Tech Workshop To Hone Students’ Skills in Growing Field

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

This Monday, Horizons, a tech launchpad for college students will be hosting a workshop called “The Secrets to Success in Tech,” with the goal of teaching students techniques for launching a successful career in the tech industry.

Horizons, a young company founded by Wharton School of Business graduate Edward Lando and his friends Abhi Ramesh and Darwish Gani, aims to provide an intensive boot camp that teaches students how to code and helps them get jobs in the real world.

“Surprisingly, even at good schools like Penn and Swarthmore, you do not necessarily have the skills to actually get the job that you want,” Lando said.

Lando noted that the difference in what college students learn in their computer science courses and what they need to succeed in the real world can often be at odds.

“I think it’s the same thing at every school: computer science, if it is taught, is very abstract and theoretical, which is interesting, but you sort of also need real world things, where you can be like, alright, let’s build a web application now,” he said.

As Swarthmore’s CS department grows, the number of students looking for a career in tech after graduation grows as well.

Lando decided to bring this workshop to Swarthmore because he and his colleagues noticed a growing number of applicants to the Horizons programs from Swarthmore. The company recently conducted similar workshops at UPenn and Drexel, and is planning to have more workshops at Cornell, Columbia, Villanova, and Haverford.

“Frankly, a lot of students pay a fortune to go to a college and they come out and they can’t get a good job. And we’re a little upset about that and we want to change that.”

Lando reached out Kendell Byrd ‘17, a computer science and economics double major, to help plan and promote the workshop, which is free of charge, at Swarthmore.

“I think the workshop is a great opportunity for all students to learn from engineers, founders, and product managers in the industry about how successfully pursue your passions in technology after college whether that’s working at a large, medium, or small company or starting your own,” she said.

Byrd, who is interning at Facebook this summer, has not yet participated in a Horizons event or in one of their boot camps, but she sees their potential value for novices in the tech world.

“Horizon’s summer programs is beneficial to any students who haven’t learned code and want to learn it for fun or make a career out of it. Their program can really help new coders to get their foot into the door in the tech industry,” she said.

Lando is quick to note that despite what people might think, a successful and fulfilling step into the tech world does not have to be a job at one of the leading giants of the industry.  

“I think that we can do a really good job at introducing students to opportunities they would not have seen otherwise…when people talk about tech on college campuses, they think ‘Google, Facebook, Uber, Airbnb.’ They don’t realize that there are hundreds of companies that are growing incredibly fast, and that are probably more interesting places to work because you get to be an earlier employee and learn more […] We think that’s a big opportunity to introduce them to that,” he said.

Ultimately, Lando emphasizes that the goal of Horizons and the workshop it is bringing to Swarthmore and other colleges is to help them make practical advances in their coding skills and job searches.

“The idea is to prepare the students for the real world and launch their successful careers.”

Sona Kumar

Sona is a junior from Charlotte, North Carolina. She majors in Psychology, which according to her brother she talks about too much and for too long. In her free time, she enjoys playing ultimate frisbee and reading longform pieces on almost any subject. When she’s at home, she likes to catch up on reality TV and play with her cat, Max (you will definitely not regret asking her to see pictures of him!).

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