IT-ology engages future IT talent through robotics competitions
Since January 2011, IT-oLogy has provided students and professionals with the necessary technological skills needed to succeed in the constantly changing field known as information technology. By offering affordable, top- notch workshops and events, the non-profit organization continues to be a driving force in generating qualified individuals to fill high- demand IT positions.
The team at IToLogy prides themself in “engaging, equipping, and connecting future IT talent.” They follow through on this mission by investing in children as young as eight who are interested in technology, but do not necessarily have the knowledge or resources to expand on this interest.
Some careers children might want to pursue in the future include sports technology, software engineering and development, web and digital communications, cyber security, and information systems.
To prepare children in these careers, IT-oLogy created the Robotics Fundamentals Workshop. These three-hour classes are designed to introduce students to the world of robotics and teach the fundamentals of programming robots.
In addition to this, IT-oLogy also hosts cyber field trips where elementary and middle school classes learn about coding, visual and sound effects, robots, and more.
The Regional Autonomous Robotics Circuit (RARC) is another learning experience offered for students in elementary through high school. The teams, consisting of three to six students, compete by solving STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and liberal arts challenges.
“ You can see the excitement in the children’s eyes when watching them do their robotics or virtual reality,” said Tammy Mainwaring, the president of IT-ology. “ That is definitely my favorite thing.”
Since their first competition in November 2016, the participation rate of RARC has doubled. “ The great thing about our program is it’s very affordable,” said Mainwaring. The cost for each team is $50.
In the United States, salaries for IT employees range from $ 30,000- $150,000 a year. Adults who want to change their careers or expand professionally can turn to IToLogy for career development classes, which will soon be offered online within the next few months.
“Our economy needs these people, quite frankly, for America to continue to grow,” said Rachel Barnett, the director of development.
Cyber Summer Camps are IT- oLogy’s answer to students who are interested in technology but may not have time for it during the academic year. This year’s Summer Day Camp theme for students in Pre- K through second grade is “ Tech Explorers” and starts June 5 until June 9. The middle school student’s camp runs from June 12 until June 16 and has a “Robotics and Makers” theme.
One of the other issues IT-oLogy has faced is the lack of women working in IT. To help change this, they launched WISE for girls and college-age women. “ There’s a place for everybody in this technology economy of ours right now,” said Barnett.
Adults lacking in “soft skills” such as teamwork, communication, and office politics can enroll in their boot camp.
“Employers are saying the young folks graduating today have great technical knowledge, but they have trouble sitting down in an interview or communicating. If they’re side by side in a cubicle, they’ll email one another or text instead of actually talking,” said Mainwaring.
IT- oLogy encourages anyone with professional experience or interest in IT careers to volunteer. Visit it-ology.org for more information.