Greenville County Library hosts free coding classes for residents

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The Greenville County Library System recently graduated more than 20 students from SC Codes, a program designed to teach residents the basics of front-end web development. Photo by the Greenville County Library System.

The Greenville County Library System has wrapped up its first session of free coding classes to prepare more people for high-salary tech jobs. The library recently held a graduation ceremony for more than 20 Greenville residents who completed the SC Codes program.

Now, the library is gearing up for its second set of coding classes, which begin on January 30.

The classes last 12 weeks and are designed to teach skills such as website development and the development of software and apps for mobile devices. The classes focus on the basic front-end web development languages, such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

“By leveraging resources from multiple community partners, the program offers a support system to keep students motivated as they learn programming plus helps them address issues that could interfere with their success,” said Brian Morrison, Discovery Services manager at the Greenville County Library System.

Students work independently on their own schedule and meet one day each week for two hours at the Hughes Main Library to review their progress, “get unstuck” and learn from experienced mentors from the tech industry. Students are required to complete at least 10 hours of training each week as well as complete various software development projects that expand their portfolios for potential employers.

The Greenville County Library System and S.C. Department of Commerce started the SC Codes program in July to address the employment gap and lack of diversity in the state’s growing tech industry.

According to a press release, SC Codes focuses on women, minorities and people facing barriers to employment, such as veterans. The Greenville County Library System has partnered with Greenville County Workforce Development, Upstate Warrior Solution, Women Who Code, Hispanic Alliance and other groups to boost diversity.

Morrison said the library’s successful partnership with Women Who Code Greenville led to a high number of female applicants for the first session, with two-thirds of the enrolled students being women.

One of those students was Greenville resident Bethany Winston. “I had wanted to learn how to program for years, but as a mom with two small children [and] going back to school, it was not possible,” Winston said.

“When I heard about SC Codes and their free 12-week course, I knew that this class was my chance to study programming with the help of an instructor. Having a class and deadlines motivated me to learn faster and more consistently than I was able to accomplish through self-study. The SC Codes mentors provided help and encouragement when I encountered problems that I couldn’t solve on my own,” she added.

Other South Carolina cities could enjoy those benefits soon.

The Greenville County Library System’s SC Codes program is funded for at least a year through a $40,000 grant from the Department of Commerce. However, the program is “being developed with the idea of being scalable to other communities,” according to a press release.

The student application and more information about the program and required pre-work are available online at the SC Codes website, SCCodes.org.

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