OVERLAND PARK — KU Professional and Continuing Education recently graduated its 500th student from KU Boot Camps, an education partnership between the Edwards Campus and Trilogy Education Services. KU’s 24-week boot camp programs teach students valuable coding, data analytics and cybersecurity skills, with hands-on training and projects that prepare students for professional success, advancement in their field or a career change.
The current cohort of boot camp students will display their capstone projects at the KU Boot Camps Demo Day event from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, March 4, in the BEST Conference Center at the KU Edwards Campus. Media are invited to attend.
At Demo Day, students present their final projects, which include full-stack websites, cybersecurity applications and data visualization applications, to their instructors, classmates and potential employers.
As of 2020, 347 students have graduated from the KU Coding Boot Camp, and 137 students have graduated from the KU Data Analytics Boot Camp. The most recently added program, the KU Cybersecurity Boot Camp, has 19 graduates so far. Previous graduates of these boot camps have gone on to become program analysts, web and software developers, software testers and data analysts, among many other position titles, for companies including Cerner, Seaboard, YRC Worldwide, Sprint, Hilton, Jet.com and Blue Cross Blue Shield.
KU Boot Camp graduates help fill a rising need for jobs requiring high digital proficiency in Kansas City. According to analytics software company Burning Glass, the Kansas City metro region posted over 17,000 coding jobs, over 24,000 data analytics jobs and over 13,000 cybersecurity jobs in 2019.
David Cook, KU Edwards Campus vice chancellor, said Demo Day, which showcases the work of students from all three boot camps, provides a great opportunity for area businesses to interact with a rising group of talent that can help them meet their growing needs.
“These boot camps develop a talented workforce that helps Kansas City-based organizations continue to excel in a competitive market,” Cook said. “There’s no better way for employers to see what our students can offer them than to come to Demo Day and see for themselves the great work these students have done.”
On March 2, 160 new students will begin their journeys to gain competitive skills and open new professional doors. Reggie Brown was part of KU Coding Boot Camp’s first cohort. For his capstone project, Brown helped develop a web application that matches extra food from restaurants, grocery stores and similar companies with soup kitchens, food banks and homeless shelters.
Brown found the experience so beneficial that he returned to the boot camp as a teaching aide.
“I want to empower another wave of people who would like to learn to be developers,” Brown said. “My boot camp instructors and TAs had a massively positive impact on me — and this is a great way for me to do that for another group of students.”
KU Coding Boot Camp instructor Jolie Meyer said she has found personal and professional fulfillment in helping students improve their lives and watching them use the skills she’s taught them to succeed after they complete the program.
“Each one of the students that comes through our program is hungry for something,” Meyer said. “Many of them have very similar life experiences to mine and are looking to change their lives for the better. I am honored that I get to be a part of that transformational experience.”
Top right photo: Christopher Glenn presents his final project, a cryptocurrency investment portfolio, for the KU Coding Boot Camp during the KU Boot Camps graduation day Feb. 29 at the KU Edwards Campus (KUEC). Glenn and his fellow graduates from the coding, data analytics and cybersecurity boot camps will present their projects to prospective area employers during Demo Day from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, March 4, in the BEST Conference Center at KUEC.
Bottom right photo: The latest graduating cohorts from the KU coding, data analytics and cybersecurity boot camps include the 500th graduate from these programs. All will present to area employers on March 4, from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, March 4, in the BEST Conference Center at KUEC.