This story was written for WRAL TechWire Advisor partner Momentum Learning.

The Triangle is a technology mecca. With the area’s Research Triangle Park, its multiple technical colleges, a conglomerate of esteemed universities, and several renowned hospitals and other scientific institutions, there is no shortage of industry jobs.

However, the demand far exceeds the supply of tech talent. While this may be a pain point for employers, it’s good news for those looking to break into the tech job market. A wanting market provides an opportunity for job seekers – especially those eager to learn to write code or become a software developer. Enter Momentum, a Durham-based learning organization created to fill the demand for code writers and developers.

Momentum has an established advisory board of leaders gleaned from the local tech community. These members make sure that Momentum is honing the abilities of their students that employers seek. The group’s input acts as a sounding board for Momentum’s team of leaders and teachers, and influences the way they approach the curriculum and their students.

Additionally, Momentum believes so strongly in its immersive coding courses that the company will refund a student tuition if they fail to get a job in six months. Graduates of Momentum are exactly the kind of people companies like Smashing Boxes are looking for.

“I love working with Momentum because they teach exactly what we do,” said Tara Maxwell, Vice President of Production at Smashing Boxes, a digital agency that specializes in building web and mobile applications.


Maxwell serves on the Momentum Employer Advisory Board where she helps evaluate course materials, making sure that what they’re teaching lines up with what the industry needs.

“What I really like about Momentum is their diversity. Diverse backgrounds bring a lot to the table,” she added. “We’re glad to see females; it’s still hard for women to break into this field.”

Wade Minter, chief technical officer for Custom Communications, a satellite technology company, also serves on Momentum’s Employer Advisory Board. Like Maxwell, he appreciates Momentum’s emphasis on diversity.

The tech industry isn’t particularly diversified, and Minter acknowledges that the employee pool of senior developers is mostly white men. By expanding the talent to all groups, Minter said the tech industry can avoid culture lock or groupthink.

Techwire Partner Momentum Women Who Code

Momentum is helping to empower coders of all backgrounds to achieve their goals.

But homogeneity isn’t the only industry barrier that Momentum is working to overcome. Momentum also teaches “soft skills” that help graduates navigate the culture and interpersonal aspects of working for future employers.

Board of Directors member Doug Kaufman values Momentum’s holistic approach, with its emphasis on how to work on teams and fit in with the culture of an organization. He also appreciates the congenial and collaborative tech community in the Triangle, compared to the competitiveness of other areas where he has spent his career.

As a serial entrepreneur, Kaufman knows a thing or two about teamwork. He was an early team member at the software giant Blackboard, and is currently CEO of TransLoc – a company that helps riders track buses and other public transportation on their mobile phones. TransLoc recently sold to Ford Smart Mobility.

Kaufman said that gaining the necessary skills to break into the tech community is easier than many realize.

“If I was new to coding or not a coder yet, I might think I have to go to college and get a degree in computer science,” Kauffman said, explaining that this isn’t always expedient. “You don’t have to learn all the theory. We’re looking for smart, curious people who are engaged in the work – and know how to do the work.”


Minter believes you can find that engagement by tapping into the potential of junior developers. He works hard to promote their value, saying that they often bring a fresh perspective to problems.

“The fact is, without junior developers you don’t get senior developers,” said Minter. He explained that competition is fierce for talented senior developers with experience, so employers would do well to find good junior level talent to grow and nurture.

As an employer himself, Minter says that a candidate who proves to be a problem solver is valuable and Momentum fosters that kind of learning.

“What sets Momentum apart is, they’re really looking for people to focus on technology to solve real problems,” he said, noting that creative developers see things in the world that could be improved with technology and use the fundamentals in pursuit of an actual goal.

Added Kaufman, “(Momentum) has put together a team of outstanding instructors who are passionate about helping people learn to code and getting a job in tech. They have a sound curriculum, and they’re not just teaching you how to code – they’re trying to create more holistic, future, tech employees.”

Minter encourages people to consider a tech career because, with tech, you could change the world.

“Go into this industry, and you’ll have the ability to solve problems,” he said. “Whether it’s a new website or new way to use data, you could make the world a better place. Sure it’s challenging to learn software, but stick with it, learn and grow. You don’t need an engineering background and computer science degree. So don’t doubt yourself.”

This story was written for WRAL TechWire Advisor partner Momentum Learning.