Steps that higher education offers to students to flourish in the North County tech industry 

The tech industry is complex, and it can be a wily moving target. Similarly, attracting and retaining an efficient, skilled workforce can be a long road. As luck would have it, North County has a solution for businesses – a talented and tech-oriented pipeline courtesy of our local institutes of higher education. 

From Mira Costa College in Oceanside to California State University San Marcos and Palomar College in San Marcos, these higher eds craft new curriculum, often in partnership with local businesses, to provide North County companies the talent they need to stay ahead of tech trends. AI anyone? Institutions like California State University San Marcos are developing workshops, showcases and curriculum to give students the opportunity to practice and master emerging tech trends. To take it a step further, the university invites tech industry leaders to this conversation to identify what exactly is missing in their workforce, so they can better prepare students for success after graduation. 

“Our department has strong ties with the local industry. Our motto is career readiness and industry collaboration,” said Dr. Rika Yoshii, Professor for CSTEM Computer Science and Information Systems. “Our software engineering majors have been taking a capstone course that is mentored by local industry people. Computer science majors will be doing the same starting this fall.” 

And it doesn’t stop at the curriculum. Every May the university’s computer science department hosts an annual Software Showcase to give students the opportunity to present their projects to the campus community and to local companies. Events like this allow students to network with business leaders (and prospective employers), as well as create an ecosystem of innovators. With rapid advancements in technology, the university is also modifying its curriculum to keep students proactive in the tech industry. 

As the world of AI is changing the game for many industries, most especially technology, CSUSM is deliberately integrating AI into their required curriculum. “CS471 Intro to AI is now a required course for all computer science majors. As another required course, CS310 Social Issues and Professional Practices in Computing, we spend a lot of time discussing the positive and negative impacts of AI on our society,” explained Dr. Yoshii. 

“We’re trying to help students understand what computer science professionals can do to prevent negative impacts, and we offer AI electives such as machine learning, deep learning and neural network courses to support students in gaining additional insight on this topic,” continued Dr. Yoshii.  

With the support from faculty, students can strengthen their tech skills outside of the classroom to breed innovation in the tech industry for North County. Moreover, students can join clubs such as cybersecurity, game/virtual reality development, robotics, software engineering and soon to be artificial intelligence club; students are preparing themselves non-stop.  

This is just one example of the forward-thinking and integrative nature of North County’s business ecosystem – a place where businesses and educators collaborate to create a talent pipeline that allows students and industries to flourish together. If you would like to connect with a regional institute for higher education, or would like to strengthen your connection to North County’s network of innovators, contact Innovate78 and we’ll get you plugged in. 

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