Tech First at FIRST Tech

Great blog story about FIRST and the importance of STEM fields from Congressman Jim Langevin.

From Fall 2014 Congressman Jim Langevin:

Tech First at FIRST Tech

It is a joy to attend FIRST robotics competitions each year, to watch the program grow into the towering success that it is today, and to see the interest and participation increase year to year. These programs are vital to spurring interest in the fields of science, math, engineering and technology.

As co-chair of the Congressional Career and Technical Education Caucus, I continually advocate for programs that increase enrollment in STEM fields. Closing the skills gap by giving students and workers the tools to succeed in the modern economy is how we will create an economy built to last. FIRST is one of my favorite student outreach programs, and it has already inspired countless students to pursue careers in STEM. For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, or FIRST as it is known, was founded by my friend Dean Kamen – a brilliant innovator who uses his ideas to push the boundaries of health care, science and technology. Among his many distinguished achievements, he has invented the first portable insulin pump, an advanced robotic arm, the Segway and my personal IBOT wheelchair.

Dean can now add teacher to his resume, as the FIRST competition has done an exceptional job at engaging young people and getting them excited about learning. That enthusiasm is palpable. I couldn’t believe how excited the students were at the FIRS

via Fall 2014 | Congressman Jim Langevin.

STEM jobs among most promising in next 10 years | Prosperity 2020

This isn’t really news to New England Tech but we know that jobs in STEM related fields continue to be difficult to fill.  Which means it isn’t be said enough.

From Prosperity 2020:

Students entering the workforce in the next decade may want to think hard about math, science and tech degrees. U.S. News and World Report recently compiled a list of The 25 Best Jobs to pursue by 2020, and 8 of the top 10 are STEM-related careers.

Jobs were ranked by projected growth, employment rate, average salary, prospects and overall job satisfaction. It’s no surprise that tech jobs dominate the top ten, with professionals reporting high job satisfaction and solid salaries. The most promising aspect of the report predicts that openings for these positions will match growth and demand, allowing students and workers to find employment in their chosen fields.

U.S. News and World Report also highlights the important roles STEM students will play in the future economy. “A technology revolution reshaping the energy sector through streamlined operations, increased production, and improved distribution will create ample job opportunities for college graduates over the next decade…. College grads with technical and advanced degrees will be needed to fill lucrative positions as engineers, scientists, and technicians.”

In other words, there’s never been a better time to plan for and pursue a career in math, science and tech. The industry will comprise countless jobs in the near future, and young students with STEM inclinations should

via STEM jobs among most promising in next 10 years | Prosperity 2020.

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The Genie Is Out of the Bottle for Silicon Valley: Lack of Diversity 

So why are there so few women in technical jobs?  Is it that they aren’t being advanced at the same rate as the men?  Or is it that there are so few women entering the technology sector?  If it is the latter, then isn’t it time women stop letting men take these high paying job when women can do them just as well as any man.  Let’s get more women to join the technology workforce.

From: Huffington Post.com

As the U.S. technology sector has boomed, women and minorities have largely been left behind. This is what’s clear in the wake of recent disclosures on workforce demographics from a handful of tech companies.

On June 25, Facebook became the latest tech giant to publicly release its demographic data, which indicated that men represent nearly 70 percent of all global employees. Worse yet, of the 31 percent of women in the company, a mere 15 percent work in jobs that are actually technical. (Women hold 47 percent of non-technical jobs.) When it comes to the top of the pyramid, although Facebook boasts COO Sheryl Sandberg, more than three-quarters of senior-level jobs (77 percent) globally are held by men. Among these senior-level executives in the U.S., nearly three-quarters (74 percent) are white, leaving just a quarter of the pie for everyone else (19 percent are Asian, 4 percent Hispanic, 2 percent black, and 1 percent two or more races#.Yahoo released a similar report two weeks ago, revealing that although the tech company is among the few with a female CEO, less than a quarter #23 percent) of people in VP roles or higher are women. Yahoo’s figures match Facebook’s exactly when it comes to percentage of women globally in technical jobs: while women comprise nearly 40 percent of global employees, disappointing 15 percent have jobs related to technology. Yahoo has a higher percentage of non-white workers than Facebook (50 percent) — but most (39 percent) are Asian, with Hispanic (4 percent), black (2 percent), and those of more than one race (4 percent) still sorely underrepresented.

Similarly, Google’s first diversity report, published at the end of May, showed that men account for 70 percent of the global headcount and 83 percent of the tech staff. Women occupy only 21 percent of leadership positions, and 17 percent of tech jobs at the company. While these numbers are incrementally higher than Yahoo’s or Facebook’s, it’s notable that Google has no female executive officers, and only one woman on its senior leadership team. Google’s workforce is 61 percent white.

While these and other tech companies (including LinkedIn) have a long way to go in improving their track record on diversity, these disclosures demonstrate a first step of commitment toward accountability and future change. The fact that Facebook, Yahoo, Google and LinkedIn have chosen to submit this information to the general public puts pressure on other tech companies to do the same. The message behind these actions is that keeping this problem a secret is not the solution. Tech companies can no longer hide from the glaring reality that they are still largely male and white — especially when it comes to the top positions and (in most cases) the tech jobs.

Working closely with a number of tech companies, SHAMBAUGH Leadership has seen that several important interconnections need to be addressed in parallel within an organization to effect change in this area. Here are a few thoughts that reflect important steps for organizations and leaders to take:

via The Genie Is Out of the Bottle for Silicon Valley: Lack of Diversity | Rebecca Shambaugh.

How to Get Girls Into Coding – NYTimes.com

Girls can code too.  So why does there continue to be a gender gap when it comes to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers? Let’s change that!

From the NYTimes.com:

WHEN I was 7 years old, I knew the capitals of most major countries and their currencies. I had to, if I wanted to track down a devious criminal mastermind in the computer game “Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?” On screen, the ACME Detective Agency would spit out clues like notable landmarks to help players identify the city where Carmen’s globe-trotting henchmen were hiding out. I wouldn’t learn how to pronounce Reykjavik for more than a decade, but I could tell you that its currency was called the krona.I was the child of Indian immigrants, and like any begrudging Bengal tiger cub, I penciled in fill-in-the-blank maps and memorized multiplication tables after dinner. I was much more motivated to learn about geography by chasing Carmen Sandiego on the family Macintosh Plus. I couldn’t confidently point to Iceland on a map. But I did become a technology reporter.

Natalie Rusk is a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab who helped develop Scratch, an open-source programming platform where kids can code games and animation and then share projects and how-to tips. She thinks the next two years will determine whether coding can start to close the gender gap. “One of the key reasons to broaden participation is to get more diversity of who is designing these technologies,” she said. “It’s being presented as, ‘Learn how to program,’ ” she said, “but not, ‘What do you want to program? What’s your idea?’ ”

So what if, instead of trying to guess at what might get girls interested in technology, we looked at what’s already on their screens? While parents often worry about recreational “screen time,” some educators now believe that gaming could be a way to get girls interested in coding, and even to increase the numbers of girls in STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — classes and schools. Reshma Saujani, founder of the nonprofit organization Girls Who Code, said, “We have to meet them where they are.”

“Students kept walking in asking to learn how to code wearing Minecraft T-shirts,’” said Stephen Foster, a founder of the San Diego-based organization ThoughtSTEM, which teaches kids ages 8 to 18 to code in after-school programs and summer camps. “Once it happened the 20th time, we started to realize, ‘Oh, hey, maybe these kids know something that we don’t.’ ”

[Read more…]

Teach Coding to Girls Before Negative Stereotyping Starts – NYTimes.com

Why are less women choosing to enter computer science classes NOW, than in 1984?  Seriously?  According to the New York Times, there will be over 1 million jobs in computer related fields by 2020.  Let’s close the gender gap, beginning now.

HBO’s “Silicon Valley” highlights the gender gap in technology fields.

From NYTimes.com:

It’s 1984 and you’re sitting in your college Computer Science class. You take a look around the classroom of 100 students and count 37 women.

Fast forward to today. It’s 30 years later and the world has changed quite a bit. Women have become the majority in college and the majority in the workforce. We’re approaching gender parity in the life sciences and mathematics fields. These new devices called laptops are everywhere.

Teaching computer science to girls has the potential to turn these eager consumers of technology into unstoppable creators of it.

Today, in your classroom of 100 C.S. majors, 12 will be women.

The gender gap in technology has never been wider, and with the 1.4 million jobs that will be available in the computing related fields by 2020, we need a national, girl-led movement to close it.

via Teach Coding to Girls Before Negative Stereotyping Starts – NYTimes.com.

Young Girls Changing the World

Science and technology are NOT just for boys!  Too few girls enter these careers.  Let’s change that!

Meet 7 Young Girls Changing the World, One Code at a Time

For the 20th Anniversary of the ESSENCE Festival, were paying special attention to technology and its ever changing landscape. This year, ESSENCE Festival is incororporating a #YesWeCode initiative aimed at exposing the youth to computer science. We caught up with some young women from Girls Who Code and asked them them what inspired them to start coding.

via Meet 7 Young Girls Changing the World, One Code at a Time | Essence.com.

The 20 Happiest Jobs For New Grads

Getting a great job is a priority for college grads but being happy in those job is just as important and landing it.

According to CareerBliss.com and the Huffington Post:

Current grads looking for work that will leave them smiling most days should find a tech-related job, new research finds. Jobs in the STEM field (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) continue to set the pace for happiness, especially those in software development, according to a new study from CareerBliss, an online career community. To help new grads determine which jobs are giving young professionals the most career-related happiness, CareerBliss analyzed more than 25,000 independent company reviews. Topping this year’s rankings of the Happiest Jobs for the Class of 2014 are java developers, which are programmers who use a specific language associated with client-server Web applications.

Following java developers on the rankings are embedded software engineers, who help program the embedded software in the electronics and other devices, and .NET developers, a programming language specific to Microsoft. As a whole, jobs in the technology sector dominated the rankings. “Technology is constantly morphing, leaving a great deal of opportunities for new and rising talent,” said Heidi Golledge, CareerBliss co-founder. CareerBliss evaluates the key factors that affect work happiness, including the person one works

via The 20 Happiest Jobs For New Grads.

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Women Coders Featured on Today Show

The Today Show recently did a segment with Maria Shriver highlighting the benefits, and importance, of women and girls becoming involved in the IT field – specifically coding.

Check out the entire segment below!

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

GoldieBlox Promotes Women In Male Dominated Fields

Goldibox, a toy company created by Stanford engineer Debbie Sterling, is doing more than just producing education toys.

They’re producing a set of toys – and books – that introduce little girls to various male dominated fields, such as engineering and construction, and promote the idea that there should be more than “just the pink aisle” in the toy store.

In addition to their great idea, they’ve also come up with a stellar video that’s gone viral.