The need to fill the growing demand for tech talent across the country is increasingly a more pressing issue for recruiters and companies alike. While universities provide a great way for many to begin their careers, and most certainly solidify their knowledge base, more and more alternatives are surfacing to help close the gap.
One such alternative is the coding bootcamp and workshop. Earlier this year, Grand Rapids welcomed Grand Circus, based in Detroit, to downtown Grand Rapids. Their coding bootcamp has in many ways allowed coding alternatives to further enter the market.
The LOOP Coding Center
(LCC) has come into the market to continue to close the learning gap, but also as their website states “fill the diversity gap in the technology workforce.”
We sat down with the LOOP Coding Center
team (LCC) to get hear more of their story.
RG: Who is all part of the LCC team?
LCC: Luis Perez is our CEO, Angel Barreto is the COO, Anthony Reed is our CMO, and finally Jose Meza is our CFO
RG: When did the LOOP Coding Center get its start?
LCC: The idea started in December 2016, but on February 2017 is when everything was getting started
RG: What inspired LCC to form?
LCC: The inspiration of making LCC happen was looking around in tech companies and college classrooms and not seeing any Latinos, African American and women. It makes you think of why are they not on those places.
RG: With so many other competitors in the coding bootcamp space, why pick coding?
LCC: Coding is one of those fields where you get to learn the basics inside a classroom but you get to take that knowledge to the outside world and build an actual product. Whether is making a personal website or donate your skills to a non-profit to help them improve their website. I personally think coding is a great way to show people what can build and how create can you be.
RG: How did LCC as we know if come to be?
LCC: Back in December 2016, I was thinking of making an impact by donating my time and skills to different organizations. On February 2017, I shared my idea with a few friends and we decided to enroll in the M West Challenge, where everything started to take shape. After completing the M West, we enrolled in Spring GR, where it was a great experience getting to know a lot more people and being able to shared our idea to more than 300 people at a pitch competition. Later we participated in 5X5 Spanish Night at Start Garden where were we able to get funding and mentorship. I believe that being in M West, Spring GR, and 5X5 really changed who we are and what we do because they challenged us to deeply think about our purpose and the impact that we hope to make.
RG: What is LCC currently working on?
LCC: We are currently working on proving coding workshops all around Grand Rapids, by partnering with non-profit organizations who have a youth program.
RG: What are the next plans for LCC?
LCC: We are planning to have a coding bootcamp in the summer.
RG: How has the GR entrepreneurship ecosystem helped LCC grow so far?
LCC: The GR entrepreneur ecosystem has really helped us by showing us that we can bring our idea to an actual service. For us, it has to be the conversations that really make an impact on what we do. We will see what we can achieve in the next five months and take the little steps that we must take to get there.
You can find the LOOP Coding center here
, on Instagram here
, and on Facebook here
Ken Miguel-Cipriano is Rapid Growth’s innovation and jobs editor. To reach Ken, you can email [email protected] or follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
Images courtesy of LOOP Coding Center.