The CodeMontana project put together by RightNow Technologies founder Greg Gianforte and Startup Bozeman founder Rob Irizarry has already enrolled nearly 1,200 students, but students that enroll before September 8 will have a new opportunity: earning college credits.

"We introduced the program just about a year ago, and we're excited to announce that students that participate this Fall in Code Montana, which is free of charge, will have the opportunity of registering and getting college credit," Gianforte said. "They will actually get three credits, the equivalent of an intro-to-programming class that is going to prepare them for their college career."

One of the original goals of CodeMontana was to get students interested in the technology sector and give them a shot at the hundreds of new tech jobs that are popping up in the state every year. With starting salaries between $45,000 and $85,000 the sector features some of the best jobs available in the state, but most schools didn't have coding classes available.

The new college credit opportunity was made possible after Gianforte placed a call to the Montana Commissioner of Higher Education Clay Christian who was very open to the idea. Subsequent meetings with the Montana Tech chancellor and Computer Science Department head Jeff Braun allowed for the hiring of an adjunct professor that will grade the projects students complete for credit on

"It's being done through Montana Tech in Butte," Gianforte said,"but these three credits that you receive are transferable, so you can transfer them to U of M, or  MSU, I believe that you can also transfer them to another school, this is full college credit. You are essentially enrolled at Montana Tech, although you do the work online so you can just do the work at home, after school, or maybe with a group of kids at school."

90 days of CodeMontana is completely free for Montana high school students and can be found at Students that want to get college credit for the class will need to fill out the 2014-2015 Jump Start form and register in an early “college-credit-only” course. The course is titled CodeMontana: Intro to CS (Course number: CSI 191, CRN 74966) and will require a $148.74 tuition fee.

Those who need help with applying or just have general questions about the program can contact Bernie Phelps at 406-496-4565.