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Programming camps useful for basic tech education

Carnegie Mellon has a number of programs that focus on developing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education for youth in the Pittsburgh area. An example of these programs is C-MITES, where children from kindergarten to 10th grade attend summer camps on campus to learn skills in the STEM fields.

Programs like C-MITES are an effective way to promote programming education for younger students, which will prove to be a vital skill in the future job market.

Another program is the picoCTF, a competition that teaches high school students hacking and computer security. The program then challenges students to improve those skills.

According to a Carnegie Mellon press release, “Students participating get hands-on experience in security topics such as cryptography and codes, computer bugs, exploits, and defenses.” The competition, hosted by Carnegie Mellon-affiliated organizations Team Osiris and the Plaid Parliament of Pwning, looks to cater to students of all skill levels.

In a world where technology is an increasingly important and prevalent part of everyday life, technological illiteracy may turn into a major barrier to overcome.

The demand for programmers in the workforce is skyrocketing: 1 million jobs in the tech sector may remain vacant because of the lack of people with programming skills, according to code.org. There are elements of basic programming that can be applied to any career path one pursues. Programming fosters the ability to develop algorithms and enhance one’s capacity to apply logic to problems.

Too many students are entering the workforce with little-to-no knowledge of basic computer programming. Events like picoCTF and programs such as C-MITES help combat this, and are crucial to changing the idea that programming education isn’t important enough to start teaching before college.