Scotland is due to get its first ever dedicated software skills academy when ‘CodeClan’ opens its doors in Edinburgh this September.

The first group of students will graduate in February 2016 after an intensive 16-week course. It will be taught using Ruby as the primary programming language, although others will be covered. 

Applicants must pass a three-week pre-qualification course to secure a place at CodeClan © CodeClan
Applicants must pass a three-week pre-qualification course to secure a place at CodeClan © CodeClan

Students will work at least 60 hours per week and be required to submit a minimum of three projects during the programme. There will be one tutor for every eight students and about 20 students per cohort, a spokesman told Techworld

It is aimed at STEM graduates and individuals who have an aptitude for coding but need a route into the industry, the academy said.

Topics taught will include data structures, algorithms, databases, object oriented design and programming, development methodologies, UX [user experience] and more ‘soft’ skills like communication. 

A tech background will not be necessary, but to get onto the course applicants will have to pass a rigorous selection process, including a mandatory three week pre-qualification course.

The academy is backed by the Scottish Government and ScotlandIS, a trade body representing over 300 ICT companies across Scotland. Graduates will receive ‘Professional Development Awards’ in software development from the Scottish Qualifications Authority.

CodeClan aims to help plug a shortage of digital skills in Scotland which it warns is “affecting businesses in many different sectors”, citing forecasts that the sector could offer up to 11,000 job opportunities a year, rising by 2,000 each year.

Many employers in Scotland are offering entry-level salaries of up to £25,000 to developers, the academy claimed in a statement.

The launch was welcomed by deputy first minister John Swinney, who said it would support the Scottish Government’s initiative to make the country a ‘world class’ digital economy by 2020.

“CodeClan will provide new opportunities for people from many walks of life to meet pressing skills shortages in this growing and vibrant digital sector,” he said.

Polly Purvis, CEO of ScotlandIS, said: “It is a phenomenally exciting time to be working in the digital technologies in Scotland with companies like Skyscanner and Fanduel taking the world by storm. CodeClan is a ‘way in’ for people who want to be part of that story.”

The academy is based on the success of a new breed of intensive coding schools such as Makers, launched in London in 2013, Stackademy in Berlin and Flatiron School in New York.