Code to Impact: Use Software for Social Good While Prepping for Your Dream Tech Job
DescriptionThe technology industry faces a growing skills gap, with 67% of employers reporting recent college graduates lack the technical abilities needed for software engineering roles. Concurrently, many communities face challenges where technology-based solutions could drive meaningful impact. This study presents an experiential learning program equipping undergraduate college students to develop software applications addressing social issues and community needs. Interdisciplinary student teams work on practical software projects with support, including mentorship, project management tools, cloud computing resources, and hardware. To date, forty-one students in the program have built seven software applications tackling challenges from food insecurity to financial literacy. Analysis of learning outcomes shows participants gain significantly in technical proficiency as well as an understanding of software engineering principles.
With its dual emphasis on building project management skills and driving social change, the program offers a model for narrowing the technology skills gap while delivering community impact. Qualitative and quantitative findings demonstrate the program’s effectiveness at achieving both these goals through experiential software engineering projects tailored to address real-world problems. The students gain exposure to the full software development lifecycle, from ideation and requirements gathering to programming, testing, and launch. Core programming skills are built through writing and shipping code for a functioning software solution in their choice of programming languages and mobile or web platforms. This approach has broad applicability as a scalable, repeatable model enabling higher education institutions to strengthen the career readiness of graduates while developing social responsibility.
Event Type
Lightning Talk
TimeThursday, September 19th2:00pm - 2:15pm PDT