Noble students across several campuses are falling in love with coding. They’re gaining hands-on skills while building their own websites from scratch. Students are engaging with tech professionals at major companies like Expedia, Grubhub, Groupon, and Centro. But most importantly, they’re beginning to imagine themselves in the technology field  – a major goal of the Code Nation program.

For the past two years, Noble Schools has partnered with Code Nation, a volunteer teaching corps organization, to provide unique coding and technology programs to our students for free. Code Nation serves high school students in under-resourced communities across Chicago. This year, they are serving more than 400 students at 12 schools in the city, including Noble Schools: Rauner, Noble Street, Golder, and UIC College Prep. Their goal is to provide more equitable access to a career in technology for students in low-income circumstances– especially for Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and female-identifying individuals, who Code Nation says have fewer onramps to tech careers and are vastly underrepresented in the field.

During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent quarantine, Code Nation went fully remote last year, hosting classes and sessions online. Now that schools have reopened, the organization has transitioned back to in-person learning while continuing to provide virtual programs as well. Right now, there are over 90 Noble students enrolled in their programs.

WHAT OUR STUDENTS ARE DOING WITH CODE NATION

Noble students participating in Code Nation programs at Noble Street and Rauner

The Code Nation program begins with a year-long Introduction to Web Development course taught in schools by a team of professional web and software developers. Students learn industry-aligned programming languages HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. They create interactive websites of their own design, build relationships with tech professionals, and engage in industry experiences that give them an authentic opportunity to consider a career in technology. Check out this website that Rauner College Prep alum Alejandro Sanchez made while taking this course last year.

The program then continues with a two-year Fellowship Program, held weekly at a local tech company’s office with technical employees from that company serving as volunteer teachers and mentors. In the Fellowship, students learn more advanced coding skills, participate in professional development workshops to foster skill-building in communication, collaboration, project management, interviewing, networking, and resume-writing. In the Fellowship program, students build their professional networks, gain work-based learning experience, create an online technical portfolio, and develop a sense of belonging within the tech industry. 

After graduating high school, students enter the Code Nation alumni community where they’ll continue to receive access to mentorship, resources, networking, and internship opportunities throughout college and early career.

WHY IT MATTERS

Overall, this program is a great opportunity for our students to learn new skills and explore a potential career path. Last year, 70% of students in a Code Nation program reported that their Code Nation experience made them more likely to pursue a career in technology.

“For students who have an interest in technology, a career in the field offers a pathway to financial security, and the opportunity to shape the future of our world. There are LOTS of problems to be solved and technology is a powerful tool that can be used to solve problems and improve lives,” says Shane Morris, the Managing Director for Code Nation’s Chicago branch.

It is estimated that there are currently about 600,000 open computing jobs across the United States. Technology-related jobs are among the fastest-growing, highest-paying, and benefit from low unemployment rates and high job security. Employment of software developers is projected to grow 24% in the next ten years, and the average salary is $85,000 —more than double the median wage of all workers (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018).

“Technology is changing every part of our lives, from how we interact with each other to how we do our jobs. Learning how to code is a critical skill to compete in today’s digital economy, regardless of chosen career field,” says Morris.

Join the Latest Code Nation Program Today!

WHAT: A free virtual Intro to Web Development course taught by professional software developers. This class will teach you how to build websites that allow you to express your interests and creativity.

WHO: For all Noble and CPS high school sophomores and juniors

WHEN: Meets twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) from 3:45 to 5 p.m., November to May

WHERE: Virtual on Zoom

HOW: Sign up by November 12. Link to application below.

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