Founders of tech school hopes new training model cracks the code

The founders of a new coding school hope a new training model will help them capitalize on the labour shortage in Newfoundland and Labrador's growing technology industry.

Get Coding co-founder Sahand Seifi acknowledges there are already lots of local options — including Memorial University and College of the North Atlantic — for learning tech skills, but he says those schools can't easily expand their enrolment size to accommodate more students to satisfy the labour market.

"The expected number of graduates from these programs is nowhere near the number of hires that the companies are expected to make in the next couple of years," said Sahand Seifi, co-founder of Get Coding.

"So we'd like to solve that problem in the ecosystem right now."

Get Coding offers workshops, courses and boot camps to prepare people for the tech workforce, as well as corporate training for companies looking to train their own employees. 

Paula Gale/CBC

The business was started in 2017 by Jan Mertlik, its current CEO. Mertilk said the 2017 version began as a trial run for a small group of students while he was studying computer science at Memorial University. 

Last fall, Mertlik was contacted by Seifi of HeyOrca — a website used as a social media calendar for digital media agencies — who suggested opening the school full-time. 

Leaving the province

Get Coding's options include free two-hour workshops, as well as eight-week courses — for which it charges $1,000 — held during evenings so people who work day shifts can attend. Get Coding plans to start offering full-time immersive boot camps this year for people who have finished the eight-week course.

There aren't any other schools like Get Coding in Newfoundland and Labrador, according to Seifi, but they can be found in major cities such as Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.

"So if young professionals try to get this education they have to leave the province, and a lot of them actually end up staying there and get a job outside of the province," Seifi said.

"So we want to create this training here, prepare them for jobs here and help them stay here in the tech sector." 

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