MBA students introduce schoolchildren to tech basics
If you want technology that works for you, you need to understand how that technology works. Jonathan Adly believes that tech knowledge is fast becoming as important as reading and writing, and it’s driven him and a classmate in WilmU’s Master of Business Administration program to create Coderrific Academy, an opportunity for Delaware schoolchildren to learn computer coding skills.
“There’s a need for everyday people to learn and utilize the building blocks of technology,” says Adly, “and the earlier they learn, the more they stand to gain.”
The after-school program was inspired by personal experience. In the decade before he began his MBA studies, Adly worked as a pharmacist. “My job was completely transformed by technology,” he recalls. Unfortunately, the technology his industry adopted wasn’t always the best match for the job’s demands.
“I didn’t have the skills to write software that did what we needed it to do,” he says, “and the people who had those skills weren’t pharmacists.”
After learning how to develop a business plan in one of his MBA courses (with a concentration in marketing), Adly and classmate Quynh Nhu Dao (who’s focusing on finance) co-founded Coderrific Academy in the spring of 2018. They’ve enlisted local educators and professional coders to teach logical thinking skills, problem solving, and programming languages through hands-on, project-oriented classes. At locations in Newark and Middletown, as well as through an online interface, they’re aiming to make the foundations of computer science accessible to school-age children.
The start-up’s efforts extend beyond the classroom, to a process of continual improvement for the educational venture. “Every single week, we’re talking with parents of children who are participating in the program to get feedback on what’s working and what isn’t,” says Adly.
While he enrolled in WilmU’s MBA program to advance his career, he says it’s having a significant impact on others’ careers, too. “The most important skill I’ve learned, one that I use every day, is how to systematically lead people in a good way,” he says.