Brian Russell and Caleb Smith Astro Code School

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If you're a recent high school or college graduate interested in programming, or a seasoned professional looking for new skills, the previously announced Astro Code School is now open for business.

The Durham program became the second in the state (behind The Iron Yard) to be licensed by the North Carolina Community College Board as a proprietary school Friday, and has opened up an application period for a three-month class that begins May 18. Rolling admission has also begun for a September class.

The license is important, code school creators Brian Russell (top left), Colin Copeland and Caleb Smith (top right) of Caktus Consulting Group believe. It gives Astro credibility and students confidence in a world where private code schools are popping up in cities around the world, causing some to doubt their promises of six-figure salaried jobs with three months of training.  

Astro doesn't make that promise, but it does ensure students a state-audited program that trains for in-demand skills, assigns web application development projects that can be used in a portfolio and provides help building that portfolio and a resume. It also offers insight and connections through an employer advisory board.

And soon, students may earn college credits for completing coursework at Astro, says Russell, the school's director. Here's the official school catalog

Astro's offering comes at no small cost—$12,000 for the May Python and Django Web engineering course. But the school will eventually roll out less costly and time-consuming two and three day bootcamps, three-week introductory courses and certificate programs. It also will provide custom corporate and university training programs. Astro created a semester-long program for the UNC School of Journalism this year and recently completed a Django bootcamp with the California College of Arts in San Francisco.

Russell hopes to eventually offer loans or scholarships, as the school is committed to attracting a diverse student body. But for now, he hopes to hire teaching assistants interested in participating in the class, whom also have a financial need.

"I would love for it to be someone who qualifies and is in need, as a way for us to help and give back," he says.