The Iron Yard preps adults for coding jobs

VIDEO: The Iron Yard preps adults for coding jobs
Published: Sep. 17, 2015 at 9:42 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 18, 2015 at 12:46 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - "Life is too short to have the wrong career," Sally Kingston said.

So she's learning to code.

For more than a year, Kingston watched students learn web development and coding before making her own leap to change careers.

Charleston's tech economy is growing 26 percent faster than the national average. One company is launching their fall training to help prepare adults take advantage of new jobs in coding.

"I've helped over 100 people go through the Iron Yard and change their lives and watch what it could do for them," Kingston said of her former role as a campus director at the Iron Yard. "I decided it was my turn to go through that and change my life."

Kingston will start the Iron Yard's 12-week training in October. She'll dive into coding, learning the building blocks for developing websites and apps.

Coding skills are in demand as Charleston's tech economy grows. Currently, the tech industry is increasing 26 percent faster in the Lowcountry than the national average.

The 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. intensive program teaches adults the expertise employers, such as BenefitFocus, are looking for in new recruits.

"People come from all different backgrounds," Matthew Brown, Chief Interaction Designer at BenefitFocus, said. "Some with experience in coding. Some with none." Brown said students really dive into the three-month program and come out with the skills needed to perform at a real software company.

Job salaries often range from $50,000 to $60,000.

"Being able to take an idea or create a product or app and put it on the Internet is a pretty powerful thing," Brown added.

The Iron Yard instructor Calvin Webster compared coding to learning another language.

"It looks hard because you don't know how to approach it," Webster said.

Yet, 12 weeks later, students are designing apps for healthcare and restaurants, Webster said.

"You don't have to be a super math wizard or the smartest person growing up in high school. You can bring whoever you are and that makes it cool because you bring that into the class," he said.

But you do need to have an appetite for tech. The intensive course is a commitment, Kingston said.

"Eat sleep code," she laughed, adding that she's prepped her family that she'll be engrossed in learning for the next three months. "But I'm ready for that."

The Iron Yard has an introductory crash course in coding on September 28, free to the public. The lab also offers free coding classes to kids.

More information can be found on their website at

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