At CEC, our motto is Do Something Real, and each day students live this through attending Career and Technical Education (CTE) or for short “career” classes. These courses give them the opportunity to experience working in the real world by gaining the skills they need in the professions that interest them.
February was CTE Month and CEC Middle College of Denver, celebrated by encouraging students to write about what makes their CTE education “real” to them. We had handfuls of great essays, but in the end, we chose five winners.
Over the next two weeks, we will share with you the essays we felt most closely captured the essence of what we do at CEC.
Meet our second essay winner, Julio Vargas, a junior shared-population student from West High School, in the Video Game Programming class.
Here at CEC I have benefitted from participating in my career class because I have gotten a real feel for what I actually want to be when I graduate from college—a programmer. When I was in elementary and middle school, I just wanted to work with video games, but when I began to attend CEC’s Video Game Programming class in high school, I changed my dream job from working with video games to programming in general. This decision was made because I realized video games, for me, are a hobby. CEC’s career education has also helped me change from being a timid and reticent person to an extrovert, not afraid to say what I want and unafraid to get it. I am doing something real here at CEC.
Notably, I have been doing something real because instead of memorizing equations and rules, I have been growing my skills as a programmer. In fact, I have also learned how to work with computers. When I came to Video Game Programming, I barely had enough knowledge to turn on the computer I was working on, but thanks to this class, I now know more than just the basics of computers. In fact, I have learned how to make a webpage using only windows notepad, a text editor. Additionally, I have gotten a great deal of experience working with my fellow classmates as a team and by myself to create programs that help us increase our knowledge of programming and our critical thinking skills. We find ways to make a program and find that there is usually more than one way to achieve our goal. By working in a team we get to work with one another’s ideas. For example, in class I had to work on a program that converts decimal numbers into Roman Numerals. I came up with my own code for this project, but then compared it to my peers’. Seeing their code showed me how this problem could be solved in a variety of ways.
All in all, career education makes classes way more interesting because I can see how I can use my knowledge for my future job. If I had not come to CEC as a part-timer, I would still think that I can just go into college with no knowledge of programming and pick it up and now I know it would be very difficult and I would easily fall behind the rest of the students. As a result of coming to the CEC Video Game Programming class, I now have a head start and strong critical thinking skills that many jobs look for. Career education is important because I get to learn exactly what employers are looking for in possible employees, and I get to work with the prerequisites of a programming job and work my way to my dream job in high school before I even head out to college where the real career prep begins.