Engineer for the Week
Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.
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Engineer for the Week (EFTW) aims to demystify the world of technology by empowering historically underrepresented learners to explore engineering, develop computer science skills, and increase awareness of different career paths. To do so, EFTW exposes learners to real-world engineering methodologies, guides them to build a working technology prototype around a social issue of their choice, and connects them with a Facebook engineer to explore career pathways.
Implementation: How We Did It
EFTW is implemented by adult facilitators, typically in afterschool settings, community centers, and non-profit organizations. Over the course of 2-8 weeks, facilitators guide learners (ages 11 and up) to build working technology prototypes that address a social issue of their choice, such as mental health, climate change, or immigration. Prototypes can take the form of chatbots using the Chatfuel platform, or games using the Scratch programming platform. Along the way, learners work in teams, use tools, and follow agile development processes (sprints, scrum, etc.) used by real-world engineers to accomplish their tasks. Learners also have opportunities to speak to professionals working in the technology field who share similar backgrounds.
Our current partners — the Afterschool Alliance, Digital Promise Global, and The Clubhouse Network -— help us fulfill our commitment to supporting historically underserved communities by providing access to students we might not otherwise reach.
EFTW covers the basic concepts of computer science and introduces students to the development process utilized by real-world engineers.
In the short-term, EFTW aims to (1) change facilitator and learner perceptions towards computer science and engineering; (2) increase learners’ awareness of studies and career paths in computer science and engineering; and (3) increase facilitators’ knowledge and skills in facilitation. In the long-term, we hope to see an increased number of learners identifying computer science and engineering as potential career paths.
EFTW provides hands-on program support to our facilitators and learners. This includes:
- Webinars: Webinars are held at the beginning of each season to walk our facilitators through our resources and guides. Webinars are recorded and shared afterwards with facilitators.
- Office Hours: During each season, facilitators can sign up for 15-minute time slots with our EFTW Team at Facebook for any programmatic or technical support.
- Tech Connections: During each season, facilitators register their sites for a 30-minute video conference call with a Facebook technical employee to learn about their career, journey into technology, and life experiences. These are attended by both the facilitator and learners.
- Closed Facebook Group: Throughout the program, the EFTW Team provides program updates and answers to questions in a closed Facebook Group available to registered facilitators.
To implement EFTW, an adult facilitator must be willing to guide a group of learners through the program. The learners need access to a computer or laptop, and Internet. They also need access to the Engineer of the Week website.
The Future of this Work
We plan to bring EFTW to underserved communities outside of the United States, starting with Latin America in Fall 2020.