ILLINOIS REBOOT: A Coding Pre-Academy

Illinois Reboot

Applications for the Summer 2021 cohort are now closed. Join our mailing list to stay up to date on future cohorts.  The next one is projected to be offered in early 2022.   **please note:  the cohort is limited to accepted applicants only


ILLINOIS REBOOT, a FREE part-time technology training program

The University of Illinois Research Park and American Family Insurance have partnered together to power ILLINOIS REBOOT, a FREE coding pre-academy that exposes participants to technical skill fundamentals and provides coaching and mentoring from local tech professionals.

Illinois Reboot will provide participants with a foundation in data science literacy, through introductions to the following topics: UNIX, SQL, Python, GitHub, and Agile project management principles.  The curriculum was curated by University of Illinois Computer Science faculty based on Software Carpentry courses.

Upon successful completion of curriculum and program requirements, participants will be awarded a University of Illinois Research Park Tech Badge certificate.

The program specifically seeks to encourage a more diverse and inclusive tech community in Central Illinois, and benefit those who have been adversely affected by the economic factors of COVID-19.

The training will be delivered via Zoom in the evenings, June through August (schedule link below).

While programming skills and experience are not prerequisites for this course, applicants should have familiarity with technology and data.

See an overview of the program in this video below:

Tell us about your professional goals, and how gaining technology skills could advance your career.

If you have questions, email Rebecca Motley at



All classes will be held virtually, via Zoom, 6-8 pm on weekdays, June through August.  There will be two optional in-person networking events.

The program schedule is available at this link.


Up to five $1000 scholarships will be awarded to ILLINOIS REBOOT participants who complete all certification requirements through a competitive application process.  Scholarship resources may be used to fund tuition at more formal coding and data science educational programs (some are listed below).

These scholarships are made possible by American Family Insurance.

Minimum Tech Requirements

Participants must have access to:

  • Internet-capable computer with a major operating system. Tablets, phones, and Chromebooks are not feasible for the training.
  • Reliable WiFi connection. EnterpriseWorks incubator will also be an option for onsite use for participants who need dedicated internet.
  • Ability to download and install software in advance.
  • Must have technical aptitude, previous work with technology (programming skills are not required).


Certificate Requirements

  • Complete the 3 required workshop series: UNIX, Python, Git/GitHub

  • Complete at least 1 of the 4 elective workshop series: Managing Data/SQL, Image Processing/Python, Data Analytics/Python, Data Visualization/Wolfram

  • Attend at least two Research Park technical user group sessions

  • Attend two hours of career coaching and/or networking with local tech professionals


Professional Development Components

Participants will receive professional development and coaching from tech experts from the Research Park and Champaign-Urbana community to help them develop technology and digital career plans and learn about job opportunities in programming and data analytics roles.

  • Research Park Tech Recruiter-in-Residence Sophie Roney specializes in technical talent and software engineering talent acquisition. She has previous experience at Wolfram and Granular building technical teams in Champaign-Urbana, and now owns Picked US, a recruitment consulting firm.

  • Research Park Entrepreneur-in-Residence Lori Patterson co-founded Pixo, a consulting company located in Urbana focused on custom software engineering and mobile application development. She is a mechanical engineering graduate from the University of Illinois and previously worked for Andersen Consulting, Caterpillar, and Solo Cup. Lori has mentored over 200 early-stage startups and established enterprises.

Participants will also have opportunities for mock interviews and networking with local tech professionals.

This program is funded by an EDA CARES Recovery Act Assistance Award and a generous sponsorship by American Family Insurance.

Other training options available now:


Parkland Computing Degree Programs (with transfer opportunities to 4-year colleges):
  • Computer Science A.S. program consists of Mathematics, English, general education courses and beginning programming classes
  • Data Systems and Development Program includes include mobile application development, systems and database programming, and web development. Coursework includes Python, C/C++, Java, JavaScript, SQL, and internship options at local employers.
  • Digital Media Program prepares students for employment in gaming, feature film, web design, video and commercial production, post-production, visual effects, and architectural design.
  • Network System Administration and Support teaches computer and network hardware and software, analyze problems, implement security measures, and monitor networks.


Discovery Partners Institute: TechReady Illinois

The Discovery Partners Institute launched TechReady Illinois in June 2020 to help Illinois residents affected by COVID-19 gain new digital skills at steeply discounted tuition rates. TechReady Illinois will provide training courses for the high-demand fields of computer science, data and engineering programs – at up to a 75 percent discount. Courses will be offered in one of four tracks, with opportunities to obtain a certificate upon completion. These include: Data and analytics, Cloud computing, Cybersecurity, and Software development. Participating institutions include the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois System, the Illinois Institute of Technology and City Colleges of Chicago. To participate, residents will complete virtual courses, some conducted by faculty from participating academic institutions. Others will be run by partners, including Coursera and i.c.stars.


Illinois Computing Accelerator For Non-Specialists (iCAN)

The Illinois Computing Accelerator for Non-specialists (iCAN) program is designed especially for people who have a bachelor’s degree in any field other than computer science. iCAN is a one-year (fall, spring, summer) program that results in a Computing Fundamentals Certificate.

iCAN’s mission is to broaden participation in computing through an accelerated program for non-computer science college graduates. Hands-on course work in computing fundamentals, individualized attention from world-class faculty, and academic and career mentoring empower iCAN students to make ground-breaking research contributions and technological innovations.

The second iCAN cohort, which will begin in August 2021, will welcome diverse college majors, such as English, business, marketing, architecture, political science, biology, creative arts, and aerospace engineering. Since iCAN students couple an additional area of expertise with computing, they bring a unique perspective that enriches computing.