Computer Career Day Illustrates the Myriad of Ways Computer Science Skills Are Used in the Real World

On December 23, the AHS Computer Science teachers hosted a Computer Science Career Fair, an event designed to give students an opportunity to learn about the variety of fields where computer science (CS) plays a role. Organizers Clayton Jones and Katelyn Coleman, AHS CS teachers, wanted to showcase the fact that being in CS can be more than programming. 

The seven presenters, chosen from 14 volunteers who came forward in response to an email to AHS parents, were chosen because they represented some of the different ways CS is used in real-world jobs. Mr. Jones finds that it can be difficult to grasp the myriad of ways the skills he teaches in the classroom transition to the workplace. The best way to understand this, he believes, is to hear directly from individuals who use CS in their industry and research work.

The event was held in the Discourse Lab throughout the day, with each presenter delivering their remarks twice. Students from Computer Science, Geometry, Environmental Science, AP Environmental Science, and Statistics attended during their class periods. Approximately 350 students came over the course of the event. Depending upon which session they were able to attend, the students learned about:

  • How teachers are helped to integrate technology into their instruction and about an Extended Reality (XR) Lab that is used in architecture, sports medicine, nursing, art, engineering, and other disciplines.
  • The work done by a statistician and data scientist in the environmental field and in cancer research at Dana Farber, and how the increase in computing power has changed the kinds of questions we can answer today.
  • Web standards production at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), such as HTML and CSS, used by 2 billion websites around the world.
  • Scaling network access and making art with computers as a software engineer at Akamai Technologies
  • What it is like to be a software engineer at Cambridge Mobile Telematics.
  • The use of computing to achieve sustainability goals, lower the environmental impacts of computing, and leveraging data science and modeling for sustainability analyses.
  • Product management at a healthcare data and analytics computer company, and how an MRI works.

Mr. Jones says that two speakers really seemed to capture the students’ attention. The first was the individual who talked about Augmented and Virtual Reality and the Extended Reality Lab. The second was the individual who works for W3C and spoke about internet protocols. This speaker completed his presentation by pulling out two Emmy awards! 

While outside speakers have presented to AHS classes in the past, this is the first time that a larger career event has been held. Mr. Jones, Ms. Coleman and Dan Sheldon and Shai Fischmann, the other Computer Science teachers at AHS, hope that the recent event will help increase representation in CS, and encourage students to enter the field.