What happens in San Francisco doesn’t stay there. It impacts students far beyond their four-day trip to Silicon Valley.
The journey to the grand prize destination began with students competing daily by staying alert in Dev Catalyst classes and sharpening their skills. Students from eighteen Tennessee high schools and one Vermont high school competed in the annual Dev Catalyst final coding project. Project winners were awarded the chance to participate in the annual San Francisco trip amongst other prizes. Winners were announced in the annual Dev Catalyst Awardaganza featuring CO:member, Jackson Escape Rooms’ owner, and CBS’s Hunted reality TV winner Lee Wilson. Though in years past students have enjoyed the trip, this year's adventure was remixed to even further enrich each student.
The tour consists of an exploration of Silicon Valley with pit stops to some of the most notable tech companies in the U.S. The first day meant a trip to Facebook, Google and a ferryboat that passed Alcatraz, as well as a shopping spree. The second day was spent at LinkedIn.
Student Mikayla Graves described her favorite part of the trip: “By far, LinkedIn and Chinatown were my favorite. The amount of questions answered by trained professional were astounding, and the level of culture in Chinatown really brought a new perspective to me.”
Participant Quinton Durban wrote a similar refrain: “Getting to talk to the panel of engineers at LinkedIn [. . .] gave us insight on the world of software engineering.”
The trip wasn’t just about seeing the West Coast for the first time. When asked for memorable moments, Presley Connor of Chester County highlighted a photo of an accent wall with the words “Choose a job you love, and you will never work a day in your life.”
“This quote definitely described my trip as I realized all the career opportunities I could pursue using my love of coding,” Connor explained.
Perhaps it was this year’s San Francisco discovery project, enlisted to them by Educational Outreach Coordinator Molly Plyler, that led them to search for something beyond vacationing in San Francisco.
“While in San Francisco,” Connor explained, “we were tasked with three things: taking a picture that described our trip, videoing advice to a future Dev Catalyst student, and videoing a description of our favorite thing about the trip.
“For my advice, I told future students to talk to anyone and everyone. There's always someone new to meet, places to see, and more to learn,” she continued. “My favorite thing about the trip was making connections. You never know who can open what doors for you in such a fast-growing industry such as computer science. Connections really help to kickstart your career, and this trip really helped me to achieve that.”
Moments like these sum up the mission of Dev Catalyst. When asking students about their experience, it seemed they understood the impact, too.
“The trip was awesome!” participant Peyton Anderson said. “I didn't know so many opportunities were out there. It was very eye-opening. The coolest part, though, was making a lot of new friends, and by the end of our four-day trip, I felt that I had known them forever.”