A new computer coding academy launched in Johnstown. The founder hopes it will help people make extra money, find a new job or career or pursue their passions.
The Johnstown Coding Academy runs classes out of 814 Worx building in Johnstown.
Students range from their 20s-60s and come from all walks of life.
Raymond Gaydos is a new student at the academy. He is an accountant and wants the freedom to work wherever, whenever.
“Work from home and the flexibility. The corporate environment was always 8-4 Monday to Friday. And of course, you always work more than 40 hours,” Gaydos said.
Owen Standley already teaches online English courses, but he wants to explore other options.
“There’s many other avenues to make an income over the internet and I want to learn more about that,” Standley said, who also just started the KeyBoard Warriors course.
The founder, Allen Higbee, said computer know-how is the way of the future, but it’s undervalued in Johnstown.
“There’s a lot of people that are behind on technology. They’re very much dependent on the mills coming back, the old industry of mining and the old industry of manufacturing and labor,” Higbee said.
The beginner month-long course costs $50 and teaches typing and computer coding skills. Higbee provides the equipment, software and curriculum to teach the basics. Then, he helps students find freelance jobs.
“The languages out there are free, the information is free. A lot of people just don’t know where to start,” Higbee said.
Other advanced course options include cyber security, information security, web development and network administration.
The classes are for anyone, no matter his or her age, background, education level or technical experience.
“Criminal, felony, it doesn’t disqualify you from anything. So, if you’re down on your luck or maybe you’re a woman in this area that realizes that it’s very underserved for opportunities for women, then why not start playing in a different realm?” Higbee said. “They need to master the keyboard, and from there, if they want to fund or supplement their income, they can do it and pursue their dreams.”
Gaydos is 68-years-old and says you’re never too old to learn something new.
“I like learning. I think it’s beneficial. Knowledge is power. We have to move forward into this environment. If not, you’re going to be sitting on a curb somewhere,” Gaydos said.
You can visit the Johnstown Coding Academy Facebook page for more information.