Making a midlife career change can be daunting. There’s an excitement to it too, the thrill of trying something new, or the gratification of finally pursuing a field that’s always intrigued you. But in our changing world, full of uncertainties and responsibilities, many of us need a support network, to feel secure when making such a big decision. Since 2015, the team at Prime Digital Academy has provided their support, training and industry connections to help prepare non-tech professionals eager to join the technology sector.

As an educational community, Prime Digital is dedicated to helping non-traditional candidates learn full stack software engineering and user experience (UX) design. Through its immersive, project-based curriculum, the academy stands apart, connecting their students to a vast alumni network as they build and strengthen their professional portfolios. Looking back on the success of their previous cohorts, their approach seems to be working. Thus far they’ve helped over 1,200 graduates, now working in roughly 600 tech companies.

People first
“When I stumbled upon Prime Digital Academy (all the way back in 2016), I was very intrigued,” said Christy Larsen, Prime Digital’s Director of Employer Partnerships. “Prime focuses on developing the person and not only their tech/design skills.”

With a background in early childhood and elementary education, Larsen, like many of Prime Digital’s students, came to the academy looking for a change. When she started working for Prime as an Academic Coordinator, Larsen found the new approach to instruction she’d been looking for.

“The instructors are some of the most intelligent and empathetic people I have ever met,” Larsen said fondly. “I love Prime’s focus on diversifying the tech community and giving career-changers the chance to learn alongside like-minded individuals.”

Preparing programmers of every age
Now a Director, Larsen works closely with those most impacted by the program. “I get to work with students in the classroom, alumni post Prime, and so many amazing people doing great things in tech,” Larsen said.

Lately, Prime has been looking for new ways to engage with future UX designers, reaching back in the community to help high school and college students as well. One of their recent partnerships was with the City of St. Paul’s Right Track program, Mayor Carter’s youth jobs initiative for building a diverse future workforce.

Together, Prime Digital and Right Track helped eight young professionals complete a 10 week UX training program. Prime then took it a step further, working with local companies to provide internships for the graduates after they completed school.

Many ways to engage
Later this summer, Prime Digital is kicking off a part-time full-stack software engineering program. The new format will take the existing curriculum that’s helped over 1,000 people start careers in software engineering, and distribute it across a 28-week remote schedule.

Career-changers interested in signing up can start their application now. Prime’s usual scholarships, grants and financing options still apply.

“Prime is always looking for new ways to partner with companies to increase accessibility to our programs and ultimately diversity in tech,” Larsen said. “Prime itself has added some scholarships due to the pandemic and social unrest to make our programs more accessible for everyone. We welcome conversations with companies looking to do the same.”

If members of the tech community would like to connect with Prime Digital to learn more, they can email

“Prime is so incredibly proud to be part of this amazing community and want to thank everyone who has worked with our students & alumni,” Larsen concluded, “through mentorship, guest speaking, mock interviewing, and companies who have hired our amazing graduates.”