Turns out, Richmond needed a web coding boot camp.

When Garrett Stern, Senior Program Manager for Professional Development programs, launched talks with Trilogy Education Services to consider developing its highly successful coding boot camp model in the Richmond region — a model that’s launched in a number of high-profile colleges and universities across the nation — Trilogy already recognized that Central Virginia’s high-tech workers needed a web coding boot camp program.

The question was whether the University of Richmond was the right fit for Trilogy’s Web Development Coding Boot Camp program. Up to that point, Trilogy had not yet partnered with a small private liberal arts college like Richmond, so there was no obvious model to follow. Most of Trilogy’s higher education partners included technical and engineering schools.

But Richmond’s School of Professional & Continuing Studies (SPCS) provided just the right fit for Trilogy’s program at UR. With the School’s long history of offering technology-based programs to Richmond’s adult students and working professionals — including degrees and certificates in information systems, IT management and information security — Trilogy agreed with Stern that UR was the right place for its coding boot camp.

The result is UR Coding Boot Camp, a 24-week professional certificate program in web coding. The first cohort launched on October 17, 2017, after several months of recruiting students. The program was so popular that SPCS had to expand admissions into the inaugural cohort and place applicants on a wait list in order to meet the need. And two January 2018 cohorts are already filling.

Trilogy’s program provides extensive admissions counseling prior to admission, a high level of student support during the coursework phase of the program, and career and placement services upon completing the program. It was Trilogy’s student-focused approach to admissions, instruction, and employment that made it an ideal match for SPCS.

More importantly, UR Coding Boot Camp filled what was clearly a gap in high-quality web development training in the region.

“I work mostly with Perl, PL/SQL, PowerShell, HTML/CSS, and bash scripts,” said Steve Zinksi, a Senior Network Programmer here at the University and a member of the first cohort. “But some areas where I am lacking experience include Java, JavaScript, JQuery, MongoDB, Git… basically everything that this class offers!”

Another member of this first cohort, Olivia Garrett, is relying on UR Coding Boot Camp to help shift from a career in social work to a career in web development. Garret's professional experience has demonstrated a common assumption about her generation: Millennials are tech savvy. As a result, Garrett has often tackled the web responsibilities at her jobs.

“Maybe it's because I've been the only Millennial at most of my jobs, but I always end up being the one who manages and builds the website,” recalled Garrett.

For Garrett, this experience has turned into a passion.

“Out of all my work, I've found [website work] to be something I really look forward to doing," Garrett continued. "So, when I found out about this opportunity, I thought I'd give it a shot.”

And a third member of the first cohort, Nicole Clements, looks to UR Coding Boot Camp as a means to re-enter the workforce. Relying on prior experience managing databases and serving as the “office’s go-to person for various computer issues,” Clements is “ready to learn more about programming and, hopefully, get back to work in some kind of capacity.”

The demand for UR Coding Boot Camp has proven that Richmond does, indeed, need this program. Jordan Shear, another member of the first cohort, puts it this way: “Coding is something that I am sure I could find quite a bit of enjoyment out of and have a much better career path than the one I have now.”

To learn more about UR Coding Boot Camp, visit codingbootcamp.richmond.edu. Cohorts starting January 2018 are filling fast.