Hyland Software’s impact on today’s youth

Hyland outreach in the community

This blog post was originally published on Pulse.

I’ve been in my role as Technical Outreach Program Manager at Hyland for a little over a year now, and I’ve been reflecting on what we have been able to accomplish. I want to emphasize the “we” in that statement because there have been several Hylanders who have helped make these programs happen.

Curious to know what we’ve been able to do? Keep reading…

2015 – 2016 school-year programs

Hy-Tech Club
The fall 2015 semester ran from September through December. For the Hy-Tech Club, we accepted 48 students between two different classes on Tuesday evenings. These students studied HTML & CSS, JavaScript, PHP and MySQL.

The spring 2016 semester ran from February through May. We accepted 98 students between three different classes on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. We originally were only going to have classes on Tuesday nights and accept 72 students, but we received an overwhelming amount of 132 applications.

This was a good problem to have, so we added another section that met on Wednesday nights in order to reach and influence more students. We continued to teach the same content as the fall, but we also added a Java programming section.

John Marshall School of IT Tech Club
The John Marshall School of IT (JMIT) is a new high school in Cleveland, Ohio. The original John Marshall High School split into three different schools, each focusing on a certain area of study.

We partnered with JMIT and created an after-school Tech Club for the school. Hyland employees went to JMIT each week to teach these students, rather than having the club onsite at Hyland. The goal of this club was to teach their students the basics of programming, and we felt it would be easier to accomplish this at the school.

The first semester ran from September through December 2015, and we modeled the curriculum off the HTML, CSS & JavaScript content we teach in our Hy-Tech Club. The second semester ran from February through May 2016. This time around, we modeled the curriculum off an open-source programming language called Processing, which is used by Khan Academy.

Hyland Hackathon
In December, 57 high school and college students participated in the Hackathon. This was a 36-hour hackathon where we tasked students to use technology to give back to the community.

The winning team was a group of three Bay Village High School students that called their project “Helping Hands.” Their project was an application that enables charitable organizations to publish a prioritized list of supplies they need.

When someone donates via the app, the money is used to purchase the items through Amazon. The organization gets the supplies they need shipped to them with little effort. The app increases visibility and accountability, as donators sees exactly where their money is going.

Pretty great, right?

High School Innovation Showdown
For the Innovation Showdown, 16 teams from 10 different schools competed. We tasked the teams to use technology to solve a business problem.

The winning team was from Westlake High School and they created an idea called “Suitable.” It was an online shopping experience where shoppers can see what clothes would look like on a virtual 3D model of themselves.

The winners presented their idea at the RITE Board’s 2016 Get IT Here Summit as well as a Monday Morning Meeting at Hyland.

Senior Project
Some high schools require their seniors to complete a certain amount of hours shadowing a local business. Rather than having the students spend those hours sitting down and shadowing someone like a Software Developer, we created a Senior Project for the Development department.

We taught students the C# programming language and gave them time to create their own programming projects while they were here. We like to think we let them create their own shadows.

This year, 11 students participated in our Senior Project. All of these students are going away to college in the fall, and nine of them know they will be going into a technology related major. It was great to know we were helping these students along their chosen paths.

Summer 2016 programs

Hy-Tech Camp
In the summer of 2015, 78 students participated in our various Hy-Tech Camps. In total, we offered 13 sessions throughout that summer.

In summer 2016, 185 students will be participating in our camps. We’re more than doubling student participation this year!

We are also increasing the number of sessions we’re hosting to 19. There will be two new camps this summer designed to teach students about software testing, because we wanted to broaden the topics we are teaching.

Instructors for these camps consist of 24 Hylanders from Development, Quality Assurance, Information Systems and Global Services.

The Impact

The work we’re doing simply cannot be done without the help of our employees. They are the ones making the direct impact on these students.

I’m constantly getting “thank you” messages from parents because they are so appreciative of what Hyland is doing for their children. The same goes for the teachers we work with as well. Again, it’s a wonderful team effort.

But we can always get better. That’s why we periodically ask for feedback from the students who participate in our programs. We want to know what we’re doing well, and where we could make some changes. These surveys give us insight into other areas of technology that students may want to learn about that we’re not teaching yet.

We also get to hear why students like Hyland’s programs, for example:

“An amazing opportunity to grow your computer skills, hard and soft, with professional developers. Fantastic opportunity for the students of Northeast Ohio and I hope other companies launch similar programs in the future.”

– Anonymous, 11th grade

“It’s an awesome experience where you can learn, have fun, make new friends and generally have a good time.”

– Anonymous, 11th grade

“It’s a fun class geared towards students with no experience who are interested in coding. They have great instructors and easy-to-understand lessons.”

– Anonymous, 10th grade

The educational system in the United States is behind on teaching computer science related topics to students. There aren’t enough students graduating in the Computer Science field.

However, the more students we meet who go through our programs at Hyland, the more I hear “I want to be a Developer” or “I want to major in Computer Science!”

Until more of our school systems add Computer Science to their core curriculums, I know that Hyland’s programs are playing a big part in students’ decisions to study and work in the technology field. And I’m proud of that.

Caitlin Nowlin is Hyland's tech outreach program manager. Her mission is to give Hyland employees the chance to help close educational gaps in computer science while providing students opportunities to learn about the technology industry.
Caitlin Nowlin

Caitlin Nowlin

Caitlin Nowlin is Hyland’s tech outreach program manager. Her mission is to give Hyland employees the chance to help close educational gaps in computer science while providing students opportunities to... read more about: Caitlin Nowlin