CARIRI and bmobile are engaging with the nation’s youth to promote ICT development and proficiency. The following is après release from bmobile.
The primary languages that run the world are no longer English, Spanish or French. While these three have enjoyed prominence in diplomacy and commerce for the past century, the modern world is run more on computer code today, by the sheer scale of global communication, than any other language. Recognising that learning to code is a necessity and priority for young learners, the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) with support from companies like bmobile have engaged with over 900 students in T&T to introduce them to the fundamentals of mobile app development and coding languages later this month during school holidays.
Since 2018, CARIRI has successfully executed ICT educational programmes in over 70 Secondary Schools reaching over 1,500 students with great success. The Coding and Mobile App Development programme will be conducted using Zoom and online video and allow participants, all aged between 11 and 19, to learn the fundamentals of C#, Java, HTML, SQL coding languages. Coding is the computer language used to develop apps, websites and software. Learning coding empowers people to do many things that they may not otherwise be able to do, such as creating websites, finding a career in app or game development, or even starting a technology-centered business. It also allows the person to develop analytical skills and critical thinking skills as well.
According to Alicia Williams, Marketing Officer II, CARIRI, it is vital for our nation’s youth to understand mobile apps and how they are created, developed and even commercialised. “The primary objective of the proposed programme is to expose participants to coding fundamentals and the process of mobile app creation. Learning consists of elements in C#, Java, HTML, SQL and will cover a range of development from building simple apps to mini games to keep it both fun and educational. The practical elements of Level 1, which includes Beginner and Intermediate Courses, are targeted to students in Forms 1 - 3. Level 1 is taught on the MIT App Inventor platform and is targeted towards the Lower Secondary School curriculum,” she detailed. “Level 2, the Advanced Level, is geared towards Upper Secondary School Students in Forms 4 and up and is designed to supplement the ICT Curriculum used in the education system.”
The programme has been comprehensively adapted to facilitate remote learning, with the classroom sessions available as pre-recorded segments. The student can determine when and how they would like to view the modules. Williams noted that they are cognizant that the classes are being held during the vacation period, so allowing students to set their times is one more positive aspect that the remote-learning mechanism will allow. Students will also have access to their tutors at dedicated times for Q&A, which will be done as live sessions over video conferencing and then be issued an evaluation to complete. Attendees who meet the requirements will then receive official certificates of completion from CARIRI with the support of their sponsors.
One sponsor is local, home-grown communications solution provider, bmobile. Its corporate social responsibility mandate lists youth education as one of its primary pillars, and the company was keen to continue supporting this programme with CARIRI. Gerard Cooper, General Manager Shared Services at TSTT, explained, “This is one of the most progressive programmes that we have been honoured to support as a company. Of course, it aligns with our role as a technology partner in the development of the nation, but beyond that we see that technology camps like this, help to whet the appetite for non-traditional learning routes and we look forward to seeing some exemplary students emerge not just from this iteration this month but from continued work or a career in coding later on.” bmobile joins other local conglomerates and companies, including Republic Bank, Caribbean Finance Company, Qure Ltd, and Global Forensics.
Williams was happy to welcome the telecom company as a continued supporter. “I’m very grateful that bmobile took up this offer as they are one of the local companies that have been onboard since the last programme. We have been looking at growing the programme and definitely have been able to do this with amazing corporate support,” Williams added. One interesting thing to emerge from the promotion of this initiative is that CARIRI fielded many calls from parents and adults who are also keen to learn the skill of coding. This initiative would be the first time that the Coding and Mobile App Development programme is being held virtually, which has also allowed an increase in participants in this tranche while still being conducive to Public Health regulations.
The global demand for persons with coding skillsets continues to increase, with new job opportunities in the sector emerging every day. According to the employment website, Glassdoor.com, of the 50 Best Jobs in America for 2021, the role of Java Developer is the most desirable in terms of demand and possible earning potential. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) also projects that employment in these and related fields can decline up to 8% over the next decade. US-based businesses may seek to outsource projects to overseas contractors due to price competitiveness and the remote-readiness of the role itself. With the proper preparation, T&T can benefit from these shifts in demand.