Some of the highest-paying jobs in the country are going unfilled, because not enough college graduates possess the skills to fill them.
Computer programming jobs are growing two times the national average and in North Carolina there’s more than 18, 000 vacant positions.
John Sutton is president of the digital unit at Red Ventures, a technology company in Indian Land, South Carolina.
Sutton said despite explosive growth in the past few years, Red Ventures struggles to find employees to fill their coding jobs.
“The coding and engineering market is probably the hardest market out there today in the USU.S. Specifically in the Southeast, we've found it really difficult to attract good talent,” Sutton said.
- PRESS PLAY-- John Sutton explains how coding is used at a company like Red Ventures:
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Sutton said an entry-level coding job at Red Ventures pays $40,000 to $50,000 and experienced coders can earn more than $150,000.
Code.org, a non-profitnonprofit that encourages engagement in computer science, lists more than 4,200 vacant jobs in South Carolina that require coding skills. North Carolina has even more of a need for programmers with more than 18,000 open jobs.
Coding experts say the problem lies in the lack of computer programming classes in public schools. Code.org says those courses are only offered in 51 out of 1,200 South Carolina schools and 71 out of 2,600 North Carolina schools. The nonprofit started a petition that has almost 2 million signatures, which asks that every student in every school have the opportunity to learn computer science.
In North Carolina, computer science courses can count as a math or science credit toward a high school diploma. In South Carolina, they act as an elective, but not as a math or science course.
To combat this skill shortage, Red Ventures started Code 2 Hire, a program that trains talented low-income high school graduates to become junior web developers.
Ken Adelglass also wanted to provide kids with computer skills, so he opened Waxhaw Kid Coders. He teaches students as young as 7 how to code.
“I think it's as important as learning English as this point, because technology is everywhere and part of our lives and kids should know how it works,” Adelglass said.
Adelglass said his first goal with his students is to eliminate the idea that coding is hard.
Once someone learns to code, they’ll have their pick of jobs.
“There's a lot of new jobs created that require coding, and there's not enough people to fill those jobs with those skills,” Adelglass said.
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