Catalyst IT to run Open Source Academy for school students

Christmas holiday programme in its second year

Catalyst IT, a Wellington-based open source specialist, has 24 students enrolled in its Open Source Academy next month.

The course aims to provide students with training in a range of open source technology, says Catalyst IT director Mike O’Connor.

“They will spend two weeks at Catalyst in January, first attending classroom-style workshops, and then applying what they have learnt to some real open source projects,” he says.

“We teach them the same technologies and development processes that we use on all our larger clients – these technologies are also used by the likes of Google, Ubuntu and Facebook.”

The students are from around New Zealand, are aged between 14 and 18 years old, and have a range of programming experience. O’Connor says mentoring will continue after the course is completed.

“Catalyst has no problem finding willing tutors for the Academy. We have over 100 geeks in our Wellington office, and last year the tutors were energised by the talent and enthusiasm of the students. We end up with more tutors than we need,” O’Connor says.

He says technology companies need to engage more actively with school students in order to increase the number of skilled ICT professionals in New Zealand. “It was great to see Microsoft following suit this year with their youth program, and Sky City also launching an IT internship programme. More of these initiatives are needed.”

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