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Thursday, May 13, 2010

wanderings on the dark side

We been having crazy times [when do I NOT say that....], even more than usual. Lotsa techie stuff.
Things pile up, things fall apart.  Plans for the Europe trip are off: in the last week or so circumstances conspired against the plan. Volcano in Iceland not going away, mom's health and treatments, dad's employment, and now my school situation.

   [Tuesday] I was given a note during math class, telling me to come to the office after class. I went down accordingly [remember the counseling office that I got so familiar with last fall whilst figuring out classes?] and found it full of geeks wondering what was going on. It developed that we had all signed up for computer science/programming for next year. Turns out there will NOT be any programming or CS offered next year at this high school.
   Time for a rant. This is disgraceful. My town is arguably one of the most technology-oriented in the area. The two biggest employers in the area are Hewlett Packard and the best engineering university in the state. Our area has the strongest high school robotics community in the state: people from other areas say they wish they had anywhere near the community and support that we do. The local 6 teams regularly are some the strongest at Regionals, chiefly because of the support from the university [mentors and such] and local tech/engineering businesses.  Now the biggest high school in the area is cutting their advanced computer classes.
   Computer programming/advanced computer skills are an absolute requisite in today's world. Sure, some people can learn those skills on their own.....but why are those same skills any less important than courses high schools would never think of dropping, like math or history. We hear every day that the US is losing its competitive edge in the technology market. If students do not have access to quality instruction in techie stuff, how can we be surprised at this?

  Women in technology: another rant.  I am not a feminist. But I do believe that girls should have every chance that boys do when it comes to choosing a career, if they decide to do so. In the last few days I have had a few conversations that have to bear on this.  The programming teacher from last year at CHS is a woman...here's part of an email responding to my query about the programming class: 


 "There are way too few of us in the industry, and employers are screaming for female employees in computer science/engineering.  If you want to be in high demand, and believe you enjoy programming, you're thinking pretty smart for a future! Especially when the government employment department is predicting that in 5-10 years the demand for computer science/engineering employees is going to be 70% higher than currently.  More so for women, too."

 Part of this is because of affirmative-action type stuff that involves quotas for female employees, I have no doubt. Be that as it may, you are still going to have to be top-tier to get a job in computer science [CS].

   Yesterday I hunted down the teacher who was reputed to teach the computer applications class...turns out that is not happening either, but he mentioned an interesting alternative: tech support.  Every year he has a smallish class of people who help with tech support around the school, from repairing computer operating systems to installing software...no experience necessary.  I paraphrase:   'It's always a good class for girls to take....to not be scared to go into the insides of a computer and tool around in there, because really it's just a bunch of junk, it's nothing to be scared of.  I find it gives them confidence they might otherwise lack; not that it seems like you have a problem with that' [I had all but swaggered into the classroom, wearing classic black and carrying Bag of Holding full of textbooks, and spoke with my characteristic poise: anybody who knows me knows what I'm talking about ;) ]

  Tuesday also.....at the meeting for the advanced computer class, I was one of only two girls in the room. Nevertheless, I was the one able to offer forth info about Autodesk Maya [computer assisted design program].

  I'm primed to become the Mid-Valley's leading robotics geek.....I'm practically on two teams, at meetings for one team I wind up leading the meeting, at the other team I tend to have info on whatever event is being talked about. Beloved laptop in hand, I sit at the center of a web of information. A few taps of the keys, and I can tell you the names of the teams registered for the off-season competition at OSU in two weeks; the possibilities of college credit at the area high schools; the season scores of any robotics team; and any other miscellaneous stuff you might need to know at the time.....

  Of course I also have resources other than purely technical. Contacts for one...I know everybody everywhere, or at least I'm working towards that goal. Theatre, robotics, film-making, I get around.

  Then there are the....skillz. Skills like getting people to do things for me. That sounds creepy doesn't it. It's not really.....I think the deal is that I am so sure that people will do what I want them to [this is usually along the lines of, hiring me as videographer, or helping me scout, or getting me into a class, or trying that take of the movie ONE MORE TIME] that THEY think they want to do it too, and away we go, and everyone is happy.    
  And knowing what's going to happen. I don't make much of this, because it sounds presumptuous [to my ears at least], but it's definitely there.  I knew a lot of the things that were going to happen this year...

    Anyways.

I'm back in black.  The past two months are over. Life moves forward.
  

   Don't die, guys.

1 comment:

Tragedy101 said...

I dub thee, Spider...
Extrovert!

Just kidding:-)
The whole sitting "at the center of a web of information" thing.

The tech thing sounds kinda fun. And, potentially, arduous. That type of thing could take all kinds of interesting twists, me thinks.