The Student Programming Council (SPC) was formed in 1977 to provide students with independent programming advice and technical support. Independent software vendors, educators, professors, college programs, student governments and others joined together to pool their experience and knowledge to help shape the future of IT education and training. The purpose was to develop independent, objective, user-based programming guidelines for colleges, universities and technical schools. The first group of members met at a Hilton Head resort to discuss their goals and develop a procedural framework. This group now numbers more than sixty-five members, all active in campus programming.
Today’s independent software vendors want to share their knowledge and receive independent feedback from the users of their products. Participating in SPC meetings and programming assignments means gaining practical experience from seasoned professionals who are willing to share their experiences. Members have also come to appreciate that their work and the work of their peers are benefiting students in various ways. Through the monthly meetings and online postings, they have been able to improve their presentations and use interesting programming assignments to show off students’ creativity. They have also gained valuable feedback on how to improve their curriculum and use the valuable feedback they receive.
Independent software vendors are an integral part of our society because they are responsible for a great deal of computer science research. Students rely on them to provide recommendations for new technologies, help with implementation and improve the design of existing programs. In return, these vendors benefit by gaining access to valuable marketing, community support and training opportunities. Without the support of the SPC, independent software vendors could not survive.
Participating in SPC meetings allows students to build up their network of fellow participants. They can use their networking skills to encourage other students to join the council. By collaborating with fellow members, they gain valuable outside programming experience and invaluable exposure to industry professionals. My LINK Many have shared their story of overcoming career obstacles and going on to become leaders in their field. It is inspiring to know that someone out there cares about what we do.
As a student programming committee, each person has a unique contribution to make. Their expertise and passion fuels the SPC’s mission and vision. At every meeting, the members are encouraged to speak with one another and brainstorm on possible improvements. This culminates in the development of Programming Improvement Reports, or PINs, which highlight the successes and challenges of the previous month’s meetings. These reports are presented to the entire council for feedback.
The SPC has helped students find career success through its consistent application of its strategic planning model. Through several workshops and seminars, the council has shown how it applies lessons learned during workshops and seminars to real world situations. Through application, members can leverage the experience of others to create more dynamic, creative and inclusive programming assignments. When applied creatively, SPC programming can benefit professors and employers alike.
Another way the SPC has made an impact is through its support of student writers. A writing workshop, held monthly, allows students to share their ideas and receive feedback from industry professionals. In turn, these professionals take the workshop’s suggestions and modify them to best fit their writing needs. Through continuous application of the workshop, writers become more acquainted with academic writing styles and are able to write better assignments and receive more praise from their instructors.
The Student Programming Council serves as an inspiration to students and has helped many students develop into valuable computer science professionals. Its vision has been successful because it has focused its vision on excellence. It has worked to make programming assignments relevant to real-world situations and have consistently adapted to changes in teaching and industry practices. The council has inspired its members to continuously improve as they work toward realizing its mission and vision.