August 2012 | tata.com

The goIT way

The Tata Consultancy Services goIT initiative ignites interest among high school students to pursue careers in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. William Thomas, communications manager for North America, Tata Consultancy Services, speaks to tata.com about the program and its benefits

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) launched the goIT program in 2009 to address the issue of decreasing university enrolment in careers related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Companies are having an increasingly difficult time recruiting qualified workers. It is an issue that is not restricted to the US; globally university enrolment in STEM related careers has fallen by over 60 percent. It is an issue that countries in the developed world are battling with daily.

With the myriad changes occurring almost daily in the technology industry, there is a perception among students that opportunities are declining in their local job market. There is concern about the stability of the IT industry, about how new technologies will affect job stability and career growth. Also, for many students, the prospect of a job in the technology space is not ‘cool’ enough. Many do not realize the actual nature of the work and would appreciate learning about how they can join companies that are at the cutting edge of innovation.

Through the goIT program, TCS endeavors to expose high school students to technology-related topics at an early age in the hope that it would trigger their interest and encourage them to explore opportunities in information technology and computer engineering. The program involves both in-school workshops and IT-focused summer camps held at various locations where TCS has operations.

The goIT school workshops bring technology into the classroom. Led by TCS software engineers and IT professionals, these workshops help students understand the importance of IT as a profession and provide direct interaction with experts in emerging technologies. Specifically, the workshops focus on programming concepts and provide information on some of the latest ‘hot’ topics such as Web 2.0, mobility and social media.

The program targets high schools students who are between 13 to 18 years of age. In Midland, MI, the program is designed for students in junior high school (grades 6-8). We have students registered for this camp who are as young as 11 years.

Our goIT alumni have not yet graduated from university. However, we do get requests from goIT graduates in college, looking for internship positions within the company. This year, one of our goIT graduates, who attended every goIT camp ever held, received an internship with TCS in Milford, OH. His excitement during the goIT workshops and enthusiasm to further his experience in the computer science field helped qualify him for this position. His goal is to apply to TCS on graduation. He said, “TCS is the first place I’m going to apply to when I graduate. This is where I want to work.”

To date, more than 2,000 students across 20 Ohio school districts have participated in the program. While goIT continues to grow and has the potential to be replicated in other countries, there are no plans to expand outside the US as of now.

goIT 2012 student summer camps
In June 2012, Tata Consultancy Services’ Seven Hills Park in Milford, OH, celebrated the fourth annual goIT student summer camp. This year, the camp hosted 50 students from 20 schools across the Greater Cincinnati, Ohio region. The summer camp marked the culmination of the company’s goIT program to engage students with technology in an effort to garner their interest in pursuing careers related to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Students participated in teams across a series of programming and problem-solving challenges during the three-day camp, ending in a robotics obstacle course competition.

Tata Consultancy Services also held a summer camp at Columbus, OH, at The Ohio State University. The students participated in a series of analytical and interactive challenges relating  to the IT industry and solved computer science problems. A robotics competition had student teams programming robots under the guidance of TCS mentors.

As told to tata.com