Career Pathways and Innovation with Garland Independent School District Students

High school students have numerous avenues to explore in pursuing computer science-related certifications and degrees, each offering unique opportunities and pathways into the ever-expanding field. The realm of computer science boasts a vast amount of career opportunities, ranging from software development and cybersecurity to artificial intelligence and data science. The impact of computers and technology transcends boundaries, empowering us to design, create, communicate, and innovate with unprecedented efficiency and imagination.

To delve deeper into the educational paths available, we spoke with Joshwin Paulson, AP Computer Science Principal at Rowlett High School, part of the Garland Independent School District in Rowlett, Texas. With extensive expertise in Python coding, hardware, and software instruction, Joshwin is also integral to the I3 Campus Tech Professionals leadership team, spearheading technology training initiatives across the GISD district.

Joshwin teaches numerous courses that prepare Rowlett High School students and graduates for job opportunities and career paths in computer science-related fields, including the following:

  • AP Computer Science Principles: Entry-level course in computer science – big data, hardware, software, algorithms, computer concepts, technology concepts, impact of technology, and eventually get into a coding process.
  • Computer Science 1 Honors: This is a next-level course where students already have a baseline of code established. They are now ready to write bigger and better programs and are also preparing for their PCEP certification – a Python Institute Level 1 Certification.
  • Graphic Design: In addition to the computer science classes, Joshwin also teaches graphic design classes, i.e., Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Certified Professional (certification that demonstrates mastery of Adobe Creative Cloud software and foundational knowledge for digital media careers). Joshwin noted they have always produced good certification numbers for that course, especially within the last three years.
  • Web Design: new in 2024, is another course he teaches that offers an HTML CSS Certification.
  • HTML CSS Certification

 The path we follow in Career & Technology education is either the student is in a Level 1 principles course where they are placed on a pathway to obtain a certification whether that is in a Level 2 or 3 course. Or they are offered or already placed in a Level 1 course that might already offer a certification. So, there are numerous pathways for students.” said Joshwin.

He emphasized that “Rowlett High School’s goal is to offer a certification for every 9th -12th-grade class at the Rowlett campus. If that is not in Level 1 courses, the goal is for the students to be on a pathway to receive some sort of industry-based certification that will help prepare them for College, Career, and Military Readiness (CCMR). There are freshmen students in my graphic design class as well.”

In a recent assignment, Rowlett High School, students designed flyers to promote computer science (flyers displayed in the image for this blog).

These trends underscore the evolving landscape of computer technology education in junior high and high schools, with a focus on equipping students with essential technological skills and competencies vital for the future. The workforce demand for these proficiencies is indisputably high. Continuous learning and staying abreast of industry trends are imperative for students and graduates interested in pursuing careers in graphic design and website development.

Opportunities in this field are poised to expand further as an increasing number of companies and organizations undergo digital transformation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for web developers is projected to surge 16% by 2032, significantly outpacing the average growth rate across all occupations.