I am excited to announce that this Fall semester of 2018, the Eastern Iowa IT Sector Board has been permitted to run our Scratch programming competition at North Central Junior High (in the Iowa City Community School District). This is the second semester in a row that NCJH has opened their doors to our organization and we are hoping this year will be bigger and better than the last.
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.
After we founded Bio::Neos in 2004 we received a lot of support from the University of Iowa and other organizations in the Iowa City community. Bio::Neos would not exist today without that initial support we had received from others, and as a result, we have made it a core value to engage in any opportunities that we encounter to give back through mentoring, volunteering, and advocating for all of the organizations in our local community.
As technology becomes more entrenched in our daily lives it is evident that coding will continue to be an in demand skill for some time to come.
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).