Tata Consultancy Services, a global information technology company, hosted the 4th annual goIT camp at their Milford Seven Hills Park location, and both organizers and campers said the program has grown and improved each year.
“We are very happy with the progress made,” Amar Naga, director of operations at the Seven Hills Park location, said. “I think the kids loved it.”
The camp is free, and students from more than 20 high schools throughout Greater Cincinnati participated this year, including Batavia, Clermont Northeastern, Glen Este, Loveland and Milford.
Naga said this year, the robotics competition was structured differently than last year and students had to program robots to compete against each other on an obstacle course on the final day of camp.
“It was much more complex,” Naga said about the competition this year.
Students spent time the first two days of camp learning computer programing information and techniques and were divided into teams to program a robot that they would use in the competition the final day of camp.
“It was pretty hard,” Aaron Rishforth, a home-schooled student from Loveland, said. “It took a lot of trial and error.
Rishforth said the camp was a lot of fun because he was able to learn computer programing techniques and worked as part of a team.
“This is more advanced than I’ve ever done before,” Noah Bass, a Madiera student, said about the programming. “You use radio frequencies and infrared.”
Bass said he was able to learn different computer programing elements and tools to program the robot and also had to build the robot correctly so it could physically complete the obstacle course.
For some students, the camp also sparked an interest in the information technology field.
Tom Jemison, a Clermont Northeastern graduate, said he attended the camp while he was in high school and went on to pursue a degree in the technology industry.
“goIT was kind of what taught me I wanted to be an IT professional,” Jemison said.
Jemison said he liked that he was able to work with others and accomplish difficult programming tasks as a team while he was at camp.
He said after attending goIT camps in high school, he decided to pursue a double major in computer science and information technology at Northern Kentucky University.
This year, Jemison volunteered at goIT camp helping other students learn programming skills, and he is also in the process of interviewing for an internship at TCS.
“Previous years I participated, this year I wanted to stay connected with the company,” Jemison said.
Influencing students to build on their interest in the industry and pursue an IT career is exactly what Naga envisioned for the camp.
“We believe the program is very successful and we have seen the end results,” Naga said. “Our idea is to expand the program as much as possible.”
Naga said this year they will also host goIT programs in Columbus at Ohio State University and at their facility in Michigan.
He said it is important to educate students who may be interested in information technology because the industry lacks skilled professionals.
“There isn’t enough talent for so many jobs,” Naga said. “We are trying to bridge the gap between schools and universities.”