A New Kind of Jobs Program for Middle America – By Christopher Mims Feb. 26, 2017 8:00 a.m. ET


Code schools and boot camps that teach computer programming skills prove they can rapidly retrain American workers for the 21st century

Heron Ziegel, a 24-year-old data analyst, at TD Bank's Tech Center in Mount Laurel, N.J., on Feb. 23. Ms. Ziegel attended a three-month intensive coding course after trying to get a graphic-design business off the ground. ‘There aren't enough Americans interested in coding,’ she says.

Heron Ziegel, a 24-year-old data analyst, at TD Bank’s Tech Center in Mount Laurel, N.J., on Feb. 23. Ms. Ziegel attended a three-month intensive coding course after trying to get a graphic-design business off the ground. ‘There aren’t enough Americans interested in coding,’ she says. Photo: Michelle Gustafson for The Wall Street Journal

When Alex Mathis heard there was a coding school in Akron, Ohio, not far from where he lives, he thought its claim—that he could become a gainfully employed computer programmer after a three-month training course—sounded suspicious.

He’d never taken a computer-programming class in his life, but by the time he finished an intensive 12-week, $13,750 program at the Software Guild, he had a job with Buckeye Mountain, a maker of rail freight software. “If you told me several years ago that I was going to be a computer programmer and working for a software company I wouldn’t have believed you,” says Mr. Mathis, who also got a 10% pay bump over his last job, as a shipping manager for a printing company.

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