The Future of #VegasTech – SWCTA 2015 Senior Capstone Projects

Yesterday I had the chance to browse the senior capstone projects from the Southwest Career and Technical Academy’s (SWCTA) web students. You might remember that I wrote about my first time visiting SWCTA a few years ago. I was excited about what they created then and I was just as excited about what they created last night.

This year I decided to bring along my 8 year old daughter and 5 year old son as a way for them to be inspired by these high school students. I think my kids were a little sad that last night was only the web students night and not the gaming students, but they enjoyed themselves just the same. Each of the seniors were in teams of two and had to develop a website that was targeted at teaching elementary kids. So, it was appropriate for me to bring them some test subjects (even if they might have been a little young for some of the websites).

I won’t go through each of the projects, but there was a wide variety of websites teaching about music, sports and fitness, marine biology, various engines, art, and much more. It was fun to see them using javascript, jquery, and lightboxes to make their websites interactive.

I didn’t have a chance to view every project, but from the ones I saw there was one project that really stood out to me and my children. The project was called Perfect Cents by Janay Hagans and Lena Gomez.
Vegas High School Tech Students
You can see for yourself, but the design was really well executed with clean lines and a really professional look and feel. I loved that they leveraged some open source options for things like their Design a Dollar and Word Search. I realize when you’re learning to code you have to be careful using too much open source without learning the basics, but their website seemed to offer the balance of both.

Most exciting for me was to hear Janay said she was planning to study computer science in college and Lena was planning to work on graphic design (although, she used some new age term which an old guy like me didn’t capture). I love seeing this in any young kids, but especially in two young ladies. Now you can see why I brought my daughter to see and be inspired by them.

It’s really great to see what Cindi Chang is doing with her web students at SWCTA. We as a #VegasTech community need to make sure we do what we can to support them. They’re going to be a big part of the future of #VegasTech community. A small investment in them now will pay big dividends to the community later. Plus, don’t be surprised if a few years from now you’re hiring some of them like I’ve done.