Working for a leader in the emerging tech market has shown me that it’s important to have a vested interest in the education of our youth. There is a severe lack of candidates for technology jobs coming out of college compared to the millions of jobs each year that are created. It’s important to teach young people the benefits of learning computer science principles at a young age.
I do whatever I can to assist young developers finding their way, and instead of just volunteering some time, I wanted to organize a memorable event. This past December, I worked with members of the Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) staff and students, along with co-workers from Primacy, to participate in the worldwide Computer Science Education Week by hosting an Hour of Code. An Hour of Code is an event sponsored by the non-profit organization, Code.org. Its premise is to give every student an opportunity to try programming for one hour, and possibly open their minds to continue programming in the future. Worldwide, over 91 million people have already tried the Hour of Code, including various celebrities and sports stars. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDw1ii7aKwg&feature=youtu.be With input from peers, I gathered tutorials and educational games to create an agenda that was both fun and challenging for the students. The event was attended by 30 students, ranging in age from six to 45. It kicked off with an inspirational video from President Obama, and then an introductory video for the primary tutorial. This tutorial was presented in the form of a game where students could drag and drop commands that would control Elsa and Anna from “Frozen” on the screen, and create artwork with them. For the older students in the crowd, I led them through more advanced tutorials. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKIu9yen5nc#t=118 Holding this event and seeing the visible excitement from the students was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my career. The feedback from parents and CCSU faculty was amazing. One parent pulled me aside after the event to tell me how this one hour had opened her and her daughter’s minds to programming. Her daughter excelled in school, but found little or no challenge in her Advanced Placement classes. They needed something difficult to get her interested in learning. I left feeling that The Hour of Code event that I hosted could change this young lady’s future, and that alone made the entire event worth it. Hosting the Hour of Code was an opportunity for me to leverage my skills and abilities to help young people learn. I learned how easy it is for young minds to understand concept ideas, and I’ve pursued similar programs for my first grade son. Based on feedback from the event, I will continue to be involved with future Code.org events, and will do my diligence to join - and maybe organize - other community events that members of the Primacy staff are involved in.