BDPA Workshop: Learn Java in 3 Hours
The Black Data Professionals Association (BDPA) sponsors a wonderful technology training program for high school students in the community. Some of the students even go on to compete regionally and nationally in web development competitions!
I was asked to teach a Saturday workshop and was given a list of technologies that I could choose from. Being a certified Java programmer, of course, I chose that.
I didn’t really know what to expect from the students, as I’ve not been exposed to this organization at all before today. So, I prepared a couple of slides highlighting what Java is and some popular applications that it’s used in, then I planned to dive in and hope for the best.
The first hiccup, because of course every workshop has hiccups, was the computer access. A local college was gracious enough to allow us to use the place for the workshop. We thought they had Java installed, but they didn’t, and to install it required Admin rights.
So, I quickly found a browser-based Java editor which worked great for the workshop. The workshop only lasted about 3 hours, so I focused on teaching them the main principals of object-oriented programming through a hands-on exercise of coding a Java class to represent a generic Amazon product and extending that to make classes for more specific products such as books, etc.
I was actually blown away by how quickly the students grasped the concepts! One student even asked me if he could come up to the board and recite to me what he understood. Of course, I obliged. He went through the entire Java class, line by line, and explained what he understood each line to mean. It was excellent and his reinforcement seemed to resonate even better with his classmates.
I left feeling extremely proud of these Black students who were investing their Saturdays in learning how to code. It seems the future of tech is in good hands.