Saturday, July 28, 2012

Prince George's Suite Magazine, 7/28/2012 (Perry Carter)

Perry Carter
African American Technology Group brings National Conference to Baltimore. Inside a lecture hall on the campus of Bowie State University a group of middle school students huddle around rows of computer monitors. They’re using software from MIT to create their own Apps for devices that use the Android operating system.

A few feet away, in another room, high school students are working on a robotics project, where they program an electric car to successfully navigate the turns of a makeshift obstacle course.

The youngsters are part of a technology camp run by Daryl Stone, assistant professor of computer science at Bowie State. While the two groups were clearly having fun, they were also getting a head start for the job market that awaits them.

Educators and employment specialists alike say the next wave of jobs will require skillsets from the so-called STEM-related fields that focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Areas, where often times African Americans are underrepresented.

BDPA, a national organization composed mostly of black technology professionals, has been working to reverse that trend for over 30 years. The Largo-based group will hold its 34th annual technology conference at the Baltimore Hilton from August 1 to 4.

In addition to professional and technical seminars the conference also features a career fair in the Baltimore Convention Center that is free and open to the public on Aug. 3 and 4. More than 80 companies are expected to attend. Stand out applicants will be asked to sit for on-the-spot interviews.

Perry Carter is president of BDPA Washington, DC chapter where more than 80 percent of the members are from Prince George’s County. Carter, who lives in Bowie, stresses the importance of staying sharp on tech trends that drive the workplace.

I think it would help for most adults no matter where they are in their career to be passionate about what they want to do to further their career,” Carter said. “From a tech perspective they should also be passionate about the tools and applications that help them do what they do better.”

Read the rest of the Prince George's Suite Magazine article.

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