Programming the Future

New job training program to build local tech talent

Guendner Res

Coastal Wilmington is riding the wave of flourishing technology companies, and businesses and educators are teaming up to meet the demand for skilled workers.

Cape Fear Community College has been working with several local tech companies to design a software development foundations program that offers specific training employers need today.

“The tech scene in Wilmington is thriving,” says CFCC workforce training coordinator ROSEMARY GUENDNER (pictured). “Cape Fear Community College is responding to the needs of those industries by providing this high-quality job training to prepare the workforce.”

Representatives from Apiture, Grover Gaming, Live Oak Bank, nCino, and opiAID served on an information technology advisory committee working with the college.

“I’m telling you flat out that Wilmington is going to be a technology hub in the world, not just in the U.S.,” says DAVID REESER, founder and CEO of opiAID, a Wilmington data science company developing technology that interprets health information to help patients recovering from substance abuse.

The first level course – Software Development 1 – is 96 hours, and there are no prerequisites. The program, which began in January, will continue with second and third-level courses.

While CFCC offers diplomas and degrees in fields such as information technology, this program is part of the college’s economic and workforce development division, which provides short-term job training to help people get good-paying jobs and meet the needs of employers, Guendner says.

“It’s designed for the individual who’s either looking to enhance their job skills or to make a career change,” Guendner says.

The first level course includes a focus on coding and teamwork skills, the software development life cycle, and agile methodologies, Guendner says, adding the course will prepare students for an entry-level software development position.

At the end of the semester, students will get a chance to showcase their abilities while industry representatives observe, Guendner says.

Students may continue to fine-tune their skills with the second and third-level courses. Those will include a focus on N-Tier software design and implementation with an emphasis on user interface, business objects, and data persistence, and then later will explore cloud computing as an infrastructure, application, and service, Guendner says.

“Organizations are looking for bright individuals that are going to build great software,” says CASSIDY LAMB, engineering enablement program manager at nCino, a financial services technology company headquartered in Wilmington. “A program like this at Cape Fear Community College allows for us to build that pipeline of potential candidates from groups of people that historically may not have access to the traditional computer science four-year degree education.”

Tech companies are looking for workers with coding skills in languages and frameworks currently used in the industry, as well as skills in collaboration and communication, Lamb says.

“In the world of software, when a team is responsible for delivering something versus an individual, what the research has found and what’s shown in the industry is that products better meet the needs of their customers,” Lamb says. “The quality of those products is better.”

Companies also need employees who can continuously learn in the evolving tech field.

“One challenge we have is that people that have been in technology too long can’t keep up with how fast it’s evolving, especially with development and applications,” Reeser says.

A balance of hard and soft skills is important, Reeser says, adding that some people may be technically proficient but struggle socially with how to work as a team or think beyond “A to B.”

“Sometimes you have to think around B to get to the C,” Reeser says. “That’s what really helps businesses breakthrough and be more innovative.”

More information about the software development program can be found at

To view more of photographer Terah Hoobler’s work, go to

Want more WILMA? Click here to sign up for our WILMA newsletters and announcements.

Categories: Women to Watch