Atlanta Coding Schools Meet Demand For More Programmers

Humayun Zafar
Humayun Zafar 

KENNESAW, Ga. (Jan 25, 2016) — Software developers and programmers are in high demand in Atlanta, and a growing number of schools are expanding to address the shortage felt in Atlanta's growing tech industry.

One of Atlanta's popular private coding schools, The Iron Yard, is opening a second location in Sandy Springs in March. The school has worked with more than 185 students since it first opened a branch in downtown Atlanta in 2014.  Atlanta will be the first city to have a second branch of the boot camp nearby.

"With nearly 3,000 programming jobs coming online in the Atlanta metro area in last 90 days -- 800 of which are for junior-level programmers -- the city's demand for tech talent speaks for itself," said Atlanta campus director Lindsey Owings. "The combination of demand for tech talent and interest from prospective students made it an easy decision. Our new location is in close proximity to the growing number of companies in the northern Atlanta area, increasing convenience for both our students and our hiring partners."

Other schools are also offering more classes.

Georgia Tech graduated its first class of 23 students from its brand-new online-only computer science masters degree program in 2015.

That's also when the coding school and technology community General Assembly opened its Atlanta location in Ponce City Market.

Associate professor Humayun Zafar teaches cybersecurity and directs the mobile app development center at Kennesaw State University.

"Everyone seems to agree that there is a shortfall," Zafar said. "Everyone says we need more STEM majors. We've got good universities here. Problem is, folks who graduate from here don't end up staying here. There's a lot of firms out there that are competing for a limited pool."

Zafar said Atlanta is a hub for cybersecurity, mobile development and financial technology, and said these companies are always looking for top coders.

Nelson Baker, dean of professional education at Georgia Tech, said there is high demand for coders in Atlanta. 

"With the number of companies, and corporate moves to Atlanta, [centered] around cybersecurity, around marketing digitization, around financial technologies -- the startup industries such as we have here in Technology Square -- there's an immense need for individuals with software and coding backgrounds and expertise," Baker said.  

More than 3,400 students are currently enrolled part-time in a new online computer science masters program at Georgia Tech. 

Baker said as technology changes rapidly, more people are taking coding classes to stay up-to-date in their fields or change careers. 

"This knowledge is changing very rapidly," Baker said. "In addition to just the coding itself, one also has to be concerned about security, data privacy, mobile access, risk assessment. There's a lot of different parameters tied to coding and I think Atlanta is going to be a hot market for these kinds of individuals."