Students attend Cyber School tucked away in Water Valley

Published 6:00 am Sunday, July 24, 2016

By Allen Brewer

This year marks the first year the Base Camp Coding Academy has opened in Water Valley. The new school offers North Mississippi high school graduates a shortcut to becoming a software programmer within one year of training.

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Located above B.T.C. Grocery, the camp holds classes from 8:30 to 4:30, five days a week. The program, partnered with Northwest Community College, gives students the opportunity to apply programing in an on-the-job setting.

“We believe software programing is an easy enough thing to get into, and Mississippi is desperately looking for more software programmers,” camp director, Sean Anthony, said. 

The vocational classes taught at the school help students to learn the basics of website making in quick easy-to-use steps. Students learn to do both programing in servers and in browsers to allow them to have a versatile skill set. Students also learn the language of programming such as Java Script and Python.

The program is all work, but many of the learning exercises can also be fun. Recently, students were able to test their skills in data modeling to build games. The games, based on Gladiator battling, will help students practice modeling by customizing their characters in any form they like.   

“It is going surprisingly well,” programing instructor, Nate Clark, said. “It’s hard to predict something you have never done before.”

Scholarships available

Any Mississippi student in their senior year of high school may be nominated to Base Camp by a teaching professional.

After graduation, if accepted, they will attend Base Camp for 12 months.

Base Camp is also a non-profit organization. Students are given scholarships by the camps sponsors to allow free entry into the program. Within one year of training, students will have the skills needed to get any developer job in Mississippi.

“Software programing is still new, so education is still growing,” Anthony said. “This allows us to be able to jump into the program in a way others haven’t been able to.”

The camp, which opened in June, is about to reach it’s two month milestone. Instructors say that students have just finished the fundamentals of programing and are departing from the basics. In an four-year college, this could represent the first semester and a half of education.

Students at Base Camp will work hard the next 10 months to learn more about computer programing. As they work to advance themselves, they will also be able to provide needed workers for many programmer jobs open in the state.

“I like everything,” Water Valley native and student programmer, Nicole Shenton, said. “It’s pretty cool all the fun stuff you can make happen.”