#Developer: Reimagine Communities Symposium 2018
As a born and raised Alaskan now living in Texas, I get a lot of questions about why I came to the Dallas area and why I’ve chosen to stay. Though I initially moved south to attend university as a student, I’ve stayed because of the breadth of job opportunities and the tech community that seems to be growing more every year. As part of that growth, I got the chance to attend the Reimagine Communities symposium powered by Capital One on the topic of Harnessing Technology to Increase Access to Opportunity as part of its Future Edge DFW initiative, and I was excited to find out more about the city that’s quickly become my second home.
What made Dallas the right choice for me?
During high school I knew I’d end up going to college. The big questions revolved around what I would study and where I would go. The former was the easy part: I’ve never had a problem finding things that interested me, and in the last couple years of high school I discovered that I had a passion for programming which made computer science an obvious course of study.
The “where” was the hard part. I knew I wanted to study somewhere in the Lower 48 (a.k.a. what Alaskans refer to as the continental U.S.), because there were more opportunities, but I didn’t know where I’d end up. I needed to attend a college that would let me study Computer Science, Psychology, Russian, and Chinese which narrowed down the options: my father and I toured schools in Boston, New Haven, Newberg (Oregon), San Francisco, and finally, Dallas.
DID I KNOW AT THE TIME THAT 26% OF DALLAS RESIDENTS WOULD BE INTERESTED IN PURSUING PROGRAMMING IN 2018? NOT A CHANCE.
I fell in love with a private school in Dallas that offered me a scholarship that would allow me to study everything I wanted to and get out of school debt-free; but as much as I liked the school, I never expected to stay in Dallas. While my classmates were planning city-wide hackathons, I was still looking for a job with international travel and the chance to act as a freelance web developer.
AT THE TIME I DIDN’T THINK OF DALLAS AS A TECH HUB – EVEN THOUGH 85% OF RESIDENTS CURRENTLY THINK DALLAS IS A GREAT PLACE FOR TECH INNOVATION – I JUST THOUGHT IT WAS A GOOD PLACE TO GET AN EDUCATION
After a tech internship in Dallas at a company I loved (and still work for), I knew I couldn’t move. Many of my schoolmates in Computer Science stayed in the city, and as I’ve been working full-time as a technology consultant, I’ve started discovering a growing tech community that I never knew existed through a series of meetups and events.
What I didn’t know when I was making my choice
Capital One released a survey today on DFW residents’ perception about the future of North Texas as it relates to technology and innovation and, as someone living in Dallas, the responses are definitely encouraging. The survey results highlight the access to digital skills training and the attractiveness of Dallas to tech companies.
Capital One released a similar survey in 2016 and in just two years, some of the stats have changed tremendously. For example, 85% of DFW residents believe their area is a great place for tech-related jobs and innovation – that’s six percentage points higher than in 2016! That’s reassuring for a company like Capital One that launched its national Future Edge initiative in 2015 and made a $150 million commitment over five years to help prepare more Americans with the skills, tools and resources they need to succeed in an ever-changing, digitally driven economy. Capital One’s commitment came to life in DFW in its partnership with community organizations to support the area’s continued growth, innovation and economic vitality.
How Companies like Capital One are Investing in the Community so Dallas Continues to be the Right Choice
I was excited to attend the Reimagine Communities symposium powered by Capital One where nonprofits, government representatives and local leaders convened to learn more on the topic of “Harnessing Technology to Increase Access to Opportunity.” The symposium was time-blocked into four sessions that covered some interesting topics, and honestly, I wasn’t sure how I was going to choose which ones to attend since many of the topics have become passion points for me over the past year. Instead of choosing myself, I left it up to Instagram polls.
- Session 1: Workplace and Evolutions vs. Education & Learning (63% voted for this)
- Session 2: Creating Places of Opportunity vs. Big Data & Analytics (74% voted for this)
For an event that was scheduled over a single day, it covered a lot of topics in a short amount of time: the evolution of the workplace with jobs being both created and mechanized, the impact of technology on education, specific applications that can be used within a community to identify needs, and how big data can (and should) be used appropriately to promote inclusion.
If you want specific information on any of the sessions, you can check them out here.
Even though I never expected to come to Dallas for college (or to stay after graduation), I’m happy I did. One of the reasons is that big companies, like Capital One, are making it a point to invest in the city and surrounding communities with initiatives like Future Edge DFW. As part of Capital One’s Future Edge DFW initiative, I attended a symposium on the topic of “Harnessing Technology to Increase Access to Opportunity,” and I look forward to sharing more about the conversations that came out of it!