Highlights ‘Zip Code Wilmington’ Success

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An innovative software coding school in downtown Wilmington that two years ago was just an idea has garnered national attention for its early success in training and placing its graduates into good paying technical jobs.

A Sunday Wall Street Journal article, “A New Kind of Jobs Program for Middle America” highlights Zip Code Wilmington as one of two models showing “code schools and boot camps that teach computer programming skills prove they can rapidly retrain American workers for the 21st century.”

Pointing to Zip Code Wilmington’s strong early results, the Journal’s Christopher Mims writes:

Three months after graduating, 93% of the alumni of code school Zip Code Wilmington, in Delaware, had found jobs that required their coding skills, says the head of school, Melanie Augustin. The school has a 12% acceptance rate.

One of those graduates is Heron Ziegel. Six months ago, Ms. Ziegel, then 23 years old, had no degree, had never held a full-time job and was struggling as a freelance graphic designer. After hearing about the school, she applied to Zip Code, where part of the screening process is a brief JavaScript tutorial aimed at people with no experience. She found she enjoyed it, and that was the moment it clicked for her: This might be a good career switch.

Today, she is an assistant vice president at TD Bank, working as an IT data analyst. “I can honestly say that six months ago I had no idea I would be in this industry,” Ms. Ziegel says.

Zip Code Wilmington co-founder Ben du Pont said the national recognition of the school validates the “world class curriculum we developed in collaboration with great local companies.”

“We are providing students with the skills top employers have told us they want and need,” said du Pont, “and we’re teaching in three months more than what is offered in most four-year computer science degrees. That approach has led to the most important results – excellent jobs – for our students.”

Du Pont also touted a related initiative designed to bring elite coders to Delaware, {Open Bracket Delaware, a national coding competition launched just last year that drew contestants to Delaware from twenty states. This year du Pont says organizers are hoping to double the size of the contest with 10,000 online participants, 200 in-person finalists and $100,000 in prize money. Importantly, last year’s inaugural event led to a dozen job offers from Delaware-based employers for participants with many salaries in the six figures.

{Open Bracket’s online competition will take place the weekend of August 4th, with the coding final happening live at Wilmington’s Queen Theatre the weekend of October 20th. {Open Bracket was a beneficiary of the Pete duPont Freedom Award.

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