The head of a Japanese tech company wants all 17,000 of his employees to learn computer programming.

Hiroshi Mikitani told Bloomberg last week that he thinks the employees of Rakuten Inc. would benefit from knowing some basic coding and give his e-commerce empire an edge over companies like Amazon. 

A local coding school would likely agree. The Suncoast Developers Guild can give you that knowledge in a matter of weeks. Now, the group is making classes more accessible to more people.

The immersive program in St. Petersburg can have you trained in six weeks, but now they offering part-time classes to open it up to even more people.

For president and co-founder Toni Warren, seeing so many women entering the field is encouraging. It's one of the main reasons they decided to open up the school to offer classes in the evenings and on weekends. 

She cited a study showing less than 7 percent of the software engineers in the world are women and even less 3 percent are African American.

"That shows that there is a major disparity in who is actually building our technology that everyone uses," Warren said. "So we're taking proactive measures to make sure that everyone recognizes that this education is empowering for everyone."

Shantell Smithson used to be a creative writer, but is now taking classes at Suncoast. She's excited to see more  women getting involved in tech careers.

"I think if more girls and women knew they had the access to do this then they would be really good at it," Smithson said.

Warren says the school is open to any high school graduate that is excited about a career in the tech industry, and is open to new styles of learning and adapting to changing technology.

Click or tap here to find out more about classes at the Suncoast Developer's Guild.

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