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Coding Autism Teaches People on the Autism Spectrum How to Code


Across the U.S., more and more companies are looking for web developers as well as people who can code. This field of job growth can provide significant opportunities for autistic individuals, Coding Autism, a new training program for people on the autism spectrum, believes.

“Coding is a great career for people with autism because many of the traits associated with people on the spectrum correlate with those of a successful coder,” Austen Weinhart, co-founder of Coding Autism, told The Mighty. “Some of these traits include attention to detail, talent for recognizing patterns, comfort in repetition, introvert personalities, and directness in communication. With the right training and accommodations, a person on the autism spectrum can transition into a position where they not only have financial stability but also long-term career growth.”

Coding Autism is currently crowdfunding for its first web development boot camp and hopes to raise $50,000 to provide full scholarships for its first group of students. Its first course, ASPIRE Web Development Immersive, will be a 15-week, full-time course in Thousand Oaks, California. The course will teach coding basics, preparing students for an entry-level job as web developers. Coding Autism also plans to launch online classes for those who cannot attend in person, starting in 2018. So far, the campaign has raised more than 60 percent of the funds it needs to get started.

“It is completely unacceptable that our autistic community is experiencing an over 80-percent unemployment and underemployment rate,” Oliver Thornton, Coding Autism’s CEO and co-founder, who is also on the autism spectrum, said in a press release. “As passionate advocates who have either been diagnosed with autism ourselves or have family members affected with autism, we understand that with the right resources, training, coaching and environment that individuals with autism can thrive in the workforce.”

In addition to teaching software engineering, quality assurance, and web development, Coding Autism will also assist its trainees in finding jobs. Coaches and educators will provide students with resume workshops, career counseling and interview preparation all of which is designed specifically for autistic individuals.

The training program is a certificate program and not a degree. “Many coding jobs also do not require a degree. All that matters is that applicants show that they have the skills needed and are up to the task,” Weinhart added.

Many companies, including Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard, have launched hiring initiatives geared towards employing those on the spectrum. “The vast majority of people with autism are either unemployed or underemployed, leaving a large pool of untapped talent. If we work together, we can help make a difference,” Neil Barnett, director of inclusive hiring and accessibility at Microsoft, wrote on the company’s blog earlier this month.

With more opportunities arising, Coding Autism hopes to help more people on the spectrum enter the job force as prepared and qualified applicants.