Every day it seems there’s a new smart device or new app (application) being developed. Demand for developers is high and the pay is great. Getting started in this field isn’t as hard as you think, according to Dr. Paige Meeker of the Anderson University College of Arts and Sciences.
Dr. Meeker, who teaches coding classes, enjoys video games; they’ve been an interest of hers since middle school.
“My parents didn’t want to buy me an Atari (game system) and thought it was a waste of time, so they bought me a Commodore 64 computer. I taught myself BASIC and was interested in (coding),” Dr. Meeker recalled. “Then there was a teacher in my high school who thought it would benefit the students to learn coding. She talked the headmaster into getting about 20 Commodore 64’s. It was like a one semester class in seventh-grade and I loved it.”
A lot has changed since Dr. Meeker’s days in that rural Sumter County school, but Meeker asserts that coding is the secret sauce to a successful tech career and wants students to explore this growing area.
“Right now there’s such a huge need. The last time I looked, there were something like five million jobs open and only a few hundred thousand graduates able to fill those positions, so a certificate is good, a minor is also good,” Dr. Meeker said.
The Anderson University College of Arts and Sciences offers both a minor and a certificate in coding and app development that can be taken fully online. According to Dr. Meeker, the minor is open to students from any major. She added that the College of Arts and Sciences plans in the near future to make the certificate program available without the prerequisite of being enrolled in a baccalaureate program. This change, Meeker says, will make the certificate attractive to anyone in the workforce seeking to get certified in app development or a related area.
Beyond the tech industry, manufacturing, finance and health care are additional fields seeking individuals with coding/development skills.
As an Apple Distinguished School, Anderson University offers an Apple curriculum where students learn Swift, the programming language that runs iPhone and iPad applications. Students also learn how to use Xcode, a suite of application development tools useful in both browser and mobile interface design. Students also learn how to develop versions of their apps to run on Android devices.
Both the minor and certificate also covers human-centered design, critical thinking skills and collaboration and teamwork—all in a Christ-centered learning environment.