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Sean Robinson, of Pioneer Square Labs, Talks Data Science, Machine Learning, and AI

Sean Robinson began his career developing algorithms for the NASA/DOE Gamma Ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST) after receiving his Ph.D. in computational physics from the University of Washington. A self-described “recovering academic,” Robinson spent 12 years as a nuclear physicist before his professional focus shifted towards data science. His current role encompasses research and project management, utilizing his experience with grant-, agency-, and privately-funded projects to fuel his start-up studio toward continued success.

Pioneer Square Labs, Seattle, Washington

As Pioneer Square Labs’ Principal Data Scientist, Robinson supports the data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI) needs of his company’s varied client base. Robinson is a steward and cultivator of new ideas, gauging the technical feasibility and market opportunity of potential concepts, brainstorming “tons of ideas” and reducing them to only the most promising and profitable. After assembling a core team to back the new idea, Pioneer Square Labs seeks investment capital to grow the emerging business; it’s then the new company takes the reins.

Robinson explains that in the realm of scientific research, even the best ideas require extensive, upfront legwork before funding offers materialize. Agency and grant funding often come with restrictive conditions and are not intended to sustain a project long-term. Conversely, private funding ensures flexibility in building a robust, enduring business. “I don’t necessarily have to…procure anything other than the support of immediate peers and perhaps some of their time and interest to develop an idea.” By securing local investment and community funding, as opposed to pursuing large grants, Pioneer Square Labs can begin projects immediately after conception.  In Robinson’s words, “[this lets] them fail; which is an important part of finding the things that won’t fail.”

“At a place like Pioneer Square Labs, researchers, engineers, and business development people can all come together and…simply go ahead and do experiments” without the burden of uncertain funding.

The Ideal Data Scientist

Robinson compares the future of data science to the atmosphere of late-90s web development. “These were times when eCommerce was in its infancy…everything was very wild and wooly.” At the time, computer science-specific curriculums were rare, despite the demand for computer science workers, and soon-to-be big-name companies took anyone with relevant, transferrable knowledge. “Basically every nerd with a pocket protector, myself included, who was doing something else–maybe occupying a corner of a dusty lab somewhere or involved in a relatively unpopular topic in their college program–could  suddenly hold down a fairly high income.”

He explains data science and AI learning is following a similar trajectory: the demand is growing, college programs and stringent standards are not yet in place, and the field is primed to welcome passionate individuals from a myriad of career backgrounds.

According to Robinson, success in the emerging data science fields begins with a solid understanding of mathematic, statistical, and analytical basics. As a fledgling field with minimal standardized curriculum, Robinson believes success begins with a well-stocked mathematical toolbox, an inherently inquisitive nature, and a passion for creative problem solving. “Do you really love puzzles? If somebody gives you a riddle, a puzzle, or a paradox, does it just light you up? If you are fascinated by the topic [of data science and machine learning] and by that kind of problem solving, then we’re in a place right now…where that’s a fundamental job skill.” Robinson further highlights Bellevue College’s specialized data analytics degree, as well as their new Robotics and AI programs, praising their willingness to explore a growing trend.

“Right now the field is very young. It is very broad. There’s a lot of room for creativity and that creativity is fueled by your desire to explore the world, the world that you’re working in.”

The Future of Data Science

Robinson is certain machine learning as a service is on-track “to be gigantic.” Facial recognition, image analysis, text translation, and natural language processing techniques are advancing in increasingly sophisticated directions while simultaneously becoming more accessible. He believes process automation will continue to refine and streamline technological processes, creating standards that eventually negate the need to constantly create custom algorithms. Robinson believes present-day tools will eventually transcend “anything that an individual would trivially develop.” Optimization of, and training around, existing systems will lay the groundwork for those data science tools just emerging on the horizon.

Robinson encourages prospective data scientists to become intimately familiar with the tools available now, as they have already been laid as the foundation for greater advancement. “Now is the time to really look at the tools that we have now…[and] really understand the way that they work, such that when the [future] tools show up, you’ll…understand what’s going on under the hood.”

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Join Cascadia College’s Faculty as a Mobile Application Development Tenure-Track Faculty Member

Here is an exciting faculty opportunity in the mobile application development field.

Full Time Tenure-Track Faculty – Mobile Application Development

Full Time, Faculty

 Position Summary

The Full Time Tenure-Track Mobile Application Development faculty will contribute to the implementation and enhancement of Cascadia’s curriculum and course of study in its second Bachelor of Applied Science Degree – Application Development in Information Technology with focus on Mobile Platforms. Teaching duties would focus on upper-level courses in mobile development, front and back-end, and may include classes in web applications and/or programming and/or database development. Faculty develop, teach and assess courses, in the Mobile Applications Development Bachelor’s degree. This position reports to the Dean for Student Learning.

The successful applicant will have the following qualifications:

Minimum Qualifications

  • Master’s Degree from a regionally accredited college/university. If Master’s was not in IT, additional coursework (15 quarter credits or more, or equivalent) in a technical area.
  • Experience or training to include two years of recent (within the past 5 years) professional work experience in a technical field OR continuous teaching with recent re-exposure to industry OR minimum of year successful teaching experience in IT related disciplines.

Preferred Qualifications

  • One year of full-time (or equivalent) community college teaching OR industry training experience in a computer-related area.
  • Professional and/or teaching experience in both front-end and back-end mobile development.
  • Demonstrated commitment to pluralism and the ability to support a diverse workplace and educational environment.

For application instructions and to view the complete vacancy announcement/job description, please visit Cascadia College here to apply. The selected faculty person is expected to start Fall 2018 or Winter 2019.  The salary is $54,924 to $59,924 for a 172-day contract.

Cascadia College is an EEO/AA Employer

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Robotics and AI Bachelors of Applied Science Coming to Bellevue College

After extensive research on robotics and artificial intelligence (AI), the Center of Excellence decided the development of an Associates of Applied Science-Transfer (AAST) and a Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) was a timely endeavor.  This decision was based on rapidly growing job demand in just of the following areas: machine learning, computer vision, neural networks, speech technology, and automated and embedded systems.

Bellevue College’s Vice President of Economic and Workforce Development, Mr. Albert Lewis, Jr., asked that Bellevue be the first college to work through the development of the AAST and then a BAS in robotics and AI (ROBAI).  With the support and guidance of Bellevue College’s programming chair, associate dean (instructional/AAS/BAS), curriculum developers and designers, the AAST was finalized and will launch fall 2018.  The courses have been uploaded to Canvas and already shared with other colleges, with other colleges indicating interest in accessing the curriculum.

The ROBAI BAS has been developed (courses, quarterly and yearly schedule), and the Statement of Need will be presented to the SBCTC in early July.  With strong industry interest and industry professional’s review of the degree, Bellevue College will be the first community or technical college in Washington State to offer this degree.  Already students are coming in for advising sessions on both the AAST and the proposed BAS.

As Dr. Sean Robinson, a Principal Data Scientist with Pioneer Square Labs, based in Seattle, said,

“The skills, tools and knowledge represented by this program are broad, in keeping with the complexity of the new state of the art in AI and robotics.  However, through a lot of careful curriculum planning and optimization, Bellevue College has created programs that bring across this breadth of knowledge while continuing to reinforce the “common heart” of AI, data science and robotics.  All courses that deal with programming, for instance, are based around the same core of python coding, allowing the students to learn programming itself, one of the most common code bases in the data-driven world, and the specific libraries used within that code base to accomplish complex data and AI programming, in the same sequence of classes.  We believe that the 4-year program will prepare graduates to operate immediately at the engineering level in these arenas, while the 2-year program will produce graduates capable of operating at a technician level as well as being conversant with all the terminology and concepts they are likely to encounter.  In both cases, the graduates of these programs will enter a job market very much in need of their technical skills and creative energy.”

The Center will continue to act as a resource for colleges interested in exploring these degrees as either a course offering, certificate, or degree program. To review the ROBAI AAST it’s can be found on the Institute of Business and Information Technology (IBIT) page.

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IT Futures Summit 2018: The Highlights, IT Jeopardy Champs, and IT Faculty Professional Development Scholarship Recipients Presentations

Highlights

60% of all colleges with IT programs registered for this year’s IT Futures Summit.  The event took place at the Mercer Island Community and Event Center on May 17th/18th.   The 1.5 day experience featured a number of presentations from IT Faculty Professional Development Scholarship Recipients, as well as a presentation on mechatronics and measuring competencies.  Networking with colleagues, feedback on the CoEs proposed 2018-2019 workplan; meeting and talking with IT industry professionals also took place.  And, the Center Director updated the attendees on the AAST Robotics and AI curriculum that is available for interested colleges. And, another round of IT Jeopardy produced a team that had two faculty who were on the 2017 winning team:  Arthur Wanner, Big Bend College, and Kevin Burkeland, Bellingham Technical College.

Meet our 2018 IT Jeopardy Champions (left to right)

The following are available to all WA State IT Program CTC Faculty from the Summit:

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Creating IT Futures: 2018 Summit

Creating IT Futures

CREATING IT FUTURES: 2018 SUMMIT (May 17-18, 2018 free for IT CTC faculty)

You are invited…

Who:  Up to three IT CTC Faculty from each college (Note:  Travel costs will be allocated upon delivery of receipts for hotel, meals outside of the Summit, gas for mileage, or other transportation costs for faculty from Central, Eastern, North and South Western Washington traveling more than 50 miles to attend.  This is to encourage attendance and engagement at this event and select IT industry professionals.)

If you want to send more than three educators from your college, please contact the Center at maureen.majury@bellevuecollege or call 425.564.4229.

What:  Will be happening? Participants will experience presentations, network, and address any issues discussed at the the May 2017 Summit (held at the Mercer Island Community & Event Center), including:

  • Updates on CoE project and services,
  • Update on the IT statewide marketing plan,
  • An industry panel,
  • IT Faculty Scholarship Recipient Presentations,
  • Machine Learning and Robotics Presentation,
  • New topics for discussion, including SBCTC updates, new BAS degrees,
  • IT Jeopardy 2018 (Who will triumph?) And, yes, after a question is correctly answered, the next question is up for grabs for any of the three groups,
  • Connections with industry professionals about the state of the IT (and, IT-enabled) industry,
  • and, more…

The draft agenda can be found here   Posted April 2018.

Where:  Mercer Island Community & Event Center, 8236 SE 24th Street, Mercer Island, WA 98040/tel (206) 275-7609, The Mercer Room.

When:  10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Thursday, May 17, 2018 & 10:0 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Friday, May 18, 2018

Why:  Everyone has worked very hard to collaborate and create solutions that make it easier for IT faculty and students access and succeed in completing an IT program of study in the CTC system and enter the workforce prepared to meet employer needs.  We need to continue our collective work together and explore and create new innovative solutions for our system.

Requirements:
1.  After you register, you will be sent additional information as we near the event (with enough time if there is something to consider or work on).  You will also receive an agenda for the two-day event as we come closer to the May event.
2. Register by Friday, April 27, 2018.
3. Review materials that will be sent to you before the Summit and be prepared to discuss, brainstorm, and make decisions.
4.  If possible bring your laptop or tablet.  There is wifi at the event.
Food will be provided (Thursday: breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, Friday: breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack).
Recommended hotel:  The Hyatt House near Bellevue College (easy access to 1-90, and then you can hop off and reach the Mercer Island Community Center very easily). However, for our out-of-town guests, with the stipend you can decide where you want to stay.  Mention my name, the Center of Excellence, and Bellevue College to get the government rate.
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WA State CTC IT Faculty Professional Development Training Scholarships for 2017-2018

The Center of Excellence for Information Technology Professional Development Training Scholarships for CTC IT Faculty across Washington State

Young woman working in a robotics workshop.

The application process is now closed:

  • Look for an update on the IT faculty professional development scholarship beginning July 1, 2018.

There will be presentations from IT faculty from the following colleges at the IT Futures Summit (May 18/19th – registration for that free event is open now):

  • Bellevue College
  • Bellingham Technical College
  • Green River College
  • Peninsula College

IT Professional Development must take place between October 5, 2017 and May 10, 2018.

For each deadline, IT faculty (professional/technical college programs) must submit the following to the Center, The IT professional development scholarship rationale.  This must include:

  • the type of training,
  • what it will accomplish for the faculty member and students,
  • how it will be incorporated into the faculty member’s IT program and/or curriculum, and
  • what best practices, curriculum examples, and how to incorporate it into an IT program.
  • The scholarship recipient will also commit to present at the IT Futures Summit on May 17-18, 2018 (held at the Mercer Island Community Center).

The following are examples of the types of IT professional development training opportunities IT faculty could consider, if they don’t already have a training opportunity in mind.

NOTE: Online or local in-person training is also an option for those who don’t want to attend a professional development or training conference.

Process

Once each of the deadlines have passed the Center and advisory board members will review the IT Professional Development Training Scholarship rationale.  Up to ten WA State CTC IT faculty will be selected and informed.  Those not selected will also be notified, and their application rationale will be held for the next deadline for consideration. If any IT faculty member selected can’t commit to the training, then another faculty member will be selected.

Expectations

Please be sure your rational includes the following specific information:

  • Name
  • Full Time/Part Time?
  • What IT program of study do you teach?
  • What is the proposed IT professional development opportunity you would like to attend or take?
  • Why would this enhance your teaching and how would you immediately use it in your classroom, or if not immediately, when?
  • What is the cost of the registration or training?
  • Gas/Airfare/Car Rental? Or, is this not applicable?
  • Hotel? Or, is this not applicable?
  • Can you commit to presenting for 30-minutes at the IT Futures Summit, May 17-18, 2018 at the Mercer Island Community Center, on what you learned, how it can be used in the classroom/program/curriculum, and how you’ve infused it into your IT program?
  • Your college is aware that you are applying for this scholarship and will support your attendance if you are selected as an IT Professional Development recipient.

Please send your rationale and the specific information requested to Maureen Majury, Center Director at maureen.majury@bellevuecollege.edu.

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State of the Gaming Industry in the King County Region

Two happy female students stiiting at the table and programming a robot on the laptop.

This a high-level overview of the state of the gaming industry in the King County region and includes information related to types of gaming jobs, demand for software developers in gaming occupations, competition for community and technical college (CTC) in King County from other educational organizations. Finally, there are recommendations for developing a game developer program of study.

State of the Gaming Industry in the King County Region

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IT Bachelor of Applied Science Graduate: New Tableau Software Hire

IT BAS Bogdan Pshonyak GRCCCheck out Green River College’s IT Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) student success story about Bogdan Pshonyak’s experience and success in the college’s Web & Mobile Developer program.

Green River Grad Bogdan Pshonyak Lands Role at Tableau Software

Bogdan recently completed his BAS in Software Development, was a two-time National Science Foundation scholarship recipient, and worked a help desk job on campus for as long as I can remember. Diploma fresh in hand, he’s now working as a software engineer at Tableau Software—more proof community colleges present a compelling solution for helping regional tech grow and diversify its workforce.

A big kudos goes to Ken Hang, programming faculty/chair for Green River’s BAS Software Development program, who was instrumental in helping Bogdan secure a seat at the Washington Technology Industry Association’s (WTIA) “Training Camp + Draft Day,” an innovative hiring workshop that pairs students from schools outside of the traditional computer science establishment with local tech companies. Bogdan and 5 other Green River BAS-SD students attended the workshop, the most of any participating college.

Thanks to Andy Orr, Program Manager, BAS in Software Development, at Green River College for this wonderful example of how IT BAS Washington State Community and Technical College graduates are highly employable in our state’s IT industry.

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Updates & News for August 2017

Updates & News for August 2017

text end of summer on beach

 The Center of Excellence for Information Technology is offering up to 10 IT Professional Development Training Scholarships to CTC IT Faculty across Washington State

Young woman working in a robotics workshop.

  • The first deadline will be September 13, 2017, with a decision made by September 15, 2017, for the up to four recipients.
  • The second deadline will be November 3, 2017, for up to three recipients, with a decision made by November 8, 2017 (note: those who submitted for the September 13, 2017, deadline do not need to resubmit).
  • The final deadline will be January 11, 2018, for up to three recipient (note: those who submitted for the first two application submission deadlines do not need to resubmit). The decision will be made by January 16, 2018.

IT Professional Development must take place between October 5, 2017 and May 10, 2018.

The following are examples of the types of IT professional development training opportunities IT faculty could consider, if they don’t already have a training opportunity in mind.

NOTE: Online or local in-person training is also an option for those who don’t want to attend a professional development or training conference.

Click here for process details and how to apply.


BC ROBAI PROGRAM
Bellevue College to Launch New Degree in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence

The Center has spent extensive time researching emerging/disruptive technology trends that will have a direct impact on IT programs across the state. Based upon the large number of technology jobs that work with robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and predictive analytics, there is a need for a community or technical college to create a degree to address this demand. The Center has been working on creating a degree to meet this workforce need and skills gap with Bellevue College (BC).  Since 2016, it has been building an updated, interdisciplinary robotics and AI program. A special topics overview robotics and AI programming course took place Spring Quarter 2017.  This first step, to begin the structure for a new course offering, ultimately sets the stage for the end-goal of full development and implementation of a robotics and AI degree.  The AAST will launch fall 2018, and the BAS is expected to launch in 2018.

There is an urgent need for technology workers across all industry sectors that understand and can apply for jobs in Robotics, AI, Machine Learning, and Predictive Analytics. Job posting searches over the last year and one-half indicate demand in the following areas: Machine Learning (1,457), Robotics (210), Artificial Intelligence (86), and Predictive Modeling (146).

 According to many industry observers, we are today on the cusp of a Fourth Industrial Revolution. Developments in previously disjointed fields such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, robotics, nanotechnology, 3D printing and genetics and biotechnology are all building on and amplifying one another. Smart systems—homes, factories, farms, grids or entire cities—will help tackle problems ranging from supply chain management to climate change. Concurrent to this technological revolution are a set of broader socio-economic, geopolitical and demographic developments, each interacting in multiple directions and intensifying each another. (Source: The Future of Jobs, Employment, Skills and Workforce Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution)

IT Futures Summit: 2017

IT Futures Summit 2017 IT Jeopardy Winners May 19 2017

From left to right our IT Jeopardy Winners

Highlights…

With registrations almost double, the Center of Excellence for Information & Computing Technologies’ IT Futures Summit took place on May 18/19, 2017 at the Mercer Island Community & Event Center. IT faculty from across the state attended for a 1.5-day experience that featured another IT industry professional panel discussing and exploring disruptive technology (focusing on robotics/AI). Small group discussions looked at college’s IT programs, challenges, strengths, and new program and degree developments. Mark Neufville of Spokane Falls Community College presented his current work with the Center’s NAO robot and did a robotic demonstration.

The following are available to all WA State IT Program CTC faculty from the Summit:

  • The IT Jeopardy PPTQuestion Grid and Final Jeopardy Question
  • NAO presentation by Mark Neufville of Spokane Falls College (coming soon)
  • Disruptive Technology Presentationby Maureen Majury, M.Ed., Director for the Center of Excellence for Information & Computing Technology
  • Also, don’t forget to listen to the Center’s podcast series, org. We now have 11 episodes that explore with our IT industry guests:
    • Robotics/Automation
    • Hacking/Security
    • Entertainment and Technology
    • Web Development/Design/UX
    • Big Data

Read more here.

If you wish to contact the Center, please email Maureen A. Majury, M.Ed. at maureen.majury@bellevuecollege.edu

Posted in Best Practices, CTC Faculty, disruptive technologies, Emerging Technologies, Employability Skills, Featured, Industry, Information Technology, IT Curriculum, IT industry, IT Technical Knowledge and Skills, Research, Workforce Trends | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

IT Futures Summit 2017: Highlights & This Year’s IT Jeopardy Champs

Getting to Know You Futures in IT Summit 2017

IT Futures Summit: 2017

Highlights…

With registrations almost double, the Center of Excellence for Information & Computing Technologies’ IT Futures Summit took place on May 18/19, 2017 at the Mercer Island Community & Event Center. IT faculty from across the state attended for a 1.5 day experience that featured another IT industry professional panel discussing and exploring disruptive technology (focusing on robotics/AI). Small group discussions looked at college’s IT programs, challenges, strengths, and new program and degree developments. Mark Neufville of Spokane Falls Community College presented his current work with the Center’s NAO robot and did a robotic demonstration.

The Center’s director, Maureen Majury, M.Ed., discussed the curriculum development, a robotic/AI survey course, and the work-to-date with the proposed robotic/AI AA/BAS. A special guest was Mr. Albert Lewis, Vice President for Economic and Workforce Development at Bellevue College, who talked about the process of developing a regional IT committee and its work on strengthening relationships between IT programs and area IT and IT-enabled companies.

Finally, on Friday, the popular IT Jeopardy returned with a new set of 50 questions, three daily doubles and a final Jeopardy question (topic: The 1%rs: Wealthy Tech Leaders).

Meet our 2017 IT Jeopardy Champions (left to right):

IT Futures Summit 2017 IT Jeopardy Winners May 19 2017

Mark Neufville Spokane Falls Community College

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mark Neuvfille, Spokane Falls Community College, Computer Science & Information Systems, was also on the winning team, however, he left right before the game ended. He traveled to Bellevue College to teach a module for the Robotics/AI survey course. The students found out all about the NAO robot.

This team won by $100 in final Jeopardy. Everyone get ready for IT Jeopardy: 2018 as it will be another blowout match-up!

Greg Rehm Bellingham Technical CollegeShout out to Greg Rehm, Bellingham Technical College: The answer to “The communication process between devices and networking which enables these objects to collect/exchange data” is not “Voodoo.” It’s “What is the Internet of Things.

 

 

 

 

The following are available to all WA State IT Program CTC faculty from the Summit:

WA Info Tech Talks Let Us Entertain You MM EL 0416

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Centers of Excellence

Developing partnerships among business, industry and education to meet the future needs of Washington State.