In Saskatchewan, information technology (IT) jobs are in high demand, and employers across the province are encouraging schools like SIAST to produce more IT people.
© Mickey Djuric
Volunteer Michael Vance (left), helps out Cody Acker during the Plan, Program, Play Computer Game Programming Workshop at SIAST Palliser Campus. Times-Herald photo by Mickey Djuric
As a result, the Plan, Program, Play Computer Game Programming Workshop at the SIAST Palliser Campus was born.
"One of the reasons why we started this is because our advisory committee and employees in Saskatchewan we're saying you guys aren't producing enough IT people. So we needed to recruit more kids, and get them interested in this," said Gavin Osborne, instructor for business information systems at SIAST.
"Students start to make these decisions of what they want to do in post secondary, and as early as Grade 10. If they're not thinking this is a possibility then we're going to lose them to other things that they are exposed to in high school."
Now in its fourth year the workshop is attracting nearly 100 youths getting them excited about programming and computers. It also enables students to be more comfortable taking computer classes in high school.
"We wanted to show kids that developing software is not something that is inaccessible or something that they can't do. So we've chosen to do that through having them develop something that's of interest to them, and that's making games."
"They become less intimidated by taking a computer class in school or pursuing this further, whether it's in programming or game design. This shows them that IT is an option. It's not something that's covered or mandatory in high schools, so we're just encouraging it because it's a great career choice," said Osborne.
Osborne says there is a growth in the job industry for computer related jobs. Not only is IT in high demand, but more jobs are being created for game developers and interactive media developers thanks to the rise of popular apps.
"This market is definitely going to broaden," said Osborne.
Cody Acker, was one of the many students who took part in the three day workshop, which runs until Friday.
"I'm having a good time, because I like video games," said Acker. "It definitely feels like I'm learning a lot and will consider this as a future."