The phrase "if you can't find it, build it" rings true for Mike McGee for many reasons. On Tuesday, the Chicago-area native shared his entrepreneurial success story with a Sioux Falls crowd. McGee helped create The Starter League, the world's first school for coding, in 2011.
"People have all these ideas in their head, they talk to their friends, they talk to their family members, but they don't have the skills to make them real. Now, with the education out there, they finally have the ability to have the skills to learn how to code themselves instead of paying thousands of dollars to have someone else pay their vision for them," McGee said.
McGee was one of the speakers at the Innovation Expo at the Orpheum Theatre. While you might think learning to code websites and apps is just for tech whizzes, McGee says everyone should learn, especially small business owners.
"As a business decision, it's kind of a mistake to not know at least a little bit about tech because then you're at the mercy of your developers and people that you hire," McGee said.
While the movement to have people learn to do their own coding could eventually take business away from software developers, McGee says most in that business have been supportive.
"There are some who have been doing this for ten, 15, 20 years and the prospect of having new people come in can be a little threatening, but at the same time, even more software developers have been supportive and willing to mentor," McGee said.
And, this 25-year-old success story says, the movement of people to learn more about web design and app building won't slow down any time soon.
"I definitely think that this has the potential to reach even further than it is now with the millions of people learning," McGee said.
McGee's school for coding starters has already had more than 700 students since its inception two years ago. Ages have ranged from 13 to 70 years old.