Menlo-Atherton High School’s First Ever Coding Career Conference

Hi again! For a quick reminder, my name is Amelia and I am a sophomore at Menlo-Atherton High School (M-A) in Atherton, California. Last year, I founded the Menlo-Atherton Coding Club for Teens – a school club designed to teach coding languages to both members and younger kids in the community. Currently, we host two sessions a week over Zoom as our club has expanded to over 45 active members! A senior at M-A teaches Go (a programming language designed by Google that is similar to C) for the first session, and I partnered with a college student to teach Python for the second session. A few months ago, we had the chance to represent the M-A Coding Club in person for Club Rush, where due to Covid-19 students drove through carpool to learn about the different clubs on campus. Below is an image of me along with two club members at Club Rush.

Our table and banner at Club Rush.

In April of 2021, I led M-A’s First Ever Coding Career Conference- a two day conference where over 40 students joined to hear about different career paths in the computer science area. I had this idea a few months ago as I personally am interested in learning about jobs in the technology sector, and thought about how other students must be interested too! The mini conference over Zoom was centered around the theme of the advantages and disadvantages of tech jobs at big companies versus small companies. 

The first day was focused on Tech Giants: we had three speakers from Facebook, Google, and Workday. The speakers came from a variety of backgrounds and thus had different, yet important career advice and information to share. One of the speakers discussed how student loans during college interfered with his plans; he now works at Workday attempting to improve other students’ experiences. 

The first day of the Conference – Tech Giants.

The second day went just as smoothly as the first! This day was focused on the perspective of speakers from smaller companies and startups. While acknowledging the benefits of working at a large company, all three speakers prefer their smaller companies because they felt like their contributions have more of an impact. One of the speaker’s companies is a stealth company, which was fascinating to hear about as I had not heard that term before. When asked why his company chose to be stealth, the speaker explained how it prevents other companies from learning about and trying to copy their innovative technology. Additionally, all three speakers did a great job providing advice for high school students interested in computer science including finding a company that promotes upward mobility and applying for summer internships when in college. More advice is featured below: 

One of the speaker’s advice for young programmers. 

I plan to apply this advice to my own life, and am so excited to put together another Coding Career Conference next year. I look forward to writing my next blog post about the M-A Robotics Team Pitch Party.

Author: Amelia Kratzer

High Schooler based in Menlo Park, CA Programming lead Robotics team Founder + President M-A's Coding Club For Teens

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