Free coding curriculum comes to Rexburg

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IDAHO FALLS — Organizations across Idaho have teamed up to offer free coding classes to communities around Idaho — and they’re coming to Rexburg next.

Innovative Collective, partnering with the University of Idaho, created the Inspire Idaho program, which will provide a 9-month course focusing primarily on app development. The class begins in September and will stretch over the course of nine months.

While the class is mostly self-taught, students will meet regularly from September to July in the Rexburg City Hall Building to collaborate and learn from each other. This year, the curriculum will focus primarily on app development.

InspireID’s mission is to “address access, equity and workforce readiness for all citizens of Idaho. It aims to achieve those goals by providing an opportunity to learn app programing and development,” according to a news release.

The Association for Competitive Technology reported that as of this year, the app economy has a $950.6 billion value. It employees roughly 4.7 million Americans, of whom receive an average salary of $84,000 — nearly twice the average salary in the U.S.

UI associate vice president and InspireID co-founder Charles Buck said he worried that growth might be passing Idaho by. That’s when InspireID came into the picture.

“We thought this (program) could be a great way for folks any place to gain workforce skills that are really relevant for the future workforce, potentially make money and enjoy the lifestyle you’d like to have in a smaller town in Idaho,” Buck said.

He said he wants to emphasize that app development is something anyone can do from anywhere.

“You don’t even have to have a live internet connection,” Buck said. “You just need the software.”

The 9-month course will teach Apple’s Swift coding language using the “Everyone Can Code” curriculum, an easy-to-use coding program designed for students of all ages. Apple uses Swift for all of its application development with Mac, iOS, Apple TV and Apple Watch.

While the course is free, students are required to have a MacBook capable of running macOS 10.12.6 or later with WiFi capabilities, a web browser and the ability to watch videos. For students who do not already have a MacBook or cannot afford to purchase one, Madison Economic Partners will have a limited amount of MacBooks to lend out during the duration of the program.

Buck said the course will regularly involve collaboration among students, instructors and experts from the app development field.

“What we bring to the table is mentorship and community growth,” he said. “We want to keep things stitched together and promote success across the community.”

To learn more about the program or to apply for the class, go to InspireIdaho.com.

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