Something we all know to be true is that what’s popular in tech one month might be old news the next. In this ever-iterating tech world, schools are responsible for teaching relevant subject matter. How can programs maintain an up-to-date curriculum in the fast-paced world of technology?
The tech education scene is in need of a curriculum model that can change as quickly as the trends. It’s sometimes difficult for instructors to keep a pulse on the new trends in software engineering as they’re oftentimes disconnected from where the innovation is happening. In other words, while instructors and teachers are focused on providing a quality education, what they’re teaching has the potential to be outdated by the time those students graduate and begin searching for their first engineering positions. Imagine if the last thing your instructor taught you was how to use a floppy disk - and when you got to your first job your boss revealed that they did not have a floppy disk reader. It sounds extreme, but the modern tech world changes so rapidly that the analogy is not far off.
One way schools can combat this gap between relevance and practical application is to collaborate with industry professionals as mentors to guide these programs in the right direction. Mentors can help alleviate the gap by providing applicable information right from the source, molding the curriculum in real time to remove anything that becomes obsolete. Mentors help bridge the gap between fundamentals and cutting-edge trends. On top of curriculum guidance, mentors also provide students with essentials like interview practice. These trial runs mirror the actual experience of what’s typical of a software engineering interview, and are invaluable for those who are entering the field.
Mentors provide a wealth of knowledge that typically remains untapped. They provide an immediate connection between fundamentals and trending innovation, which sets the prospective software engineer up for success in the long term. Although mentors are concentrated on their 9-5, many find it worthwhile to invest their time with future software engineers because they can aid in the effort to strike the balance between programming fundamentals and the constant nature of tech innovation. The mentor can also utilize his or her organization, personal team, or department to foster a direct connection between employers and prospective employees.
This approach has proven to be a successful one. At Holberton School, the heart of our community are our mentors. They provide us not only with guidance for the individual but also for the school and it’s curriculum. Holberton’s curriculum is constantly evolving thanks to our mentors’ professional experience and foresight into where tech is headed.They keep us apprised of what’s relevant in the tech industry, so when students graduate from the program they have a toolbox filled with the contemporary tools alongside their mastery of the fundamentals. Mentors at Holberton School guide students through projects, mock pitches, mock product launches, and interviews among a slew of other touch points. Due to Holberton School’s location in the middle of Silicon Valley, our mentors are some of the best engineers in their specialty. When students begin their second year and choose the area of engineering they would like to specialize in, these mentors become indispensable.
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