When we started Bio::Neos 14 years ago part of our company goals and values were a commitment to positive involvement with our community and providing education opportunities for students interested in technology and computer science. We have remained committed to these goals through the years, and are proud to see that other local organizations are rallying around these ideas in recent years.
We're a small shop here at Bio::Neos and spend a lot of our time wearing different hats. We try to make switching hats as easy as possible by finding the right tooling and environment to make us as efficient as we can be. Code reviews are a crucial part of our development process that we use to (1) ensure code quality, (2) improve our skills and (3) share knowledge between our developers, at both a project level and a professional level. But because we spend a majority of our time designing and writing software, the code review can be at times an easy part to leave out of the process.
On March 29th, Michael and I participated at the CCA 7th Grade STEM Day at Clear Creek Amana Middle School in Tiffin, IA organized by Workplace Learning Connection. The day involved guest speakers from all kinds of different science and technology backgrounds and we were responsible for the Information Technology session.
This last December, we at Bio::Neos had the opportunity to participate in Computer Science Education Week for the second straight year and it was just as energizing as the first! Last year, everyone in the office signed up as volunteers on Code.org, but only I was engaged to volunteer at schools that were requesting help. This year... we decided to be a bit more proactive in our support.
I had the opportunity to judge at the Midwest Big Data Hackathon hosted by the University of Iowa this past weekend. The event was open to all students and it was awesome seeing people that had experience in different fields, students and volunteers alike. I saw students from a couple years from graduating with the Bachelors degree to students that were just shy of getting their PhD.
A couple weeks back, Michael and I volunteered for an event at the Coralville Library organized by Erica Binegar and called "On Your Mark! Get Set! Code!". It was a one hour class in which kids of 5th/6th graders of any ability level or previous experience were invited to the library to pair program for 1 hour under the guidance of a group of professional mentors (Including us there was Trish Ball from Continuity).
Over the past few weeks, I have had the opportunity to see several different events that have displayed a lot of passion and enthusiasm in bringing innovative and unique ideas to reality.
This year, the week of December 7th to 13th has been declared Computer Science Education Week. This is an annual program organized through a grassroots effort by code.org and volunteers / partners. This program has been run since 2009, but this is the first year that Bio::Neos has been involved in the effort... and it was awesome!
Today I was given the opportunity to speak to a roomful of about a hundred 8th through 12th graders that were interested in learning more about IT career possibilities, and get some hands-on experience with a real-world implementation of various technologies in a lab setting at the Kirkwood High Tech Guys Day. It was a great event! Thanks for the opportunity to share my experience and why I think there is a technology-related career for anyone that is interested in pursuing that route.