Teacher-Librarian Gains the Formal Skills He Needs in Web Programming Through the San José State University School of Information

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“All of my course work in the iSchool was challenging and relevant. The courses required the ability to learn programming languages and solve increasingly difficult problems with those languages. The teachers created learning experiences that required in-depth knowledge and the ability to solve problems in a systematic way.”

Al Walker
Post-Master’s Certificate Graduate 2018
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

As a teacher and librarian, San José State University School of Information student Al Walker saw the need for gaining formal programming and information architecture skills in his career. Careers in today’s STEM field require these skills and offer promising futures for many of his young students and patrons, so having the ability to impart integral knowledge that will help them understand a complex field was alluring to Walker. “Providing my students with relevant information and guidance [in this field] is essential,” says Walker. “Teaching students about programming is a new, exciting and important aspect of work in the fields of library and information science and education.” The Post-Master’s Certificate program with a focus in Web Programming and Information Architecture at the School of Information is providing Walker with all the skills and freedom needed to achieve his goals.

Freedom to Focus
“Earning this certificate,” says Walker, “will help me to teach programming classes and support students who are learning to program in a library or classroom setting.” As Walker’s responsibilities in his roles as a librarian and teacher shift in the 21st century learning environment, he will now be able to add value to any secondary education class he teaches. “As a librarian,” Walker continues, “I now have the ability to collaborate with other teachers and help them integrate information science and programming into classes.”

All of Walker’s course work during his time here at the iSchool were challenging and relevant to his progress as a teacher and librarian. “They required the ability to learn programming languages,” says Walker, “and solve increasingly difficult problems with those languages.” In particular, Steve Perry created challenging PHP/SQL and Javascript projects that pushed Walker to learn essential details of these languages. INFO 240, taught by Raymond Dean, provided Walker a solid foundation in HTML and CSS from which the rest of the courses, like Dr. Glen Mules’s Python class, built. The lessons provided by these instructors made the complex systems and programming languages accessible to Walker.

Programming His Future
For those professionals and students looking to supplement their existing master’s degree with a post-master’s certificate, Walker urges caution and consideration before taking the plunge. “All courses require a substantial commitment,” he says. “It’s important to be passionate about a field like programming. Not all of the solutions to the assignments will come quickly.” Walker’s culminating project, a learning outcomes assessment in which he shares his learning experiences in the program and in his work, provides a clear view of what a student can expect.

As for his own future, Walker wants to share his knowledge from the program with his peers and students. Says Walker, “Mostly, I’d just love to share this knowledge that I gained in the program in classroom and library settings.” Indeed, soon you’ll find Walker working right on the intersection of information sciences and information technology, all the while inspiring future generations toward dynamic and rewarding STEM careers.