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UNC alumna to bring coding education startup to Raleigh

Tech Talent South, an Atlanta-based educational startup that specializes in coding, is coming to Raleigh.

As coding becomes a more popular skill for college students to learn, the startup’s founders hope to both draw from students in the area and fill a gap in the market.

And one of the co-founders of the startup, Betsy Hauser Idilbi, knows firsthand the local talent — she’s a UNC alumna.

“As a UNC grad, I always wanted to bring (Tech Talent South) to the Triangle,” she said.

The startup offers a full-time eight week program, part-time evening courses, a youth code camp and an introduction to game development program.

Mallory Pickard, Tech Talent South’s community coordinator for the Research Triangle Park campus, also went to school in the area at Duke University.

“We believe the Triangle to be a promising area in which to invest,” she said. “We also want to bring people together across the Triangle — there is a programming shortage within the region, and we want to create an ecosystem of coders.”

Pickard said Tech Talent South is opening a campus in the Research Triangle because of the proximity to universities.

“We want to encourage college students to take part,” she said. “Our courses have a strong entrepreneurial component, which will fit well with students from the colleges.”

The first classes will be held April 7. Classes are capped at 15 students.

Tech Talent South also has campuses in Asheville and Charlotte.

According to a press release, so far all of the graduates from the full-time program have received job offers after completing the course.

Pickard said coding should be accessible to all students.

“We know that the Triangle holds promise for young entrepreneurs,” she said. “You can launch and host a domain for $40 these days, and the possibilities that coding opens up for you are endless.”

Idilbi said there is an informal online application, and most people are interviewed before being admitted to the full-time, eight week program.

“We accept applications from everyone,” she said. “No formal education is required.”

Maegan Clawges, a student at UNC, said coding is a useful skill for college students to learn.

“Being able to code is like being able to communicate in the 21st century,” she said.

Clawges co-founded Pearl Hacks, a hackathon event for women that will be held at UNC March 22 and 23, in conjunction with the computer science department and School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Clawges said Pearl Hacks is designed to bring more women into the field of computer science by providing a female-friendly space to learn hacking skills.

She said she wants to encourage all students to get involved in computer technology.

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“There is a misconception that you have to be a genius in order to code,” she said. “This simply isn’t true — coding can help you in whatever area you want to pursue.”