There are plenty of local opportunities for you to learn and grow in the computer science world, and they’re generally pretty awesome.
Most recently we had the Willamette University – TechStart High School Programming Contest (link to the contest web page, and to a blog entry about it by the guy who organizes it all). The winners were from McMinnville high school (link to the school website; check their news), with runners up from Sherwood and Westview high schools. The novice award went to team PHRED from Philomath HS.
A lot of people view programming as magic problem solving. We want to dissuade such beliefs: programming is not magic. It’s the tenacious process of turning every problem into a solvable puzzle, and then solving it. And we believe that the best way to learn how to program is by starting with one of these contests.
These events are pretty cool, but it’s even cooler to see where computer science skills can take you in the future:
A user posted a cool video on our Facebook page, showing DARPA’s most recent robotics endeavors: the headless Cheetah robot (looks more like an aluminium Zergling to us). Obviously something like this takes a lot of work to engineer and design, but arguably the most crucial part is the programming behind it. Sensors must detect things like the robots speed and center of gravity, and the computer must coordinate the actuators which move the legs.
3d printing is getting to be such a big thing, that even the Raspberry Pi has its own 3d-printable case, free-to-download. 3d printers have been engineered by a combined effort of several types of engineers (manufacturing, materials and electrical engineers, for example) as well as computer scientists who program the applications they use.
What we’re getting at is that computer science is a big deal. Like we talked about in our interview with an Oregon computer scientist, it’s because understanding computer science is the only way you’ll be able to keep up with the explosion of technology. Even if you don’t want to become a programmer, it’s an essential subject for you to be familiar with.
- Register Guard article: “Learning Programming From Scratch.”
- BoingBoing article: “DARPA’s headless Cheetah robot can run faster than you.” (check out our other DARPA robot coverage)
- Geek.com article: “Raspberry Pi gets a case you can download and 3D print.” (great, since we’ve been talking a lot about 3d printers and Raspberry Pi recently)
- Bonus DIY Project: Code and Life tutorial: “DIY USB password generator.” (good project for someone with an old USB drive, a couple bucks, and a desire to get into electrical engineering)