Computer Science Teacher
Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

March, 2011

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Could Taking A Computer Science Course Change Your Life?

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    Well it did mine. And Mark Guzdial ha a post last week in which he told two stories of young women taking his Media Computation course at Georgia Tech and how it changed the direction of their careers. (Read Impact of CS on female non-majors: Beyond a pipeline model ) While in my case,a poor confused college student with no idea what he wanted to do with his career who took a computer science course almost by accident and discovered his life’s work not everyone falls so deeply in love with the object that they get a degree in the field. But for many people taking a computer science course, sometimes even just one, adds a dimension to their career that is both unexpected and helpful.

    We talk a lot about “Computer science and” these days where the “and” refers to what ever else you may be more interested in doing. Accounting? Yes, computer science knowledge will help. Biology? You better believe some CS will help with all that data you can collect these days. And I could of course go on. In one of Mark’s stories his student got an interview, and ultimately a job, because hiring managers were impress that she’d acquired some CS knowledge to go with her accounting degree. I have to believe this is not rare these days.

    I understand that huge numbers of professional developers do not have degrees in computer science. 40% is one number I've heard 40% and higher. I’m sure most of them have some training though. A course or two can help. In my case my undergraduate degree is not in CS but I took a lot of CS courses. I’ve seen evidence that a lot more students are doing CS minors these days. That fits in well with the “computer science and” idea. In many cases I expect that some first computer science course with an inspiring teacher lead them to that additional and supportive minor in CS.

    One of the things I hope will come from some of the new initiatives in CS education in high school and earlier is that students will get interested in the field. If they become a major, that’s great. But even if not a major that base of real computer science will serve many students well in what ever career they follow. And that is one big reason I believe we need more good HS CS courses. It means more opportunities to change a life.



  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    FREE Microsoft Certification Exam Vouchers For Students

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    College student, high school student, any kind of student – sooner or later you will be entering the scary job market. how will you differentiate yourself from the rest off  the recent graduates? One way to boost the attention your resume gets is by getting industry certifications like the ones Microsoft offers. For a limited time, you can get a FREE Microsoft Certification Exam voucher code for select exams to help you get started. Microsoft Certification is designed to validate your IT skills and shows potential employers that you are motivated and focused on your career. It says you go beyond the requirements of your course work.

    Like new jobs, these vouchers are in limited supply so don’t wait! Visit www.dreamspark.com today!

    Btw, In these videos some students talk about the value of Microsoft certification to them and their career hopes.

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  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    US Imagine Cup People’s Choice Awards

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    The Imagine Cup is the premier student technology competition in he world. Yeah, I get excited about it. The US finalists in the Software Design Invitational and the Game Design competition (two categories there) and been selected and are making their plans to attend the finals in Redmond Washington in April. Now it is also time for the public, people like you, to have your say on if these projects are genius or not? You'll decide!

    Microsoft US Imagine Cup Fall finalists now have new team pages--check them out and get to know the teams: http://on.fb.me/2011ImagineCup 

    Of course I am completely unbiased. OK maybe not. I have a soft spot in my heart for high school students competing against college students so I may have voted for the high school team, Xoz Gaming. Their project, Strain is a Windows real time strategy game where you defend the world against a global pandemic.

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    Some other good teams to vote for are:

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    Geek League
    NYU
    Game Design

    Drexel Dragons
    Drexel University
    Software Design

    TTHV
    Harvard
    University of Pennsylvania
    Central Connecticut State
    Software Design

    There are lots of great teams with lots of great ideas. Visit the Facebook page, check them out, and vote early and often (you can vote every day) for your favorite. Oh and by the way there are prizes for people who vote to win as well.



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