Coal to Code: Developing Developers
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What makes a good software developer, and how do we bring new people with the talents that we need into our industry? In 2014 Michael Bloomberg said that coal miners can’t just go learn to code, a statement that was rejected by Mark Zuckerberg, Mined Minds, and coal miners alike. In this presentation, Amanda Laucher will share insights from the free programming training that Mined Minds have been providing in rural areas of southwest Pennsylvania & West Virginia, where traditional industries (coal mining) are in decline. She will be joined by Marvin Laucher, her brother, and a previous coal miner who has made the transition from coal to code and who was the inspiration to kick off this adventure in economic development. They will discuss the approaches taken to develop a diverse group of programmers from local residents with no previous coding experience, and the steps they are taking to seed a new tech industry in the area.