Tom Wilson

Tom Wilson, the founder of Jack Russell Software, leads a class. The software development shop has an in-house code school, which will complete its third session this week. Provided

One of the technology sector's primary trade groups is embarking on an effort to boost professionals early in their careers, and Charleston will have a hand in it.

CompTIA says it's launching a series of initiatives to help tech workers find jobs, get training and meet mentors. Nancy Hammervik, its executive vice president for industry relations, says the group is focused on a "confidence gap" in tech more than a skills gap.

The thinking is that CompTIA and other groups are capable of teaching technical skills in a matter of weeks, but that work doesn't do much good if people are too intimidated to give the field a shot.

Online, the group will provide a tech job board and insights into what kinds of workers are in demand where. It'll also offer online training for soft skills and technical work, with a focus on professionals in the first 10 years of their careers.

Its solution lies partly in cities like Charleston, which has long had a chapter of the Association of Information Technology Professionals. The organizations recently merged, and CompTIA plans to fold the local meetup group into its broader effort.

"We saw that we were going to have a real problem on our hands," Hammervik says of the industry's too-small pipeline of future workers. "When we start to look outside the major cities, kids that are growing up in the heartland or smaller cities, they just don't have enough role models or mentors that they can aspire to be like. They just don't see that path in front of them."

The local group tends to focus on technical infrastructure, and it's still influenced by the military's IT presence in the Lowcountry thanks to Hanahan's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command and the contractors that support it. Hammervik says the national group has been pushing into software development and other tech fields.

The group will gather next month at Ms. Rose's restaurant on Sam Rittenberg Boulevard to talk about digital security. The group meets Sept. 14 at 5:30 p.m.

Code camp wrap

Jack Russell Software will debut a new crop of tech workers on Tuesday when its in-house code school finishes its third session.

The software development shop says six new graduates have finished the 12-week program, which focuses on JavaScript.

The local course is ramping up just as a much larger competitor is shutting down across town. The Iron Yard, once the nation's largest coding boot camp, decided last month to shutter its campuses around the country.

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The closure of the Greenville-based tech education chain leaves an opening for programs like Jack Russell's, though it was a stiff blow to the training model. Elsewhere in the Lowcountry, the Charleston Digital Corridor offers classes for kids and adults through its CODEcamp program.

Jack Russell will feature its students Tuesday at 2 p.m. in its office, 111 Coleman Blvd., Suite 402. Attendees are asked to RSVP at http://resources.jackrussellsoftware.com/gradexpo.

Cohort companies

The Harbor Entrepreneur Center's accelerator program has returned for its eighth edition.

The 14-week program includes eight startups that will receive free office space, mentoring and a curriculum meant to test and develop their products.

Joining the accelerator in this fall's cohort:

  • AWaiver, which is building software to handle liability waivers
  • Brass, which is developing a product to help businesses evaluate software
  • Case Status, which is developing an app for lawyers and their clients to communicate
  • Collective Force, which is organizing this year's Lowcountry Giving Day
  • Envies Flavor Shot, which makes cocktail mixers
  • Green Blox, which is designing construction materials
  • Interloop, which is making sales software
  • Taste, which is building an app to compete with Yelp

Reach Thad Moore at 843-937-5703. Follow him on Twitter @thadmoore.

Thad Moore is a reporter on The Post and Courier’s Watchdog and Public Service team, a native of Columbia and a graduate of the University of South Carolina. His career at the newspaper started on the business desk in 2016.