Exploring CS & Coding

July 18th, 2017

It seems that every week there is news of a Central Indiana employer with plans to create hundreds of new tech jobs in the coming years.  Consider just the following announcements from Q2 2017:

According to a report issued by Hire Up Indy (The Challenge Ahead: Developing Talent for 51,500 New Technical Jobs by 2025), Central Indiana will have 51,500 net new jobs in technical fields by 2025. Unfortunately, nearly 24,500 of these will go unfilled due to lack of qualified talent.

Despite the irrefutable evidence of a growing demand for tech talent and evidence that our community is headed towards a massive shortfall, thousands of Hoosier youth lack access to opportunities that can create interest and develop skill sets necessary to fuel their path towards long term success as well as growth of our communities.

Fueled by our belief that all K-12 students in Indiana can and should have access to information and experiences that motivate, inspire, and encourage them to explore rewarding career paths in technology, Nextech partnered with TeenWorks this summer to help over 320 students explore computer science activities and the wide variety of tech careers available to them.

Ranging in age from 14-18, the students completed a series of activities using Scratch, Edison Robots and Mozilla Thimble. They then participated in a conversation with a panel of professionals to learn more about the variety of tech companies and jobs throughout Indy.  The goal of the experience was threefold:

  • Change misconceptions about computer science / coding activities
  • Increase students’ confidence in tackling computer science / coding activities
  • Increase students’ awareness of careers in tech..and resolve any misconceptions

Participants completed an evaluation before and after the workshop, rating their level of agreement with a number of statements.  Based on the increase to which students agreed with the following statements, the data tells us the experience more than met the desired outcomes

  • Computer science / coding is fun. – 14.24%
  • I am very good at computer science / coding. – 19.25%
  • I know about careers that people can have in computer science / coding / technology. – 18.93%

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