On Friday, September 24 I attended the first OhioTechDay. As an educator and lifelong learner in Ohio, what I learned has me excited for the opportunities for Ohio’s future in technology. Whether you or your students have an interest in AI, data, art, or other topics there’s a place for technology. Here are a few takeaways with some links at the bottom to learn more about the opportunities. If you’re a teacher, student, or someone looking for their next career please read on.
FAANG in Ohio
Lt. Governor Jon Husted highlighted that computer science education is a vital part of Ohio’s education plan. Financial support opportunities like the Choose Ohio First Scholarship and TechCred have provided many students and employees opportunities to re-skill or upskill for career advancement. He also shared how some of the larger FAANG tech companies have selected Ohio to locate their data centers. The employment opportunities for Ohioans to work with companies like Facebook and Amazon and remain in Ohio have changed the landscape in what Ohio can provide to its citizens. In addition to these tech giants, Ohio has also seen great growth in start-up tech companies like CoverMyMeds, Root Insurance, and Olive AI to name a few. He reinforced that technology is vital in every sector and that Ohio is working to support the businesses that are expanding operations by setting up data centers in our region and also for the ideas that were born from Ohioans themselves.
The next part of OhioTechDay invited high school and college students to share what they’ve accomplished and future plans in the world of technology. As an educator, this was a great way to learn from a diverse set of students on their interests, hopes, and goals for their future. Some of the larger takeaways I had from their session on what they are looking for include the following:
- More tech courses to be introduced in their schools and classes.
- Learn more about the tech opportunities that are available in Ohio.
- Explore the different industries where technology has a role to play. For example, what are the career options for technology in the arts, agriculture, and other areas that may not obvious?
- More opportunities for hackfests
Agriculture and Technology
I love that the students were looking to learn more about how technology can be a part of the areas they have an interest in! The agriculture industry, for example, makes up a large part of Ohio. In 2019, I had the opportunity to attend the AWS Summit in Chicago and I learned how Farmers Business Network was created by agriculture entrepreneur Amol Deshpande and Google veteran Charles Baron in 2014 and their use of technology to help make vital decisions when farmers are planning and planting their crops.
FBN was highlighted in an AWS Start-Up Blog Forget Silicon Valley, for Farmer’s Business Network, the Real Proving Grounds for Machine Learning are Out in the Fields One of the things that captured my attention was that data from external variables and data characteristics on the seeds they plant play a huge part of a farmer’s ability to plan and plant a crop. Remember, that that all the produce we purchase whether it be fresh, frozen or canned was seeded, nourished and harvested by a farmer. Our food source shouldn’t be taken for granted and seeing how data plays a role in helping farmers was fascinating.
With the opportunities that AWS provides for learning about cloud computing technology with resources like AWS Academy and AWS Training & Certification the skills needed to work in technology in any industry of your choice are available here in Ohio.
OhioTechDay rounded up their virtual events with a panel of professionals to showcase the careers available in technology. Representatives from the FBI, Verizon, and more were present sharing their diverse backgrounds and their path to where they are now in technology. I found it interesting that no one was the same. There were some who started in one path and out of curiosity or opportunity their paths changed to one more technology-focused.
Ultimately, we don’t know what we don’t know. That is true in most areas in life – and maybe even more so in technology careers. It’s through events like OhioTechDay where technology partners like Facebook and professionals can join today’s students and state leaders that the sharing of knowledge happens. We all can agree that 2020 and 2021 have shown that it’s important for us to learn and grow in today’s age. Technology skills are vital for us to develop an understanding of our potential as we go into our post-pandemic life.
If you’re interested in learning more about OhioTechDay for yourself, your students, or your community check out the links below. So many resources were shared during OhioTechDay and I can’t wait to check out myself.
Interested in learning more about the next OhioTechDay? Mark your calendar for the last Friday in September and in the meantime, there are great opportunities to explore until then.
Tasha Penwell is the Computer Science Program Manager at Hocking College. She’s the instructor for classes related to website development, social media marketing and is an accredited AWS Academy Educator.