When we started Trilix, we made a conscious decision to be involved in our community (more on that bit later). As part of that effort, several of us from Team Trilix participated in CS4RI Summit 2017, the annual event associated with Rhode Island’s initiative to raise awareness and interest in computer science and provide related education and professional development opportunities to students.

One of the main goals for CS4RI is to encourage students, beginning early in their academic career, to become interested in computer science and consider careers in that vibrant area. This includes training, knowledge, skills and exposure to computer science and technology. The goal is to create “a talented and diverse pipeline of students with computer science (CS) expertise” to build a workforce of the future.

The CS4RI Summit 2017 is an effort to bring students face-to-face with tech sector employees to generate excitement about computer science, encourage students to study computer science and understand the many opportunities computer science careers offer.

What We Did at the Summit

As a participant in the Summit, we were tasked with educating student attendees about the work we do and the types of challenges we help our customers address. We also wanted to highlight some of the cooler things we do. As a result, we created a mobile app that shows how we can tap into some mobile device features to provide business solutions. Our app was a math quiz that allowed students to participate in several rounds of questions and vie for a place on the leaderboard.

As a humorous aside, our subject matter may have been a bit of a miscalculation (pun absolutely intended). My high school-aged niece, who was in attendance, joked with me: “Uncle Randy, you won’t get kids to play, it says ‘math quiz!’” Despite this dire prediction, we did get attendees to use our app and that provided us an opportunity to talk with them about what they are interested in, what they are studying and the many different career options in the technology field.

Why is it Important

Community involvement is important to us because we want to be a good corporate citizen and help nurture the future of the community. We obviously aim to remain successful, but do not want to be an organization that seeks only its own gain. We believe that creating a better community is better for all—whether it be students, citizens or our fellow local companies.

We are Rhode Island proud! Many of us grew up here and believe that our small state is growing into a viable tech hub; however, to continue down that road we need to work to foster that growth. This includes creating a viable talent pool of technical talent. Further, it means addressing many challenges, one of which is our state being adjacent to Boston, a major tech hub that draws significant talent.

Why Rhode Island

Of course, we think Rhode Island is better than our neighbor to the north. We have a lower cost of living, a far superior commute, some great companies doing interesting things and a great environment. Also, there is a robust tech community in RI. When I meet with those in the community, I am impressed with the excitement, energy and spirit of innovation.

The question that some may wrestle with is a bit of a chicken and the egg conundrum: does talent come here when there are companies to employ them, or do companies come here when there is talent to employ?

Either way, we need to start somewhere. This is why we are excited to help build a pipeline of talent for the future as one (of many) ways to build for the future. That means participating in great events like CS4RI to spark interest in computer science and technology—even for those students not jazzed by math-related apps!

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