Education Updates

So as I mentioned in one of my new year’s resolutions, I wanted to provide value to the world through my writing, knowledge, and wisdom. So far, some interesting opportunities have come along for that.

Mentoring my coworker’s son

Last Friday (January 5th), one of the business analysts on my team brought his son in to check out the office. He’s a nineteen year old college freshman studying informatics (which I think is related to computer science) at a local university. He likes in history, but he doesn’t want to study the subject in school. As of right now, he’s really interested in using the power of software to improve muesum processes like archiving, indexing, and other things I don’t know about museums. So far, he’s used HTML, CSS, and Javascript at school, and if I rememer correctly, he’ll be taking a class where he’ll be using Python this semester.

While the kid isn’t even sure if he wants to work as a software developer, my more technical coworkers and I threw all this information at him about what technologies to study, what tasks to do, things like that. But the only really timeless suggestions we gave him were to learn about design patterns and study outside of school.

I have given him comment access on the Google Doc version of my book that I’m working on about how to transition from college to your software career. I’ve also given his dad, my coworker, access to the book, and he wants me to have dinner with his son since I’m only a few years ahead of him and I’m super excited to share what I’ve learned. This can develop into a mentor-mentee bond, or an older friend-younger friend bond as I like to think of it.

It is possible that he may lose interest in software, or that he may not even want a mentor (not a good decision, but the heart wants what the heart wants). But if he’s interested at all, I’m willing to help guide him and provide him with as much knowledge as I can.

Mentoring college students on a local open-source project

In December, I did a small project with my company’s data warehouse team, and one of the developers on the team used to work as a professor at a nearby university. Naturally, I was excited to learn about the stuff he’d been doing.

After this project ended (for now), I asked him if I could get lunch with him and learn about ways I could participate as a more active mentor at his university. We had lunch this past Thursday (January 11th). He told me about KillBill, a large, open-source subscription billing and payment platform, and about how students at his university can contribute to the repo for a semester at a time for class credit. He explained to me that there were several tiers of participation in contributing to the program for students on different skill levels, as well as for students in less technical majors who could do things like marketing and project management. I suggested to him that we could try and get grants from local companies so that students could actually be paid to work on this project while also developing a connection with a local company for an internship or a full-time job.

Simply put, he asked me if I was interested in familiarizing myself with the codebase and acting as a mentor for the kids who were working on it. After learning about the nature and scale of the project, as well as the impact we could have on not only this project and payment platforms, but the well-being of the students participating and the well being of the Indianapolis tech community, I decided I want to participate in it. I’ve been pretty busy since having lunch with him, so so far I’ve only forked the repo and installed Maven. However, after tomorrow morning, I should have more time to work on learning how the project works and get in touch with other people at the university to get the ball rolling.

I will keep updating on the impact I have made!

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