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Duluth Students to Build Apps and Careers in New Computer Science Course

Updated: 02/18/2014 9:18 PM
Created: 01/30/2014 4:10 PM WDIO.com
By: Travis Dill
tdill@wdio.com

Students at Duluth high schools will soon be building smartphone apps rather than being consumed by them. Professors at the College of St. Scholastica will help develop a new computer programming class that will usher students into open jobs in the Northland.

Students at the College of St. Scholastica (CSS) learn to program software and develop websites. Those skills will look good on a resume according to CSS junior Carl Djovan.

“For the next 10 years there's going to be over 150,000 jobs available for computer science people so I think that would be a great opportunities for everyone. If you love it just go for it,” Djovan said.

But professors said most students are not learning computer science in high school so it's hard to envision it as a job.

“Younger kids don't interact, necessarily, with software programmers a lot so they don't know what that means in the computer science field, and they really need exposure to it at the younger age levels to understand what computer science is,” Jennifer Rosato said.

Rosato is a computer science professor at CSS. She said the new class can give high school students college credit and it will appeal to tech-loving teens.

“Students love, kids love their phones and so the ability for them to not just use an app but be able to create an app, I think, is going to be really engaging for them and they'll be excited about it,” Rosato said.

The class won't just be playing with phones. Rosato said companies like Maurices and Minnesota Power want to hire people with those tech skills. She said the class will be the first step toward a strong career.

“It should benefit students and the schools. It should benefit the colleges in the area with more students pursuing computer science and eventually benefit the businesses by being able to better provide a stronger technology workforce,” Rosato said.

The CSS professors will train Duluth teachers for the course this summer with classes expected to begin in the fall of 2015.

Rosato said this program is being funded by a grant so there will be no cost to the school district. She also said there is room available for other districts to join the program.

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