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The Nerdery launches school to train new software developers

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A Minneapolis-based tech company, with the backing from many big-name businesses, is starting a school for aspiring software developers – an in-demand career where positions are going unfilled.

The Nerdery is now accepting applications for its school Prime Digital Academy, which will teach aspiring software engineers the basics of coding and software development, preparing them for entry-level jobs in that field.

"The goal is not to give them everything they need to know for a career of work," Mark Hurlburt, who is leaving his position at The Nerdery to lead Prime Digital Academy, told MPR News. "Our job is to try to get them the skills necessary for that first job, and the tools they're going to use to be able to keep learning and build their career after that."

This new school has backing from high-profile companies including 3M and Thomas Reuters, the Pioneer Press says, and nearly 30 companies have said they'll hire graduates, host apprenticeships or serve on the school's curriculum board.

And there's a big market for these types of development jobs. The academy's website says over 60 percent of companies have unfilled tech jobs and the demand is growing – by 2020 it's projected that U.S. application development jobs will increase by 28 percent.

The first 18-week program is set to begin in March, with applications for the first semester due by Jan. 22, according to the school's website. There's also an option for a 12-week paid internship.

Entry-level salaries in this field average around $50,000 in Minnesota, Prime Digital Academy notes. The academy hopes to train up to 240 students a year, the Star Tribune says.

Tuition is roughly $12,500, but there are pay-back options and financial assistance available. There are also scholarships, which are aimed at attracting more women and veterans to the industry.

Here's how Prime Digital Academy's tuition compares to other schools in Minnesota, many of which offer computer science degrees, according to the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities 2014-15 guide:

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