Interface School wants to fill Omaha's need for developers, programmers -
Published Sunday, January 19, 2014 at 12:01 am / Updated at 8:07 am
Interface School wants to fill Omaha's need for developers, programmers

Talking with the founders of Interface School, it's no secret that Omaha and the Midwest in general has a serious lack of developers and coders.

Mark Hasebroock, founder of Dundee Venture Capital and a number of other ventures—such as Hayneedle and Straight Shot—said in nearly every endeavor he's had, finding talent has been a core problem.

Now Hasebroock, and a team of designers, coders and business leaders, are doing their part to help fill that void by creating a flexible 12-week crash course on coding and business basics.

Anecdotally, Hasebroock said there will be anywhere from 100 to four or five thousand new programming openings in the next year in the Omaha metro area.

"There's an enormous need," he told Silicon Prairie News. 

The trend has been that top talent heads west where salaries are higher, leaving little for the Midwest, says Seth Carlson, of Elevate designs, who will teach brand marketing.

Shonna Dorsey, the school's managing director, had similar experiences as a corporate tech recruiter.

"It's hard to find people with deep skills," she said. "Even when we do, they are expensive to hire because of such high demand."

The school, which begins March 3, will feature business classes in the morning and coding classes in the afternoon. Among the offerings: business analysis, project management and web development.

Students will work with nonprofits and companies to solve problems for them. The final six weeks of the class will be a development period for students to work on web apps for their partner.

It'll be a resume builder, the founders said.

"Code is critical to building the web, but it's not the only component," Carlson said. "It's helpful to have project-based skills in tandem, to understand the lexicon and the process also are skills we seek."

The cost is $7,000 for the whole program, but can be broken down into specific classes from $1,000 for basic HTML, CSS and Javascript classes, to $4,000 for advanced classes.

The class sizes will run from 10-20 students based on difficulty and one-on-one needs for the clases. Interface School will be based out of Scott Technologies in Aksarben.

The program the second code school to launch in recent months. Omaha Code School, which focuses on teaching the coding side of things in an intensive 12 weeks, will launch Feb. 24.

But both sides don't see each other as competition.

"Nebraska doesn't need 16 new developers, it needs thousands," said Omaha Code School lead instructor Sumeet Jain. "So we don't want to compete. We want to support each other."

Members of the two schools talked after a recent 1 Million Cups meeting about each other's goals and wished each other well. There's room for so many schools, Interface founders said.

"Demand is here now and it will be there in the future," Hasebroock said.

The Interface School also will have summer and fall semesters in Omaha and a summer session in Lincoln. They hope to have it be a long-term venture. They said the cirriculum will be customizable to the needs of the market.

The idea for Interface came together after each of those involved saw the consistent theme of little talent.

Hasebroock floated the idea to Elevate last June and they've been working for the last six months on getting the school together.

The founders point to the lack of coding and computing skills taught in public schools as part of the reason why the region is lagging in talent. They hope the school will help bridge the gap for a number of people.

"We see people who just want basic skills, to those who may be looking for a career change and go a new direction as students," Hasebroock said. "Will you be a top programmer when you're done? No, but you will be dangerous and have a broad base of skills to allow you to learn more."

Who's involved?

  • Shonna Dorsey will be the managing director of Interface School, and is a former corporate tech recruiter and project manager.
  • Mark Hassebroock also is the founder of Dundee Venture Capital.
  • Beth Engel—Culture and operations with Dundee Venture Capital, fomerly with Hayneedle and the FBI. Yes, that FBI.
  • Seth Carlson and Jake StutzmanElevate design guys will teach brand marketing and the technical parts of user experience and design.
  • Jarod Santo of Object Lateral will be the instructor for the web development track and guide the cirriculum. He designed the user experience for Grooveshark in 2010 and was a freelance web developer for seven years.
For more information about Interface School and how to apply, visit its website.

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