thumbnail_Coding Class 1Frequently young people who haven’t been exposed to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers through their community and family don’t realize that a career in STEM fields are within their reach. There are many barriers for young people interested in these fields, be it lack of exposure, not knowing how to begin pursuing such a career, or fearing that since they didn’t excel in one area (such as Math) while in primary school that they are unfit for such a career path.

Technology has always driven our economy, and that is even more true today than it was 20 years ago. Check out these stats:

According to ITcareerfinder, as of April 2015 ( http://www.itcareerfinder.com/brain-food/blog/entry/best-computer-jobs-for-the-future.html ), between 2010 and 2020, there will be 32% growth in Mobile App Developer positions, 30% growth for general Software Engineering, 31% growth in Database Administration positions, and that is just to name a few positions available to someone trained as a Software Engineer. Many such positions have a starting salary ranging from $80 – $105K.

It is imperative that young people in our communities gain exposure to STEM fields, not only for monetary reasons. Learning skills that are required for STEM careers leads to pragmatic, logical thinking, which can be applied to any aspect of life.

Coding Class 2Code Ramp is a program designed to expose young people to Web Development, and help them realize they have the potential to become Software Engineers. Code Ramp is open to students from all walks of life who are seriously considering a career in software, as well as those who would just like to try it out to see if this is the career for them. The course meets four days a week, for three hours over the course of five weeks. The Code Ramp participants learn the basics of Web Development. There are three basic components to most webpages:

  • HTML: The markup language used to present content on webpages.
  • CSS: The style sheet language used to change the styling of content on webpages.
  • JavaScript: The programming language of the web.

During week one, Code Ramp participants learn the basics of HTML and CSS. The following four weeks are spent on Javascript, and learning to program (Programming is the art (or science, depending on who you ask) of making a computer do what you want it to do). Additionally, tools that are essential to every Software Engineer such as the command line and Git are used throughout the course.

Though fast-paced and challenging, Code Ramp students learn a lot in a very short period of time and leave with an understanding of basic programming and Javascript. Upon completion of Code Ramp, participants will have the skills and knowledge to solve many challenging problems, think critically, and solve problems that are new and exciting. Each student receives a Mac Book in lieu of a stipend upon graduation from the five week class. In the most recent class, twelve students graduated. All did an outstanding job presenting their website projects at the graduation ceremony held on Friday, July 15. The next Code Ramp training will take place in September. Be sure to check our calendar to find out when.

-Dejon Gill

Dejon Gill is a Software Engineer who comes from an agricultural and customer service background. He transitioned to software engineering through hard work and by graduating from Telegraph Academy Prep and Telegraph Academy, a Hack Reactor Core network school.