A (CSEd)Week in the Life

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Hi, my name is Jen. I'm a computer scientist. I love my job!

Computer science often gets portrayed as a group of nerdy guys sitting in front of a computer, coding. Now, if I'm honest, that is pretty much what my high school computer science class looked like, but the similarities stop there. My day-to-day job is nothing like that. Computer science is not about the computer. I really agree with the ladies at dotdiva have to say about computer science:

Computer science is creative. I get to make something new every day. I imagine wonderful new things and get to work at making them real.

Computer science is about people. It's about designing technology to meet the needs of the people and working with really cool people to achieve our goals.

Computer science changes the world. I know that the products I work on reach hundreds of thousands of teachers and students. I'm helping people all over the world. I also get to change the lives of people close to me by introducing them to computer science and watching the spark ignite!

Computer science is about your passions. I'm passionate about education, and my job is all about finding a way to use technology to teach people in new and exciting ways.

Now maybe you're thinking, "Sure, that sounds really great and all, but that's all just pie-in-the-sky messaging; people's jobs don't actually look like that, at least not every day." But I'm here to tell you they do. So let's take a look at what I've got going on this week:

Monday

  • Started writing this blog post to inspire young women (and men too!) to explore computer science careers.
  • Met with members from an awesome local planetarium to brainstorm ideas for how to use robots to teach computer science.
  • Spent about an hour writing code for a really cool project that involves using data to help local teams make better decisions.

TuesdayIMG_1889

  • Spent the morning putting the finishing touch on our app for #CSEdWeek outreach. It involves puzzle pieces, robots, and an obstacle course. Yeah, it's pretty awesome!
  • Had a few meetings to brainstorm ideas about how we could make Curriculum Pathways even more engaging and effective.
  • Finalized a write-up for the demo we'll be giving at an upcoming Computer Science Education conference in Memphis.

Wednesday

  • Wrapped up this blog post and hit "Publish." 🙂
  • Met with a team, including designers and builders, to plan a cool showcase about how technology and data interact with our daily lives.
  • Will spend some more time writing code for the data project.

Thursday

  • I will be visiting a local elementary school for an Hour of Code project using the app that I wrote (and robots).
  • Going to a meeting at our local university to see if we can write code to help researchers solve the problem of understanding how people talk about natural disasters. I don't know much about this project yet, but it sounds like a cool new opportunity.

Friday

  • Right now my calendar is pretty free on Friday. But new, exciting things always manage to fill up my time, so who knows what Friday will bring...

So that's what my week looks like. As you can see, I spend a lot of time coming up with new ideas and working with other people. My passion is education, so most of what I do centers on using technology to reach students and engage them in fun new ways. I'm also passionate about CSEd and since this is #CSEdWeek2015, I've got a lot going on with that as well. No two days are the same, and I spend every day working with great people on projects that I love. Computer science brought me a career that I am excited about, and I hope you too will look past the stereotypes and maybe even some early classroom experiences and see the amazing future that career can bring.

So take a chance this week and try coding for an hour. The #HourofCode and #CSEdWeek give a great peek into the world of computer science, a way to dip your toe in the water and see what it’s all about. So join in with millions of other girls around the world (me included!) in this learning event.

Want to learn more about #CSEdWeek, the #HourofCode, and coding? Check out these how-to-get-started ideas:

Our Favorite #HourofCode Resources
Need Weekend Plans? Code with your Kids!
Computer Science is Everywhere: Coding in Your Art/Music/PE Classroom
Join Everyone (Well, 150 million) in the Hour of Code and CSEdWeek

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About Author

Jen Sabourin

Jen Sabourin is a software developer and research scientist with Curriculum Pathways. She works on developing innovative educational tools and understanding how these tools can best be used to support learners. She joined the team in 2010 as an intern while working on her PhD in Computer Science at North Carolina State University. Both in her graduate work and on the Curriculum Pathways team she focuses on how artificial intelligence and data mining can be used to drive innovation in educational technologies. Outside of work she loves DIY, cooking, and hanging out with her husband and new baby.

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