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Looking For A Career Change? Check Out Base Camp’s Graduate Institute

Adults students enrolled in the Base Camp Coding Academy Graduate Institute, a year-long software development training program, are finishing up their final unit and will graduate next month. Base Camp is accepting applicants for the next class. The deadline to apply is July 31.

I’m sure there are few among us who have not questioned their career choice at some point in life. It may be a dead-end job or long hours. Or you may be curious about different opportunities. Changing careers can be hard, but I would like to share a unique opportunity in Water Valley – Base Camp Coding Academy’s Graduate Institute.

First things first, I am sure many readers are familiar with Base Camp Coding Academy. Launched in Water Valley in 2016, the coding academy is an intense, year-long software development training program offered for high school graduates. Each Base Camp student starts within a week or two of high school graduation.

Last year Base Camp Coding Academy provided another option with the Graduate Institute, offering a similar software development training program for people ages 22 and older. Eighteen adult students are expected to graduate from this first Graduate Institute class next month. This list includes Conner Gray of Water Valley.

Conner’s explanation to attend Base Camp started simple as he explained that technology is the future. He also shared how Base Camp Coding Academy teaches students how to become part of that future. His classmates come from a variety of work backgrounds – restaurant workers, a former EMT, a lineman, construction workers and others.

For Conner, the initial appeal to enroll in Base Camp was the non-traditional educational path. He had tried the college route at the University of Mississippi.

“It didn’t work out for me. But Base Camp is much more goal-oriented and community focused,” he said.

Conner also explained that more and more tech-oriented companies are shifting away from requiring a college degree for new hires. The boot camp model that Base Camp follows is becoming more recognized. And with graduation coming next month, he is confident that he is equipped to enter the job market as a programmer and is starting the application process with different companies.

Conner also shared that while learning knowledge about programming is a big part of the curriculum at Base Camp, learning soft skills to excel in the work force is equally important. He cites examples – time management, developing personal responsibility, learning how to function as a team, how to lead a team, and the ability to delegate or be delegated to.

“And how to advertise ourselves based on those skills,” Conner added.

He cited one example, a classmate who works at his family’s tire shop.

“He would have never considered this career without Base Camp. Now he is at the top of his class and helping tutor others.”

Brianna Talley is the director of the Graduate Institute and is working on recruiting students for the second class that gets underway soon. She also shared a success story from this first class, a student who has already landed a software development job in Tupelo. This student worked as a lineman, but was interesting in a career change with a job that would have more structured hours.

The application deadline for the second class is only days away (July 31 at 11:59 p.m.) and there are a few slots remaining. Brianna reports that you can attend the year-long software development program while juggling a current job or family responsibilities.

Now for the important details, to start the application process , log-in to and click on “Apply as a Student.” Prospective students must also have someone (not a family member) submit a nomination form, which is easily done on the same website by clicking “Nominate a Student.” Once you are nominated and fill out the application, the interview process starts. An admission board makes the final decision on the students who make the cut

Class hours are Tuesday and Thursdays, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.; and Saturdays from 8:30 to 4:30. Free child care is provided for students who have children up to age 13.

Best of all, with Tennessee Valley Authority’s support for Base Camp, every student receives a 100 percent scholarship!

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