Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced a $75 million investment in the company’s YouthSpark initiative today, focused on computer science education. As part of this announcement, Microsoft will also expand its Technology Education and Literacy in Schools (TEALS) program starting Fall 2015, which enables professionals in the tech industry to volunteer and partner with teachers to start computer science programs in high schools. In celebration, we are featuring local teachers in the TEALS program to learn more about how to bring computer science programs to more schools. In Illinois, TEALS is running programs in DePaul College Prep and we are always looking to expand!
Programming is a passion of mine and I have spent a lot of time honing this craft. Having the computer effectively work for you is increasingly necessary in today’s world. I enjoy the challenge of teaching an individual a new topic and trying to understand where he or she is struggling with a concept. Volunteering for the TEALS program allows me to share a hobby with a new generation and meets a personal desire to give back to others.
Computer science is important because it requires critical thinking and practical problem solving. In a computer science class, students are exposed to many exercises of varying complexity. Students must take a problem, determine the requirements, break the requirements down to smaller problems, logically solve the problems, translate the solutions for the computer, and validate their work. Even if someone does not go into the field of computer science, being able to effectively approach a problem is a valuable skill to have.
Computer science will allow the city of Chicago to stay competitive and enable innovation to grow there. Innovation is born from solving problems including ones we don’t know exist. By exposing individuals to computer science, we increase the number of people with tools to effectively solve problems.
Tony Smith is a Software Engineer at NetherRealm Studios who teaches Computer Science at DePaul College Prep as part of the Microsoft TEALS program. “I have lived my dream for the past six years getting paid to make video games as a career,” Tony told us.