Students Find Their Niche in Advanced Course

January marked the beginning of Code the Dream's Advanced Course in Durham. As students transition from basic programing to more in depth app development technologies, it's been inspiring to watch them also develop a keener sense that this could be a real future.

As Cait recently said, "CTD has been an awesome experience. Ever since beginning the course in October, I find myself looking at web apps and wondering who built them and what languages they used. I try to deconstruct things like user logins and think how I would tackle that part of a project."

Avi, who is still in high school, said he now plans to study computer science in college, and one day "start up my own business using the skills I have learned." Cait agreed that she was looking forward to "following a new career path that allows me to utilize these new skills.... I can't wait to see what's around the next corner!"

We can't wait to see it either.

Posted on March 8, 2017 .

Welcoming new students in Raleigh

Today was the first day of class for our new Beginner Course. We're excited to have a dozen new students honing their coding skills at the The Iron Yard's campus in downtown Raleigh, and look forward to seeing what you will accomplish.

Posted on January 14, 2017 .

The American Dream for all of us

       America is going through many changes and amongst those, the tech industry is one. A recent survey showed that the tech industry in the U.S. and Silicon Valley have a huge diversity gap. The lack of diversity is becoming a cultural issue as well as a missed opportunity for those who do not have the resources.

Code the Dream  encourages youth immigrants, minorities,  and refugees to dream the unthinkable. This program aims to make resources available to those who do not have the access to them, especially in the tech industry.

Can you imagine if more people had the chance to learn to code?

Posted on December 16, 2016 .

Reaching them (really) young!

Most Code the Dream programs focus on high school students and young adults. But last weekend we were happy to be back at the 'Kids Code' event at Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh. The event uses fun, interactive techniques to give young children a chance to explore and experiment with technology and basic science and coding concepts.

Have you ever wondered how a computer can understand language -- how it really encodes data? Well, if you asked the hundreds of kids we saw on Saturday, they'd be able to tell you, more or less.

Code the Dream led an activity where each participant used colored beads (red and white) to make the first letter of their name using binary code. Binary code is how computers encode data by interpreting a pattern of 1's and 0's. With only a few beads falling on the floor, the museum began fill with children wearing binary bracelets, and a bit more insight and enthusiasm for the technology they use every day!

We want to say thank you to Marbles Kids Museum for the opportunity to share a bit of binary with the next generation of programmers!


Posted on November 22, 2016 .

New CTD class begins with extraordinary new students

Today marks a month with our incredible new students from our class in Durham, NC. This cohort is similar to our previous ones with almost half women and students from all over the world, including Gambia, Guyana, India, Italy, Mexico, and Zimbabwe. We are impressed with what our students have accomplished so far and excited to see where this class takes them!

All photographs were taken by staff member Jocelyn Casanova, who is also taking the class.

Posted on November 10, 2016 .

CTD grad and instructor Cruz Nuñez featured in the North State Journal

As a graduate of Code the Dream, Cruz Nuñez shared his experience with the North Carolina’s new statewide newspaper, the North State Journal. Cruz describes his experience as a recipient of DACA and the challenges he and other students have in seeking out higher education. Please read the full article here.

This article in the North State Journal comes a week after Cruz's publication in the High School Journal. We cannot wait to see what Cruz does next!

Posted on November 1, 2016 .

Tech-N-Treat event brings tech, and fun, to kids in Raleigh

Code the Dream alum, Katherine, demonstrating how to play RoboZZle. 

Code the Dream alum, Katherine, demonstrating how to play RoboZZle. 

Witches, superheroes, and a tarantula - oh my! On Saturday Uniting NC staff and alums from Code the Dream shared coding with children at Tech-N-Treat in Raleigh, NC. Students went around to different booths to play games while earning stickers for their 'passports' and a few pieces of candy. Code the Dream had two games for the children to play: Cargo-Bot and RoboZZle. Each game had an element of fun but required kids to think like programmers trying to come up with efficient solutions to problems.

It was great having CTD alums Katherine and Cynthia share their love for coding with the next generation. We were proud of our women-led team at the event, particularly with so many girls there who were enthusiastic about programming and engineering. We were also happy to meet so many diverse families looking to give their children a head start toward embracing tech!

Thank you Google Fiber for hosting this wonderful event. We cannot wait to see what these bright young minds take away from this interactive experience with science and technology!



Posted on October 31, 2016 .

Code the Dream Interviews - That’s a Wrap!

Grace Martien, Programs Coordinator

Grace Martien, Programs Coordinator

Code the Dream just finished interviews for our Fall 2016 class in Durham, NC! In this application round we received nearly 50 applicants, interviewed 29 individuals, and accepted 16 students for our beginner coding course.  

As a new addition to the staff at Uniting NC, this was my first opportunity to be part of the interviewing team. I greatly enjoyed learning about our applicants’ passions and aspirations for the future. Some want to own their own business or graduate from a 4-year college, but each one has a passion for coding.

Our course at Code the Dream offers students the ability turn their zeal for technology into a reality by working closely with mentors and creating opportunities to continue their education through advanced classes and practical application of skills. Overall, I am very grateful for everyone who applied for our Fall 2016 class in Durham and cannot wait to see what our current students learn!


Posted on October 18, 2016 .

CtD Lead Instructor Ramiro Rodriguez honored as Tarheel of the Week

Every week the Raleigh News & Observer honors one great North Carolinian as its Tarheel of the Week. This week it was our Lead Instructor Ramiro Rodriguez! A well-deserved honor for him, as well as a great recognition of all the hard work and successes of our students, volunteers and everyone who makes Code the Dream possible. 

Tar Heel of the Week: Tech entrepreneur sees coding as a way to help students achieve dreams



Daisy Magnus-Aryitey never saw herself as a computer programmer. A native of Ghana who immigrated as a child, she imagined it as a job for men who grew up playing video games.

“I compared it to playing football,” says the Durham mother of two. “It was out of the realm of possibility.”

But when she heard about a program that would help her learn coding, she jumped at the chance to find a high-paying job that was also flexible enough for parenting. Just a little over a year later, she’s working in IT for Duke University.

She credits her teacher, Ramiro Rodriguez, for the fast transformation. He’s the founder and lead teacher of Code the Dream, which aims to steer people from immigrant and minority backgrounds into careers as computer programmers.

Rodriguez came to the U.S. from Mexico as a child, and went on to earn his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science at Cornell University. Since moving to the Triangle a decade ago, he’s co-founded his own technology start-up. Yet over the past two years, he’s still found time to teach and mentor dozens of young people, some of whom have already gone to work as programmers. Most are immigrants, refugees or others who might lack the resources to pay for their education or support their families.

Read the full story here:


Posted on August 14, 2016 .

This is not a drill!

It's all fun and games until the fire department shows up.

It's all fun and games until the fire department shows up.

Teachers and RTP staff had to prod hundreds of students to get them out the doors, even with the fire alarm going off and the ceiling sprinklers spraying down a few yards away. Some say it all started when overzealous students began 'studying' frisbee flight a little too close to the sprinklers. But whatever the cause, when kids don't want to leave a science event, that's the sign that things were going pretty well!

The event was put on by US2020 RTP, a mentorship-based program that aims to inspire young North Carolinians to pursue STEM careers. As a program that recognizes that minority and immigrant youth remain terribly underrepresented in these fields, Code the Dream was happy to be asked to participate.

Code the Dream Lead Instructor Ramiro Rodriguez brought in an Arduino, an open-source prototyping platform in order to give the kids a taste of how simple code can be used to interact with objects in the "real world." Our team was really impressed with the students' curiosity and desire to understand how things worked.

And the kids kept coming by the hundreds... right up until the alarm sounded, the sprinklers started spraying, and the lady by the elevators started yelling "This is not a drill!"

Ramiro shows how easy it can be to code an Arduino, an open-source prototyping platform.

Ramiro shows how easy it can be to code an Arduino, an open-source prototyping platform.

Posted on April 25, 2016 .