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New Coding program prepares students for fastest growing industry in country

Students with Salyer
Posted On: Monday, November 12, 2018

Job growth in software development is projected to increase by 24 percent from 2016 to 2026 – faster than in any other occupation. For that reason, and as a result of increasing student interest, Elizabethton High School launched a new Coding Program of Study this year. The Program includes three classes: Computer Science Foundations, Web Design, and a new Level III course, Computer Programming I.

Students enrolled in Computer Programming are already familiar with a variety of programming languages from previous courses. In this course, they create applications, test each other’s products and provide feedback for later versions. Chad Salyer teaches the course and expects each student to create about 20 applications by the end of the semester.

Currently, they are designing an interactive web quiz that gathers and compiles data from users. They use a variety of programming languages like Python, HTML, and Java.

Some of his students were self-taught before beginning any high school coding course. Others, like sophomore Sarah Nidiffer said she had some experience with web pages but has learned most of what she knows in the Level I and II courses.

Like many others in the program, she plans on a career in the software development field. As artificial intelligence becomes more sophisticated and more job duties become automated, software developer jobs will open up across nearly every industry.  

Sarah Nidiffer

Her next step will be college coding courses, and she said these high school courses are definitely giving her an advantage. Not only to EHS students learn the material sooner than most college freshmen, but they can get local dual credit for the course, and they get the opportunity to be creative across platforms and languages.

“He gives us a lot of independence to figure things out on our own, and a big part of programming is being able to do that,” she said.

Sophomores Dylan Williams and Luke Shephard said Mr. Salyer is a great teacher with high, but achievable expectations.

“He’ll show us a little bit of what to do, and then we just take it and run with it,” Williams said. “This shows you how it’s going to be in the field. You just dive in head first a lot of the time because there’s no set way to do it.”

Mr. Salyer said students can work independently on more advanced material because they developed a strong foundation in the fundamentals in Jason Clevinger’s classes. As a result, they get a lot of freedom in their assignments as long as they meet requirements.

“I set the expectations high but give them the freedom to achieve different pathways to success and that’s what it’s like in the computer science field,” Mr. Salyer said. “I think that’s important because the best computer scientists have been innovators and done something new or different, so I try to teach them to think independently and to have that entrepreneurial spirit.”

In addition to Coding, students may also enroll in the Web Design Program of Study. Both programs are within the Information Technology Career Cluster. Web Design includes the following courses: Web Design Foundations, Computer Science Foundations, Dual Enrollment Web Design, and Work-Based Learning.

Gavin Forsythe

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