STEM Teacher Externship:
James Mills, Workiva
This year is the 10-year anniversary of the STEM Teacher Externship program. James Mills of Nevada High School is one of 80 externs placed at workplaces across Iowa. The STEM Hub had an opportunity to visit Mr. Mills at Workiva and ask him some questions about the Externship experience:
What was your position or role at Workiva and what project(s) did you work on?
I am an extern on the Site Reliability Engineering team. I am working on an app for automating a task for the team.
What skills did you utilize in your position? What new skills did you learn?
I had to collaborate closely with members of the team, communicating my progress on a regular basis, asking for help when I encountered road blocks. I learned how to interpret documentation and apply code in new contexts.
What did you learn that you can take back to the classroom?
I learned what project management looks like in a large team and what tools the computer science industry uses to collaborate.
How will you be able to improve students' educational experience after being a STEM Extern?
By implementing the same tools and processes that I used in my experience at Workiva, I can prepare my students for the world of software development.
Did you have any "aha" moments during the Externship?
I was surprised by the amount of reading and learning each software engineer had to do in order to solve problems every day. While college might have given them some context for these problems, the details of new software applications are always being developed. In order to be successful in computer science, you must always be curious and eager to learn.