Students Explore Four Careers that Prove it’s
Cool to Code

CodeQuest2

Computer “geeks” are having the last laugh this time around. As a new breed of innovators step onto the tech scene, computer programming is quickly moving from geeky to glorified.

The rise of these former “geeks” has also led to the spread of coding competitions, or developer fests that bring computer programmers together to compete in collaborative coding challenges.

Every year, Lockheed Martin partners up with the Computer Science Teachers of America to host a coding competition of its own, known as Code Quest. During Code Quest, nearly 150 of the best and brightest local high school students participate in a two-and-a-half hour team coding competition in Fort Worth, Texas. The competition aims to encourage students to learn how to code and pursue careers in a technology field.

“Code Quest allows high school students to test their coding knowledge and strengthen valuable collaboration skills in a fun environment,” said Denise Saiki, Lockheed Martin Chief Information Officer and Vice President of Enterprise Business Services. “It was remarkable watching the students interact with our Information Technology professionals and solve these complex problems. Supporting efforts like Code Quest helps our next generation of scientists and engineers understand just how important these skills are at Lockheed Martin.”

One of the many coders in the Code Quest event was Jacob, a senior at a local high school who says he likes coding because it’s a lot like solving a puzzle. “I’m also interested in mathematics and science and computer science is a good blend between the two subjects,” Jacob said. “I want to be a software developer and the coding I’m learning now will hopefully help me achieve my goal.”

Why learn how to code?

In today’s digital society, nearly everything boils down to science and math, and the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education is becoming more and more evident. Learning how to code is one of the best ways to begin a career in a STEM field, because it is the most basic form of literacy in computer programming. In many ways learning to code is similar to learning how to write in English class. Coding even has benefits that reach beyond STEM careers – it has proven to vastly improve analytical and problem-solving skills.

Coding is a critical skill for the future. Our nation’s technological advantage depends on the highly trained, highly capable technical talent of tomorrow. There are numerous careers and industries that require coding skills, many of which are exciting, fast paced and rewarding.

Cool careers in coding

Here are four cool ways coding is used at Lockheed Martin:

1.     Tackle big data: “Big data” is all the rage in the business world. Big data is really just a buzzword that describes the massive amount of data that accumulates in our digital world that is too large to process. Thanks to coding and data analytics, we are able to tackle “big data” and use it to make more informed decisions.

So what exactly is data analytics? In the simplest terms, it is the ability to collect, manage and analyze big data. Coding helps us to do this by creating algorithms that can systematically organize big data and produce meaningful insights. With the immergence of big data, companies and corporations around the globe are looking for a new kind of scientist – a “data scientist.” Discover more about the field of data analytics.

2.     Fly planes: Becoming a pilot is one of the most fascinating careers, but if you don’t want to fly the plane yourself, you can still write the software that helps them take flight. At Lockheed Martin, we are currently developing the F-35 Lightning II – the most technologically sophisticated 5th generation fighter jet with more than 8 million lines of software code.

This need for increasingly complex software is building the case for even more sophisticated computer programming known as quantum computing. As quantum computing continues to advance, it will provide the ability to debug exceedingly complex lines of code, faster and more affordably. See how we are dabbling in quantum computing.

3.     Code out crime: Cyber security presents exceedingly complex computational security challenges. All critical infrastructure owners and operators, from Fortune 500 CEOs to individuals and owners of small companies, are now paying closer attention to cyber security.

As criminals become more technologically savvy, the industry is looking for the next generation of cyber security experts to defend the country’s commercial and security interests. Currently, Lockheed Martin is developing a Computer Incident Response Team, which uses an intelligence-driven cyber defense to monitor all phases of a cyber-attack to understand the aggressor’s actions before they become harmful. Explore other ways we are helping to code out crime.

4.     Build robots: When it comes to robotics, the opportunities are endless and discovery is ongoing. Today, we are programming robots that are capable of solving a number of challenges, from disaster response to deep space exploration.

The ability to program a robot with intelligent behaviors is moving the state-of-the-art forward. Our systems can control and operate robots and unmanned vehicles that are seamlessly integrated with human missions. Learn more about our work in the world of robotics and meet the people behind the bot.

Learn more about Code Quest and Lockheed Martin’s local real science initiative.

April 7, 2014

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highlights
  • The importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education is becoming more and more evident. Learning how to code is one of the best ways to begin a career in a STEM field, because it is the most basic form of literacy in computer programming.
  • Every year, Lockheed Martin partners up with the Computer Science Teachers of America to host a coding competition, which brings computer programming students together to compete in collaborative coding challenges, known as Code Quest.

2014 Code Quest Competition