News from Prime

Prime Digital Academy moving to downtown Minneapolis for larger campus in 2017, adding user experience design program

Growth fueled by market need and graduate success of software engineer cohorts, bucking negative trend of for-profit schools

Minneapolis, September 20, 2016 – Recent failures of national for-profit schools are showing that some educational models aren’t able to meet the changing needs of modern employers, but Prime Digital Academy (Prime) is a Minnesota success story that’s showing there is room for disruptive innovation in education. Today, Prime announced a plan to relocate their campus from Bloomington, MN to a new downtown Minneapolis campus in January of 2017. They’ll use the additional space at the new location to launch a program focused on training User Experience Designers. This new course provides a second program option alongside the Software Engineering course that celebrated its 13th graduation ceremony last month. Prime now has 160 alumni working on the development teams of more than 110 companies in the Twin Cities metro.

Prime’s focus on connections with the local community through pro-bono projects, mentorship programs and employer events make their new home at the Grain Exchange alongside the Minnesota High Tech Association and the community at CoCo a natural fit.

“The relationships we’ve built with employers hiring from our Software Engineering curriculum have given us a great sounding board for what the needs of growing companies in Minnesota are. Guided by that feedback, our new User Experience Design program will help local companies find the talent they need to drive innovation and better serve their users,” said Mark Hurlburt, President and Co-Founder of Prime.

The new UX Design program will share a lot in common with the existing Software Engineering program, including the focus on integration of technical and “soft” skills, the immersive approach and a heavy focus on project-based learning working with real-world clients. The program will develop a wide variety of foundational skills essential to user experience design including visual design, information architecture, interaction design, usability and user research. Prime expects many students to come with some level of design or research experience – the only hard prerequisites being a passion for solving problems, a willingness to learn from failure and a love of technology. Applications for the new UX Design program are open today and will close on November 4.

“I would like to warmly welcome coding school and TechHire partner Prime Digital Academy to Minneapolis,” said Mayor Betsy Hodges. “It has been a tremendous pleasure working together to grow the pool of tech talent in Minneapolis and the region. There is a great deal of work to be done, and having Prime Digital Academy growing in Minneapolis will help us realize even greater results.”

The Prime experience can be transformative for the lives of students. On average, Prime graduates have enjoyed a 60% salary bump when placed after their 18 weeks at the school. The average program grad earns over $55,700 in their first jobs after Prime, placing them well above the average Minnesotan paycheck. Prime’s cohorts who graduated six or more months ago have a 91% placement rate in the field, with graduates working at a wide variety of companies large and small including Target, Best Buy, United Health Group, Optum, 3M, Wells Fargo, Olson, C.H. Robinson, Digital River, LeadPages, Mayo Clinic, SPS Commerce, Stratays, The Walker, SportsNGIN, The Nerdery and Buzzfeed. Prime offers companies talent who differentiate themselves through maturity (most Prime students have five to 15 years of previous work experience before the program) and diversity (Prime alumni are over 33% women, and 16% identify as students of color).

“My experience at Prime Digital Academy was transformative. I've never experienced education in a more immersive, well-supported, and holistic way. I left Prime as a more well-rounded person, not just as a programmer. My life has been forever changed for the better, and I owe much of that to them.” - Hank Andrew, Solutions Engineer, Irish Titan

Prime offers a number of financing and scholarship support options for students including grant funds made available through the MSP TechHire, an initiative to close the workforce skills gap in the high-tech economy by enabling diverse workers to access training, support and tech jobs across the Greater Minneapolis Region. In addition to the new UX Design program, Prime is also currently accepting applications for its next three Software Engineering courses beginning studies this fall and winter. Applicants can learn more about both programs and apply online at Businesses interested in connecting with talent from Prime can contact .

About Prime Digital Academy

Prime Digital Academy (Prime) is an accelerated learning program designed to help people without traditional technology backgrounds get up to speed for jobs in software design and development. Launched in partnership with The Nerdery and backed by a network of over a hundred Minnesota employers, Prime has helped to launch the tech careers of scores of developers and designers since it opened its doors in 2016. Prime’s commitment to the community can be seen in the 54 pro-bono projects students have completed for nonprofits, social ventures and startups and its economic impact can be felt by the $3.3M it’s graduates have added to the economy in its first year of operations. Prime has been honored with the Progress Minnesota award from Finance and Commerce, the Eureka! Award from the Biz Journal and is a proud founding partner in the MSP TechHire initiative.

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